BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9

 

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Summary of Joshua 9:

Hearing of Israel’s complete destruction of Ai, the peoples West of the Jordan decide to come together and take the offensive against Israel. Yet, when the people of Gibeon heard about Joshua’s exploits of Jericho and Ai, they decided to perform a trick on the Israelites in hopes their lives would be spared.

The Gibeonites dressed as if they had been on a long journey. They packed moldy food and old wineskins. They approached Joshua at camp and asked for a treaty. Joshua attempted to discern by himself the truth, but in the end, he agreed to the treaty because he did not inquire of the Lord.

Upon learning of the deception, Joshua is forced to abide by his sworn word by the Lord, but he deemed the Gibeonites be woodcutters and water carriers their entire lives.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

12) The surrounding nations joined forces against the invading Israelites. The Gibeonites, knowing the Israelites would totally destroy them (see Deuteronomy 7:2) if conquered, decided to resort to a ruse: their idea was to trick the Israelites into making a peace treaty with them so they would survive.

13)  Joshua should have inquired of the Lord and because he swore an oath by the Lord, they had to abide by their word. God had warned the Israelites not to make treaties with the people in Exodus 34:12, 15 because their pagan ways will corrupt the Israelites. Numbers 30:2 states clearly that when you make a vow to the Lord or take an oath to obligate yourself by the pledge, you cannot break your word and must abide by the conditions you swore.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

I love how Joshua tells the good and the bad. Good means the Israelites obey the Lord and they win. Bad means they disobey the Lord and love. However, we also see that God likes to be consulted and lead us down the right path. When He’s not consulted, bad things happen and His people are taken advantage of. How often have you been in a similar situation where you didn’t ask God and someone took advantage of you?

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 2, Day 5: Joshua 9:

The Israelites were allowed to make treaties with foreign nations, just not with the Canaanites.Image result for joshua 9

How do the Gibeonites Deceive the Israelites?

  • Clever (crafty)
  • Pretended (misrepresented selves)
  • Lied
  • Gave false evidence (moldy bread and ragged clothes)

Consequences of Not Inquiring of the Lord

What did the Israelites do wrong? They did not inquire of the Lord. Consequently, they had to let the Gibeonites live and not take their land. Now, the Gibeonites were relegated to slavery; however, they often caused trouble for the people of Israel.

This shows how much trouble you can gain when you rely on your own instincts instead of on God’s.

It is a mark of godliness to hold to an oath, even when it is difficult. But he honors those who fear the LORD; he who swears to his own hurt and does not change. (Psalm 15:4)

It is quite refreshing to see the Israelites didn’t even doubt about keeping their word.

Later, King Saul broke this vow to the Gibeonites and his sin brought famine upon Israel in the days of David (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

What do We Learn from the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites’ actions were all done because they feared the Lord. Joshua 10:2 tells us that Gibeon was full of “good fighters.”
  • The Gibeonites never complain. Here we see David’s Psalm 84:10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”
  • The Gibeonites value their life over their work. The alternative was death. Which would you choose?

What do the Gibeonites and Rahab have in Common?

  •  The Gibeonites and Rahab (Joshua 2) found salvation in God.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites came to God as sinners and liars
  • Both Rahab and the Gibeonites abandoned their former lives to be counted among God’s people. Gibeon faced a backlash from its neighbors (Joshua 10:4,) and were attacked.
  •  Both Rahab and the Gibeonites found salvation through God and had a rich history.

What happened to the Gibeonites?

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle just as Joshua had commanded.
  •  Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  •  God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  •  Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25).
  •  Prophets such as Hananiah the son of Azur came from Gibeon (Jeremiah 28:1).

Themes of Joshua 9:

  1. God does great things from repentant sinners.
  2. God desperately wants us to seek Him always in everything.
  3. We keep our word no matter the consequences.
  4. We are ever vigilant for Satan’s tricks.

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.

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).