Summary: In this text we see the story of how the Israelites faced the armies of five kingdoms in their efforts to defend the Gibeonites. We can learn from this text to trust in a God who would stop the rotation of the world if He needed to.
The Longest Day
The Sun Stands Still
1 Now it came to pass when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai and had utterly destroyed it--as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king--and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2that they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.
3Therefore Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4"Come up to me and help me, that we may attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel." 5Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it.
6And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us."
7So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." 9Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal.
10So the LORD routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.
12Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
"Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon."
13So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
15Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
(New King James Version)
There are four lessons we can gather from this text:
1. Expect opposition when you serve the Lord
2. Honor your obligations
3. Do not fear adversity
4. God will triumph in the end
1. Expect Opposition When You Serve the Lord (Joshua 10:1-6)
First thing we see in this text is that Israel faced opposition
The nation of Israel was advancing into the Promised Land. They had just made a treaty with a powerful Canaanite city state—Gibeon. Though Israel had been tricked by the Gibeonites, this alliance unsettled five of the neighboring city states. With Israel beginning to take the Promised Land, these states recognized the need to try to take out Gibeon. What happened to the Israelites often happens to us as believers. Whenever we begin to make advances for the Kingdom of God we are often opposed by the enemy. Many believers have experienced such opposition in their lives.
Illustration: John Wesley was certainly no stranger to opposition. The Wesley brothers and George Whitefield pioneered open air preaching in England in 18th century England. If people were not going to come to the churches, they were going to bring the church to them. Though their efforts ignited a great revival throughout England, in the beginning they were not often received well.
On many occasions, they were attacked by drunken mobs with clubs, bricks, stones, stink bombs, rotten eggs, and other projectiles. Sometimes a mob would even drive a bull into the midst of an open air meeting. Opposing crowds would also seek to drown out the preaching with bells, horns, drums and pans.
Sometimes their fury was aimed at Methodist followers. Sometimes their houses would be burned or destroyed. Furniture and other possessions of Methodist followers would sometimes be stolen. In addition to being attacked by opposing mobs, John Wesley was verbally attacked by many in the Anglican Church. Even the name “Methodists” started out as a derogatory label given by opponents.