The Bible is filled with miracles. Even the first chapter of the first book contains the miracle of the creation of the world — that certainly did not naturally come about. The journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, the work of prophets, and even the life of Jesus is filled with miracles — supernatural acts of God to benefit humanity.
I’m a big fan of the parting of the Red Sea. It’s just so dramatic. I also love when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Like that’s crazy. And a cloth that touched Paul healing people?? The Holy Spirit is outdoing Himself.
I love these miracles and many more. But they’re not my favorite. My absolute favorite is when God caused the sun to stand still for Joshua.
If you’re unfamiliar, it’s part of Joshua 10. After Moses’ death, Joshua was tasked with leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land and taking possession of it. This involved lots of battles with lots of nations. They were no match for the God of Israel, though. God came through supernaturally several different times. One of which, in chapter 10, God stopped the sun from going down so that Joshua and his army would have enough daylight to defeat those whom they were attacking.
But what’s the big deal? Joshua fought lots of battles, won lots of them, and God was involved often. What’s so special?
One very important detail: Joshua was not engaged in this battle because he was following God’s orders. Joshua got himself into this battle because he had made a huge mistake.
When Israel was entering the Promised Land, God guided them in all of their decisions. The inhabitants of Gibeon saw that the Israelites were successful in all of their battles. Instead of surrendering to the Israelites outright or facing them in battle, they pretended to be from a far away country and secured peace with Israel through deception (Joshua 9). Joshua asked them the right questions (where are you from, how did you hear about us, etc.) and they gave believable answers. So, Joshua and the other leaders of Israel made peace with them; ‘but did not ask counsel from the Lord’ (Joshua 9:14).
Joshua then finds out who they really are. Shortly after, the surrounding nations become terrified because the Gibeonites were greater than previous cities that Israel had conquered, and ‘all its men were warriors’ (Joshua 10:2), and they had surrendered to the enemy — Israel! Instead of surrendering or seeking peace themselves, these nations banded together to attack Gibeon. Thus, Gibeon reached out to Israel for help. And thus we come to this battle where the sun stood still.
Sometimes we think that we have to do everything perfectly in order to merit the help of God in our lives. But that’s just as legalistic as expecting our good works to merit part or all of salvation. I love this story because God helped Joshua out of situation that he got himself into because of his own mistakes. Furthermore, Joshua had so much confidence in God, that he asked God to make the sun stand still for him. What kind of an audacious prayer is that! But God did it for him.
I’m convinced that we don’t see more of God’s moving in our lives because we ask little, we believe little, and we attempt little. We allow our mistakes or shortcomings to keep us out of communion with God, when He is so willing to help, guide, sustain, and protect us. We sometimes have a bigger problem with our mistakes than God does. He just asks for us to confess (1 John 1:9), not wallow in self-hatred for a week.
While it’s true that there are natural consequences for our mistakes, it is also true that God does not abandon us in our time of need, even a need of our own making. We just need to own our mistakes. God will still help. For you, His beloved child, He will even stop the sun from setting.