Temple Baptist Church - 8-2-2020
A. Over the past months, we have studied many valleys in the Bible that are pertinent to the Christian experience. Valleys are a type of hard places or times of trouble, pain, suffering, persecution, sickness, and death.
B. No one likes the valleys as they travel through them, but we have learned that they are essential for our spiritual growth and faith.
1. This morning, we will study another great valley in which we find a man of God—a spiritual and physical giant—who needed both acts of human strength and divine miracles.
2. Joshua was a Worshipper. Exodus 33:10-11 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. (11) And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
3. Joshua was a Minister. Exodus 24:13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God.
4. Joshua was a Warrior. Exodus 17:8-10 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. (9) And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. (10) So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
5. Joshua was a Leader. Deuteronomy 1:37-38 Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. (38) But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
C. In this valley, we find that all things are possible with God and He can make a miracle happen just when you need them most.
D. A miracle can be defined as: a phenomenon that cannot be explained outside the realm of supernatural intervention. It is an event that supersedes natural law. I want to look at two classes of miracles that we find in these verses:
1. There is the manifestation of supernatural judgment of God upon the wicked. I will not go through the Bible and list every example but here are a few.
a) Noah’s flood that destroyed the world.
b) Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction by fire.
c) Nadab and Abihu destroyed by the fire of the Lord.
d) Korah and his followers swallowed up by the earth.
e) Herod’s death with worms eating his flesh.
f) Ananias and Sapphira dying before the Lord.
2. There are the gracious and mighty intercessions of God on behalf of His people.
a) The Ark that bore Noah and his family.
b) The angels who removed Lot and his family.
c) The plagues of Egypt.
d) The parting of the Red Sea.
e) The manna from heaven and water from the Rock.
f) The New Testament is full of them.
E. Gibeon’s deception of Israel. When Joshua’s army crossed the Jordan River, great fear fell upon the inhabitants of Canaan. Gibeon heard of the destruction of Jericho and Ai so they sent men dressed in worn out clothes and carrying aged water bottles, etc. to deceive Israel about who they were. Gibeon was near Ai and was possibly the next target of Israel’s military campaign.
F. Israel made peace with Gibeon and, therefore, came under their protection. The other nations of Canaan feared that Gibeon, a highly respected nation with a large army, would help Israel, so they came to destroy Gibeon. Gibeon sought the help of Israel.
G. In our story, we find that Joshua brings Israel’s mighty army—which is at Gilgal—to aid Gibeon. Joshua’s army destroys the armies of this great nations with the help of God through various miracles.
H. There are times in life’s valleys when we need a miracle from God!
THE FOUR MIRACLES OF JOSHUA’S VALLEY
1. The Miracle of Strength. Verses 7-10, 13. Joshua’s army had been up all day, marched all night, fought all day, and then fought another night and day.
a. The Strength of the March.
1) Gilgal was in the Jordan Valley while Gibeon was in the Central Highlands, and elevation difference of app. 3,300 feet or like climbing a mountain.
2) The march from Gilgal to Gibeon was app. 20-22 miles, close to the length of today’s Marathon of 26.2 miles. Our best conditioned Marathon runners train all year, rest for days prior to a race, practice carbohydrate loading, and are completely exhausted at the end of the race.
3) Marathon runners wear little and carry nothing in their hands. Joshua’s army was armed for war: shields, swords, spears, bow and arrows, probably water and a certain amount of food
4) Joshua’s army covered 20+ miles through rough terrain (app. 3,300 foot climb to get to Gibeon), an 8-10 hour forced march that took all night to accomplish.
b. The Strength for the Battle.
1) Verse 10 - Israel began the battle at daybreak with no time to eat and rest after the horrific forced march through the night.
2) Israel fought in hand-to-hand combat all day and then chased the opposing army for about 2 miles (distance from Gibeon to Bethhoron).
3) Israel then re-engaged the enemy and fought again from Azekah to Makkedah.
4) Verse 13 – Israel had force marched all night up a mountain, engaged the enemy at daybreak, fought all day, then fought through the next night and another day.
5) A miracle of strength and endurance for mortal man.
2. The Miracle of the Great Hail Stones. Verse 11 – There are two striking things about these hail stones.
a. One – Their Size – occasionally, a person will be killed by a hail stone, but the death was wholesale upon the enemy. We find another example of “great hail” in the New Testament that will shed some light on the possible size of these hailstones.
Revelation 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. (a talent of silver was app. 100 lb while a talent of gold was app. 200 lb.)
b. Two – Their Aim – the enemy was destroyed and not one of Israel’s men died.
Exodus 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. (God protected His people.)
3. The Miracle of Joshua’s Faith. Verses 12-13
a. Joshua’s Confidence in the Lord. “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”
b. Joshua’s Command to the Sun and Moon. “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.”
c. God’s Obedience to Joshua’s Command. Verse 13.
Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
d. Man may tamper with you clock (Daylight Saving Time), but no power on earth can stop the sun and the moon in their courses!
4. The Miracle of the Sun and Moon Standing Still. Verses 13-14
a. “And the sun stood still … So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day”
b. “and the moon stayed” – God used this to keep the moon’s orbit around the earth synced with the stopping of the earth’s orbit around the sun.
c. “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. (14) 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.”
Conclusion: Sometimes, even the strongest of God’s children need divine intervention!
1) Israel found out who God was in the Valley of Miracles - Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (A God of help when you need Him most, He is always there.)
2) Israel found out what God was in the Valley of Miracles - Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (A God can be confidently counted upon in times of trouble.)
3) Israel found out what God could do in the Valley of Miracles - Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. (He can turn impossibility into possibility.)