Joshua Lesson 1

When You Face Challenges, Remember:  God is Always with You!

Joshua 1:1-9


  1. Opening Question:  Ask one or two people to share a difficult challenge they have faced in life. If discussion is slow to start, group leader should share a personal example.
  2. We all face obstacles in life. From sickness, job loss, failed marriages, lost relationships, death of a beloved family member or friend, financial collapse, loss of a business or job, etc. God wants to help us face and overcome these obstacles. He has promised to be with us, as we face them.
    Look at what he told Joshua, one of the twelve spies, as he “handed him the reins and responsibility” to lead the Jews into the Promised Land.
  3. Lesson Text Joshua 1:1-9.  “After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:  “Moses my servant is dead. Get Going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on, just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness over to the Nile of Egypt and north to Lebanon, east to the Great River, the Euphrates River;  all the Hittite country, then west to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s all yours.  No one will be able to hold out against you all the days of your life. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give to their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out the law that Moses gave you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you prosper wherever you go. And don’t for a minute let this Book of the law be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it.  Then you’ll get to where you are going, and then you will succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid; don’t get discouraged. The Lord, your God, is with you every step you take.”
  4. As we begin this study of Joshua, God frames for us in the first nine verses of this wonderful book, the essence of what his promises were to Joshua and are to us as we face obstacles in life.
    1. You will face obstacles in life. In Joshua’s case, there were “bad guys” in the Promised Land, and they were going to resist.
    2. God won’t give up on us or leave us as we face the obstacles.
    3. As we face our obstacles, God expects us to remember and rely on His promises and His word to guide us, and not try to deviate from his word nor invent or reinvent a new way to succeed.
    4. He provides his assurance and reassurance and the guidance of his abiding presence, as we face and overcome life’s challenges.
  5. Suggest that the group spend some time, perhaps re-reading Joshua 1:1-9 and reflecting on it. This is a powerful passage that can minister to people who have experienced or currently are dealing with some crises of life and looking for meaning and strength to deal with it. As the group reflects on this passage and the above promises, you may feel led to ask someone to mention a personal challenge they or a friend or loved one has faced in life where they relied on the promises of God. What was the outcome?
  6. Some powerful lessons related to “overcoming,” we learn from this Joshua passage and from other Bible passages.
    1. There is continuity in the Lord’s work. Gen 12:1; Gen 15:16; Gen 23.
    2. God’s work does not depend on any one person, yet people are constantly being prepared for His work. Joshua 1:1; Exodus 17:8-13.
    3. God remembers and honors the faith of each person, yet many people are constantly being prepared for His work. Joshua 1:1; Exodus 17:8-13.
    4. Joshua himself teaches us that what we give in the Lord’s service is never wasted and never forgotten by God. Give encouragement to others for their work in the Lord’s service. Work where God has placed you and given you opportunity. Consider working in the nursery (if that is where the need and opportunity is, even if you feel more qualified to teach an adult class.  Do what is needed (with enthusiasm and commitment). In God’s time, He will open another door of service for you.
    5. We are never too old to accomplish great things for the Lord. Joshua was in his late 80s when the Lord selected and honored him to lead the Jews into the Promised Land.
    6. Discussion Question:  When God doesn’t answer our prayers in our timing, what could he be telling us?
  7. The promises God gave Joshua (to encourage him/ and us).
    1. As you face challenges, you can be assured of my abiding presence.
    2. The presence of God is an awesome guide for our lives. Isaiah 58:9-12
    3. You can have victory over your obstacles and your enemies (the flesh Gal 5:16-21; the world I john 5:4; Satan James 4:7).
    4. The Promised Land lies before you and shall be divided as an inheritance.
  8. Discussion Question: Read I john 2:3 and discuss “What limits us when we face challenges”?
  9. Discussion Question: When you are living life to please the living God of the universe, what should your dreams be? How big should they be?
  10. Never, never, never ever, let the size of your obstacles, limit the size of your faith. Review I Samuel 17:1-12.
    “A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail; (the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds). His shield bearer walked ahead of him.
    Goliath stood there and called out to the Israelite troops, “Why bother using your whole army? Am I not Philistine enough for you?  And you’re all committed to Saul, aren’t you? So pick your best fighter and pit him against me. If he gets the upper hand and kills me, the Philistines will all become your slaves. But if I get the upper hand, and kill him, you will become our slaves and serve us. I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together!”

    When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified, and lost all hope.  “Enter David”!  I Samuel 17:1-12. (Message Bible)

    Scripture tells us in verses 24-25 that “the Israelites, to a man, fell backward the moment they saw the giant—totally frightened. The talk among the troops was, ‘Have you ever seen anything like this, this man openly and defiantly challenging Israel’?”

    Note the account beginning in verse 41 of the Message Bible:  “As the Philistine paced back and forth, his shield bearer in front of him, he noticed David. He took one look down on him and sneered…David answered, you come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-angel-Armies, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock. The battle belongs to God…. That roused the Philistine and he started toward David. David took off from the front line, running toward the Philistine. David reached into his pocket for a stone…”.

  11. In closing, let’s review what we have covered:
    1. God remembered his faithfulness and rewarded Joshua with a great deal of responsibility, to lead the Jews into the Promised Land.  He will not forget his promises to never leave us or forsake us.
    2. We have the promises of God to draw on when we face obstacles in life. Guided by his Holy Word, he exhorts us to be strong and courageous and rely and meditate on his Word, day and night.
    3. We can experience joy and be successful in overcoming obstacles! Romans 8:31.
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