BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8

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Summary of Joshua 8:

The Lord tells Joshua how to conquer Ai. Joshua is to take the whole army (30,000 men) and do the same to Ai as to Jericho–kill all the people. Set an ambush behind the city. This time the Lord granted the Israelites permission to carry off the plunder and livestock for themselves.

Joshua employed a trick to lure the army of Ai out of the city, leaving it empty. Joshua was to lure the army out, while 5,000 Israelites were left to take the city and burn it to the ground.

Joshua marched up to the front of the city with the ambush men behind the city. The king of Ai went out to meet the Israelites who fled. All of the men of Ai pursued the Israelites. Joshua held out a javelin as the signal for the ambush men to take the city.

Image result for map of ai and ebalThe Israelites then turned on the army of Ai and the army of the ambush came out as well and surrounded the army of Ai. None of them had a chance, and all were slaughtered except the king of Ai. Then all the citizens in the city of Ai were put to death as well. The city was plundered, the king of Ai hung, and the body was thrown at the entrance to the city as a warning to the other Canaanite tribes.

After the battle, Joshua built an altar to the Lord at Mount Ebal, according to the Book of the Law of Moses. Joshua offered up burnt offerings, fellowship offerings, and wrote out the law of Moses on stones. All of Israel was present. Joshua read out the Law to all the people.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

9a) Personal Question. My answer: God is a loving and caring God. He tells Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and He tells Joshua that He’ll grant them victory this time around.

b) God involves all of the people (fighting men) and tells the Israelites exactly how to take the city.

10) God through Moses had commanded the Israelites to read the blessings and the curses to the people, so that all would know what would happen if they obeyed God or disobeyed God.

11) Personal Question. My answer: Be held accountable for your words and actions. Study the Bible. Read the Bible. Obey the Bible. Pray for guidance from God. Do His will in your life and not your own.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Just a difference God’s blessing makes! Joshua 7 was full of misery and anger and vengeance and defeat. Joshua 8 is full of victory and obedience and gratitude and joy as God leads the Israelites. Love this example of what happens when God is with us and what happens when He turns His back on us.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 4: Joshua 8:

Joshua was a military expert. He had gained valuable knowledge of the land as a spy for Moses. Israel effectively cut Canaan into two and cut off strategic trade routes. He used “flying column” formations, night marches, ambush tactics (as in here) rather than long sieges, and destroyed key cities.

The renewing of the covenant was Moses’ final instructions to the Israelites before he died (Deuteronomy 27-28). The two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, formed a natural amphitheatre for the ceremony. At their peaks, much of the Promised Land could be seen. Mount Gerizim would become the seat of worship for the Samaritans (John 4).

It was time for the people to move on after having dealt with Achan in Joshua 7. God encourages the Israelites and gives them a plan to follow to conquer the city–His plan. And God gives them the spoil as well. Too bad Achan couldn’t have waited.

Joshua used the entire army this time to ensure victory. He didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Joshua followed God’s general plan. He also stayed close to the people to encourage them, so they wouldn’t be afraid. Jesus stays close to us as well when we go into battle.

Note the Israelites took the offensive, something we have to do with the devil. We can’t wait to be attacked. We must actively ward against evil.

Ai didn’t change their battle plan; this is Satan. He doesn’t change what works against us. And this time, the Israelites victory is complete.

What are the Israelites Keys to Victory in Joshua 8?

  • Be encouraged and have faith.
  • Follow God’s plan
  • Use all your resources
  • Attack
  • Show no mercy when good is at stack

Note Israel’s History:

  • Obedience = victory
  • Victory leads to blessing
  • Blessing enables pride/disobedience
  • Disobedience = defeat
  • Defeat = judgement
  • Judgement yields repentance
  • Repentance brings obedience
  • With obedience comes victory
  • Repeat.

The Israelites give God the victory.Image result for map of ai and ebal

Joshua is a man of the Book, obeying the command of Joshua 1:8. Israel is a people of the Book.

The distance from Ai to Ebal and Gerizim was a long way to move all the tribes of Israel, from 20 to 25 miles. Now, however, Israel is in the middle of Canaan, strategically placed for further victories.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

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Summary of Joshua 7:

The Israelite Achan disobeyed the Lord by taking some of the devoted things for himself instead of destroying them as ordered by the Joshua (Joshua 6:18), inciting the Lord’s anger.

Map of Ai
Map of Ai

Like with Jericho, Joshua ordered  spies to go to Ai to check out the region. The spies reported back that not all the men would be needed to defeat Ai, so only 3000 were sent. The Israelites were routed by the men of Ai, killing 36 Israelites. The Israelites were chased and the rest were destroyed.

Joshua, distraught over the loss, falls prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant and beseeches the Lord, lamenting the fact the Israelites had come so far only to be defeated. Joshua questions God as to why and points out how this damages the Lord’s name with their enemies.

The Lord informes Joshua of Achan’s sin and orders him to destroy the devoted things Achan has taken or He will forsake them.  The Lord tells Joshua to have the people consecrate themselves, and in the morning, he will destroy by fire whoever has the devoted things.

The Lord leads Joshua to Achan who confesses he took the devoted things. Joshua takes Achan to the Valley of Achor, stones him and his sons and daughters, and then burns them. The Lord then turned from His anger.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7

6) Joshua “tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there until evening.” Joshua questioned the Lord’s motives, wondering and praying to the Lord why did He deliver the Israelites only for them to be destroyed. He points out that now that the Canaanites have defeated Israel, the news will spread and the Lord’s name will be wiped out from the earth.

This prayer reveals that Joshua knows God well because he knows how much God wants unbelievers to fear His name. These battles are for God’s glory, not the Israelites. Joshua is close enough to God to be able to lay out his greatest fears before the Lord and question the Lord without fear of repercussions. Joshua and God are close.

7) God revealed to Joshua that someone had violated His covenant and stolen devoted things.  Israel had sinned and lied, and that’s the reason the Israelites lost to the Canaanites. God warns Joshua that He will no longer be with Israel unless the devoted things are destroyed. The Lord ordered Joshua to have the people prepare themselves, and He would reveal the thief and destroy him by fire along with all that belongs to him.

Achan admits he has sinned against the Lord and admits what he stole from the plunder. He reveals the hiding place of this treasure.

Joshua retrieves the stolen devoted things and spreads them out before the Lord. Joshua takes Achan and all that belongs to him (sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, his tent, and all his material possessions) along with the stolen devoted things (silver, robe, and gold wedge). All of Israel stones the family and animals and burns them and everything else.

8 ) Personal Question. My answer: I have lost friends, jobs, esteem, respect, confidence, money, and time. I have lost self-confidence, replaced by a feeling of shame and guilt.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

This lesson reminded me of how we all pay for one person’s mistake, which has been since Adam and Eve bit the apple. I thought of all the laws created because of one person’s actions, all the rules we have to follow because of one person, and all the nonsensical things we have to do because of one person. And it reminded me of how this world has changed because everyone is afraid they’re going to get sued if anything goes wrong.

End Notes for BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 3: Joshua 7:

The Israelites get cocky after Jericho. The conquered a city without firing an arrow. Now, Ai, the next target, is small and puny. The Israelites send a small army–and are thoroughly routed.

The conquering of Canaan by the Israelites was not for personal gain; it was to enact judgment on peoples who were unbelievers. By taking the devoted objects for personal gain, the Israelites were disobeying God and His plans.

Thirty-six men were more of a symbolic defeat. No men were lost at Jericho. With these men killed, it meant Israel could be defeated.

The tearing of clothes and dust upon the head is a sign of mourning: both for the 36 men and for God having forsaken them.

God wants us to be victorious; however, humans can still be defeated if we disobey God or choose evil over good. We always have a choice.

Sin can spread (1 Corinthians 5:6). It must be dealt with immediately and publicly to send a message. Especially when the sin is stealing from God himself!

Leviticus 22:1427:1527:19, and 27:31 each demonstrate that in Israel, if you wanted to keep something that belonged to God, you had to pay a 20% (one-fifth) penalty. This was the same amount required for restitution in theft (Leviticus 6:4-5).

The New Testament says giving should be regular and proportional (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), that it should be generous, purposeful, and cheerful (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). When we don’t give as God directs us, we must regard it as sin and repent of it.

What happened to ancient Israel cannot happen to us. Israel was under a covenant with God that said blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Jesus frees us from such a burden. However, if we want God to show up in our lives, we must obey Him, turn from sin, and walk in fellowship with God (1 John 1:6).

God showed mercy upon the Israelites by revealing their sin to them. They cannot act on their own power and self-reliance. God is in charge and is the power.

Was Achan’s Children Stoned?

Unlikely. They were guilty in that they probably knew Achan had stolen the goods since he buried the devoted things under his tent. However, the singular is used when referencing the person being stolen. When the plural is used, it’s probably referencing Achan’s possessions.

Once the sin was dealt with and the people’s hearts were conquered again by God, He went with the Israelites.

Theme of Joshua 7:

  • Obey God=victory
  • Disobey God=defeat

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

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Summary of Joshua 5:13-6:27:

As Joshua is preparing to take Jericho, a man holding a sword appears before him. This man identifies himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua prostrates himself, while the man tells him to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground.

Summary of Joshua 6:

The Lord spoke to Joshua and told him how to take Jericho, which had now retreated behind their city walls. The Lord tells Joshua to march around the city one time with all of his men for 6 days. Have 7 priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times, while the priests blow the trumpets. When the priests give a loud blast on the trumpet, have everyone shout and then the walls will collapse and you can just walk in and take the city.

So the people obeyed Joshua’s orders and did exactly as the Lord had commanded. On the 7th day, Joshua commands the people to shout and take the city that the Lord has given them, but to spare Rahab and all who are with her in house. He also warns the people not to take the devoted things or they will be destroyed. All the silver, gold, bronze, and iron (the devoted things) are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury.

The Israelites devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed everything and everything–every man, woman, child, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Rahab was escorted safely out of the city by the two spies whom she saved and placed into a camp near Israel’s camp. Then the whole city was burned to the ground, excepting the silver, gold, bronze, and iron, which went into the Lord’s treasury. Rahab lived amongst the Israelites all of her days.

Image result for battle of jerichoJoshua cursed the city never to be re-built. The Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread.

BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27

3) Joshua met a man with a sword in his hand who identified himself as the commander of the Lord’s army. The man is acting on the Lord’s orders to appear before Joshua. He is following a command and is therefore indifferent to whatever is happening in Joshua’s world.

4a) The Lord encourages Joshua, saying that Jericho is already his. He has delivered it into his hands along with the king and all the fighting men. Thus, Joshua’s faith and courage would be bolstered, and his trust grown deeper roots. God wants us to succeed. He is a loving God who encourages and cares for His people.

b) This is one of the most unique “battle” strategies ever. To begin with, there was no battle. The men marched around the city, blew some trumpets, the walls fell down, and Jericho was taken. The Israelites I’m sure were confused and wondering what was the purpose of this. The residents of Jericho must have thought the Israelites were insane and wondered what was wrong with them.

5a) God ordered Joshua to kill every living thing inside the walls of Jericho except Rahab and her family who were congregated inside her home because she had saved the lives of the two spies. God ordered the people killed as judgment upon them for their sins against the Lord–namely unbelief, worshipping other gods, and the so-called religious traditions they practice such as burning their sons and daughters as sacrifices to these false gods. The land was burned because even the land was defiled.

b) Personal Question. My answer: This is a perfect example of why so-called “innocent” people are killed and slaughtered.  None of us are innocent. We are all guilty of sin and deserve death. When what seems to us senseless killings (floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, or wars against each other) all serves a purpose in God’s plans for us. That’s why bad things happen to “good” people. None of us are good.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

Who doesn’t love this story? I would have loved to have been there to see such a sight, and I would have wondered what on earth these crazy people were smoking to be marching around a city and blowing trumpets. It’s such a classic tale of complete and utter trust in the Lord. Note no Israelite is killed as far as we know. The city was taken without a fight. That by itself is a miracle.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 2: Joshua 5:13-6:27:

We know that this man, standing before Joshua, was God. Although the man identifies himself as the Commander of the army of the LORD, leading some to say this may have been an angel (Revelation 12:7), angels are never worshipped (Revelation 22:8-9). Furthermore, Joshua calls the angel “My Lord” and removes his sandals like Moses did at the burning bush (Exodus 3:5).

Army of the Lord does imply that this was an army of angels.

Some Biblical scholars speculate this could have been Jesus in bodily form, which we know he existed from the very beginning, so this could be possible (Genesis 18:16-3332:24-30, and Judges 13:1-23).

The whole point of this section of Joshua 5 is to show that Joshua is obeying God whole-heartedly and submitting to God’s will and not his own. With the army of the Lord on our side, how can we lose?

Why did God appear before Joshua?

God appeared to instruct Joshua on the very important taking of Jericho and, as we’ll see, it was such an unlikely scenario that it could have only come from God. God came to make sure Joshua was completely committed to Him–a lesson for our own lives. Are you completely and totally committed to whatever God tells you to do?

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Joshua 6: The Fall of Jericho

The City of Jericho:

Before, the Israelites have only had promises from God. Now it’s time to deliver. And God starts with the hardest first. Jericho, a formidable city, might possibly mean “city of the moon god.” It was located 5 miles west of the Jordan River and 7 miles north of the Dead Sea. It’s climate is tropical and in ancient times date palm trees flourished there as well as balsam, from which medicine was extracted. Today, banana groves grow, fed from springs of water, a green oasis in the middle of the dry Jordan rift area. It’s capture was the key to the invasion of the central hill country.

In the New Testament, its location shifted south a few miles. It yielded a large revenue to the royal family and Herod the Great’s winter palace was built here. The road from Jordan to Jerusalem passed through Jericho, making it a stopping place for Galilean pilgrims to Jerusalem who traveled this way to avoid contamination by the Samaritans.

Jesus passed through Jericho on a number of occasions (Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 19:1-10; Luke Image result for city of jericho10:29-37).

Fun Fact about City of Jericho:

Archaeology supports a city at Jericho since the seventh to sixth millennia BC, which puts Jericho as one of the oldest cities known–having existed 5000 years before Abraham.

Many archaeological digs have been conducted over the years to determine if Jericho actually existed. Some scholars believe it did, but Jericho was a much smaller fort. Evidence has been eaten away by the elements. So much digging has been done that the likelihood we’ll ever know remains doubtful.

God tests their faith first by having the city fall by the most unconventional of means. It required total faith by Joshua and total faith by all of the Israelites. Again, we see how God’s people have to do something; God just doesn’t give them the city.

Normally, the ark of the covenant does not go into battle. This was so the people know God was with them.

Key Points of the Battle of Jericho:

  • Joshua acted immediately, without delay.
  • The Israelties were open to attack as they marched around the city.
  • The Israelites had to be patient and persistent as they had to march for 6 days, doing something that required absolute faith.
  • The fall takes place on the 7th day, so the Israelites would have had to march on a Sabbath. Note how God does things in 7 days, the number of spiritual perfection (Creation, sprinkling of blood on the mercy seat, etc.)
  • All the valuables are set aside for God as Jericho is the first fruits.
  • Everyone (except Rahab and her family) in Jericho is destroyed because they are in total rebellion against God.
  • Israel took what God gave: the city.

When the wall fell, were the Israelites surprised? I’m sure the people of Jericho were shocked. How often are we surprised when God fulfills His promises?

Slaughtering everyone is a harsh penalty. But the Canaanites were in spiritual disobedience and this was their judgment. God chose His people to enact the penalty. Sometimes, He does the consequences like in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25).

We know that Jericho had heard about the God of Israel (Joshua 2:8-11), but only Rahab responded. Thus, she is rewarded with her life. Scholars say Joshua was written at the time these events occurred because of the line “she [Rahab] lives among the Israelites to this day.

Joshua’s curse in Joshua 6:26 was fulfilled literally when a man attempted to rebuild the city of Jericho in the days of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).

Themes of Joshua 6 and What We Learn from the Battle of Jericho:

  • Faith: Joshua and Israel believe God’s commands
  • Obedience: Joshua and Israel follow God’s commands.
  • Courage: Joshua and Israel execute God’s commands.

All while trumpets are the weapons, not swords.

Like we saw with the 10 plagues of Egypt, God is declaring war on all of Canaan who are wicked (Deuteronomy 9:5) and had forfeited their right to the land 400 years prior (Genesis 15:16).

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

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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 3: Joshua 2:1-24

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Summary of Joshua 2:1-24:

Joshua sends out two men to spy the land especially Jericho. The king of Jericho discovers this and know the men went to the house of Rahab, the prostitute. The king’s men go to Rahab’s house to arrest the men. Rahab protects the men, lying for them, and telling the soldiers the men left her house and to go and chase them.

The soldiers leave. Rahab tells the spies that she has heard of God and what He has done for His people and that everyone in the land is afraid of the Israelites. She begs the men to show mercy to her and her family when the Israelites invade as she has shown mercy to them.

The men agreed and Rahab lowered the men out of her house, using a rope, as her house was part of the city wall. The spies tell her to tie a scarlet cord in the window so all will know to spare that home. She must bring her family inside her home and not leave to be spared and not betray them to the king. Rahab agrees.

The spies hide for three days, giving the soldiers plenty of time to search and not find them. The spies return to Joshua, reporting all that happened with Rahab and how the people are afraid of them.

BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

6a) Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho.

b)  Rahab heard about the Lord’s deeds: how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape out of Egypt and about the destruction of Sihon and Og and their two kings. By her actions (saving the men), she herself was saved by God.  That would increase her faith.

7) Personal Question. My answer:  God is faithful. He will guide you and not lead you astray. I trust He puts me where He wants me with jobs and life.

8 )  Part Personal Question. My answer: He spared her and her family when the Israelites invaded, and allowed her and her family to live amongst the Israelites even though they were Gentiles. She was rewarded a unique place in Jewish history as becoming a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ and has been held up in the Bible as an example of faith. God has rewarded me with a rich life. I often feel undeserving and that I’m not doing enough for Him and His kingdom.

Conclusions to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

I love this story. It shows how doing a good deed for others often blesses you ten fold. By saving the two men’s lives, Rahab saved her and gained a new home with the Israelites. Plus, she got to be a direct ancestor of Jesus. How cool is that! Great lesson about faith and doing the right thing.

Watch VIDEO of Book of Joshua if you didn’t yesterday.

End Notes to BSF’s Study Questions Lesson 1, Day 3: Joshua 2:1-24:

Forty years before, as the Israelites poised to take the Promised Land, the 12 spies brought back entirely different news (Numbers 13:31-33): they didn’t believe the land could be taken. Fast forward 40 years and with hand-picked reconnaissance team, these two spies come back and confidently say, Yes! The Promised Land is ours for the taking!

Theme of Joshua 2:

God honors true faith from anyone, regardless of race or religious background. Rahab, a prostitute (so someone very low on the totem pole) shows faith in God and is rewarded as Christ’s ancestor.

Image result for banks of jordan river todayRemember, the Israelites are literally standing on the banks of the Jordan River, awaiting Joshua’s command to re-take the Promised Land. He sends out spies to survey the land, not because Joshua lacks faith God will do what He says He will do, but because he’s taking action in faith by being prepared.

We aren’t told who the two spies are, but Jewish tradition – speculation, really – says they were Caleb and the High Priest Eliezer.

Joshua also shows wisdom by sending them secretly. The last spies that went out publicly turned out badly for Israel, when a majority of the spies came back with a discouraging report (Numbers 13).

Why did the spies go to a prostitute’s house? It was the perfect place to hide out.

In the culture of that day, there was a strong tradition of hospitality. If someone was a guest in your house, you had a strong duty to protect and care for them. However, Rahab went much further than the respect of cultural traditions regarding hospitality. She put her own life on the line for these men.

The Bible simply reports Rahab’s lie; it does not praise it or excuse it. Rahab’s lie is not justified, but it does show courage. Remember, she is not being held to our standards as Christians. She was a pagan in a city where morality didn’t exist and had no clue really who God was. Thus, we cannot judge her.

This surprising outburst of faith shows how God had a plan in bringing Rahab and the spies together. It is the same kind of thing we see when God supernaturally brings us to people who are believers or open to the gospel.

Rahab’s declaration that “God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” was proof of her faith. It was not strong faith, but her faith good enough to save her and her family and be remembered by Biblical writers of the day (Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25).

Note the color of the cord that ultimately saves Rahab: scarlet.  As early as the first century, commentators such as Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus, and Origen saw this scarlet cord as a symbol of the blood of Jesus.

Outcome of the Spies’ Mission to Jericho

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Banks of Jordan River Today

What was the outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho? It failed as a reconnaissance mission. The spies brought back no news of how heavily fortified the city was or how to penetrate it. Instead, all they brought back was news it could be defeated. The purpose of the mission was to encourage and fortify the people that Jericho could be taken–and that was exactly what the spies did.

The second outcome of the spies’ mission to Jericho was the salvation of Rahab and her family. God will go to great lengths to save people–to bring them to Him. Here, He saved an ancestor of Jesus.

God will save those in your life as well if you have faith and pray for them. No one is truly lost and nothing is impossible with God.

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.

BSF Study Questions Romans Lesson 30

First Day:

  1.  It’s hard to quantify what I’m learned about God.  What I can say is this:  I’ve grown deeper with Him.  I’m more grateful, more humble, more worshipful, more in-tune with Him.  I understand God a bit more and His plan for mankind.  I understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well.  I feel my prayers are better.  My listening and hearing the Holy Spirit are better.  Every part of my life is better due to this study.

Second Day:

2)  I learned I need Him more.  I’ve learned to rely on Him more.  I’ve learned to pray more.  To listen more.  To put Him first more. I’ve learned to study more.  I’ve learned His plan for my life more.

Third Day:

3)  Any time you draw near to Him He changes you.  I’m nicer, kinder, more compassionate, a bit more patient, more committed, and more desirous of Him in my life more.  I’m trying to do more things simply because they are the right thing to do and not let my selfish desires throw in the towel.

Fourth Day:

4)  I’m more appreciative, more grateful, more knowledgeable, and more dependent on Jesus.  As I become more like Jesus, I reflect more of him.  I’m trying to be more generous with my resources and time.  I’m trying to have a mind more about others rather than myself and put others before me.

Fifth Day:

5)  I believe He has put me in the perfect job (if I get it) FINALLY!  where He wants me to be where I can have the greatest impact.  I’ve started to grow this forum and with my new job I’ll be able to grow this more and do more for His kingdom than I ever could otherwise.  I believe I’m right where He wants me and that feeling is beyond words.

Sixth Day:

6)  Trust in God.  Trust in His plans.  Trust that you’re where you’re supposed to be right now in the moment and in all future moments.  Quit fighting Him and rely on Him.  God has a plan whether you acknowledge it or not.  Life is much easier if you obey, obey, obey!!