The spiritual ignorance and skepticism of the day in which we are living calls for a clear and unhesitating setting forth of the teaching of God’s Word upon this subject. It is the duty of every preacher and Sabbath-School teacher to bring before the rising generation what Holy Writ reveals thereon. Without any drawing upon the imagination, yet by the use of vivid and picturesque language, it is one which can be made deeply interesting to the young. Broadly speaking, the miracles of the Bible are of two kinds or classes: manifest and supernatural judgments of God upon the wicked; gracious and mighty interpositions of God on behalf of His people. Of the former we may instance the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven: of the latter, the opening of a way through the Red Sea so that Israel passed through dry-shod. Briefly, we would define a miracle as a supernatural event brought about by a special act of Divine providence, an extraordinary display of God’s power. It is an event occurring in the natural world, which is apparent to the senses and of such a nature that it can be rationally attributed only to the immediate act of God. As a special and more obvious interposition of God, a miracle differs from His common or ordinary providences.
The objection made by infidels against miracles, that they are contrary to nature and its established order, is quite pointless, for it entirely leaves out of consideration the fact that they are due to the direct intervention of One who is superior to those laws and can alter the mode of their operation whenever it pleases Him. The various ways and means by which God governs the universe demonstrate both His freedom and His sovereignty. Matter is ruled by forms, bodies by souls, inferior bodies by celestial, the visible world by invisible angels, angels and souls immediately by God. Nor do the same things always keep the same track or follow the same course. In Moses’ time the flowing sea stood up as a wall and the flinty rock flowed as a river. In Joshua’s day the glorious sun was halted in his race and remained quite stationary for a whole day. In Elijah’s life the iron swam, and in Daniel’s the fire did not burn. During Christ’s ministry there were numerous excesses of nature, actings by prerogative, displays of the Divine glory. Such variety in the motions of nature exhibits the perfect freedom and superintendence of nature’s Lord.
Whatever philosophical difficulties miracles may present to unbelief, the explanation which the Bible gives of them is far more rational and satisfactory than any that human wisdom can supply. The theories and hypotheses advanced by atheists are incredible and irrational, for they are at once un-philosophical and unscientific. But once the living God be postulated as their Author, One who is eternal and almighty, infinite in wisdom and goodness, supernatural works are to be expected. To say that miracles are "impossible" is absurd and the acme of arrogance, for the one who makes such an assertion virtually assumes himself to be possessed of omniscience—endowed with all knowledge. To deny that they exist is, if possible, still worse, for it is a deliberate closing of the eyes to that which confronts us on every side. Creation is a miracle, for it immeasurably transcends the capabilities and even the understanding of the natural man. The combined wit and resources of all physicists and scientists in the world could not create so much as a single blade of grass. No wonder the Lord asks puny man, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding" (Job 38:4).
The sustentation and preservation of creation is a miracle. None but the One who gave them being could provide for and maintain such an innumerable multitude of creatures. Even if the wise of this world were able to bring into existence a blade of grass, they could not keep it alive a single day if deprived of the soil, and denied the water and sunshine which God provides. The regulation of the created system is a miracle. Man may tamper with the clocks in his "daylight-saving" schemes, but he cannot make the sun rise an hour earlier or set an hour later. He may sinfully fret and fume at the weather, but he can no more alter or modify it by any of his devices than he can change the tides of the sea. Providence is a continuous miracle, supplying the needs of not only a billion human beings, but myriads of animals, the birds of the air and the denizens of the deep. "Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest Thy face, they are troubled" (Ps. 104:28, 29) — so dependent is the world on its Maker’s bounty. Man may attempt to "ration," but when God calls for a famine he is helpless before it.
Strictly speaking, a miracle is something more than an unusual occurrence or mysterious prodigy, for the effects of the electric telegraph had been such unto those who lived a thousand years ago, but today they are explainable by natural laws. Contrariwise, the more fully a real miracle be comprehended the more evident it is that such a phenomenal effect is above all the powers of nature, and must be attributed to an immediate act of God’s intervention. Nor are we justified in regarding such interventions as anarchical infractions of nature’s order, but rather as the interposition of the Divine will, directing events unto the outworking of His purpose, every miracle being wrought in strict accord with His decrees. As the Westminster Confession so admirably expresses it, "God in His ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without [Hosea 1:7], above [Romans 4:19], and against [2 Kings 6:6; Daniel 3:27] them at His pleasure." It must not be thought that the Creator has brought into existence a system or instituted such laws as tie His own hands. No, "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Ps. 135:6).
Great care needs to be taken how we employ such expressions as "nature" and "the laws of nature," for they were coined by those who had no knowledge of or faith in the living God, and are commonly used by men who would exclude the thought of God’s immediate presence and power in the universe. But the Scriptures teach us to see the hand of God operating directly in all that is attributed to "natural causes" by the skeptics. The Christian rejects the idea that the universe is naught but a vast machine which works involuntarily, necessarily and uniformly. Instead he acknowledges a present God in providence as well as creation. As he admires the flowers which spring from the tiny seeds, renewing the original grace and beauty of the parent plant, he traces the immediate influence of the Creator, as truly and as much as in making Aaron’s rod to bud (Num. 17:8). Nor is the vegetating of the seed any less a Divine work and marvel because it is multiplied by millions and repeated year by year for successive ages. What unbelief terms "the course of nature" is but the agency of God. He is operating on the right hand and on the left, constantly maintaining and directing all things, though men discern Him not. Without Him "not a sparrow falls to the ground."
That the so-called "laws of nature" are being continually modified in their action by the intervention of Divine will appears plainly in the marked differences in the weather from year to year. Though Lewis be situated so far to the west, this writer has witnessed snow lying on the ground during July! That is, of course, very exceptional, but it illustrates what has just been said, as do also the frequent falsifications of the "weather prophets," even of those who claim that it "runs in cycles." The same thing is exhibited in the longevity of different individuals: not only do no two centenarians give the same recipe for the attaining of old age, but many of them have been of frail physique and delicate constitution, and if naught but physical properties and laws determine the event, then the strongest should live the longest and the weakest die early. The material world abounds in such exceptions. "Cut off a snail’s head and’ it will grow out again; cut off a crab’s head, but it will not grow out again. Cut off a crab’s claw and it will grow out again, but cut off a dog’s leg and it will not grow out again" (Roget: Physiology).
Why such marked variations in the seasons? Why such disparity in the health and mentality of members of the same family? Why those differences in the operation of the very same properties and laws of animal substance? "It is as easy for God to turn nature out of its settled course as it was to place it in the station it holds and the course it runs" (Charnock). Verily, "He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased" (Ps. 115:3). Rightly did R. Haldane argue, "To affirm that a suspension or alteration of the laws of nature is impossible is to confer on them the attribute of Deity, and to declare they are supreme; and having no superior, precludes the existence of God as well as miracles, or it represents Him as subordinate to His own laws" (Evidence and Authority of Revelation, Volume 1). We say again that what is called the course of nature" is nothing but the direct agency of God, the exercise of His will, wisdom and power. "Nature" would cease to move were its Maker to withdraw His energy from it. It can no more operate of itself than it could produce itself. Those laws by which God usually conducts the government of the material creation were originally adjusted by Him, are now preserved by His power and are deviated from whenever He pleases.
"And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel and were in the going down to Beth-horon, 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" (Josh. 10:11). It will be recalled that when the Gibeonites made their peace with Joshua and entered into a league with him, five kings of the Amorites gathered their armies together and made war upon their capital. They sent to Joshua an urgent appeal for help, which he answered at once by marching at the head of his men through the night. Coming upon the Canaanites unexpectedly, and probably before they had made their dispositions and appointed sentries, they threw them into consternation. Moreover, "the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter," thereby signifying His approval of Israel’s sparing the lives of the Gibeonites by now giving them the most glorious victory in all their wars. As the remaining Amorites fled the Lord employed against them the artillery of heaven, which demonstrates how hopeless is the case of those who have Him for their enemy.
In casting down the great stones of hail upon the Amorites we may observe what a variety of means God uses in executing His will. In overwhelming the antediluvian world He employed a deluge of rain; in the destruction of Sodom, fire from heaven; in the overthrow of Pharaoh and his hosts at the Red Sea, by removing the wheels of their chariots and drowning them. Therein we behold His sovereignty exemplified, as it is too in ministering unto His people. This was not the first time God made the hail a messenger of judgment, for He did so in the seventh plague upon Egypt (Ex. 9:22-26). Many of the premillenarians believe that "hail" will be one of the weapons again used by God in His judgments on the earth (Rev. 16:21). This awful visitation on the Canaanites had been foretold: "Hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved . . . against the day of battle and war?" (Job 38:22, 23)—Job was probably written before Joseph’s birth.
There are three things which were singular and striking about the hail in Joshua 10. First, its great size: second, its force and efficacy—being like bullets from a machine gun, slaying men outright. Occasionally, we have read of hail of unusual dimensions, which did great damage to crops and cattle, but not of it effecting such wholesale slaughter of human beings as on this occasion. Third, its discrimination—none of the Israelites being killed! This is the feature which most evidently evinced the miraculous nature of this hail. Though Joshua’s men must have been in close combat with the Canaanites and more or less mixed up with them as they pursued them, none of the deadly missiles fell on God’s people. This was even more remarkable than what occurred under the seventh plague, for whereas the Lord then sent it throughout all the land of Egypt, none fell in Goshen (Ex. 9:26); but here it fell all round the Israelites, yet without one of them being harmed—illustrating that word, "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee" (Ps. 91:7).
There is probably an allusion to this miracle and others of a similar nature in Psalm 18:13, 14, both passages speaking of "The Lord discomfited them . . . and chased them," and mentioning the hail. There was no escaping His wrath. Hopeless is the plight of all who provoke Him. When the appointed hour of His vengeance arrives, none can deliver himself. Thus will it be with everyone who mocks Him and persecutes His people. They shall discover, to their eternal undoing, that it is "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." That more died from the hailstones than Israel slew with the sword made good God’s word unto Joshua, "Thine eyes have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the Lord do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God He shall fight for you" (Deut. 3:21, 22). And to Him may the Christian look in his spiritual warfare, and "if God be for us, who can be against us?"
The opening verses of Psalm 44 supply a striking and blessed commentary upon what has been before us. "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How Thou didst drive out the heathen with Thy hand, and plantedst them; how Thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but Thy right hand, and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou hadst a favor unto them." This was a God-honoring acknowledgment. Canaan was His gift unto Israel, and He put them in possession of it. Their warriors, indeed, were not inactive, but it was the light of His countenance which inspired them with valor. God was the Conqueror of Canaan. Without His power working in and for them, all their efforts had been in vain. By employing the artillery of heaven against the five kings the Lord made this the more evident.
And what is the application which we are to make of the same? First, give unto the Lord the honor which is due to Him, and freely ascribe our victories unto Him. Whatever success be ours, it is wholly due to the might and goodness of God. Without His blessing all our endeavors would be useless. Second, recognize and own His sovereign grace to be the fount from which proceed all His actings on our behalf; "because thou hadst a favor unto them." Third, make known to our children the miracle-working power of God, especially what He has wrought for us. Fourth, count upon Him undertaking for us: He is the same almighty God and Savior now as then! What we read of in Scripture and have heard from our fathers should strengthen faith, encourage prayer, stimulate hope: "Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob" (Ps. 44:4). Thou art my sovereign Lord, my sure Defense against all enemies, my all-sufficient Redeemer. Intervene on my behalf, confound my foes, grant me the victory. Thou hast but to speak and it is done, to "command" and it standest fast.
"And the Lord discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter" (Josh. 10:10). Therein we behold a solemn exemplification of Christ’s utterances in Matthew 18:6, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Jehovah had previously acted in accordance with that principle in connection with Egypt, for it was because Pharaoh oppressed and afflicted the Hebrews so sorely that his land and people were visited by the ten great plagues. And now the five kings of Canaan had provoked the Most High by their assault upon Gibeon (vv. 4, 5), for its inhabitants had made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel, entering into a league with them, and thereby coming under the Lord’s protection. As pointed out in a previous article, the Gibeonites are to be regarded as young converts, and in seeking their destruction the Amorites had affronted God Himself, for as the prophet assured His people, "he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8, and cf. Acts 9:1, 4). Many of those Amorites had fallen beneath the sword of Israel, but a still greater number died under the great hailstones which the Lord cast upon them from heaven (v. 11). In whatever direction they fled the vengeance of God overtook them, for as Isaiah 28:21, informs us, the Lord acted in "wrath" with them.
A great number of the Canaanites had fallen, but the remnant of their armies continued in flight. Joshua was reluctant that complete victory should be prevented by failing daylight, and though he and his men had marched all through the preceding night (v. 9) in hastening to the relief of the sorely menaced Gibeonites, so that he could spring a surprise attack upon their invaders, and though they had been engaged in fighting and pursuing the retreating foe over the mountain passes, yet he was loath to call a halt before his task was completed. We therefore behold him, next, supplementing his self-sacrificing diligence by a remarkable display of faith: "he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon" (v. 12). From the natural standpoint that appears like the act of a madman, and even from a spiritual aspect it seems to be the height of presumption. Yet it was neither the one nor the other: rather was it the exercise of full confidence in a miracle-working God. Faith must not be judged by the standards of carnal reason.
But, it may be asked, must not faith have something solid to rest upon, some word of God’s to lay hold of and direct it? Generally, yes; but not necessarily something specific in every instance. For example, when David committed his fearful sin in connection with Uriah, no provision was made for such a case, nor had he any promise from God which he could plead. What then did he do? Psalm 51 reforms us. He cast himself upon the known character of his God. No sacrifice was appointed under the law for murderers, and therefore the guilty one here acknowledged, "Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it" (v. 16). What then? "According unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions" (v. 1) was his plea. And Psalm 32:5, shows it prevailed! Again, when Daniel was cast into the lions den, so far as the Scripture informs us he had no definite word from God of deliverance, yet he was delivered and that "because he believed in his God" (Josh. 6:23)—without any specific promise to appropriate to his case, 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 Him.
In the present instance there is little room for doubt that Joshua had an extraordinary impulse or impression made on his heart by the Holy Spirit, for that alone will satisfactorily account for so pious a man asking God to do this unprecedented thing, as it alone explains why He granted such an unheard-of request. It may be objected that nothing is here said of Joshua making any request. Neither are we told in 1 Kings 17 that Elijah made request of the Lord that there should be a drought, yet James 5:17, informs us that he did: "he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months." But further, let it be duly noted, we are reformed that "Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel" (v. 12). Surely that confirms the thought expressed at the opening of this paragraph, that Joshua acted here in response to an extraordinary impulse from above, as was not infrequently the case with eminent servants of God during the Old Testament era.
"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." The two things, it will be noted, are here joined together, and their order intimates their relationship. The inspired record here is too brief to justify dogmatic assertions. To us it appears that Joshua asked God’s permission so to command the sun, or that while he communed with Him he received corn mission to do so. 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 (Ezek. 36:37)."
Not only was Joshua’s ordering of the sun to stand still a glorious exhibition of his faith and implicit confidence in God, but it also manifested his zeal in the service of God. This appears more plainly if we bear in mind what has already received our notice, namely that he had engaged in a tiring uphill march all through the previous night, and then had been employed in fighting from early dawn till 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. Yet instead of now welcoming a respite, and an opportunity to rest himself and his men, his heart longed for the prolongation of the hours of daylight, so that he might complete his task and utterly exterminate the enemy. How blessedly he here typed out the One who declared by the Spirit of prophecy "the zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up" (Ps. 69:9)! In its practical application unto ourselves this detail makes it evident that there must be unwearied efforts put forth by us in our spiritual warfare and that we are not to rest satisfied with partial victories, but must continue fighting until complete success is ours. No doubt Joshua and his men found "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:31), and so shall we, if we do likewise.
"He said in the sight of all Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon." To express himself thus before all his army evinced how strong was the assurance of his faith. Joshua was not afraid that the Lord would put him to confusion before the people. Confident that God had inspired his cry, he doubted not that it would be answered. It was to the Almighty, the creator of the sun and moon, that he looked, and with Him all things are possible. Doubtless, he counted too on Jehovah’s special favor unto His covenant people. Moreover, He had said; "I have delivered them into thine hand" (v. 8), and therefore the remaining Amorites must not be allowed the opportunity of escaping under the shelter of nightfall. Looking higher: what anointed eye can fail to see in his action here a striking adumbration of Christ as the miracle-worker, who, by His many wonders and signs, gave proof that He was not only the promised Messiah, but none other than God, manifest in flesh. How vividly does Joshua’s staving the planets in their courses remind us of that One who had such command over the elements that His disciples marveled saying, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!" (Matthew 8:27).
"And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies" (v. 13). This is one of the favorite passages which infidels scoff at. Wise in their own conceits, they affirm that for such a thing to happen as is here recorded is contrary to science and philosophy. We do not propose to waste any time in replying to them. 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 of the whole, with less trouble than any of us can stop a watch." If a human engineer can slow the speed of an express train by putting on the brake, and bring it to a complete standstill by cutting off the steam, what cannot the Divine engineer do with any ponderous body which He has Himself set in motion. The sun is but an instrument, made by God to perform His good pleasure. That He is in no wise dependent upon or limited by it is clear from the fact that light existed and the earth was clothed with vegetation before the sun was made (Gen. 1.)! By the miracles of Joshua 10:13, and Isaiah 38:8, the Most High demonstrated that the daily rising and setting of the sun is not from a blind instinct of nature, and that He controls its course: "which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not" (Job 9:7).
"And the sun stood still." Here, as in many other passages, we are taught that the Lord God has a superintendence over all the creatures of His hand. He sends forth His imperious commands not only unto angels and men (Dan. 4:35), but to the birds of the air (1 Kings 17:4) and to the wild beasts (Dan. 6:22), yea, to inanimate things. He issues His edicts to the clouds and to the light of the sun and they promptly submit and obey. He addresses the light as though it were a rational creature: He commands it not to shine and it shines not. The host of heaven, as well as the inhabitants of the earth, are entirely at His disposal. The whole course of nature moves or stands still at the mere will of its Maker. As the sun stood still at His word through Joshua, so at His fiat it went backward in the days of Hezekiah (Isa. 38:8), and it is by His orders that the same sun, at any time, withdraws its genial beams and is muffled up with dark vapors. "With clouds He covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh bewixt" (Job 36:32).
Those who profess to believe in an omnipotent God do but betray their crass folly when they attempt to reason, and conclude that He either cannot or does not exercise His power in other ways than those known to our very limited experience. It is true that the sun rises and proceeds in a natural course, yet only by Divine commission. Though nothing in nature be more constant than the rising of the sun, God can suspend its motion whenever He likes. He who at first commanded it to rise can easily countermand it. What is swifter in motion than the sun? All creatures upon earth are but slugs in comparison; the eagle of the air but a snail. Yet God can stop it instantly. When He sends forth His prohibition it cannot stir a foot till He removes that prohibition. It shone not for three days upon Egypt (Ex. 10:22). Since He can stop the sun from shining what cannot He do! 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! O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works unto the children of men.
Nothing is more "natural" than the succession of the four seasons; nevertheless, there is so great diversity and such marked inequality between summer and summer and winter and winter (even in the same part of the earth) that it is obvious to all enlightened minds that each is controlled and regulated by a new and particular providence of God. It was indeed wonderful that when a blind beggar 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" stayed in His course by the appeal of a poor sinner! There are some who think the action of Joshua in this amazing incident foreshadowed Christ at His second coming when He saves Israel, appealing to Zechariah 14:7: that in the day of the Lord’s battle with the nations "it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light," upon which, at present, this writer has no definite opinion, either pro or con; having learned from long experience to be very chary of prophetical speculations. Sufficient for him to know that whatever the Lord has purposed, promised, or threatened concerning His future dealings with the earth will certainly come to pass.
Rather would we dwell upon the practical message which this miracle has for us today. The Christian’s confidence in the Lord ought to be greatly strengthened by a pondering of the same. Though God no longer halts the sun in its course, yet He does many remarkable things in answer to the believing supplications of His people. When George Muller was crossing the Atlantic to fulfill an important preaching engagement, his ship. was delayed by a dense fog off the coast of Newfoundland. Said he to the captain," I have never yet been late for an appointment: let us go to prayer." The fog lifted almost immediately and the ship arrived in port on time! When entering our train from Chicago to Pittsburgh (April 1931) we encountered a Christian lady in distress. The porter had wrongly put her into an express, which would carry her hundreds of miles beyond her destination; and the ticket collector informed her that there was no possibility of the train halting at her village. The writer and his wife reminded her that nothing is too hard for God. We had special prayer, and were able to assure her that the Lord would stop the train. Some hours later she was told to get ready, and it stopped for a few seconds. Some of our readers in Pennsylvania will recall this incident, for they saw the letter of thanks which Mrs. Pink received, telling of how the experience had brought her to trust more fully in a miracle-working God.
"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"? (v. 13). The book of Jasher is generally thought to be the same as "the book of the wars of the Lord" mentioned in Numbers 21:14. A further reference is made to it in 2 Samuel 1:18. Apparently it was a book in which were chronicled outstanding events in the fighting of Israel. The fact that this miracle was recorded in such a book during the lifetime of Joshua not only indicates the deep impression which this phenomenon had made upon the minds of the people but attests its verity. As at a later date Israel sang, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands," so they would recite this memorable deed of Joshua’s which had an effect upon the whole frame of nature, producing an alteration therein. What is still more important, this miracle is referred to in the inspired writings of the prophets: "The sun and moon stood still in their habitation" (Hab. 3:11). As a miracle is of Divine causality—an event wrought in the external world by the immediate power of God—so miracles are authenticated by Divine testimony—usually by at least "two witnesses."
Remarkable as was this event, it by no means stands entirely alone in a class by itself. We have already alluded to Exodus 10:22, and Isaiah 38:8, and would further compare the statement that "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judg. 5:20), and also the star which miraculously moved and led the wise men from the East to the house where the infant Savior then was (Matthew 2.). But let us also point out the mystical interpretation which may be legitimately made of what has been before us. As God controls the movements of the sun, causing it to shine brightly or to be overcast with dark clouds, so it is with spiritual light. Those parts of Africa and Asia upon which the Sun of righteousness shone so blessedly during the first three centuries of this Christian era have since been under the black dominion of Mohammedanism, and such lands as Italy and Spain, which were favored with the glorious light of the Gospel in the days of Paul, have long languished under the darkness of popery. On the other hand, heathen lands are now being evangelized. God orders spiritual light and darkness as truly as the natural.
What most impresses us in connection with this miracle is the clear demonstration which it affords of the supremacy of God and His absolute control of all creatures. There was no power in Joshua nor any extraordinary dispensation committed him to exert such an influence upon the whole frame of nature as to produce so great an alteration therein. No, it is clear that he had a Divine warranty to speak that which he knew Jehovah Himself was about to effect. He first addressed himself to Him in prayer, then received assurance from Him, and then at his word the heavenly bodies remained stationary for many hours. Therein we behold how the living God is both 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. Writing on Joshua 10:13, John Gill said, "How this is to be reconciled with the Copernican system or that with this, I shall not inquire." Wise man not to pretend to understand what has not been Divinely revealed. Wiser still in refusing to allow the theorizings of a Prussian astronomer to cast doubt on what He has made known, or to suggest an interpretation which "harmonizes" the same with the hypothesis of "science falsely so called" (1 Tim. 6:20).