Posts Tagged ‘might of God’

Joshua 10:1-15 (Part 1 of 2)

Israel Defeats the Southern Armies

Tomorrow, at my church, I begin teaching a thirteen (13) week series that is a walk through the New Testament in general and through each of the 27 books. Tomorrow will be an overview of what we are going to try to accomplish in the class. The overriding theme that I want to come out of tomorrow is that the New Testament and the whole entirety of the Bible is not just some fantasy made up for our benefit. It is the real deal. It is real people. It is real events. It is historical. It can be checked and verified. It is not fiction made up to support a religious movement. It is the theological history of God’s people from Abraham to the cradle, to the cross, to the church, to the world, to the end of time. What I want people to realize and, that realization giving our faith so much more power, is that we have a reasonable faith. We have faith that is based on real people, real events, that played out in the history of mankind. That’s the beauty of our Christian faith is that it is historically based on facts that can be verified. No one in Christianity is asking you to believe is some fantasy of mystical creatures and such. It is the real deal. Jesus, it is commonly accepted the world over and can be verified by extrabiblical sources that He actually existed – not just some made up dude for the Bible. He really existed. All of the facts and circumstances of the New Testament (and the Old as well) are grounded in the history of mankind, and specifically, the Middle East.

 

Like I had said to many people, the Christian faith is a reasonable one that is based on historical facts that can be verified extrabiblically. I can get you to see that our faith is so much more based on reason than any of the world’s other religions. We are not asked to believe in any fanstastical figures like in Hinduism. We are also not forced to swallow contradictions within the holy book of our religion as Muslims are with the Koran. We are not forced to remove ourselves from life to attain oneness with some blank fabric of the universe as with Buddhism. And so on and so on. I can show you how our faith is superior and most internally consistent faith on the planet. I can take you 95% of the way to faith in Jesus Christ with the historiocity of the Christian faith. But, that last 5% is where the miracles come in. The miracles in the Old Testament and the miracles of the New Testament require you to make that last 5% walk alone without any assistance from anyone. You must decide if you believe, really believe in God.

 

That is the crux of the controversies over the miracles of the Bible. It comes down to whether you believe in God and that He exists. The thing that I always have to come back to is the beginning of the universe. Atheists who believe that God does not exist and those who believe in God must start their debate there. Those who do not believe in the existence of God believe that the universe has its own laws that function consistently eternally. That, too, I accept, however, I see it as God having set those laws in motion to be eternally true from that point on. Beleiver and non-believer alike can agree on the cause and effect nature of the universe. However, atheists will suspend their own belief in that rule when it comes to the moment of the creation of the universe. They say that it spontaneously erupted from itself. What caused that? Therein lies the difference. I can still believe in God’s eternally played out cause and effect rules of the universe as it was him that caused the effect. It was Him that was the cause and the universe beginning was the effect.

 

Thus, that is what we have here in this passage. Do you believe that there is a God? If not, you can spend all day debunking this as literary device and not a reality. If you believe that there is a God, then, the one who created the laws of the universe can equally suspend those laws without there being collateral damage elsewhere in the universe that He created. So, here we find a test of faith. How much do you believe in God? Is it nice and tidy until you get to the miracles? Do you discount the miracles as a believer? Or do you plain out have faith that they happened? Here’s one of the tests of your faith here in Joshua 10:1-15, this morning. Do you believe it happened or do you try to explain it away or call it a literary device? Do you blindly accept this without thinking? Do you believe it because you believe in a God that created the universe by His hand and His mind that can suspend the laws of nature that He created at the points that He wants to so as to demonstrate His favor to His people?

 

Let’s read the passage again this morning together with an eye toward that crux of a question about whether we believe in God’s miracles or not:

 

10 Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed[a] it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and had become their allies. 2 He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters. 3 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. 4 “Come up and help me attack Gibeon,” he said, “because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.”

 

5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.

 

6 The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us.”

 

7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”

 

9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

 

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

 

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,

    and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”

13

So the sun stood still,

    and the moon stopped,

    till the nation avenged itself on[b] its enemies,

 

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

 

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

 

15 Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.

 

In this passage, we see that there is a moment where the earth stopped turning giving the appearance to us earthbound inhabitants that the sun stood still in the sky. There are extra-biblical references to this event, as well, from traditions in all parts of the world. According to the research that I was able to find is that legends of a longest day are found in Egypt, Greece, and other ancient lands. And among the American Indians, South Sea islanders, and others in the Western Hemisphere are legends of a longest night—which would indeed make sense, seeing how these peoples lived in the opposite hemisphere. God performed a stupendous miracle, causing the sun to delay its “setting.” God stopped the motion of the earth. There are objections to this explanation, based on the physics of motion, but the God who created the world and established natural laws is perfectly capable of compensating for any collateral complications. We may not have a scientific explanation of how God performed this miracle, but He did. While we may not fully understand how this “long day” occurred, a miracle does not have to be scientifically proven—just accepted. Joshua prayed, and God supernaturally provided the light necessary for Joshua’s army to win its battle. The lengthened day was indeed unlike anything ever seen, but in Joshua’s mind the greater miracle may just have been that God listened to him and answered such an amazing prayer.

 

Do you believe in God responding to prayer with miracles? I think that answer comes to whether you believe in the miracles of the Old and New Testament or not. It is that simple. If we believe the miracles to be explainable, then God does not interact with His people here on earth. If we believe that the miracles are literary devices, then, the God we believe in really does not care about us at all. It comes down to faith. Do you believe in a big ol’ God that wants to have interaction with His creation? Do you believe in a God that answers prayers and responds with miracles? Do you believe that God can heal a person with cancer when all indications are that they are going to die within months? Do you believe in a God that can bring people together from far off places such as Florida and California and Georgia and North Carolina and numerous other states to a small little suburban town in the Greenville-Spartanburg, SC area called Lyman, SC at a church called LifeSong Church and bring them together at just the right place and at just the right time with just the right people to impact the Lyman-Duncan-Wellford suburban tri-cities for the Lord in ways that have never been seen before in this area. The way that He has orchestrated that is an amazing miracle. Every step of my journey with Jesus is not a bunch of coincidences. It is the hand of God guiding me to this place at this time with these people.

 

It comes down to how big your God is? If you don’t believe that there is God, then, this blog is meaningless to you. If you believe there is a God but don’t believe in the miracles then you don’t believe that God is mighty and that He is creator. But if you believe in a God that is Creator. If you believe in a God that created all that we see, touch, feel and smell, then you can believe that He can control the universe that He created. If you believe that then you can believe that He can make miracles in your life. He can change you through Jesus Christ. He can perform miracles in your life. Why?

 

BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN A BIG, BIG, BIG, MIGHTY, MIGHTY, MIGHTY GOD WHO CAN DO ANYTHING!

 

Amen and Amen.