Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua captured Ai and annihilated it and its king as he did Jericho and its king. He also heard how the people of Gibeon made peace with Israel and lived among them. All Jerusalem was terrified because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai and all its men were warriors. So King Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem sent this message to King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and King Debir of Eglon: “Come to my aid so we can attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” So the five Amorite kings (the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon) and all their troops gathered together and advanced. They deployed their troops and fought against Gibeon.
The men of Gibeon sent this message to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, “Do not abandon your subjects! Rescue us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings living in the hill country are attacking us.” So Joshua and his whole army, including the bravest warriors, marched up from Gilgal. The LORD told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them, for I am handing them over to you. Not one of them can resist you.” Joshua attacked them by surprise after marching all night from Gilgal. The Lord routed them before Israel. Israel thoroughly defeated them at Gibeon. They chased them up the road to the pass of Beth Horon and struck them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled from Israel on the slope leading down from Beth Horon, the LORD threw down on them large hailstones from the sky, all the way to Azekah. They died—in fact, more died from the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.
The day the LORD delivered the Amorites over to the Israelites, Joshua prayed to the LORD before Israel:
“O sun, stand still over Gibeon!
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon!”
The sun stood still and the moon stood motionless while the nation took vengeance on its enemies. The event is recorded in the Scroll of the Upright One. The sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky and did not set for about a full day. There has not been a day like it before or since. The LORD obeyed a man, for the LORD fought for Israel! Then Joshua and all Israel returned to the camp at Gilgal.
—Joshua 10:1–15 (NET)
As Joshua and his men raced into battle to defend Gibeon against attack, God told him, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand” (Joshua 10:8). Joshua apparently took the Lord at His word, because later, when daylight started to slip away and he feared his enemies might do the same, he asked God for something out of this world: Joshua prayed that the sun would stand still in the sky. And God obliged.
For many people investigating the claims of the Bible, this miracle is a stumbling block. Common sense tells us that the sun cannot pause in the sky. For that to happen, the earth would have to stop spinning on its axis temporarily—and scientists tell us the consequences of such an event would be disastrous. But with God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26).
The Bible doesn’t tell us how God caused the sun to stop that afternoon, only that it did. And it shouldn’t really matter to us how it happened. For believers, there really is no line between the natural and the supernatural. Christians believe that God upholds the universe every day and that the “laws” of nature are only laws because of His decree. He can suspend them anytime He likes. Thinking about things that way, every sunrise is a miracle, and every miracle is part of an average day in God’s economy. What’s remarkable about Joshua’s story is not that the sun stood still, but that he had the faith to ask God to make it happen.
What is it that you need? Something impossible? Go ahead and ask Jesus.
“Miracle is, from the point of view of the scientist, a form of doctoring, tampering, (if you like) cheating.”
—C. S. Lewis—