How Big IS Your God?
(Reflections on Joshua Chapter 10)
The biggest problem with most professing Christians today (and preachers especially) is that their God is not very big! That is the reason that this chapter in the Bible is the most neglected of all.
“So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came unto them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night. And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah. And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.” Joshua 10:7-14
Thank God, Joshua was no 21st Century convert of Christendom that day, for such an one would have prayed, “Please God, stop the world from spinning on its axis, so I can have a little more sunshine to fight by!” Of course, God would not have been able to answer such a sin of presumption because it is not correct! From a natural standpoint, Joshua’s command for the sun to stand still appears like the act of a madman. Even from a spiritual aspect, it seems to be the height of presumption. Yet, it was the exercise of full confidence in a miracle-working God! Neither faith, nor the Bible, should be judged by the puny standards of carnal reason.
Time and again, the Bible speaks of this kind of faith emulated in others, such as Daniel in the lion’s den, where it is recorded that he was delivered “because he believed in his God” (Daniel 6:23). Joshua’s faith, like Daniel’s faith, confided in the power and sufficiency of his God to extricate him from his perilous position; and the Lord did not confound him. Of course not! It is always safe to trust THE God of the Bible.
As Matthew Henry pointed out, “The prayer had not been granted by the Divine power, if it had not been dictated by the Divine grace. God wrought this faith in him, and then said, ‘According to thy faith,’ and to the prayer of faith, ‘be it unto thee.’ It cannot be imagined, however, that such a thing as this should have entered into his mind if God had not put it there. A man would have a thousand projects in his head for the completing of the victory, before he would have thought of desiring the sun to stand still; but even in the Old Testament saints ‘the Spirit made intercession according to the will of God.’ What God will give, He inclines the hearts of His praying people to ask, and for what He will do, He will be inquired of (Ezekiel 36:35-37).”
Joshua had engaged in a tiring uphill march all through the previous night, and then had been employed in fighting from early dawn until late that day, for the terms of this double command to the celestial luminaries intimate that the sun was then near the hour of its setting, and the moon of rising. How strong was the assurance of Joshua’s faith! It was to the Almighty, the One who created the earth first, then placed the sun and moon in orbit to give light upon the earth, to whom Joshua looked. And with God all things are possible.
One of the favorite passages which haters of God scoff at is, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.” Atheism, humanism, and evolution believe they rule today with their control over science and philosophy. But what is the puny opinion of carnal men to the absolute facts of the absolute God’s absolute words? It was long ago pointed out by Bishop Watson, “The machine of the universe is in the hand of God, and He can stay the motion of any part, or the whole, with less trouble than any of us can stop a watch.” He has Himself set the sun in motion; the sun is but an instrument, made by God to perform His good pleasure. The daily rising and setting of the sun is NOT from a blind instinct of nature, and He alone controls its course: “which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not” (Job 9:7).
The Lord God has superintendence over all the creatures of His hand. The host of heaven, as well as the finite inhabitants of the earth, is entirely at His disposal. The whole course of nature moves or stands still at the mere will of its omnipotent Maker.
Those who profess to believe in an all- powerful, all-knowing, always present God, do but betray their crass folly when they attempt to reason and conclude that He cannot or does not exercise His power in other ways than those known to our very limited experience. Though nothing in nature is more constant than the rising of the sun, God can suspend its motion whenever He likes. God can, and has, stopped it instantly. Great indeed is God’s power: equally great is His goodness, which causes the sun to shine upon the evil and unthankful, when it is in His power to withhold it. How little is that realized by the world! And the church! O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works unto the children of men.
It was indeed wonderful that when the blind beggar Bartimaeus cried, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” JESUS STOOD STILL, and commanded him to be called, and healed him (Mark 10:48-49). Behold there the “Sun of righteousness” (Malachi 4:2) stayed in His course by the appeal of a poor sinner! Perhaps this action of Joshua is also a foreshadowing of Christ at His second coming where it is written, “…and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” (Zechariah 14:5-7)
This same God orders SPIRITUAL light and darkness as truly as the natural. That’s why real churches are still sending real missionaries throughout the nations.
This passage shows us, by this miracle, the supremacy of God and His absolute control over all creation. He really is the Alpha and Omega, the first cause and the last end, the wise contriver and the sure moderator of everything; to His own glory, according to the counsel of His own will. Thus will faith perceive the wisdom, goodness and power of God in every event. Anything short of that is virtual atheism, which gives God no place in His dominion over the world. So many today accept the theorizing of the Prussian astronomer, Copernicus, to cast doubt on what God has made known. Many suggest an interpretation of the Bible which “harmonizes” his theory of “heliocentricity” with the hypothesis of evolutionary “science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20).
The Bible clearly speaks of God creating this universe to place light upon this earth, with the earth the center of His creation (geocentricity). This passage of Joshua 10 is testimony to the absolute supremacy and invincible might of Jehovah. Here we see three tremendous miracles. First, there had been the great hailstones that God had cast down from heaven, and which were remarkable for their magnitude, their efficacy and their discrimination, destroying Amorites, but no Israelites! Second, the sun standing still in mid- heaven, and remaining so for “almost a whole day.” Third, the staying of the moon in her course, for it is to be noted that Joshua (as a type of Christ) had addressed her directly. It was therefore a different and additional miracle that the moon “stayed.”
These extraordinary displays of God’s power were judgments upon the Canaanites. As the great flood of Noah, the fire and brimstone on Sodom, and the plagues upon Egypt, the miracles of Joshua 10 were interpositions of God for the express purpose of destroying the wicked and the salvation of the redeemed.
In conclusion, consider the lamentable and patent dishonesty of so many pulpits that are largely responsible for the moral corruption of our nation today. How big is your God? I often liken the comparison of evolutionary cosmology to Biblical geocentricity with the illustration of placing a ball on the middle of the flat surface of a table, with the question of ‘what is greater?’ If I were to reach out and set the ball spinning in its place, such would display very little of any greatness. However, what if I were to leave the ball still and use my power to move the whole room with its standing ceiling and walls in orbit around the stationary ball? Would this not show a greater power and wonder that matches the Lord God of the scriptures indeed? But you see, today history is repeating itself. Of old the Lord complained of those in ancient Israel “whose lips should keep knowledge,” that “have not kept MY ways, but have been PARTIAL in the Law. (Malachi 2:9). Instead of declaring “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), unfaithful men have dwelt only on those portions of the Truth which make for their own popularity and prosperity. Today, as then, pragmatism demands they deliberately omit whatever would be unpalatable to their unregenerate hearers. Such a one-sided portrayal is made of the Divine character of the Most High so that He is no longer held in awe. The moral law of God today is simply relegated as merely once long ago, relegated to the Jews, so that sin has now come to be regarded lightly; and the soothing opiate that ‘God loves everybody’ has taken away all fear of the wrath to come. No wonder the result is so many effeminate and godless clergy.