Sun and Moon Stopping Prayer —
Bullies, Be Gone! (Part 7)
By Sophia Prinsloo
with Barbara Wilmerton Haas
Text Version | Afrikaans
A Bible Story About Joshua
(Continued from Part 6)
Gibbs used to run with a gang of bullies who constantly harassed other kids at school, taking their sandwiches, belittling them, pulling their hair, mocking them and so on. It was his friends who did the harassing. He hung out with them just so he wouldn't get bullied himself.
All that changed one day when the gang tried to bully a guy named Josh. Josh was different than Gibbs' bully-friends. He had a certain kind of peace about him, a fearlessness, and he didn't let others intimidate him. He was always friendly and kind-hearted. It wasn't unusual to find him standing up for kids who were being bullied. Secretly, Gibbs admired Josh.
One day, when one of the bullies tried to grab Josh's schoolbag, Josh looked Gibbs in the eye and said, “Gibbs, you don't really belong with these guys and you don't have to stay with them.”
Gibbs was SHOCKED and, at first, he didn't want his bully-friends to know how deeply Josh's words touched his heart, so he kept quiet. After school let out, Gibbs went to Josh and said, “Josh, I'm sorry I didn't make any attempt to stop the bullies from harassing you. You're absolutely right. I don't belong with those bullies. I'd much rather be friends with you, if you'll have me as a friend.”
“Gladly,” Josh replied, grinning from ear to ear as they shook hands. “Those bullies are going to hate your guts, and they may turn around and try to bully you now! But from now on, we're friends. Let's cover each other's back, okay?”
“Okay!” Gibbs answered with a high-five.
Then Josh explained, “You know what? Bullies have been around forever, even way back in Bible times. If you have time to listen, I'll tell you this Bible story about bullies.”
“WHAT?” Adoni-zedek, the hostile, Amorite King of Jerusalem, gasped and stood frozen on the spot. He was shocked to his core, nearly having a heart attack when he heard that the Hivite people from Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kirjath Jearim had made a covenant with Joshua and the Israelites.
After he finally caught his breath, his angry face reddened and he hissed, “How dare those lying, conniving backstabbers make a treaty with the Israelites instead of with us! Don't they realize that if we'd all stood together, we could have easily destroyed the Israelites?”
He turned and immediately summoned his messengers. “Make haste! Go as fast as you can to our Amorite allies — selfish King Hoham of Hebron, lying King Piram of Jarmuth, haughty King Japhia of Lachish and to…. What's his name again? Oh, yes! How could I ever forget! Fearful King Debir of Eglon.”
Clutching his scepter a little tighter, he continued, “Tell them to come up to me at once! We must destroy the royal city of Gibeon, because they made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.”
The other four Amorite kings were just as distressed about the news from King Adoni-zedek, distressed enough to take vengeance against the Gibeonites. So they gathered all their armed forces and encamped as one army before Gibeon, to fight against them. The five kings with their generals met in King Adoni-zedek's royal tent to work out a strategy for attack. They planned it for the following day.
While their leaders were discussing how to attack Gibeon, the Amorite soldiers waited for their orders. They munched on their provisions and boasted about who had the biggest sword, who could shoot an arrow the furthest and straightest, and who would make the most killings in Gibeon. Little did they know their plans and boasting would be totally useless!
Meanwhile, the watchmen of the city of Gibeon, who were now the servants of the Israelites, noticed the Amorite armies ganging up against them. They alerted their King, who hastily sent messengers to Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, saying, “The Amorites have come from the hill country to destroy us. Don't forget! We became your servants and you promised to keep us safe. You must come quickly and save us from death.”
Joshua did NOT want to make the same mistake as before by not consulting the Lord about this, so he immediately humbled himself before the Lord and asked Him what to do.
The Lord answered:
“DO NOT FEAR the Amorites
for I have given them into your hands.
No one will be able to defeat you.”
The words of the Lord so greatly encouraged Joshua that he immediately summoned his brave warriors and all the mighty men of valor to prepare for war. Under cover of darkness, the Israelite soldiers traveled swiftly all the way from their camp at Gilgal to the city of Gibeon during the night, sneaking up upon the Amorites while they were sleeping.
At first light, Joshua and his men surprised their enemies with an unexpected attack. The Lord sent panic among the Amorites! They never thought Joshua would actually come, help the Gibeonites and were in such a scurry to get away, with no time to even get dressed right or put on their armor properly. Shirttails were hanging out as they frantically searched for their weapons.
All of them were running around in total confusion, grabbing whatever they could find to try and defend themselves. But it was hopeless — the Israelite soldiers slayed great numbers of them at Gibeon.
Those who got away fled down the hill towards Beth-horon but, on their way, the Lord called together MASSIVE storm clouds above them. God proclaimed his judgment on the Amorites with earsplitting, rumbling THUNDER as sizzling hot, LIGHTNING bolts pierced the air, striking the earth with a vengeance every now and again.
Topping that off, great HAILSTONES began falling from the sky, exploding on the ground! The Amorites slipped and slid in the mud. They wildly searched everywhere for shelter from the storm but found none as humongous hailstones struck dead one enemy soldier after another, even more than the Israelites slayed with the sword.
Yet the Lord was not done displaying his awesome power.
The Israelites realized they needed more time to win the battle against the Amorite soldiers before they could get back into their cities, so Joshua sought the Lord about this problem, and the Lord told him exactly what to do. What happened next was so astounding that people, to this day, still scratch their heads in wonder about it.
In plain sight of all the Israelites, Joshua cried out with a loud voice,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and, moon, stay in your place
in the Valley of Ajalon!”
Amazingly, the sun and moon both obeyed and stood still in the middle of the heavens, for nearly a whole day. As a matter of fact, it looked as if they were in no hurry to go down. This caused great fear among the Amorites because they couldn't understand why it seemed that their sun and moon gods were powerless to help them. Instead, their feeble gods were allowing the Israelites time to cut off most of their soldiers from reaching their cities.
On the other hand, the Israelites knew exactly why. It was because the sun and moon were not really gods at all! And because the Lord — the only living God, Who created heaven and earth, sun, moon and stars — listened to the fervent, heartfelt prayer of his obedient, humble servant, Joshua.
The Israelite army was so emboldened by the Lord during the extra-long day, that it seemed there was no stopping them. Instead, they kept on fighting, hotly pursuing the five evil kings who were on the run, trying to flee to their home cities. When the kings realized they weren't going to make it to ANY city without Israelite soldiers catching up with them, they hastily ducked into a cave to hide themselves, near the city of Makkedah.
The kings' swift change of plans didn't work because watchful Israelites soldiers spotted them in no time and reported them to Joshua, using a messenger. Joshua sent back word to trap the kings in the cave by blocking the entrance with big stones and setting up guards to keep watch, while the rest of them continued pursuing enemy soldiers.
Joshua's men did exactly what he told them, overpowering most of the Amorite soldiers before they could reach the presumed safety of their cities. The Bible tells us only a few made it into the cities, which were anything but places of safety, because when the pursuing Israelites arrived, they burned all the cities with fire, destroying everything inside them.
After all the cities were destroyed (just before Joshua and his men returned to their camp at Gilgal), they traveled to the cave of Makkedah and let the five kings out. Then Joshua commanded his captains to put their feet on the kings' necks, making them a footstool under their feet. As they stood in that position, Joshua said,
“Never be afraid or discouraged.
Be strong and courageous,
because the Lord will do this
to all the enemies you fight against.”
Afterwards, he slayed the kings with his sword and hanged their bodies on five trees until the evening. When the sun was going down, at Joshua's command, they took the kings' bodies down from the trees, threw them back into the cave where they had been hiding and closed off the entrance of the cave with large rocks.
GONE was the king of hostility! GONE was the king of haughtiness! GONE was the king of lies! GONE was the king of selfishness! GONE was the king of fearfulness!
After that very l-o-o-o-ng, supernatural day, Joshua and his men returned to their camp at Gilgal. They had kept their promise to the people of Gibeon and saved them from death. In that one battle, they destroyed the armies of the five Amorite kings and all their cities, along with the kings between Kadesh-barnea up to Gaza, and from Goshen to Gibeon. It was a miraculous victory because the Lord God of Israel was fighting for his people. It was even more miraculous that not even one Israelite man lost his life during this battle.
For the next seven years, Joshua and his men fought many more mighty battles, taking the land as Moses instructed, conquering 31 kings. Then they rested from war and Joshua divided the land among the tribes of Israel. And so the Lord fulfilled the promise He gave to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give their descendants, as their everlasting inheritance, the land of Canaan, the Promised Land.
“Thanks for the story, Josh. Now I know for sure that you'll come, help me when I need you,” Gibbs said. Wanting to know more, he dug a little deeper and asked, “Josh, what makes you so different from other kids? You seem at peace, as if nothing disturbs you.”
Josh smiled and replied, “It's because I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I'm trusting Him to help me in every situation in life. He's more powerful than all the bullies put together.
It's not always easy because, when you give your life to Jesus, the devil will be angry and he'll use other people, like bullies, to come against you. But be of good cheer, my friend. The Lord will never leave or forsake you. He wants you to be brave and not fear anything or anyone. He wants you to learn to trust in his Word and know He'll help you when you earnestly pray to Him, just like Joshua did in the story.”
Gibbs' old bully-friends tried to bully him after this, but his faith in the Lord made him strong and, besides, God-sent Josh quickly came to help him. When the bullies realized that Josh and Gibbs were helping each other and standing together as one against them, they stopped their evil acts and left them alone.
Gibbs also joined the church youth group where Josh attended, giving him an opportunity to meet many new, kind friends. There they learned that our battle isn't against people, but against their evil thoughts, words and deeds. They also learned not to fight this battle with fists, knives, guns, cannons or atom bombs.
The youth pastor taught them to let this war take place on the battleground of prayer, wearing every piece of armor God provides. They learned the key to growing in their relationship with God and in their knowledge of the Word. They understood that in order to live in victory, they needed to learn to trust the Holy Spirit.
When you give your life to Christ, as you face trouble, be courageous and remain faithful. Ask the Lord to help you and He'll fight for you, making you more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.
1. How many kings with their armies came to fight against the city of Gibeon?
2. Why did the kings come to fight against the city of Gibeon?
3. Did the Israelites keep their promise to the Gibeonites?
4. What did the Lord send that killed more enemy soldiers than the Israelites could slay with a sword?
5. What did Joshua do when they needed more time to destroy their enemies?
6. How long did the sun and moon stand still in the heavens?
A VERSE TO LEARN
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).
AN ALTERNATIVE VERSE TO LEARN
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:20).
In what ways do bullies harass other kids nowadays? Is it with their rude actions or the mean words they say in person, or is it more with apps they use on their phones or through social media posts on the Internet? Have you ever been bullied in some way or would you be honest enough to admit that you've bullied someone?
[After discussion:] Remember, it's NOT a shame to be bullied; the shame is on the bullies.
Now what did the people from Gibeon do when the five kings set out to bully and attack them? Yes, they sent messages to Joshua and the Israelites to come, help them because they had made a covenant promise to protect them. If you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are in a covenant with Him. So whenever you find yourself being bullied, ask God to help you find the best way to handle the situation and talk to a helpful adult, courageous friend or fellow Christians about it.
Is there anyone that needs prayer because you're being harassed by a bully? Or is anyone sorry you bullied someone else and want to be forgiven? Or does someone feel guilty because you didn't help a friend who was bullied?
[After discussion:] Let's pray that God will protect us, make us courageous and give us wisdom to handle bullies according to his Word. Let's ask Him to forgive us for being a bully and help us to rather become a friend to those who are being bullied and help them as much as we can.
You can pray! (click)
thank You for promising never to leave or forsake us.
Please help us to remember to turn to You
when we have difficulties in life, like being bullied.
Forgive us where we have sinned against others
and help us forgive those who have sinned against us.
Help us to love others as we love ourselves.
Thank You that we can trust You to come,
stand by us and help us overcome.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
Joshua 10:1-43; 11:23; 12:24
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