Joshua Lesson 14

Defining Moments and the Alignment of Evil

Joshua Chapters 10 and 11

Note:   This lesson may be suitable for two small group sessions. I will write it as one lesson; however, I will leave it to the group leader to decide how best to use it.  There are a lot of discussion topics available.

1.    What are defining moments?  They can include life changing events, milestones, crises points, opportunities, misfortunes, and pivot points.
2.    What are the defining moments for a Monarch Butterfly?  (They are some of the most colorful and beautiful of butterflies!) 
    a.    Let’s start with the four life stages of a monarch:
        (1)    An egg the size of a pinhead (laid on the underside of a milkweed leaf) by the butterfly (of approximately 500 eggs laid only about 20 become butterflies).
        (2)    Caterpillar (the larva inside the egg hatches in about four days during five stages of development before it becomes a pupa).
        (3)    Pupa (a soft shell that becomes a butterfly; and it also develops from a caterpillar in five stages).
        (4)    A beautiful multi-colored butterfly appears when the shell bursts open.  The butterfly emerges hungry, and flies off within a couple of hours to look for food (normally nectar).
    b.    Most monarch butterflies migrate from Mexico to Texas, up the east coast into Canada, and back over a two to three year period.  Many don’t make it!

    Q1.  What do the defining moments of a Monarch Butterfly teach us about the magnificence of Gods’ creation?
    Q2.  What are some of life’s defining moments?  How do they shape our lives?  These two chapters have many defining moments for Joshua and the Israelites.   

3.    A Brief Geography Lesson.  The area involved in this lesson is north of Jericho and generally a mountainous area in the northern part of the Israel of today. 
4.    Defining Moments for the Enemies of Joshua and the Israelites:
    a.    When fear (a defining moment) gripped the five kings north of Gibeon, they formed a worldly alignment of power and resources.  It really didn’t matter, because God was on the side of Joshua and Israel.  What does that teach us?
    b.    Then fear gripped the Gibeonites, who had made a peace treaty with Joshua as the five-king alliance threatened Gibeon.  What happened?  Read Joshua 10:5-8.  God’s comment to Joshua was, “Do not fear them”.  How is that instructive to us?
    c.    As Joshua and the Israelites “routed the aligned evil kings”, God sent large hail stones that killed more men than Joshua did.  God “fought on the side of Israel”.  What does that teach us? 
    d.    Then, in addition to the large hailstones, God (at Joshua’s request) caused the sun and moon to stand still till the conquest of the kings was completed.  What does that teach us?

    Q3. Taken together, what do the above defining moments teach us about the power of God and His control over the elements?

5.    After the conquest of the aligned Northern Kings, Joshua moved south; and, with God’s direction and help, destroyed about a half dozen more armies of various kings, thus completing the conquest of the Promised Land. 
6.    In Joshua 10:42, note these words from the NKJV, “All these kings and their land (and livestock, possessions, etc.) Joshua took at one time, because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel!” What does that teach us?

    Q4.  Have you noticed that (when you put forth prayer, planning, and effort, more prayer and more effort) God will enable you to develop momentum in overcoming big challenges?  Ask the group to discuss this and either offer, or ask a group member to offer, a personal example. 

7.    As we begin to transition from the campaign of conquest, we move on to the defining moment of completing the task of dividing the land among the tribes of Israel. 

    Q5. Discuss why this task was a potentially huge defining moment for Israel.
8.    Let’s take stock of where we are, and what we have learned, which gives us many valuable lessons for Christians today.  (Note the defining moments in each of these instances and carefully consider how you can develop them in your lives.)
    a.    When people are fearful, they may take actions that are irrational, which may lead to even more fear.
    b.    For God’s elect, the failure to turn to God, in times of fear, can also lead to more fear.
    c.    As we grow in our relationship with God, we should rely on Him even more in times of fear.
    d.    As we look at the actions of Joshua, perhaps there is a pattern to follow in times of fear.
        (i)    When Joshua was fearful, God reassured him.  His message to Joshua and to us is: “Don’t be afraid; be courageous; I am with you.” Deut 31:6 and Isaiah 41:10.
        (ii)    We can also be reassured of His comfort and leading in times of fear.
    e.    I believe there is a valuable lesson for us to learn, regarding facing fear.  God knows that our complete trust in His promises will give us peace of mind; yet, it does not relieve us of the responsibility to go forth with determination and trust Him as we face fear.  In other words, we are not relieved of the need for action in times of fear.  Joshua (in a number of situations involving fear) was expected to take action!  (Recall the defining moment some 40 years earlier when the 12 spies were sent out and 10 of the 12 came back with a report that put fear in the hearts of the Israelites.)  I have had it explained to me this way, “When we are fearful, we depend on God and take a step, depend on God and take another step, etc.”
    f.    Please focus on Joshua 11:15.  Ask someone in the group to read the verse aloud, focusing on the words, “As the Lord had commanded Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua and so Joshua did.”  What implications does this have for us?
9.    Concerning Trials (Which Are Defining Moments in Our Lives)
    a.    Some can be severe.  (2 Cor. 1:8-10)
    b.    The causes of some are unknown.  (Job 1:7-22)
    c.    Some are physical.  (2 cor. 12:7-10; 1 Thess. 3:3)
    d.    Some are financial.  (1 Tim. 6:8-10)
    e.    Some are mental or emotional.  (2 Tim. 9-13; Gen:22:1-18)
10.    Why Does God Allow His Children to Have Trials?
    a.    To test our faith and reliance on God.  (Gen 22:1-18)
    b.    To purify our faith.  (Malachi 3:3; I Peter 1:6-9)
    c.    To test and strengthen our patience.  (James 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:4; Heb. 6:15)
    d.    To refine us.  (Isaiah 48:10)
    e.    To glorify God.  (I Peter 4:12-16)
    f.    So we can be worthy of eternal life and heaven  (James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:9; 2 Thess. 1:5)

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