Sunday, July 17th, 2016
The book of Joshua records the culmination of Israel’s journey to the Promised Land. Here we see God fulfill His promise to give the land of Canaan to Jacob’s descendants. Joshua portrays the Lord as their general, the One who would lead His people in victorious battle if they would trust and obey.
God is the ultimate promise-keeper. As faithful and present as He was with Israel, so He is with us. “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Questions for this week:
- Israel was forbidden to make peace with any of the tribes of Canaan (Exodus 23:23-24). Why do you think the Gibeonites worked so deceptively to secure a covenant with Joshua? How were they able to deceive Joshua?
- The Gibeonite deception was clever, and therefore powerful, but the real problem was that Joshua and the leaders of Israel never sought the LORD. Describe a time where you didn’t seek the Lord and you felt the consequences. Are we too quick to assume that something “good” is from God without seeking Him about it?
- What do you see in Joshua 9 that most clearly describes your current walk with the Lord? What does this portion of the text teach us about who God is and how He created us to be?
- Read Joshua 9:18-19. What was the attitude of the people? What did they want to do after the deception was uncovered? Discuss why you think it was important, in terms of honor and being a good witness, for Israel to keep their oath?
- Describe to the group a time when you were cheated or ripped off. In the aftermath, was your motivation fueled by grace or revenge? Think about your response to that situation through a lens of forgiveness, would you have reacted in the same way? Did any good come out of the situation?
- On a historical note, the Gibeonites became “temple servants,” replacing the Levites in many duties. Chapter 9:27 makes note that they continued serving in this way for a long time afterward, faithfully serving God even when Israel itself regularly turned to idolatry. Discuss how you think being physically close to the temple must have changed their hearts? Discuss any times in your life when you’ve been impressed by simply being around God’s work. Share an example with the group.