In these chapters we learn how the people of Gibeon deceived Israel by pretending to be from far away. They seem to have preyed on Israel’s growing confidence (pride). Israel signs a treaty with them and then discovers that they are actually one of the Canaanite city states that they should have conquered. This treaty is immediately put to the test as Gibeon is attacked and asks Israel to honor their word and help. God blesses Israel in the battle against a host of kings and more enemies are killed by hail than by the soldiers. Joshua boldly prays for the sun to stand still so the army can finish off the opposing kings and God answers his prayer with one of the bible’s greatest miracles. Next Israel defeats an alliance of southern kings and an alliance of northern kings, gaining a strong foothold in the Promised Land by the power of God.
“At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.”
The thing that amazes me about this miracle (besides the amazingness of the miracle itself) is the timing. Joshua and Israel have just messed up. They were tricked and disobeyed God by entering into a treaty with a city state they should have conquered. I’m impressed that Joshua wasn’t afraid to ask God for such a big thing even after a mistake, and I’m impressed with God’s forgiveness and willingness to bless even after sin and in the midst of a battle that was the consequence of sin.
This makes me want to be more bold in my prayers. I should pray big prayers not based on how I’m feeling or how righteous I perceive myself to be in the moment. I should pray big prayers because I serve a big God. My God can make the sun stand still because he created it and he can do it no matter how possible it seems or whether or not I feel like I deserve such a display of his glory. It’s all about him and he wants to show the world his power.
When I run and I go uphill I try to maintain my pace. I want to go with God by having the same prayer mindset and praying bold prayers when things are going well and when I feel like I’m facing an uphill battle.
Jesus always prayed big prayers asking for his Father to glorify himself no matter what the circumstances were. Even on the cross, his prayers were bold and real. Joshua and Jesus are the same name in Hebrew. They mean ‘God saves’. Through Joshua’s bold leadership and prayer God saved Israel from desert wandering and brought them into the Promised Land. Through Jesus, God brought salvation to all nations and will bring us into the promise that will never fade.