Joshua Lesson 13

Holiness and the Extermination Campaign

Joshua Chapters 9-11

1.    Why the Two Topics Are Related
    a.    The Joshua campaign into Canaan was one of extermination, as directed by God. (Deuteronomy 7:1-2; Joshua 3:10; Joshua 9:24) 

    Q1.  Why do you think Joshua was directed to destroy all the inhabitants of Canaan?  Discuss the dangers of creating alliances with the Canaanites, rather than destroying them. 

    Q2.  When you think of the nature of God, which will be generally presented today, what comes to mind?

    Q3.  Could our teaching and preaching today focus so much on God’s love, patience, and longsuffering nature, that it might neglect dealing with sin, death, and judgment to come?  What would a good rule of thumb be?
    b.      There is another subject that’s been woefully neglected, as it relates to this lesson - the Holiness of God!   God’s Holiness deserves way more than one mention in one lesson; therefore, I will discuss it briefly here, then address it in more depth in lesson 20.

2.    God’s Holiness - In Joshua 5:14-15, Joshua and the Israelite Army were facing their greatest challenge thus far; i.e., conquering the city of Jericho.  The commander of the Army of the Lord of Hosts came to Joshua, who fell on his face to worship Him and said, “Lord what would You have me do?” He responded, “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy.”  For years I was not able to understand what God meant by that comment, and did not comprehend why he mentioned it to Joshua in this encounter.
    a.    What is holiness?  According to a 2004 article entitled The Holiness of God by Robert L. Deffinbaugh, it is “to be distinct, separate, and in a class by itself”.  To me, that is saying that God has no equal!  That is certainly true.  He is uniquely God.  He is so far above us, as to have no basis for us to compare.  Exodus 15:11 says, “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?
               I Samuel 2:2 says, “There is no one like the Lord, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.
    b.    To me and my mind, with its inability to comprehend the indescribable, it means, “God is so above me, my intellect, my opinion, my reasoning, etc., that He has no equal!  There is no one or nothing to compare Him to.”
    c.    Diffinbaugh says, “God is holy in relation to every aspect of His nature and His character,” and he goes on to say that God’s love is holy love, His justice is holy justice, His mercy is holy mercy, His knowledge is holy knowledge, and His spirit is Holy Spirit.

    Q4.  Read Psalms 121:5 and Genesis 28:15 and discuss how the knowledge that “God is watching over us” is a source of comfort, in times of trials and challenges, and a source of discipline, in times of temptation and sin."

3.    The Extermination Campaign – Lessons for Us Today
    a.    There was great moral depravity among the leaders and rulers of the Land of Canaan.  God basically told Joshua to destroy all the inhabitants.  In select instances, He also directed the destruction of the cities, property, livestock and possessions.
    b.    God wanted His chosen people to be totally committed to Him and set apart for Him. God knew that alliances with the Promised Land inhabitants would tarnish, and over time, change God’s purpose for His people.  Is that not also true of us today?  Are we not told to be “in the world, but not of the world”? 

    Q5.  Why do you think God told Joshua to destroy everything, in some areas, but allowed Joshua to destroy only the people, and allowed him to keep the property and livestock in others?  What was God teaching by these directions?

    c.    While our repentance will alter sinful man’s destiny and direction, God’s patience has limits.
    d.    On the other hand, and in a positive and encouraging note, His forgiveness is unlimited in removing the penalties of our sins (removing them as far as the east is from the west). Psalm 103:12
    e.    God hates all sin.  It appears he has a particular hate for the sin of heart defilement.               (I Samuel 16:7; Psalms 51:10 and Eph. 3:16-19) 
    Q6.  Discuss why it is so important that our hearts be pure.  (Prov. 21:8; Psalm 73:1)  Why does this have some relevance to the extermination campaign?  (Psalm 119:1-3; Deut. 30:9, 10; Lev. 18:30; 19:1)

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