The sun stands still (OT)….the sun stops shining (NT)

4 05 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN : Joshua 9 v. 16 – 10 v. 43; Luke 23 v. 26 – 56; Proverbs 10 v. 21 – 30


The Gibeonites – Three days later, the Israelites discover the truth about the Gibeonites, that they are near neighbours, and not from far-off lands. The Israelites, though angry, are instructed by their leaders not to break their treaty with them, and instead Joshua tells the Gibeonites that they are under a curse and will live out their days as woodcutters and water-carriers for the community, and for the altar of the Lord.
When asked why the Gibeonites had carried out this deception, they say it is because they were fearful for their lives, aware that God had commanded the Israelites that He had given them this land, and they were to wipe out all the inhabitants.

The Sun Stands Still – The king of Jerusalem (Adoni-Zedek) summons together four other neighbouring Amorite kings to join forces in an attach against the Gibeonites (Gibeon was a large and important city, larger than Ai), because of their treaty with the enemy Israelites.
The Gibeonites ask the Israelites to help defend their land.
Joshua brings the whole Israelite army, ‘including all the best fighting men’.
The enemy is thrown into confusion, and is defeated.
Many are killed by the sword, but many more by giant hailstones God sends.
It is said that the because Joshua asked for the sun to stand still in the sky over Gibeon, it did so, all day long (as recorded in the book of Jashar).
‘Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel.’

Five Kings Killed – The five kings were in hiding, in a cave at Makkedah. When they are discovered, Joshua commands the troops to block up the cave with large rocks and post guards to watch out for any escape – in the meantime the Israelites continue the destruction of the Amorite cities (only a few enemy men managed to return to their fortified cities).
When the Israelites return to camp, the five kings are brought out from the cave, and the army commanders have them laid out on the floor, with their feet at their throats – this is a sign of all God will do to the enemies of Israel as it continues to possess the promised land.
‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.’
Joshua then kills the five kings, they are hung up on trees till evening, and then they are placed in that same cave at Makkedah, and the stones returned to fill the entrance.
All Makkedah is conquered, also; all is completed destroyed.

Southern Cities Conquered – The Israelites conquer Libnah, destroying everything in it.
The Israelites conquer Lachish in two days, destroying everything in it (even though Lachish had the help of Horam, king of Gezer).
The Israelites conquer Eglon in one day, destroying everything.
The Israelites conquer Hebron, destroying everything.
The Israelites conquer Debir, destroying everything.
‘So Joshua subdued the whole region….he totally destroyed all who breathed…’
All conquered in one campaign…because the Lord fought for Israel.
The army returns to Gilgal.

The Crucifixion – Simon of Cyrene, just visiting Jerusalem, passing through, is conscripted to carry Jesus’s cross.
Jesus addresses the large group of women following, who are weeping and wailing,
‘Don’t weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children’.
Jesus sees the time of destruction coming upon Jerusalem, when they will say it would have been better if they’d brought their children into the world. There’s a worse day coming….
There are two criminals crucified with Jesus, at the place called ‘The Skull’.
‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’

How true those words…indeed they don’t realise that they are killing the King of kings; but also, they are fulfilling prophecy, and through this act, salvation will be made possible for all people….truly, they don’t know what they have done.

Meanwhile the guards take time, playing games with dice, to see who’ll win his clothing.
There are many spectators, and the rulers are sneering, the soldiers are mocking, enticing Jesus to perform another miracle, to come down from the cross, to save Himself.

He could, of course, have done that…but it was His love, and the glory of conquering our sin, which held Him up there.

One criminal hurls insults at Jesus, the other rebukes his fellow criminal, saying they are getting what they deserve, but that Jesus has done no wrong.
‘Jesus, remember me, when you come into Your Kingdom.’
‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’

What an amazing conversation, whilst dying on the cross – the offer of hope, of salvation, of the kingdom of paradise, to the repentant thief.
Hope for us all….

Jesus’ Death – From the sixth to the ninth hour, the sky became black, the sun stopped shining.

Interesting to have the old testament story of Joshua commanding the sun to keep shining all day, and the new testament story of the sun stopping shining at the crucifixion.
The sun stops shining, as the Son hangs, dying.

The temple curtain is torn in two – the Holy of Holies exposed; God’s presence breaking out.
Jesus’ final words :
‘Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.’
Jesus gives up His life – there is no sense that it is taken from Him.

The centurion praises God for the manner of Jesus’ dying, observing that He had been a righteous man.
The crowds disperse, beating their breasts…..the women and others who knew Jesus, had watched from a distance.

Jesus’ Burial – Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the ruling council (good and upright man, who was eagerly awaiting the coming kingdom of God), who had not consented to this act, asks Pilate if he can take the body of Jesus for burial.
Jesus’ body is taken down, wrapped in a linen cloth, and laid in a new tomb cut into the rock – all this happened on the preparation day for the Sabbath.
The Galilean women followed and saw where the body was laid, then went to prepare spices and perfumes for the day after Sabbath.

‘The lips of the righteous nourish many – but fools die for lack of encouragement.’

‘When the storms sweep by, the wicked are gone; but the righteous stand firm for ever’

reminiscent of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders….

‘The fear of the Lord adds length to life; the prospect of the righteous is joy;
the way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous; the righteous will never be uprooted.’




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