Gibeon’s neighbors immediately attack, and Gibeon pleads for aid.
Bound by covenant, Israel marches through the night and attacks the five kings who have amassed against Gibeon.
The Lord fights for Israel and wonders such as a hail of stones falling down upon the enemy, as well as the sun standing still at the request of Joshua, help deliver Gibeon’s enemies into Israel’s hands.
Just as Joshua is bound by covenant to fight for Gibeon, so, too, the Lord is bound to fight for Israel.
Unlike the Gibeonites, who hear what God is doing through Israel and choose covenant obedience to the Lord (Jos 9:1-7), the five kings and their peoples (the Amorites, Hittites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) choose rebellion and attack Israel.
This rebellion brings a humiliating end.
The kings are discovered hiding in a cave, where Joshua commands his military leaders to walk upon their necks, illustrating that Israel will tread upon their enemies.
Perhaps there is an echo here of the promise that the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent and its seed? (Gn 3:15).
The struggle, however, is not over.
The five kings in the southern half of the Promised Land have been defeated, but now the king of Hazor summons the kings of the northern hill country to attack Israel.
Once again, his attack follows the report that he has “heard” about Israel’s wonderful deeds.
But rather than responding with faith to this report, the kings respond with rebellious fear, which Scripture describes as hard-heartedness (Jos 11:20), echoing Pharaoh’s refusal to heed and obey the God of Israel.
With Israel’s entry into the land, the people have two choices, obey God and join Israel (Gibeon), or rebel against the Lord and perish.
Praise the Lord 😁
Joshua 10: THE SUN STANDS STILL
A lot of Christians may hear this story and find themselves pondering Galileo or the Copernican Revolution (POP QUIZ!!! What was the Copernican Revolution? Recognizing that the Earth revolves AROUND the Sun)
So how was this possible?
Back in the day, Christian scholars pointed to this passage in Joshua 10 as an argument AGAINST Galileo
This may or may not have been accurate
It’s actually a little less accurate than one might think
The issue of Galileo was NOT an issue of SCIENCE VS. FAITH
It was more of an issue of EGO VS. EGO
The ego of Galileo vs. the ego of the Pope
This was NOT a battle of SCIENCE VS. FAITH
Copernicus was a CATHOLIC CLERIC and a SCIENTIST
He had ALREADY CLAIMED that the Earth revolved AROUND the Sun
This was not met with any RELIGIOUS ARGUMENTS
A lot of religious people of this time were VERY INTERESTED IN SCIENCE
The Pope who had gotten into this kerfuffle (one of my favorite words, but I can never seem to spell it correctly) with Galileo was formerly a PATRON of Galileo
THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY
Here is what we NEED TO UNDERSTAND
Good Faith and Good Science NEVER CONTRADICT EACH OTHER
What DOES CONTRADICT are BAD FAITH OR BAD SCIENCE
Good Faith is PURSUIT OF TRUTH
Good Science is PURSUIT OF TRUTH
TRUTH CAN NEVER EVER CONTRADICT TRUTH
The truth that FAITH pursues is SUPERNATURAL TRUTH
The truth that SCIENCE pursues is NATURAL TRUTH
Both of these things are VERY GOOD THINGS
THEY WILL NEVER BE IN CONFLICT WITH EACH OTHER AS LONG AS THEY ARE TRUE
People would claim that when the SUN STOOD STILL, this was an ACTUAL DAY that was extended to TWO DAYS
THE SUN ACTUALLY STOOD STILL
THE EARTH’S ROTATION STOPPED
What people were able to see the sun in the midst of the sky for 2 DAYS
This could have been a SUPERNATURAL MIRACLE
Anyone heard of Fatima? (POP QUIZ!!!! What happened at Fatima? THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN!!!! By the Way, I urge you to watch the movie Fatima it is EXTRAORDINARY)
Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal
She told these children that there would be a sign on October 13, 1917
ON THAT DATE, IN THAT PLACE, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE showed up
Many of them were believers
HOWEVER, MANY OF THEM WERE SKEPTICS AND EVEN ATHEISTS!
Many of these skeptics were just there to prove that nothing was going to happen
We know it turned out differently
EVERYONE WHO WAS THERE, WHETHER THEY WERE BELIEVERS OR NOT, SAW THE SUN DANCING IN THE SKY
EVERY SINGLE PERSON THERE
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
The sun was shimmering and began to move around the sky
We KNOW this is impossible according to NATURE and SCIENCE
But what does SCIENCE pursue?
WHAT DOES FAITH PURSUE?
THE SUPERNATURAL TRUTH!!!
If this were a natural event, the ENTIRE SOLAR SYSTEM would have been thrown out of whack
If this were a natural event, EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD would have noticed it
People in the area of Fatima saw it, but NO ONE ELSE around the world saw it
LOCAL NEWS SOURCES even saw this in Fatima
So, in that case, was there a VIOLATION of the Laws of Nature i.e sun, orbit, etc
We don’t know
But what we DO know was that the EXPERIENCE of the people who were THERE was UNMISTAKABLE and UNDENIABLE
The Cosmos was NOT thrown into CHAOS
So, now the question is could something like this have happened in Joshua 10?
We do also recognize that Scripture uses FIGURES OR SPEECH or even POETIC LANGUAGE
Yeah, the battle was SO FIERCE and the battle went SO WELL for the Israelites, that the amount of victory they got was like a battle that went on for 2 days
So if someone reads this chapter in the view of POETRY, similar to Genesis 1-11, that’s GREAT
We can also say that YES God can perform MIRACLES
He has done it EVEN MORE RECENTLY
There has been, for lack of a better term, photographic evidence of skeptics and atheists who EXPERIENCED THE MIRACLE OF THE SUN
GOD CAN DO THESE KINDS OF THINGS AND HAS DONE THESE THINGS
Joshua 10 should NOT bother us because GOOD FAITH AND GOOD SCIENCE NEVER EVER CONTRADICT EACH OTHER
When it comes to all these BATTLES, this is not necessarily God’s PLAN A
God’s PLAN A was that his children would BELONG TO HIM
God’s PLAN A was that the WHOLE WORLD WOULD KNOW HIM
God’s PLAN A was that we WOULD SAY YES TO HIM WITH EVERYTHING WE ARE
God’s PLAN A was that we WOULD LIVE IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER
God’s PLAN A was that we WOULD LIVE IN HARMONY WITH HIM
God’s PLAN A was for ALL NATIONS, ALL RACES, ALL PEOPLE, ALL OF IT, WOULD LIVE IN HARMONY WITH HIM AND WITH EACH OTHER
God’s PLAN A is NOT DEATH
God’s PLAN A is NOT DESTRUCTION
God’s PLAN A is NOT VIOLENCE
It is ONLY A RESULT of our BROKEN HUMANITY and OUR BROKENNESS that God ALLOWS IN HIS PLAN what we just read in Joshua and what we are going to read in the next couple of days
The Book of Joshua is a VIOLENT BOOK in which God is SOMEHOW, MYSTERIOUSLY, AND ACTUALLY INVOLVED
That is VERY PROBLEMATIC for a lot of us
We are used to hearing God is a GOD OF PEACE
Jesus is the PRINCE OF PEACE
AND YET, you MUST remember this next part as we look back on the ENTIRE STORY
We are reminded of the fact that THIS IS NOT PART OF GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN
The People of Israel WAGING WAR was NOT HIS ORIGINAL PLAN
IT WAS THE RESULT OF ALL THE BROKENNESS IN THE WORLD AND IN US
IT WAS THE RESULT OF THE FACT THAT WE DO NOT LIVE IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER
God’s ORIGINAL PLAN, PLAN A, STARTED WITH PEACE!!
PEACE ON EARTH
PEACE WITH HIM
PEACE WITH US
PEACE WITHIN US
And God’s PLAN ENDS WITH PEACE!
If you go to the end of the story, what God reveals is that ALL TRIBES, ALL NATIONS, ALL RACES, EVERYONE
John writes in the Book of Revelation that he saw a MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE, ALL TRIBES, ALL RACES, ALL PEOPLES GATHERED INTO ONE
This multitude of people are REUNITED AS ONE HOLY FAMILY, ONE KINGDOM ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN
This is not a battle of races, a battle of ethnicities, a battle of peoples that GOD WANTS
What God WANTS is the TRIUMPH OF HIS NAME
What God WANTS is that ALL PEOPLE HELP PEOPLE EVEN IN THE MIDST OF THIS BROKEN WORLD TO COME TO KNOW HIM
What God WANTS is that ALL PEOPLE COME TO BE UNITED ONCE AGAIN WITH EACH OTHER
Along the way, it is VERY VERY MESSY
Along the way, it is VERY VERY TROUBLING
We experience this EVEN TODAY
This is NOT what God wants
What God ULTIMATELY wants is our UNITY
What God ULTIMATELY wants is our PEACE
God reveals that the WAY to that may be difficult and full of destruction
But at the end of Joshua 11 it says, “And the Land had REST from WAR”
THAT IS WHAT GOD WANTS
For OUR HEARTS
For OUR COUNTRIES
For OUR WORLD
God wants us to FINALLY AT SOME POINT HAVE REST FROM WAR
Sometimes, it is HARD to wrap our hearts and minds around these things
So what do we do?
Tell God, “Ok Lord, let’s keep on reading. Let’s keep on moving forward. Let’s keep on trusting. Let’s keep on fighting, not AGAINST each other, but keep on fighting FOR EACH OTHER. That’s why we pray for each other.”
Pray for each other
Pray for Fr. Mike