Thursday, July 9, 2009
The day the sun stood still...
Focus is a funny thing. A friend of mine taught me how to do a neat trick with my camera so I could take better close up pictures of my plants, and to do it- the plant has to be in the foreground, and everything else gets fuzzy. That is true for attitude as well. Whatever my focus is on, that is where my attitude will go, and I can make everything else go fuzzy. If I focus on the things that peeve me, all the good stuff turns into background. But if I stick to what I know is true, and good, and right- all the "bummers" in life get out of focus and become not so important in the picture. I am still working on doing that in all things, but I definitely needed it this week. Just been kind of funky, missing the past and wishing some things could go back to the way they were. And then I read the best story.
Joshua and the Israelites had just made a pact with a bunch of cheaters, because they forgot to ask God what He wanted them to do. (Joshua 9- the Gibeonites tricked them) Well, now the cheaters are under siege and they call to Joshua to come help them. My bratty-ness would have taken my time getting ready, walked the long route with lots of breaks, hoping the battle would be over once I got there. But not Joshua. They had sworn an oath before God to aid the cheaters, and they kept it. The Scripture says they marched all night (it was between 26-29 miles from Gilgal to Gibeon) so they could surprise the enemy. Were they exhausted? Probably. Were they wondering why they ever got themselves into this deal? I would be. Yet, they came upon the enemy with extreme determination. How? Well, one reason I am sure is the fact that God said "I have delivered them into your hand." But don't you think it is also probable that they kept their focus on the STRENGTH of their God, versus the huge numbers of the enemy? (By the way- there were five different kings and all their armies besieging Gibeon, while it was just worn out Joshua and the Israelites opposing)
So cool. The Bible says as the bad dudes were running away, huge hailstones were falling from the sky, and more of the enemy was destroyed by the hailstones than all the swords of the Israelites. Can you imagine? You fighting hand to hand with this guy, and BAM! Rock to the head...bam bam!...another one bites the dust. And not ONE Israelite is nailed with these flying hailstones. Sorry, I digress.
My very favorite part of this story, and what got me through the last few days is what happens next. Joshua, seeing the sun about to set, and knowing the darkness will cause them to lose the advantage, lifts his hands to the sky...and do you know what he says?
"On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
"O sun, stand still over Gibeon,
O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." Joshua 10:12
Can you imagine!?! Have you ever prayed like that- really believing that if God wants to, He would stop the sun for you? Unfortunately, the skeptic that I am, I would have probably laughed at Joshua. Shame on me! Oh, to believe that God would do that for me...to shine His glory in such an incredible way! I have to tell you what happens next:
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,
as it is written in the Book of Jashar.
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since..." 10:13-14a
I love how matter of fact scripture is. These crazy things are just placed as a brief statement- "oh, by the way...the earth completely stopped it's rotation so there would be an extra day so Joshua could get his job done. No tidal waves happened, no consequences to this insane cosmic event... you can read about it in that other History Book- the Book of Jashar." Oh, how I wish God would have given us more. Even a picture of the men's faces as they stared up. Would we fall down in awe? Crack up in laughter? Tears of joy for the absolute INSANELY AWESOME God we have?
It made me laugh and jump up and down clapping. All week, I have been thinking and thinking that taking God at His word is the only way to truly LIVE. To see these fantastic "under"-statements in MY life. "By the Way, Renee was kind of a loser- but God liked to make her laugh...Renee messed up a lot, and God blessed her mess anyways...Renee started out life wrong, but left an amazing legacy." I want to pray like that- not to be afraid to ask big things of God, so that I can clap for Him, in true admiration. Reading of His fantastic deeds has helped make all the melancholy slip to the background and go fuzzy, and I love it. No horses to ride- so what? Some of my family can't stand me- their loss! Too much laundry and too little time- who cares!?! God is on His throne and so deserves my applause!
Food for thought- sometimes "God requires so much of us at times so that we can experience the unmatched exhilaration of partnering in divine triumph." Beth Moore
The Israelites could have given up at any point- physically they could have quit because they were so tired, emotionally they could have given up because they didn't think it was fair to have to fight for those cheaters, spiritually they could have thrown in the towel because they knew that none of this would have happened if they had just ASKED GOD before they made the pact. And if they had- they would have missed out on being a partner in one of the most epic battles of all time.
Is the tough stuff of "battle" worth it, when you know sometime you will get to look up and see that "the sun stood still"?
(These photos are of the best girl in the world a few years ago...isn't she awesome? So worth fighting for- to leave her a legacy of faith and believing God, that she can remember someday and laugh at how good her God is.)