This week we tackled the themes of Conversion, Consecration, Celebration, and Commissioning in the 5th chapter of Joshua.
Opener: What is the worst job you’ve ever had? Or, what is the worst job you can imagine doing? How does it measure up to the task God gave Joshua in Chapter 5:2-7?
Just in case you would like a hip hop break down of the theme of circumcision in Scripture, check out this epic piece by rapper Timothy Brindle. Click here for the lyrics.
Opener: What, in your home, acts as a memento? Why is it special to you? What is the memory it points to and how do it represent that?
Joshua 2 - The Unlikeliness of God
Opener - What’s the longest you’ve gone “off the grid” for? What was it like when you finally made it back into civilization?
1. 40 years earlier the Israelites stood in this same place, deciding whether it was time to go in. What has changed for them between now and then?
2. Read through all of chapter 2 or the leader can recount the story to their group.
3. The Israelites were about to invade what looks like a “stronghold” city. Yet they hear a report that the hearts of the people of Jericho were melted. Where do you see signs of this in your current secular circles? Is this still happening? Are people's hearts still aware that a power beyond themselves exists?
4. Rahab seemed like an unlikely convert. She lived in a pagan culture, she lived an immoral lifestyle and to top it off she was a woman. A woman's testimony was not worth much in the Ancient Near East yet God used her testimony to encourage a nation! Are there Rahab’s in your life? Have you ever written someone off because of who they were or what they’ve done?
5. Do you see yourself as an unlikely convert or an easy convert?
6. Rahab really put herself out there. She had, in effect, just cut herself off from her background, cut herself off from her culture and would have been charged as a traitor for what she did. If God’s people would not have welcomed her in, Rahab and her family would have been dead. We can not put ourselves anywhere near her situation but yet it can be hard for us to put ourselves out there in order to follow God.
What kinds of things would we lose if we followed God radically?
Is it worth it to you to lay those things on the line for your obedience to God?
7. Rahab’s faith is also unlikely. In verse 9-11 she gives an amazing confession that not even the most optimistic Israelite could have imagined. It’s interesting to note that Rahab doesn’t give the recognition to Moses or any other human leader; rather she gives the credit to “the Lord your God who is both God in the heavens above and the earth beneath.”
How much of the credit to the blessings in your life and the lives of others do you give to human achievement, hard work and wisdom? How much do you give to God? Why is it so hard for us to see how God is at work and to give him credit for it?
8. Rahab also had a test of her faith. She was not being asked for one act of obedience but an ongoing commitment to “coming through” for the Israelites. This would culminate in the hanging of the scarlet cord in her window. What do you think was going through Rahab’s head in those days that followed? Imagine every knock on her door from that point forward.
Do you struggle with following through on the commitments you make to God? Why do we have a hard time with this? What are practical ways we could combat this from happening?
9. In light of this most unlikely of stories, let’s both pray and expect God to work.
Study Questions for Joshua 1:1-9
For some context, check out Deuteronomy 34. This is the account of the death of Moses, and the establishment of Joshua.
Read through Joshua 1:1-9
What is the task or the mission God gives to Joshua? What are the promises God makes to Joshua? And what are the commands God gives Joshua. ?
The three promises God makes to Joshua are…
God promises the people a PLACE.
What did it mean to them to have a place to call their own? What does it mean for you to have a place to belong? What are some of these places for you? What does God say his place for you is? He often talks about this place in his word as ‘his rest’.
Read Matt. 11:28. How does Jesus speak to the idea of rest? How has he actually fulfilled this promise in himself and for you?
God promises his PRESENCE AND POWER
God promises that he will never leave them and never forsake them. While they journey toward taking hold of the promised rest, God says that he is with them and that he will never leave them.
Do you have any relationships in your life where you know that the person will never leave you or forsake you? Do you long for this kind of relationship?
The promise of God’s presence in our lives is life changing. How have you experienced his presence in your life this last week? Is he still faithful today? If you haven’t tasted his presence in the last week, how do you long to experience him in the coming week? What would make the difference for you?
2 Kings 6:15-17 shows us an interesting picture of God’s presence. What made the difference in the servant’s perception of his situation? Could this be you? Another picture of this is the meditation in Psalm 77 (check it out on your own time).
God promises PROSPERITY AND SUCCESS
Pastor Jeremy said that God is in the business of transforming us daily more into his image. How does this help you define prosperity and success? Measure it against Joshua’s mission. Measure it against Matt. 28:18-20
How did Joshua and the people take hold of these promises? How do we take hold of these promises today?
Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
How do we know if we are living this out? Take a look at the driving force in your life. What pushes you into action? How do you choose what to love? How do you choose what to turn away from?
Are your thoughts shaped by the word of God?
Are your decisions shaped by the word of God?
Are your words shaped by the word of God?
Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. What are you filling your heart with?
Be Careful to do All the Law
There are dire consequences for not following God’s law. So often, our failure to do what God has commanded us to do leave us empty and dealing with brokenness.
Jesus leads us with this exact same requirement. He says this multiple times in fact. He cares about what we do. Read John 14:15. Jesus reiterates this again in Matt. 28:20. Not only are we to follow him in obedience, but we are left with the mission of teaching others to do the same.
How do you process these commandments of obedience? How do you try to live this out? How do you seek to pass it on?
Be Strong and Courageous
Pastor Jeremy said that when we are meditating on God’s word, and living in obedience, we are then free to be strong and courageous.
Yet, is it all about the things we do? What is God’s role here? How does God promise to provide for Joshua? How does Jesus promise to provide in John 14:15-21? All of these promises are given shape by the mission we are to strongly and courageously accomplish.
How do you wish you could have been stronger and more courageous this past week?
What do you think strength and courage look life for you in this coming week?
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