When the Lord Obeyed the Voice of a Man

Written by Drew on December 28th, 2005

Joshua 10 tells the story of a fascinating battle that occurred between the Israelites and the five kings of the Amorites. While several aspects of the battle pique our curiosity, the most remarkable part of the battle was when Joshua, needing more time to pursue the enemy, prayed for the sun to stand still. As a result, “the sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day” (Josh. 10:13). In poetic fashion, the prophet Habakkuk reflected on this miracle saying, “The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear” (3:11).

Much ink has been spilled over the phenomenon of Joshua’s “long day.” I remember that some even circulated a rumor saying scientists at NASA were able to locate it using computers to calculate orbits for the earth and sun. That story has since been discredited, leaving us with God’s Word as the sole testimony to its authenticity. This is more than enough, for every word written therein is “truth” (Jn. 17:17).

Some have criticized the language of the text, which says the sun, not the earth, “stopped in the midst of heaven.” Everybody knows that the earth revolves around the sun, and in order to lengthen a day God would have to stop the earth, not the sun. A response to this problem is that Joshua, like all the other biblical writers, did not employ technical language when he wrote by inspiration. He spoke of the sun’s standing still as we would speak of a “sunrise” or a “sunset.”

Other critics have pointed out that, if the Lord had stopped the earth in its orbit, it would have fallen into the sun. However, if one believes that the Lord is powerful enough to stop the earth in its orbit, is it much of a stretch to believe that He can also keep it from being sucked into the sun? The Creator has power over His own Universe, and He does with it what He wills.

This would not be the last time God would interrupt the earth’s path around the sun. Centuries later, He caused King Hezekiah’s sun dial to register a return of ten degrees (about 40 minutes) (2 Kgs. 20:11). These manifestations of divine power are written to impress the reader with a sense of God’s awesome power.

The most striking part of the story, however, is yet to be told. Consider the statement that closes this account: “There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord obeyed the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel” (Josh. 10:14). Yes, the earth stopped in its tracks, but that is not all. Joshua prayed, and God listened! This is not just a story about God’s omnipotence; it is also a story about His concern for His people.

God has promised Christians that He will listen to them, just as He listened to Joshua all those years ago. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer…” (1 Pet. 3:12). When you are troubled, go to God in prayer. He helped Joshua; He can help you, too (Mt. 21:22; 1 Jn. 5:14-15).


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. andy says:

    It is interesting that you would post an article on a subject that I have been studying for about two weeks. My effort has been in preparation for a Bible class that I am to teach on this coming Sunday (January 1, 2006). Since the lesson is a part of the Gospel Advocate’s series, “Foundations,” there are many others who are studying it as well.

    I think Mr. Bryan would liked to have had your notes when he was questioned by Clarence Darrow in the famous Scopes trial of 1925. When Darrow asked him about the sun’s standing still, he didn’t do a very good job with the answer. Darrow went on and on about the catastropes that would occur if such a phenomenon were to happen.

    I think your point is well made. If Jehovah God brought everything into existence simply by speaking, then, certainly, He has the power to control it. And that the earth would turn backwards (as in the case with Hezekiah) is even more remarkable than its standing still.

  2. answer-man says:

    enjoyed your blog, we are introducing our New Updated Dvd Bible Site **www.BibleMediaDvd.Com** and thought you might enjoy all the new features of the King James Version, New Living Translation Version on Dvd and also have a free offering of a Children’s Bible Story CD for the lowest prices now of $29.95. Stop by and check out the Free Demo. Thank you for your time and Have a Great Day.

Leave a Comment