"O sun, stand still … " — Joshua 10:12
I’m always struck by this passage. Joshua gives a command to the heavenly bodies, and God rearranges the laws of physics so that they obey him. It’s one of the greatest miracles in all of scripture. In its scientific magnitude, it is an even greater miracle than the parting of the Red Sea.
But that isn’t the main reason I’m so taken by what happened here. I’m struck by the context. Joshua just blew it. The Gibeonites, posing as distant travelers, deceived Joshua and the other leaders into making a prohibited treaty with them. Joshua was clearly negligent for failing to inquire of the Lord before ratifying the treaty. Now, here in chapter 10, he’s dealing with the aftermath of his mistake. The Gibeonites are in trouble; Joshua and all Israel are called upon to save them.
God could have washed His hands of the entire affair. He could have said, "You got yourself into this mess; you get yourself out of it. Don’t look to Me to help you defend these wicked Gibeonites."
But He doesn’t do anything of the sort. God is a God of people who make mistakes, people who blow it, people who mess up.
I don’t like making mistakes, but when I do, God gently reminds me that the work of God isn’t about me and how perfect I am; rather, it is about the God who shows up despite our failings.
Dwight Clough is the author of four Christian books and is an active member of Lake City Church in Madison. This devotional is also available via email and you may review the archives back to 2002. To contact Dwight or Kim, use their contact form. You may also support their ministry.