Conquering The land
Before passing away on Mount Nebo, Moses passes on leadership of the Israelite people to Joshua. Joshua is commanded by God to be strong and courageous as he leads the people. He is also cautioned to be careful to do according to all the law that Moses commanded (Joshua 1:7). Joshua's task is a daunting one -- to lead the Israelite people in clearing out all the inhabitants of Canaan so the nation of Israel can dwell in the land the Lord has chosen for them, set apart as His very own people. In doing so, they are to continue to follow the rules and commands God has given for His people. Unfortunately, as we will see, the Israelites fall short in both of these pursuits.
The beginning of the book of Joshua marks the beginning of the third era of Old Testament history, the CONQUEST. It is so named because that is exactly what the Israelites are supposed to do: conquer the Promised Land. That task begins by crossing the Jordan River and conquering the city of Jericho. Both of those tasks provide powerful displays of the Lord's continued leading, caring, and guiding of the Israelite people.
FOR THIS WEEK'S SERMON ON JOSHUA 1-3, LISTEN BELOW
FOR MORE CONTEXT, WATCH THIS VIDEO FROM "THE BIBLE PROJECT"
In our passage today, Moses has died and God gives Joshua his marching orders, with some promises to believe in faith. His people will possess the Promised Land. He will never leave Joshua. God encourages him to be courageous and not forget the Law, but to study it day and night. This will make him a successful leader. He does not need to be terrified or discouraged. Joshua has a choice to make. Will he answer God's call? Joshua hears what needs to be done and responds with a resounding "Yes!" God challenges us in the same way: always be ready for whatever He calls us to do in service to Him. We are to look at a situation and seek God for His answer, asking ourselves, "What needs to be done?" This is the essence of the family ingredient of Serving. When we pray and see God's solution to a need, we can move forward in serving, with confidence, knowing that God's promises to Joshua are also true for us.
- What fears do you think Joshua had?
- Who would be with him wherever he went? How would that be encouraging?
- List some truths that God told Joshua.
- One of the commands God gave Joshua is to not let this Book of the Law depart from his mouth. What is the “Book of the Law” and what is Joshua to do with it day and night?
- When are we taking time to read the Bible daily? Make a plan together.
Activity 1: Choose a room in your house and ask the question, "What needs to be done?" Make a short list of what could be done to straighten up the room and then complete it as a family. Use the same question when fixing dinner or cleaning. Let everyone work together until the task is finished.
Activity 2: Brainstorm serving opportunities outside of the home and ask the same question, "What needs to be done?" You might take cookies to someone who is discouraged or help to clean up someone's yard. Be on the lookout for service opportunities that are age appropriate for your family. Watch for opportunities to serve each day and share together later. Pray that God would help you to see others’ needs and do what needs to be done.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
- Joshua 1 must be read in its emotional context. Moses is not allowed into the Promised Land because he disobeyed God. He allowed the pressure of those following him to get to him and he acted in unbelief. He commissioned Joshua to carry on. Now God comes to Joshua personally to give him an exposition on courage. Is there an example to follow?
- God reaches out and grabs Joshua (and us) by the shoulders and gives us a fourfold description of courage.
- 1. Courage rests upon a clear assignment of God (Joshua 1:1-4).
- 2. Courage rests upon the assurance of God's presence (Joshua 1:5, 9).
- 3. Courage rests upon focused determination (Joshua 1:6-7, 9).
- 4. Courage is anchored by the Word of God (Joshua 1:7-8).
- As you look at God's fourfold description of courage, what or where is God asking you to be a courageous leader for Him?