BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12

Image result for gibeath haaraloth map

Summary of Joshua 5:1-12:

Upon hearing of God’s bringing of His people across the Jordan River by stopping its flow, all the Amorite king and Canaanite kings lost courage to face the Israelites. God ordered the circumcision of His people at Gibeath Haaraloth. These were the sons of the the wandering Israelites who had not been circumcised on the journey. They remained in camp until they were healed.

The Israelites celebrated the Passover, eating the produce of the land (unleavened bread and roasted grain). The manna stopped after this since the Israelites were now able to produce their own food.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

11) To circumcise all the Israelites who had not been circumcised previously. God had commanded Abraham that all Israeli males be circumcised as a sign of the covenant made between Abraham and God, which was God’s promise to Abraham to make him into a great nation and receive the gift of the Promised Land. It was also a requirement to be circumcised to take part in the Passover, which is a celebration in remembrance of God sparing the Israelites in his judgment of Egypt, passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt.

Deuteronomy tells us also that “God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”

12a) Passover. The passover signifies the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

b) God stopped giving manna. This signified to the Israelis that they now would be able to provide for themselves–something all of us wants.

13) Personal Question. My answer:  God has given me a new job, so my husband and I can start getting out of debt and getting on the right path for our lives. It’s a job that grows me and will serve me (and Him) forever in the future. I will thank Him by following Him, giving Him the credit, and loving Him.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

It’s important to remember our blessings each and every day, which can easily get distracted with our daily struggles and problems. God chose circumcision and Passover for His people. Now, you can choose whatever you wish as a remembrance: just make it something concrete, visible, and meaningful to you.

Watch VIDEO of book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 5: Joshua 5:1-12:

Related imageSeeing the miracle of the Jordan River parted is only part of the reason the kings cower before the Israelites. The other reason: the Israelites trust in God. Trust is powerful. Think of all the people you trust enough to cross a parted river. Maybe a handful?

Apparently, no one was circumcised in the 40 years of wanderings. It was time to show your outward obedience to God’s commands and get circumcised. Circumcision is a consecration of yourself to God. It’s renouncing yourself and living for God. This had to be done before the conquering began.

Obviously, this was suicidal from a military standpoint.  All the men of fighting age were made completely vulnerable and unable to fight for a period of several days.

If you remember back in Genesis 34:24-25, Simeon and Levi killed all the men in a city after tricking them into having them all circumcised. While the men were unable to fight, they were slaughtered in retaliation, because the prince of that city had raped Dinah, the sister of Simeon and Levi. This could have been the fate of Israel here in Joshua 5.

  • Israel crossed over the Jordan at a militarily undesirable place (right in front of Jericho, the strongest military outpost of the Canaanites),
  • Then the Israelites incapacitated their army for several days.

The Israelites were circumcised because they trusted God.

God, in His infinite compassion, only asked the Israelites to do this AFTER the miracle of the parting of the Jordan River. God gives us strength and courage before he pushes us again. Radical things happen when we trust wholeheartedly in God.

“Rolling away the reproach of Egypt” means the shame of being slaves in Egypt and the underlying sin and rebellion that had caused that punishment. The Israelites needed to stop seeing themselves as helpless slaves and sinners but as conquering warriors of God who were forgiven.

God did not want the Israelites to forget His deliverance of them. God never wants us to forget Jesus’ deliverance of us out of bondage and into freedom.

God didn’t want the Israelites to get lazy; they could provide for themselves. Again, they needed to trust in God’s provision–not in how it was provided.

Gilgal will become a base camp for the Israelites. After battles they will return here. They will remember God’s greatness with the stones and be strengthened and renewed.

Theme of Joshua 5: Trust in God.

Fun Biblical Fact: This is the only time Gibeath Haaraloth is mentioned in the Bible.

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BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:1-4:24

Image result for 12 stones of gilgal

Summary of Joshua 3:

After three days, the Israelites set out from Shittim, following the ark of the covenant as it leads the way to the Promised Land, careful to leave space behind the Ark. The priests went ahead of the people with the Ark of the Covenant. On God’s orders, the priests stood in the waters of the Jordan, damming up the water and allowing the people to cross the Jordan River. This was God’s way of showing the people He is with Joshua.Image result for gods people looking over jordan river

Summary of Joshua 4:

God told Joshua to have 12 men, one from each Israelite tribe, pick up a stone from the Jordan River and carry it over to their encampment for the night. The stones are to serve as a remembrance for the Lord cutting off the flow of the River Jordan before the Ark of the Covenant.

The priests stayed in the River until all the Israelites, including the men of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had crossed. 40,000 fighting men in all. Afterwards, the priests were commanded to leave the River Jordan and as soon as they did, the waters returned to flood stage.

The people camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. Joshua took the stones with him so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the Lord is powerful and that the Israelites might always fear the Lord.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:1-4:24:

9a) The people had to wait three days on the banks of the Jordan River. The priests are to go first into the Promised Land, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The people need to stay at least 1000 yards behind the Ark. The people were told to consecrate themselves before entering the Promised Land. The priests stopped the Jordan River, so the people could cross.

b) Joshua told the people that the Ark of the Covenant would go ahead of them into the Promised Land carried by the Levites, or the priests. The priests were represented by 12 men, one from each tribe. As soon as the priests’ feet touch the Jordan River, its water will stop flowing downstream and stand up in a heap. This is indeed what happened.

10) The Ark of the Covenant is, also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a gold-covered wooden chest with lid cover described in Exodus 25:10-22 as containing the two stone Ten Commandment tablets given to Moses by God. Hebrews 9:4 tells us it contains “the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.” Later, when Solomon would build the temple (which we get to read about as well!), the Ark will be housed behind the second curtain in the Most Holy Place where God dwelled.

The Ark of the Covenant is symbolically where God dwelled. Hence, it symbolizes God going before the people and leading them into the Promised Land.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3-4:

Love all of the allusions and throwbacks to Egypt! God goes before the people with the Ark (like He did in the cloud). God stops the Jordan River (like He did the Red Sea). God is omnipotent. God does things for our benefit.

Watch VIDEO of the Book of Joshua if you haven’t had a chance yet.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 3:

In 1927, and earthquake caused the 40-foot clay banks of the Jordan River to collapse, totally damming the Jordan for 21 hours.

Sitting by the swollen Jordan River for three days must have produced anxiety and doubt in the Israelites’ minds: how would they cross?

Theme of Joshua 3: God’s people are utterly helpless without Him.

Image result for gods people looking over jordan riverEverything God does is deliberate. Having the people wait three days would build their faith as they no doubt were growing restless and agitated.

Why stay 1000 yards behind the Ark of the Covenant?

  1. Respect of the holy nature of the Ark of the Covenant
  2. So all could see. After all, the Ark of the Covenant was leading the way to a land none of them have been to before. It was important to not get lost and to maintain order with millions of people.

Sanctifying themselves helped them keep a clear focus on God.

In faith, Joshua followed God’s commands. God in turn encourages Joshua.

Faith leads us into greater victories than law ever could.

The step of faith of the priests in the water happens to us all every day, every moment of our lives. The moment can be short or long. Regardless, take that first step!

Note: God begins the journey into the Promised Land with a supernatural miracle: the stopping of the Jordan. Out of Egypt (old life) with a miracle and into a new life with a miracle. God leaves no room for doubt.

Fun Biblical Fact:  The ark is referred to 14 times in these 17 verses.

Theme of Joshua 3:

To face the impossible in our lives, look to Jesus, our Joshua. He is the fulfillment of the Ark.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 4: Joshua 4

Theme of Joshua 4: Trust – The Israelites knew they had to trust God with everything they had, because the challenges only got bigger in the Promised Land – but so did the blessings.

Remembering what God has done for you is huge. Most of us forget very easily God’s faithfulness in our lives when something bad happens. Using something concrete (here in Joshua 4 stones) as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness in your life is one of the best things you can do. It not only reminds you, but it also serves as a reminder to your children about God’s greatness.

The priests stood in the Jordan River throughout the entire crossing, representing God’s presence and strength.

Gilgal will become the Israelites base of operations for the conquest of the entire Promised Land. Therefore, the first step is to set up a memorial to God’s great works.

Fun Biblical Fact: Gilgal is mentioned 39 times in the Bible, primarily here, in the book of Joshua.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 2: Joshua 1:1-18

Summary of Joshua 1:1-18:

God commissions Joshua upon Moses’ death to lead His people into the Promised Land, which extends from the desert to Lebanon and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean (Great Sea) Sea. God prompts Joshua 3 times to “be strong and courageous” and to meditate on the Book of the Law (the Bible as it existed at that time so sin the New Testament) and Joshua would be successful.

So Joshua goes and tells the people the moment has come that God is going to fulfill His promise and give them the Promised Land (can you imagine the excitement!). However, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh is to stay in the part of the Promised Land they are in except the fighting men are to go and help the rest of God’s people take possession of the rest of the Promised Land.Image result for map banks of jordan river

The people whole-heartedly support Joshua in this mission set forth by God.

BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 2: Joshua 1:1-18:

3) Part personal question. My answer: God commissioned Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land and to take possession of it. He tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and that He will never forsake him. God tells Joshua to follow the law and never to turn from it. For me, that God will never forsake Joshua.

4a) God commanded Joshua to take His people across the Jordan River. God sets out the boundaries of the Promised Land (desert to Lebanon and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea (Great Sea). God tells Joshua 3 times to be strong and courageous. He tells him to obey all the law Moses gave them and never turn from it. He tells him to meditate on His word day and night.

b) Part personal Question. My answer: Joshua did everything God asked him to do. He went to the people and told them to ready themselves to take the Promised Land, and he laid out a plan of how he was going to accomplish it. In essence, move when God says to move and don’t hesitate.  This is something we can apply in our lives daily. I need to apply this when God nudges me and not wait until He pushes me!

5)  Joshua told the tribes that the fighting men would have to journey with them and help them take over the rest of the Promised Land that had to be fought for. The tribes respond with unhesitating agreement. They plead allegiance to Joshua like they had Moses, pray for Joshua for God to be with him in the same way as Moses, and even say whoever disagrees, should be put to death (a bit over-reactive but effective!). This must have been hugely encouraging as this was Joshua’s first act after Moses died and as leader of the Israelites (Moses had just died in Deuteronomy 34). God was definitely behind Joshua!

Conclusions to BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 1, Day 2:

What a great way to start this study off! This book is one of the most encouraging books in all of liturgy because it shows what can happen in your life when you obey God’s commands. We see Joshua commanded to take the people and he immediately does it. We see the people back Joshua, which is huge in accomplishing such an underdog mission.

Joshua is a great example of acting on God’s commands immediately and seeing results–an encouragement to us all when we don’t understand God’s timing.

Just a reminder: All of the notes and questions are now available online. You just have to set up an account HERE and voila! Yeah, BSF, for listening to the attendees and taking action (much like Joshua!).

Please watch the 8 minute video above. It is an excellent run-down of the Book of Joshua with cool illustrations!

End Notes to BSF’s People of the Promised Land 1: Joshua 1:

God speaks through history to give an example of our deliverance from the bondage of sin (as Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 10:6 and 10:11). In the New Testament, the central act of redemption is the work of Jesus on the cross. In the Old Testament, the central act of redemption is the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

As Israel wandered in the Sinai wilderness, the people experienced supernatural providence such as the supply of manna, water from rocks, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, and Divine revelation: the Mosaic Law, which set forth God’s holy standard

The Promised Land represents heaven. We are brought out of sin so that we might be brought in to abundant life. The wilderness is never God’s permanent destination for us. Like those who never saw the Promised Land and died in those 40 years of wandering (including Moses), Christians today die in the dryness of spiritual experience, never walking in the fullness of what God has for them.

Remember that the Greek name Jesus simply translates the Hebrew name Joshua. Their names are identical. Whatever Israel received in the Promised Land, they received through the hand of Joshua; whatever we receive from God we receive through Jesus Christ, our Joshua.

Faithful in the little things, Joshua now is ready for something great: the leadership of Israel into the Promised Land.

Why did God not give the Israelites the Promised Land?

God made the Israelites fight for the Promised Land as we fight for God–to be with Him, to obey Him, to fight for Him.

As God’s chosen representative, Joshua had to speak God’s law, live God’s law, and meditate on God’s law. He needed to be bold for God. Success is guaranteed if we do so because God is with us.

Three days is waiting for God.

The tribe of Manasseh promises to help their brethren as we all must do–unity is important in battle.