"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 10:12-14)
I was having a major spiritual tussle. Reading about this event, it was hard for me to just believe it and say, "Wow, isn't God awesome?"
I'd searched the commentaries...
JFB said it was a "poetic passage," adding, "The language of a poem is not to be literally interpreted." Also ... it could be an optical illusion.
Barnes said the "Christian Fathers" (i.e. Apostles and early church leaders) believed the sun actually stopped; and added, that God, being "omnipotent and omniscient", could easily cause "a suspension of Nature's ordinary working..." But said many modern theologians think it poetical or an optical illusion.
Matthew Henry said "this great miracle" happened as described -- fact.
Try as I might, I couldn't buy the "poem fragment inserted smack in the midst of a book of history" theory; or believe the Israelites were too dumb to distinguish the difference between an optical illusion and the sun standing still "about a whole day".
Plus, Scripture states, "There was no day like that before it or after it."
Moreover, I had a nagging feeling that I'd been compromising my faith through rationalizations, by buying into "providential" explanations for a few of the "harder" things to believe, which were clearly stated as miraculous facts, Biblically.
Also, Jesus spoke of many of those "harder" Bible miracles (including creation of man in the beginning, rather than after millions of years of evolution) as simple fact.
Listing just a few examples...
"But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." (Mark 10:6)
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly..." (Matthew 12:40)
"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:27)
What was good enough for Jesus, Son of God, to believe, had to be good enough for me.
Then there were the miracles Jesus Himself did, which demonstrated God's power over all elements of Nature: walking on water, multiplying loaves and fishes, etc.
No matter how much "Modern Science" claims "impossible", Jesus demonstrated, "...with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
My mind went to the Resurrection...
Was Jesus rising from the dead after three days less miraculous than the sun standing still?
To raise a man, dead three days, required the suspension, control, and reversal of natural laws just as much as halting the sun's movement would. It might look to have been a smaller, more-contained, miracle; but concerning the controlling of major laws of Nature ... it was clearly equal.
As Martha pointed out about Lazarus in John 11:39, "...Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days."
Searching the Internet for what happens to a body after even just three days of death turned my stomach. There's major, irreversible, chemical breakdown of the body, and organ changes -- not just a temporary absence of the soul from a place it could easily return to.
"Decomposition" is a very nice word for all that has already taken place by day three.
"Modern Science" can't bring a man to life, after being dead three days. Scientifically, that's just as impossible as causing the sun and moon to "stand still" for a bit (while suspending the resulting catastrophic ill effects that stopping the earth's rotation would normally cause).
So why flinch over the sun standing still?
I couldn't have it both ways. Either God could do miracles, and Jesus rose from the dead; or God couldn't do miracles.
I bowed my head, and as the father of the child in Mark 9:24 prayed, when begging Jesus to miraculously heal his son, I echoed 2,000 years later...
"...Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
All quoted Scriptures are King James Version.
The following Bible Commentaries used were unabridged versions contained on the Pocket e-Sword's program for my PDA...
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary On the Whole Bible by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown -- Specific reference location: Joshua 10:12-15
Barnes Notes on the Old and New Testaments by Albert Barnes -- Specific reference location: Joshua 10:12-15
Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry -- Specific reference location: Joshua 10:7-14
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