Joshua Lesson 3

In Facing Life's Challenges, Remember: There's Work Involved

Joshua 2:1-24

 

  1. Since before the Garden of Eden, work has been a part of God’s plan for mankind.
    1. In Genesis 2:2 we read “by the 7th day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the 7th day he rested from all his work.  God was a worker and we are created in his image. Genesis 1:27.
    2. Even though God created Eden and put man in it, man was expected to work and take care of the garden. Gen 2:15.
    3. Recall, this requirement for man to work preceded the first sin and the fall of man. Even in paradise, man was given the privilege and responsibility of working.  I imagine the effort involved planting, pruning and picking.
    4. When the first sin occurred, we see in Gen 3:17-19 how God pronounced a curse of thorns and thistles to grow in the garden and need to be removed by the sweat of man’s brow. He also announced that man would die and return to the earth. Notice that the curse was the thorns, thistles, and tears. However, work was not a curse, but a privilege of working in the Garden. Just like many of you who enjoy a spring garden, the planting and watering, picking and eating is fun. It’s the thorns, weeds and bugs that make garden work less enjoyable.
  2. Joshua clearly understood that entering and securing the Promised Land would involve work, sometimes very hard and sacrificial work.
    1. He told the people to make preparations for entering the Promised Land.
    2. He sent out spies to determine what they would face when they entered. Notice how God guided the spies to Rahab’s house.
    3. Notice that the Kings in the Promised Land had a spy system out in force also.
  3. Discussion Questions:
    1. If God had promised the “Promised Land” to the Jews, why did Joshua send out spies?
    2. What does this teach us about the various projects and objectives we plan to undertake in our personal lives and in the Church?
    3. What do Joshua’s actions teach us, which are applicable to our overcoming challenges we are or, may be, facing?
  4. Notice that there is consistency in God’s nature and in the hearts of his faithful servants. Note what happened 38 years previously. Numbers 13:31-33; 14:5-9; and Joshua 2:24.
  5. Lessons from God’s promises and our personal responsibility:
    1. The promises of God do not free us from the responsibility to work. Note that, at the end of Joshua, chapter 1, there are several promises from God and from the Jews back to God. Note the major promises from God, for the Jews, pertained to the homeland which was theirs to inherit.
    2. At the beginning of Joshua, chapter 2, Joshua clearly believed that he must do all that he could, to prepare for entering the Promised Land when he sent them to determine what they were likely to face, he gave them clear directions to follow when checking out Jericho. This was when they were divinely guided by God, to Rahab’s house.  Joshua’s actions and decisions clearly indicate he was aware that the upcoming battle and challenges they would face belonged to the Lord; yet, he also knew that reality did not free him or the Jews from the responsibility to do what they could to prepare. We should also expect the same approach today as we face our challenges.
    3. This action confirms God’s intent for work, in the Garden of Eden, identified in the Genesis creation passage, and conforms to Proverbs 3:5-6.
    4. While this is a paving stone to a future lesson, it is important that we mention here that we don’t work to earn our salvation.   We work because God expects us to experience joy and satisfaction from it. Also, God expects us to work and not be idle.
  6. Let’s close this lesson by talking about the value of work. Genesis 2: 1-2 and 2:15.
    1. God’s creation pattern of 6 days labor and one day of rest teaches man an earthly pattern of being creative then resting, creative then resting. The extent to which we follow this pattern causes us to see work as duplicating a “Godly pattern”.  This allows us to imitate God’s pattern and be “God like”. God’s work in creation had a purpose. So should ours!
      We allow harm to come to the youth of our world when we teach them to be lazy, depend on handouts, beg, con or manipulate or even sell themselves for money. When we teach them to work, reward them fairly, and enjoy contentment, we teach them God-likeness.
    2. A worker can be fulfilled in his or her work. In this context work becomes a blessing. In order for work to be fulfilling, it must be seen as a benefit by the worker, and but a joy to imitate God’s pattern.
    3. Work is required to maintain discipline and balance in life. This is borne out by 2 Thes 2:8-12.  God expects man to be a worker not a shirker!
  7. Discussion Questions:
    1. List and discuss some things God has promised to give us, (but has taught and exhorts us to work toward) until the promise is fulfilled.
    2. If we understand that the Bible teaches that work edifies God’s example in creation, should a Christian quit one’s job before he/she has another? Discuss.
    3. Discuss what a Christian’s responsibility is to witness is in the workplace.
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