One of the longest piano compositions is “Vexation” by Erik Satie – the whole performance lasts 18 hours, 40 minutes. The first reported public performance, in September, 1963 in New York City’s Pocket Theater, required a relay of ten pianists. A New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m., and the audience dwindled to six. At the conclusion, a sado-Masochist shouted, “Encore!”
Time is an important commodity to all of us. The Rabbi told me about a man who got up to leave during his service. “Where are you going?” he asked him. He said, “To get a haircut.” The Rabbi asked, “Why didn’t you get it before?” He said, “I didn’t need one then.”
In the middle of a service and just before the sermon, one lady in the congregation remembered she had forgotten to turn off the oven at home. Hurriedly she scribbled a note and passed it to the usher to give to her husband who was in the choir. Unfortunately, the usher misunderstood her intention and took it to the pulpit. Unfolding the note, the pastor read aloud, “Please go home and turn off the gas.”
Harold Hill, former president of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland and a former consultant in the space program shared a discovery that his company had made in assisting the Space Administration. It seems that they were trying to determine the position of the planets for future space launches. In order to know where the planets will be in the future, you have to know where they have been in the past. They feed into the computer all known locations and their dates as recorded in history. According to Mr. Hill, the measurement of the planets and their courses was off by one day. Where the movement of the planets were located in known ancient times, did not match with the planets of today. One of the team (a Christian) remembered reference to the sun standing still in the Bible.
There are in the Old Testament two accounts where time has been stopped.
Impossible you say! For He who created time, it is not impossible.
The first and oldest account is found in Joshua. Five Amorite kings band together to drive out the Hebrew people. When the battle begins God set “hail” on the Amorites and killed a great number of them, more than the Hebrews killed. 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.” The prayer request is that time would stand still until the battle was over.
There are those who think that verses 12-14 actually occur before verse 11. The real sequence of events is that the Hebrew army traveled all night to Gibeon. In the early dawn, the Hebrew’s attacked the Amorites. With the sun and the moon stilled they waged the battle all day and beyond since time was halted. God cleans up after the battle with the hail storm. Note the concluding phrase, “JOS 10:11 more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.”
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. “Jashar” means “the upright.” We no longer have the book and know very little about it. The Book of Jashar is also mentioned in Second Samuel 1:18, and ordered that the men of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (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. The “middle of the sky” was noon. “About a full day” was not a complete 24 hour period of time. Very possibly 23 hours and 20 minutes.
Our second account of the change of time comes from Second Kings 20. Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Hezekiah had been very ill. In fact, God had warned Hezekiah to “get his house in order.”
However, after listening to Hezekiah’s prayer, God changed His mind. Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Typical response, “Prove it!” Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?” This account reminds me of the story of Gideon. Let me put the fleece on a second time and this time….”It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. My word, if he doesn’t die, he will know that the Lord has spoken. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called upon the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps…. As if any of us could make time move forward faster.
Now we move back.
Each “step” is a minute of time. When we move the clock back ten steps we lose 20 minutes. Ten minutes for the loss of time and ten minutes to relive that which is lost. Between Joshua and Second Kings we find the full missing day.
Beyond the fact that these two accounts are miracles, they reveal the great power of God. Time has no bearing on God. It is important to us for some reason that God had to create the universe in six days. As if God wouldn’t be God if it took God a million years. But among us can even create such a thing much less live that long?
2PE 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.