Encourage * Scripture * Prayer * Next Steps
Week 3 Scripture: Joshua 4:19-24, 5:13-15
In Joshua chapters 4 and 5, we see the Israelites finally realizing their potential as God’s people. They step out in obedience and faith and see God’s power in the crossing of the Jordan River. They again show obedience and faith in circumcising the next generation of males while in enemy territory, and God protects them from their enemies. Finally, they show obedience and faith in celebrating their first Passover in the Promised Land. God again blesses them, and for the first time these people taste something other than the manna and quail God had provided them on the journey.
The Importance of Remembering God (Josh. 4:19-24):
In Joshua 4, Joshua sets up a monument to the crossing of the Jordan River, and he admonished the people on the importance of remembering. Joshua emphasizes not only the importance of the signpost to God’s victory, but also the importance of passing on the meaning of the signpost to the next generation. Though faith is individual, the passing on of that faith is communal. We have a responsibility not only to remember how God has redeemed us, but also to make sure the next generation knows why that redemption is important to them. Unfortunately, the Israelites don’t heed Joshua’s instruction, and in Judges 2:10 we learn “. . . and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work he had done for Israel.”
The Blessing of Encountering God (Josh. 5:13-15):
In Joshua 5, we see the Israelites transformed. No longer are they a band of runaway slaves wandering aimlessly through the wilderness of Sinai. They are now a mighty nation set apart, a nation whose God strikes fear in their enemies. They have consecrated themselves (ch.3), stepped out in faith and obedience (ch.4), and now they have chosen to identify themselves as the people of God through the ritual of circumcision (ch.5). And, that’s when Jesus shows up.
At the end of Joshua chapter 5, Joshua is looking over that massive obstacle to claiming the Promised Land—the city of Jericho. Joshua is probably facing some of those same doubts and anxieties he has in the past. Suddenly, he encounters an armed man with his sword drawn. This is no ordinary man—this is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, a theophany. Jesus himself comes to comfort Joshua with the words, “. . . I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” No matter what obstacle you may be facing, you too can be comforted by the same words from Jesus, “Now I have come.”
Joshua Week 3 Discussion Questions:
- Read 2 Tim. 2:8-13. While the Israelites were to remember crossing the Jordan, who are we to remember? How does remembering Jesus help Paul?
- How can we pass our faith on to the next generation? What are the signposts in your life you can show to others?
- Review the steps the Israelites took to be identified as the people of God. How does this compare to how we identify ourselves as fully devoted followers of Christ?
- When’s the last time you had an encounter with God? How did he bless/comfort you?