“Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
And the sun stood still and the moon stopped
until the nation took vengeance on its enemies.
Those who expect the Word of God to contain only pious phrases and stories are shocked to discover that it opens doors to reveal what is beyond human comprehension. It challenges the reader to admit there is much that he needs to learn.
Foolish is the person not willing to learn from his Creator and Lord. Our Bible passage gives us a chance to consider something that transcends the boundaries of human science. Here we learn that at one time in history, the sun stood still—and so did the moon.
Five Amorite kings had banded together to stop the Israelites from their conquest of the Promised Land. Following an all-night march, the Israelite army surprised the Amorites and began to push them back. The Lord stepped in with large hailstones that pounded the enemy.
When Joshua saw that survivors could escape when night fell, he called for God to take unprecedented action: “Stop the sun in its path so that we can finish the battle!” The Bible reports: “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man” (Joshua 10:13,14). The sun and moon waited for God’s people to gain the victory.
How could this happen? Did the earth stop its rotation? Were the sun and moon moved into outer space to keep up with the rotation of the earth? As citizens of the 21st century, how do we explain this?
The same way that the believers of the Old Testament did. The prophet Habakkuk declares: “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear. In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations” (Habakkuk 3:2,11,12).
This was the work of God. It shows his power over all things and protection for his people. With God, nothing is impossible!
We hear the citizens of heaven declare the same truth: “Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty” (Revelation 15:3).
“Almighty” is a big word. We cannot yet comprehend its full meaning. That should not surprise us. We do not even grasp the power of the hydrogen bomb. How can we wrap our minds around a power that is absolutely unlimited? The more we think about it, the more questions we have.
We can only stand in awe of the almighty God. We do so with respect and appreciation. It astounds us that he would use his power on behalf of those who love and trust him.
The Bible contains the many accounts of divine intervention to rescue his people. The greatest example is when he overcame the powers of hell and destroyed the powers of sin and death. The death and resurrection of Jesus are awesome!
We have an awesome God. Wind and waves obey him. So do the stars. So must everything. We can have confidence in him. He can handle every one of our problems.
We think of the saying, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
If ever we begin to doubt it, we merely need to remember Joshua—and the day that the sun and moon waited.
Prayer: Eternal Lord God, Ruler of heaven and earth, your works are truly awesome. Forgive us for doubting your power and your love. Remind us that this side of heaven there is much for us to learn, and that human wisdom cannot fathom the works and ways of the divine. Keep us under the shadow of your powerful hand. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.