By Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer firstname.lastname@example.org
You need a Bible, a notebook and a pen to do these devotions. Each day you will be asked to write some things down. These will help you learn and remember. They will be important for you to keep for future use and reference, and will be invaluable if you some day teach the book of Joshua.
If you want to send me your answers I would be glad to read them and offer comments or suggestions that might help you. If you don’t send them to me that is fine as well. You can write me at email@example.com. If you have any questions or prayer requests please feel free to write to me.
READ: Joshua 1:1-5
Moses had been training Joshua for years, but how do you think it felt for Joshua to finally take over? Was he excited, fearful, anxious, confident?
Make a list of all the promises God gave to Joshua. Why was each one important?
God is preparing you to take over from the previous generation. He will use you to lead His people to the next stage He has for them. What is He doing right now in your life to prepare you for that?
What should you be doing daily to be prepared when you take leadership of a family or church?
God gave Joshua many promises to hang on to as he led the people. Write down some promises from God that are helping you right now in life.
APPLICATION: Everything we have is based on God’s Word to us. It was spoken to Joshua but written to us. It is the final absolute authority for right and wrong. It contains God’s directions to us. Our world view and everything we think and do must be based on God’s Word. That means we need to feed on it more than other things like TV, computer, non Christian music, movies, etc. Which is having a stronger impact on your thinking, the Bible or the media? What can you do to make sure it is the Bible?
PRAY: Thank God for the promises He has given you. Recite them one by one and thank Him for them.
Ask Him to help prepare you for the future He has for you. Listen for Him to tell you what you should be doing now to be ready when it comes.
Thank Him for having a specific plan for your life.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: From a Bible dictionary, commentary or on line learn what you can about Joshua before he took over for Moses. Look up ‘Joshua’ and find verses from Exodus, Numbers or Deuteronomy. Write down what did God do to train him?
Memorize the last phrase of verse 5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
READ: Joshua 1:6-9
God gives Joshua at least 9 commands here, some repeated. Write them down. Which ones are repeated? How many times?
Why did God repeat these things so often? (Why do your parents repeat certain commands to you?)
If a person doesn’t have strength or courage, what can they do to get more?
What promise does God give for keeping these commands in verse 8? How does God define prosperity and success? What would it look like in your life?
God also gives a promise in order that they will be able to keep these commands. Did you notice it? It is the last phrase in the passage. Can you think of any other places the Bible promises this?
How can this promise help us keep from being weak or fearful (the opposite of strong and courageous)? Be very specific.
APPLICATION: Since God is absolute truth and His way is right, it is only fitting He command His followers in how to live. He doesn’t leave it up to us to decide. He isn’t here to take orders from us but expects us to follow Him. Clearly He is God and we are not.
PRAY: Ask God to help you live in obedience to the commands He has given you.
If there is any sin in your life, admit it to God (“confess” it) and ask Him to cleanse you.
Confess any weakness or fear you may have and ask for His strength and courage.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: What is meant by “the Book of the Law” in verse 8?
Memorize verse 9. It is a great verse to have in your mind and heart.
READ: Joshua 1:10-18
The Reubenites, Gadites and half-tribe of Manasseh already have their inheritance on the other side of the Jordan River, but are commanded to help their brother Israelites fight for their territory in the Promised Land. Why do you think they were ordered to help?
Who has gone out of their way to help you over the years?
Who does God want you to go out of your way to help? Are you doing so?
Why does God want us to serve others? What might be some reasons for that?
Why does God want Christians to help each other?
God put you in your family to serve Him by serving the people there? What do you do to serve those in your family?
How can you better serve your friends? Think of some very specific ways you can do this.
APPLICATION: We are not here to live for ourselves and try to get others to serve us. That is the world’s view. But the Biblical world view says we are here to serve and not be served. Jesus said that is why He came and He proved it by His life and death. Putting ourselves first comes naturally and easy, putting Him first is often difficult, but of the greatest importance.
PRAY: Thank God for each person, by name, that has gone out of their way to help you.
Pray for those who are trying to help at the present.
Ask him to show you any others He wants you to go out of your way to help right now.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Read Numbers 32 to better understand why the Reubenites, Gadites and half-tribe of Manasseh were living on the other side of the Jordan River and not in the promised land.
READ: Joshua 2:1-13
Rahab said she knew the Lord had given her homeland to the Jews (v. 9). How did she know that? (Use you imagination, but v. 10 may help)
If everyone was afraid of the Jews and knew God gave their land to them (v. 9) why didn’t more of them turn to the Jews, why only Rahab?
Why was Rahab willing to betray her own people?
What does it show about her that she wanted to save her whole family, not just herself?
We focus on God’s love today, and that is fine. But do you think something is missing when we leave out His power and judgment? Do you think people would respect Him more and obey Him better if there was more fear, more deep respect for God?
Can you have a God of love as well as a God of power and justice who hates and judges sin?
APPLICATION: Everyone knows about God’s power and judgment. It is shown in nature and written in our hearts. And they have the Bible account as well. Like the people in Jericho, they know God is just and they are guilty before Him. Many fear death and standing before Him. But that doesn’t cause many of them to turn from their sin and follow God. By trying to convince themselves and others that God doesn’t exist they think they can escape His judgment. But just saying He doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so – and He will one judge all who have not turned to Him.
PRAY: Ask God to help you have a proper balance in your view of Him: love as well as power and judgment of sin.
Thank Him that you are only affected by the love side of Him.
Ask Him to forgive you of taking advantages of that love and not respecting and obeying Him as you should.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Read about Rahab in Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25. What do these passages say about her (each says something different)?
READ: Joshua 2:14-24
Why did the 2 Jewish spies take the advice of Rahab when they left? What reason did they have to trust her?
What conditions did the spies set for Rahab’s family to be safe? Why did they require these things?
The spies trusted Rahab and she trusted them. It would seem stranger for her to trust her enemies and they to trust a prostitute they were about to destroy? Why did they trust each other?
Whom do you most trust? Whom do you least trust?
Are there any who distrust you? Why?
Do you trust your parents? Do your actions show it?
Do your parents trust you? Do their actions show it?
APPLICATION: The agreement between the spies and Rahab was based on mutual trust. Without trust there can be no close personal relationship between people. The same is true between God and us. Our faith is built on trusting God and His Word. We trust what He tells us. We trust His motive in all He does is love. Without trust there would be no faith. Yet God has proven Himself worthy of trust and His Word has proven itself worthy as well. Science says all truth must be verified by the senses, but Christianity is based on faith and faith alone. Yet that faith does not go against the facts, it has all truth behind it.
PRAY: Ask God to make you a trustworthy person, someone whose word is respected and believed by others.
Thank God that His Words are always true and trustworthy.
Ask Him to help you be a person that He can always depend on.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: There is some proof that one of these spies married Rahab and she became part of Israel, even the line of the Messiah (Mt 1:5). She had a son named Boaz who married another Gentile woman named Ruth. What are some of the similarities between Ruth and Rahab?
READ: Joshua 3:1-17
What does God mean when He says they are to ‘consecrate’ themselves before entering the land (v. 5)? How were they to do this?
What was the symbolism of God’s Presence in the Ark going before them (v. 6)?
This was the first real leadership decision of Joshua’s. Really it was God’s orders but Joshua passed it on to the people who evidently trusted him enough to obey. Do you obey those God has put in authority over you, knowing they are acting in the place of God in your life?
God said He is doing this to help their faith grow (v. 7). What has He done in your life to show you that He is faithful to keep His promises and to provide for you? (Take your time thinking. Make as complete a list s you can.)
APPLICATION: When Moses led the Jews through the Red Sea they stood there until God opened the waters then they walked. Not for the next generation He expects more. He doesn’t part the waters until their feet touch the water. That takes more faith. God expects each generation to have more faith than the previous for they should learn from that generation and move ahead from there. God is expecting more of you than your parents because you have been raised in the truth many of them didn’t start believing until they were older. God has given you a lot, but He holds you accountable for it as well!
PRAY: Ask God to help you learn from your parents and grow in your faith.
Thank Him for all the times He has proven His faithfulness to you. Thank Him for each one specifically.
Ask Him to help you be aware of all He does to show faithfulness to you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Read what you can about the Jordan River in an encyclopedia or on the Internet. It wasn’t a large river but the banks were steep and in flood stage it could be very, very dangerous. Read what you can about the Jordan in flood stage.
READ: Joshua 4:1-13
THINK ABOUT: Why did God want them to put rocks in the Jordan River (v. 6-7)?
How would this help the children remember and learn from this event?
Does your church or family have any meaningful spiritual traditions that help keep faith strong? What are they?
Is there something you could do to be a memorial to something God has done in your life? Perhaps hanging up a hand-written Bible verse, putting a photograph of a special event on your desk or some other object may help. See what you can come up with.
APPLICATION: The Bible is a written memorial of God’s faithful dealings with mankind in the past. In fact, all history is “His story.” Those who learn from history move ahead, those who don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. History is foundational to wisdom for there are many lessons we can learn from the past.
PRAY: Ask God to help you think of a way you can make a memorial to something special He has done for you.
Thank Him for all those special events in your past that have been milestones in your spiritual life.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: A good way for you to keep a memorial of the good things God does for you is to write them down. Keep a list of answered prayers or write a spiritual journal each day about what God is doing in your life. Faith for the future is based on remembering God’s faithful dealings with us in the past. Start it now and faithfully keep adding to it.
READ: Joshua 4:14-24
THINK ABOUT: How do you think the priests felt when their feet touched the water and it opened? If it wouldn’t have they would have drowned. That was a real act of faith on their part.
When have you had to use the most faith ever? Can you think of a time that stands out as a time you really needed a lot of faith in God? What happened?
How do you think the people felt when they saw the water open and they could walk across on dry ground? How did they feel when the water came back together again and they were safe?
What is the greatest example of faith you have seen in your life? It can be a one time event or faith spread out over many years.
APPLICATION: Because Joshua obeyed God’s strange instructions that the river would stop flowing when the priests feet touched the water God caused the people to respect and honor him. If a leader is not respected the people won’t follow. But the only real way to have respect is to follow and obey God. A good leader does what is right and best for the people, not just what is easy and popular so they will like him. A leader speaks truth, not just what the people want to hear. Being a leader is about serving others, not having others serve you. Unfortunately there are few good role models of leaders today.
PRAY: Ask God to help your faith grow and increase.
Thank Him for opportunities to trust Him. Ask Him to make sure you are aware when they come. Every opportunity to fear, panic or sin is also an opportunity to trust.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the Jewish calendar in a reference book or on line. Get an idea of the timing of some of these events. If it is important enough to be recorded in the Bible forever it is important enough for us to understand. See 4:19
READ: Joshua 5:1-8
THINK ABOUT: Why didn’t the parents who came out of Egypt circumcise their sons?
Why did God demand this be done before they could move into the land He gave them?
Why were the people willing to obey?
What is the equivalent for us today, a sign God has given to show that we have committed ourselves to Him?
Have you been baptized by immersion since salvation? What do you remember about it? If you haven’t been and are a believer it is something God wants you to do in order for you to move ahead in your relationship with Him.
APPLICATION: God expects, no He demands obedience to His commands. They don’t become out of date or old fashioned. What He says in His Word for us is true. We have baptism as a sign of our spiritual birth into God’s family while they had circumcision as a sign of physical birth into the nation of Israel. But the truth remains: what God demands doesn’t change over the years. His word is always true and always applicable. Some try to ‘modernize’ the Bible and do away with a lot of God’s commands but the Bible warns about tampering with what God wrote (Revelation 22:18-19).
PRAY: Ask God to show you if there is anything He has commanded that you aren’t doing.
Do you know of anything in your life that isn’t totally in line with God’s plan and will? If so confess it and turn from it.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: god instituted circumcision among the Jews in Genesis 17:1-14, 23-27. Read those verses and see what you can learn about circumcision from it. Look on line to find out the health benefits of circumcision as well.
READ: Joshua 5:9-12
THINK ABOUT: Evidently the Jews had stopped celebrating the Passover as well. What was the Passover? (If you aren’t sure read Exodus 12.)
Why did they stop celebrating in the desert?
Do you have a hard time praising God when you are facing problems and difficulties?
Should that be reason to stop praising Him?
APPLICATION: What happens to your praise and worship when you are in sin? Why? That’s what happened to them as well. The sad part was that they neglected to pass these important truths on to their children. When one generation is in sin, that impacts generation after generation. Can you see that pattern in America? Each generation turns a bit further from God. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill gathering momentum as it goes.
PRAY: Spend some time praising and worshipping God right now, no matter what is going on in your life.
Is there anything you used to do in your relationship with God that you stopped doing? Ask god to forgive you and to help you start doing it again.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Check the Jewish calendar you found. This is now the 14th day of the 10th month. Approximately when is that in our calendar?
Also look up Gilgal on a map and find its location in relationship to Jericho. How far away is it?
READ: Joshua 5:13 – 6:5
THINK ABOUT: This was the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus before His birth. List as many other times as you can think of when God appeared to man in the Old Testament. Remember it was Jesus each time!
Why did Joshua have to take off his sandals?
Why did God pick such strange instructions to give? Why not something easier and that made more sense?
How do you respond when God leads you in a way that seems strange or not right? Do you trust and obey, or try to do things as they seem best to you?
APPLICATION: The Man does not say He is on the Jews side. It’s not a matter of getting God on our side but of us being on God’s side. When someone asked Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War if he thought God was on their side, he replied that all he was concerned about was being on God’s side. He does come to help the Jews, but not because He is their servant committed to making their life easier, as we in America some times think of God. He is on HIS side and we must forget about trying to get Him on our side but to make sure we are on His side!
PRAY: When we pray we come into God’s very presence the same as Joshua did. It is important we come in respect and awe, understand the great privilege of speaking to Him. Don’t come flippantly or only half paying attention to what you are saying – you are in the presence of the God of the universe! Spend some time falling before Him for you truly are on holy ground!
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up ‘theophany” in a theology book or on line. It is the study of the appearances of God to man in the Old Testament. Write a list of each time this has happened. Do you see a pattern to it?
READ: Joshua 6:6-21
THINK ABOUT: There must have seemed like very strange instructions to the people but they followed. Can you think of a time when obeying God didn’t seem to make sense to you? How did it turn out?
At first they must have seemed foolish to the people watching from Jericho. How do you handle it when others think you are foolish for living your faith?
What if they would have just waited until the seventh day and then walked seven times? Would the walls have fallen down? What lesson do we learn from this?
Is there anything in your life now about which you are having a hard time obeying God? What can you learn from this passage to help you?
APPLICATION: When God said they must avoid the ‘devoted things’ (v. 18) He was referring to their idols and that which had been dedicated to their pagan gods. Demons claim those things and will attack any who possess them. Always God says they are to be destroyed. Also they would be a temptation for the Jews to worship instead of God. Clearly there are two world powers: God and Satan. God is greater by far (I John 4:4). Man today denies any supernatural power so He doesn’t avail Himself of the benefits of following God but he also unknowingly opens himself up to demonic powers.
PRAY: Ask God to help you faithfully obey Him in everything, even when you don’t understand and even when you feel foolish.
Thank Him and praise Him that He is the greatest power in the universe and He loves you and wants the best for you.
Pray for friends who may not be obeying Him 100%, that they would do so without having to learn the hard way that His way is always right.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the significance of numbers in the Bible. What does the number seven stand for? Why is it used so many times here? What is God saying by this?
READ: Joshua 6:22-27
THINK ABOUT: Why would God show such mercy to a Gentile prostitute and her family?
What did she do to deserve it? God could have protected the spies without her help.
She deserved death as much as any of the others but God had mercy on her. What does this show about God?
Name several specific ways God has shown grace to you and your family.
APPLICATION: God is a God of judgment against those who oppose Him but of mercy to those who turn to Him. Both these are true. We cannot emphasize one aspect of God’s character more than the other. His judgments makes His mercy all the more special. His mercy makes His judgment unnecessary for there is a way out. All are accountable to God, but most try to deny that today. They reject Him as judge, although that doesn’t change the truth that He is their judge. They also reject His mercy because their pride keeps them from humbly asking Him for it. But God is both judge and merciful Savior.
Note, too, God’s mercy extended not just to Rahab but to her family for her sake. God deals with the families of believers in a special way by showing them mercy in this life because of the believer (I Corinthians 7:14). Their eternal destiny is still in their hands depending on if they turn to God for salvation or not, but He lets the benefits He gives His children overflow to them for the believers sake. That is going the extra mile to show mercy!
PRAY: Thank God for the times He has shown mercy to you.
Thank God for being a God of justice and judgment as well. How could a just God overlook sin?
Pray for those in your family who aren’t believers, that their eyes would be open to the truth of God’s saving grace.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the word ‘Jericho’ in a concordance and see what happened in the future. The prophecy in verse 26 was literally fulfilled. Find the passage that tells about this. Why would someone do such a thing and risk his own sons that way? And when the first died, why didn’t he stop?
READ: Joshua 7:1-26
THINK ABOUT: What was Achan’s sin?
Why did he do it? Did he think God didn’t mean what He said, or that he was an exception?
Why do you knowingly disobey God? Don’t you think He means what He says or do you think you are an exception?
Why did Achan’s whole family suffer as well?
What lesson was God trying to teach His people?
What lesson does that have for us today?
APPLICATION: The principle that the whole family is blessed for the sake of the believer (yesterday’s devotional) is seen in reverse where the consequences of sin by one person affect the rest of the family as well. We know many times a person who is demonized is so affected because an ancestor let demons into his life and therefore into his family line. We aren’t punished for our parent’s sins, but we aren’t immune from the consequences spilling to the entire family. Many a godly wife suffers for her husbands sins. An important world view principle is that sin brings consequences. God offers forgiveness and mercy to those who repent because He Himself took the consequence on the cross. But if we don’t accept that gift we are under the consequences ourselves in this life. We won’t lose our salvation, but certainly our joy and peace.
PRAY: If there is ANY sin in your life now please confess it (admit it is sin) and turn from it. Do not presume on God’s mercy or take advantage of His love. He doesn’t want you to fear Him but to respect His power and appreciate the high price He paid to remove your sin.
Pray for any in your family or among your friends who have sin in their life. Ask god to show you what you can do to reach out and gently warn them.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: There have been numerous people in the Bible who died prematurely as a consequence of sin: Moses, Saul, Ananias & Sapphira, many believers in Corinth. These are believers who still went to heaven, but were removed prematurely. Why would God do a thing? How does even this show His grace? Why was it done for each of those I mentioned above?
READ: Joshua 8:1-29
THINK ABOUT: Why were the Jew able to win this time when last time they were defeated by Ai? What made the difference?
How can you know that God approves of all you do?
Could some of the defeats in your life be because you have sin or disobedience in your life?
Perhaps Ai got overconfident because of their easy victory over the Jews the day before. They assumed they were stronger than they were. But they were certainly no match for God!
It there an area of your life where you rely on yourself and are confident you can handle, so you don’t turn to God for help and guidance in that area as much as you should?
APPLICATION: Clearly God gets involved in the affairs of men. He is not some absentee landlord, someone who wound up the clock of the universe and now sets back and lets it run. He is involved in the every day life of people and nations. He allows men a free will and doesn’t force them against that choice, but even so He is in charge of everything that happens. He has a plan and purpose for it all and uses it for ultimate good (Romans 8:28).
PRAY: Ask God to show you anything in your life that may not be exactly as He wants. Listen to what He may tell you. If He convicts you of anything confess and remove it.
Make sure there is no area of you life that you keep separate from Him because you think you can handle it OK without His help.
Ask God to make sure all your family does is pleasing to Him and to show your family any area where they need to change.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Find Ai on a map. How far from Jericho is it? Try to learn something about the climate and terrain in that part of Palestine.
READ: Joshua 8:30-35
THINK ABOUT: Why did the people build an altar there and offer sacrifices?
Why did God want them to do that?
Why does He want us to worship Him? (think carefully before answering)
It must have taken quite a while to read all this from God’s Word but the people stood in respect and listened. Why was it important for them to be reminded of God’s requirements?
God made sure the women, children and foreigners also heard it. Why the children? Wasn’t there plenty of time later for them to learn and follow?
Do you ever believe Satan’s lie that because of your youth it doesn’t really matter yet if you study the Bible or how you live? One of Satan’s most successful temptations is to tell us to wait until later.
APPLICATION: How much time a day do you spend reading the Bible? How much better do you know it than last year? If you truly believe it is God’s Word and has the directions for life you should want to read it. If you are God’s child you’ll have an appetite for spiritual nourishment. The Bible is our source of truth, absolute truth, so we must constantly be refreshed in it. It must be foremost in our minds. It is God’s revelation to us and a privilege for us to have.
PRAY: Spend some good quality time now ‘building an altar and sacrificing to God.’ It is our hearts and love He wants so give that to Him. Don’t rush. Take your time to enjoy His presence. He craves our time and attention, don’t be too busy to give it to Him.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up information about Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. Where were they? How do they fit into Jewish history at other times? What was the terrain like? Why do you think God chose them for this event?
READ: Joshua 9:1-27
THINK ABOUT: What did the Gibeonites do to deceive Joshua and the Jews?
Why did they do it?
What did Joshua do that was wrong?
What happens when we don’t take a decision to God, even one that seems easy to make without His help.
Can you think of a time when you made a quick decision that seemed clear at the time but later discovered it was wrong? What have you learned from that experience?
APPLICATION: God wants and needs to be involved in every part of our lives, large and small. Joshua thought this was an easy decision based on the facts so he made an exception to God’s command without asking God first. There will be severe consequences, but even those God will use for good. He wants to share every part of our life. Sometimes the ‘little things’ that don’t seem important or hard are where we first go astray. God isn’t just there to bail us out when things get bad, He is there is help us in all things and to be with us every moment of our lives.
PRAY: Ask God to show you if there is any way you are leaving Him out of decisions you make.
Think through your life and commit to Him all areas and all choices, don’t assume anything is so easy you don’t need to ask for His help.
Ask God to make clear to you the lies and deceptions Satan uses to defeat you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Take some time for serious thought. Write down some of the lies and deceptions Satan uses to mislead you. Don’t think there aren’t any – there are more than we realize. Ask God to show you. Keep your list and add to it throughout the days ahead. It is very helpful and crucial to know where we are being deceived!
READ: Joshua 10:1-15
THINK ABOUT: What did God first do to help the Jews have victory?
What else did Joshua ask God to do so they would have light to win the battle?
How did God turn around Joshua’s mistake in partnering with the Gibeonites to use it for good?
Think carefully and write down some times in your life and your families lives when God used something for good (Romans 8:28 in operation).
How do you think the Jews felt when God performed these miracles on their behalf?
How do you think the enemy kings and soldiers felt when this happened?
What recent miracles have you seen in your life or heard about from someone else? How do they affect you?
APPLICATION: God is in control of His universe and He can and does alter its laws from time to time. He is sovereign over it so He can use it for His purpose. Secular world views say nature never changes and it is an absolute we can count on. They say things have never changed in the past and never will in the future. But the flood certainly changed things in the past, and creation instantly bringing things with the appearance of age impacted that as well. The future change we look for is when Jesus comes back, sin is removed and everything is changed to Garden of Eden conditions. Of course God is greater than the laws of nature – He created them and He keeps them going. It is nothing for Him to make a temporary alteration here and there. Jesus did it all the time!
PRAY: Thank God for Romans 8:28 and the promise in it. Thank Him for times He has used this in your life and in your family.
Thank Him for all the behind-the-scenes miracles He does that you aren’t aware of.
Thank Him for all the bad things that could have happened to you or your family but which He prevented, things you aren’t even aware of.
If there is anywhere in your life you need a miracle now, ask Him for it!
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the definition of a miracle. Make a list of as many Old Testament miracles as you can. Can you see any certain times in Jewish history when miracles were more common? Why might this be?
READ: Joshua 10:16-28
THINK ABOUT: It seems harsh to have all these people killed, but that was their doing not God’s. They didn’t repent and ask for mercy. Instead they attacked God and His people. They suffered the consequences of their sin. Many times today people only think of God and use His name when things go wrong in their life. They blame Him for suffering but ignore Him the rest of the time. We can’t do that now, and we can’t do that when we read the book of Joshua.
Instead we must be aware that EVERYONE deserves judgment. We can’t ask why God judges some, we must ask why He doesn’t judge everyone. It’s not that some suffer the consequences of their sins that should amaze us, its that some don’t! And we are in the group that doesn’t. Think about that.
APPLICATION: God is fair and just. It may seem He is cruel in having all the people of Palestine killed so the Jews can enter, but He is not. Many years before He said it was not yet tie to give the land to the Jews because “the iniquite of the Ammorites was not yet full” (Genesis 15:16). God gave them more time to repent, but when their civilization passed the point where He knew they would not repent and return He removed them and gave their land to the Jews. This has happened many times throughout history, including in the past in America. God is never cruel or harsh, He is infinitely patient. He waited 1,000 years after warning the people before sending the flood. He is withholding judgment on the world today. But one day His patience ends and it is time for justice and judgment. He would not be a fair and just God if He did not ultimately judge sin. He cannot overlook it and let it go on forever. God is not on trial here. We do not sit in judgment on His, deciding if He does right. He is the King of the Universe. All He does is right. It we don’t understand that is our lack, not His.
PRAY: Thank God that He is righteous and just, and that He will judge sin.
Thank Him for having judged your sin on the cross. Thank Him for showing you mercy and not the judgment you deserve.
Pray for those you know who are under His judgment, pray they would clearly see their need of Him and humble themselves before Him asking for His mercy.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Try to trace the events in Joshua 9 and 10 on a map. It will make it all more understandable and memorable for you.
READ: Joshua 10:29-43
THINK ABOUT: Why did God make the Jews fight all these battles? Why not just destroy the nations He wanted destroyed Himself? He could have done some miracles and saved them all that fighting, why didn’t He?
What did God want the Jews to learn by having to do the fighting themselves? There are several things so take your time and think this through thoroughly.
Why does God let us face difficulties today when He could easily remove them before they got to us?
What is He trying to teach us?
What is He trying to teach you right now by the things you face in life?
APPLICATION: God promises to fight for us and to give us victory, but He doesn’t excuse His people from learning how to use their weapons and fight. We are not exempt from the battles of life. We spoil our children if we do everything for them, and our heavenly Father doesn’t want His children spoiled. It is a foundational truth in our Biblical world view that we must fight for victory, we must battle the world, the flesh and Satan every day. The sooner and the better we learn to use the weapons of prayer and power He has given us the better we will be at achieving victory. We must become skilled soldiers, and that take practice. Never run from the battle, and don’t be surprised when life seems like one battle after another. That’s how it will be until we reach heaven. Even the Jews only had a temporary respite from battle, there were more to come. And when this generation dies the next had battles to fight and then the next and the one after that. Onward Christian Soldiers is a song we should be very familiar with!
PRAY: Ask God to help you win the battles you are facing. Ask Him for courage and perseverance. Ask His forgiveness for complaining, trying to avoid the conflicts and looking for easy way outs.
Read Ephesians 6:10-20 and pray through each piece of armor, asking God to cover you with these and help you learn to use them. You should do this first thing every morning for the rest of your life!
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Study Ephesians 6:10-20 to see specifically what each piece of equipment refers to. You can look online, read a commentary, or read the section describing these in my spiritual warfare handbook on my church website.
READ: Joshua 11:1-15
THINK ABOUT: While Joshua and the Jews were fighting each tribe individually in the south, the tribes in the north realized they needed to band together if they were to have a chance to defeat the Jews. It was good strategy but did it work?
Why didn’t it work?
How do you feel when people gang up on you and outnumber you, trying to pressure you to agree with them?
What do you usually do? What should you do? Remember, one with God is always the majority.
APPLICATION: Somehow men continue to think that the majority rules. If the most say something, it must be true and it becomes the truth. The majority is never greater than God, in war in Joshua’s time or in moral decisions today. God is always the majority, no number gathered against Him can defeat Him. Men love to hide in numbers but each one who has not turned to Him for salvation will stand alone before God to give an account and hear His judgment. Just because it may seem like Christians today are outnumbered does not mean we are wrong. For God is always the majority, He is always right. Don’t let large numbers or strong public opinion sway you. Error is still error, if believed by one or one hundred billion.
PRAY: Confess any time you gave in because you were outnumbered and pressured.
Ask God to help you devise a plan about what to do whenever that happens. What should you do?
Pray for friends who give in to the group, that they would be strong.
Commit yourself to help them. Ask God what you can do starting today to help them stand.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Read Revelation 19:11-21. It tells about a time in the future when all nations of the earth will gather to oppose Jesus as He returns to destroy them and take their land.
What makes this personal for us is that we will be with Him when this happens! Meditate on this and thank Him for His power and might.
READ: Joshua 11:16-23
THINK ABOUT: God had promised all this land to Abraham for his descendents. At the time it seemed impossible, but God always keeps His promises. It may not happen as quickly as we’d like, but it does happen.
Write down some of your favorite Bible promises. Think of times you used each one.
Which promise do you need for what you are now facing in life?
Are you patiently waiting, persevering (Heb 12:1-2)? What is the hardest part about waiting for you?
APPLICATION: Our whole Christian faith is based on trusting God’s Word. If it is true all we believe is true, if it is not then we have no foundation to stand on. Ours is a relationship based on faith. But God has proven Himself faithful and trustworthy. We have the whole Bible as well as 6,000 years of history to show that up to this point God has been faithful and true and He has kept His promises. He always will. Not one promise will be broken. Our faith rests, not on some far-off wish, but on the solid truth of His proved Word. It alone will stand when all else fails.
PRAY: Quote as many Bible promises as you can, one by one, saying them slowly and thinking about every word. After each promise thank God for it and think how you many use it in life. His promises are only for this life on earth so use them now, don’t save them for eternity for they won’t be needed then. Use them now, you won’t use them up!
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Read these passages where God promised the land to Abraham and His descendants: Genesis 13:16; 17:5-6; 26:4; 28:14. Why did God repeat it so many times? And what about the ‘forever’ part? Does that mean this land will one day return to Israel, despite what the Arabs are trying to do? Will God keep these promises in the future as well? What are the implications from that for us today?
READ: Joshua 12:1-24
THINK ABOUT: Why would the Jews keep a record of all the kings and nations they defeated?
What is the advantage of having a record of all the times God has given a person victory?
Get a paper and pencil now and start writing down each time God helped you have victory over a fear, temptation, discouragement, attack by someone, laziness or self centeredness, etc. Keep this list always and add to it as you think of new things. Take time to do this for it will be something that will benefit you for your whole life.
APPLICATION: The Bible tells us that God keeps records in heaven of all we say and do. He especially records all our victories, large and small. He doesn’t miss one. He will show us the list when we get to heaven and will bless and reward us abundantly for every one. Our Biblical world view assures us this life isn’t all there is and that all we do for God now will be remembered and rewarded for eternity. The challenges we face are just opportunities to trust and add another victory to our list. They aren’t to be dreaded or avoided but seen as opportunities to trust.
PRAY: Go back over your list and thank God for every victory, one by one.
Ask Him to help you add to your list today, especially to be aware of the ‘little’ things that we may overlook and let defeat us.
Pray for each one in your family by name, asking that this would be a day of faithfulness and victories for them as well.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Do a study of rewards for the Christian. Look up ‘rewards’ for the Christian in heaven in a Bible program or on line. Make a list of the various crowns mentioned and what they are for. This will be an enjoyable study and a blessed time with God.
READ: Joshua 13:1-7, skim Joshua 13:8 – 19:51
THINK ABOUT: As we said before, God left some there for ongoing warfare for this generation of Jews and their children. The battle never ends as long as we are on this earth.
Why does God go into so much detail about dividing the land and which family got what place?
What does this show us about God?
God does reward His people for their faithfulness in battle. What do you most look forward to in heaven?
All nature teaches us that God is organized. These chapters show that as well. Why is He organized? What if He were not?
Are you organized enough to be efficient and effective with the time and resources He has given you? Is there a place you need to improve? Where? What can you do to improve?
How does it make you feel that God remembers you and provides for you just as He did for the people in these chapters?
APPLICATION: God cares about individually, not just the mass of people. We are all special individually to Him. He knows each of us by name. He records our victories and will personally reward us in heaven. He has a personally tailored plan for each of us in this life, unique to the special gifts and opportunities He has given each one of us. He knows us by name, even planning us before the creation of the world. He knew all about us before we were born. God is all about individuals. He is not the God of the masses, He is the God of individuals. We each are important to Him. That’s hard to take in, but its true!
PRAY: Thank God for loving you personally, planning everything for you, and creating you to be the person He made you to be.
Ask God to help you in any areas where you need to be more organized to be more effective.
Thank Him for each gift He has given you: each person in your life, each character trait, each skill and talent.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Most Bibles have maps in the back showing the division of land as given here. They are also on line. Spend some time looking at the map. What strikes you? What do you notices about the divisions of the land?
READ: Joshua 20:1-9
THINK ABOUT: Why did God provide cities of refuge for the people?
What does this show about God?
What are places of refuge for His people today?
Where do you go when in need of protection, encouragement and help?
Can others come to you and find refuge from their trials?
How important do you think these cities were to those who accidentally committed a crime?
APPLICATION: God is not looking for ways to punish man and make life hard. He is looking for just the opposite. He is willing to provide mercy and grace. He gives those who need it a refuge. His love and compassion motivates Him to reach out to man in any way possible. Sometimes it is said that God is not fair – but He is more than fair! If He were fair Jesus wouldn’t have died and we’d be in hell right now! He provides many ways for may to avoid judgment, but He doesn’t force anyone. He makes the place or way available, but it is up to each person to avail themselves of that or not.
PRAY: Can you think of anyone now who is in need of a safe refuge? Pray for them and for God to provide that. Ask God if there is anything you can do to help.
Thank God for all the times you needed to run to Him for refuge and safety. Thank Him that He was always there and never turned you away.
Do you need to come to Him for help or refuge from anything in life right now? If so do so now.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: The same map that had the division of the land should show the cities of refuge as well. See how many of them you can fine. How are they spread out?
READ: Joshua 21:1-45
THINK ABOUT: Instead of giving the Levites one section of land He spread them out throughout the people everywhere. They were to teach God’s word, counsel, arbitrate disputes, minister to and serve the people. In order to do this the people contributed to their financial support and provision. Why did the people need Levites living everywhere among them?
This is another way God provided for His people. Today He places among us pastors, teachers, counselors and others who minister to His people.
In Joshua’s day one had to be born a Levite to carry on that function, today He calls some to these positions from among His people. Has God been calling you to serve Him in a special way? Would you be willing to do so if He were?
APPLICATION: While all Christians are equal before God, His plan is that some are chosen and gifted in ways to lead His people. He is the Shepherd, but He has many assistant shepherds who represent and serve Him. It is a great honor and privilege to be called to these positions, but it is also a great responsibility. Giving gifted men and women to the church to minister on His behalf is another of His many benefits. It shows His organization and also His love and concern for His people.
PRAY: Thank God by name for each pastor, teacher, counselor of worker God has placed in your life.
Pray for them by name, that God would continue to bless them and use them for His glory.
Tell God you are available to serve Him in any way He wants. Listen as He speaks to your heart in this matter.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Make a list of those who have helped you in your spiritual growth throughout the years. Call, write, visit or email each one thanking them for their faithfulness and how it has helped your life.
READ: Joshua 22:1-34
THINK ABOUT: Write down the 6 commands given to the people in verse 5. Rewrite each one in your own words.
Write a couple examples for how each one can be carried out today by you.
Which do you have the easiest time obeying?
Which is the hardest for you to keep? Why? What can you do today to do better in that area?
APPLICATION: Other world views focus on ‘me’ and what makes me happy, but the Biblical world view focuses on God and servicing Him (verse 5). God knows that our inner needs are best met not by trying to focus on them but by serving and following God. It’s only as we put Him and others first that we find what we are really looking for. Trying to meet our own needs our way, as the world teaches, is like drinking salt water. The thirst just grows greater.
PRAY: Pray about which of the areas mentioned in verse 5 is hardest for you. Confess your shortcomings.
Ask God to help you move ahead in that areas today.
If there is any area where you are trying to meet your own needs, where you are putting yourself first, confess it as sin and allow God to meet that need in you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: On the map of the 12 tribes find where Ruben, Gad and Manasseh were located on the east of the Jordan. Find also Shiloh and Gilead. Why were these lands so large for these tribes?
READ: Joshua 23:1-11
THINK ABOUT: List all the things Joshua says God did for the Jews in his lifetime.
Joshua concludes this section with an application: “so be very careful to” (v. 11). We would expect him to tell them to obey God (as he did in verse 6) but instead he says to LOVE God? Why do you think He says love instead of obey in v 11?
What is the relationship between loving and obeying God?
Can one love God but not obey Him? Can one obey God but not love Him? Which does He prefer? Which do you do?
APPLICATION: God often tells His people to ‘remember’ what God did for them in the past. Writing things down, keeping a journal and/or a record of answered prayer or in some way remembering what God has done is an important way to keep our faith strong as we face present obstacles. It’s a good way to thank and praise God as well. Our Biblical world view says God is loving and in charge of everything, and remembering what He has done in the past is a good way to keep our faith strong.
PRAY: Thank God for all the things He has done for you in the past. Be specific and try to list as many as you can. Writing them down for future reference which you pray is a good idea.
Spend some time letting God know you love Him. Share your inner thoughts, worship Him, think of all the good He has done for you. Meditate on Who and what God really is and what He means to you. Where would you be without Him?
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Joshua uses several names for God. Look up the meaning of the name ‘God,’; ‘Lord,’ and ‘LORD,’ What is the difference between them? Give some examples of when you would use each one when referring to God?
READ: Joshua 23:12-16
THINK ABOUT: Galatians 6:7 says we reap what we sow. That is what Joshua is warning the people about. Do you think most people believe this, or do they think they will eventually get away with things that aren’t right?
Do you think you can get away with things and take your sin lightly?
Where are you most apt to take advantage of God’s grace?
Deuteronomy 6:16 says we are not to “test the Lord” by sinning and putting God in a position where His righteousness says we need to be judged. When do you presume on God, that He won’t judge you even though you deserve it?
APPLICATION: Joshua has shown how God kept all His promises to bless them. But he also points out that God is just as faithful to keep His promises to have them suffer the consequences of their sin if they don’t love and obey Him. We like to think of God keeping His promises to bless us, but don’t think so much of His promises to curse us if we disobey! Fortunately we are under grace today and Jesus has taken our cursing on Himself on the cross. Still, it’s a fundamental part of God’s character that He keeps His Word when it comes to judging sin. For us Jesus took that judgment. But we must still respect God as One who keeps His Word and does judge sin. The promise is true that in the future all sin will be judged. It may seem people get away with sin but one day it will all come back on them. God keeps His promises to judge sin as well.
PRAY: Ask God to convict you whenever you are about to ‘test’ Him by taking advantage of His grace and mercy.
Thank Him for all the times He has withheld deserved judgment on your for presumptions sin.
Pray for any of your friends who may be taking advantage of Him and living in known sin.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the offerings and sacrifices that God required the Jews to make to Him. Pay particular attention to what each one is for. Note that there is NO sacrifice or offering that covers known sin. They are only for accidental sin, sin the person wasn’t aware they were committing until later. That shows how strongly God feels about those who sin knowing they are sinning.
READ: Joshua 24:1-13
THINK ABOUT: God is again reminding the people that all they have comes from Him and without Him they would have nothing. What can you take credit for in your life?
If God would 100% withdraw His presence and help in all areas of you life, what would be left? How would your life be? Everything else He gets credit for!
APPLICATION: God has a plan and purpose for each person and nation. It may seem like the world is out of control, but these verses show that God is in control of everything and that it all ended up just as He wanted. Man’s sins and failures didn’t change God’s will being done. Nothing can interfere with that. Romans 8:28 says that God uses anything and everything for His good. That is certainly true in the Jews from Abraham to Joshua. They were mainly faithless but He is always faithful.
PRAY: Thank God for His faithfulness in your life.
Thank Him for the difference He makes in your life.
Pray for friends and family members who don’t know them. Pray for them by name.
Ask God what you can do to help reach these pople. Remember to pray for them regularly.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the name ‘Joshua’ and its meaning. In Hebrew it means the same as ‘Jesus’ in Greek. So Jesus was named after Joshua. What was similar about their lives? One delivered from physical bondage, the other from spiritual bondage. How was Joshua like Jesus?
READ: Joshua 24:14-27
THINK ABOUT: Read Joshua’s statement of faith in verse 15. Has you committed to serving the Lord?
Has your household, your family unit, committed to serving God as well?
Joshua uses the term “serve God” many times in these verses. Just exactly what does it mean to ‘serve’ God? Try to write a short but precise definition of ‘serve.’
Give some examples from your daily life of things that serve God.
Give some examples of things you do that aren’t serving God.
Joshua warns the people about serving idols – what are some of the idols you are tempted to put before God in your life?
APPLICATION: God warns the Jews against serving idols. The Bible says God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deut 4:24). He does not want to share our attention with anything. That is for His sake as well as our sake. God deserves and demands first place in our lives. He gave us first place when He went to the cross for us. For our benefit He doesn’t want us to put anything before Him for only He can meet our innermost needs. Today many have ‘idols’ they put before God: material possessions, relationships and other people, self (pride, status, power), etc.
PRAY: Ask God to help you today in all you do to serve God and Him only.
Think for a few minutes about what you can do to serve Him today. Write it down so you don’t forget.
Ask God to show you if there are any idols in your life – anything that you put before Him and aren’t willing to give up for Him. Confess them as sin and ask God to help you turn from them.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up ‘idols in Canaan and learn you can about what the others there worshipped. These became tempting to the Jews. What in them can you find that might have attracted the Jews?
READ: Joshua 24:28-33
THINK ABOUT: Joshua and Eleazar the high priest died. They are buried with Joseph’s bones. How would you evaluate Joshua’s life?
If you had to write an obituary about Joshua, what would you put down as his accomplishments?
When it is time for your obituary to be written, what are some of the good things you would like to have others say about you?
What can you e doing now to assure that these things will be true of you?
If your life would continue until you die exactly as you are living it now, would you be satisfied? If not, what can you do now to change?
APPLICATION: Its easy to think we will live forever when we are young, but each older person also felt that way in their youth. Life does go quickly and we only have one life to live. That’s why it is important to make our lives count for something outside ourselves and something more important than ourselves. God made us to seek significance and purpose. We aren’t just animals who are here to meet our needs and find momentary pleasure, we are created to last a lifetime. We are created to live for something far beyond our own self indulgence. We each are given an allotted amount of time on earth – are you investing your life for eternity or living it for you?
PRAY: Ask God to make sure your life is being lived the way He wants it lived.
Thank God that He has a plan for your life.
Only He knows when and how you will die, thank Him for the time He will give you until then and ask Him to help you use it for His glory.
FOR FURTHER STUDY: Look up the name ‘Joshua’ in a Bible dictionary. What verses refer to him after the book of Joshua? Why is he referred to? What example is he used as?
If you have completed this study please let me know. I would enjoy knowing what your thought of it, what you learned, and what I can do to improve it. Thanks and may God continue to bless you as you serve Him. Jerry Schmoyer firstname.lastname@example.org