Joshua Lesson 4

Overcoming Challenges requires Commitment.  Remember: God will help Us Cross Our Jordan Rivers!

Joshua Chapter 3

 

  1. Read Joshua 3:15. The Jordan River is at flood stage all during harvest.  According to historical accounts, the likely Jordan River location where the Israelites crossed is about 20 yards wide and deeper than a man’s normal height at flood time, and so rapid that it would be difficult if not impossible to swim against the river currents.  The crossing time was in March/April.  It strongly appears that God chose this time so that a miraculous intervention by God himself would be necessary; and thus, by this miracle, they might be convinced, literally at the beginning of the Jews entering the Promised Land, of his abiding presence and his omnipotence.
  2. Some “Jordan Rivers” we all may have to cross in our lifetime:
    1. Health issues with growing older or as parents grow older.
    2. Dealing with children with health or behavioral issues.
    3. Our children have their own “Jordans” of job, finance, rebellious kids, divorce etc.
    4. Personal financial, employment/unemployment or other job issues.
    5. Divorce or marital problems.
    6. Unrepented anger or disappointment in life, of self, family or friends.
    7. Commitment in relationships, when others are dominant or don’t communicate,  etc.
    8. The need to reconcile or take steps to resolve a fragile or broken relationship.
    9. Emotional problems, anxiety, substance or alcohol abuse issues, etc.
    10. Career, job or transitional life issues (retire, keep working, etc)
    11. Decision making between strong-willed people, or when one or both are indecisive or argumentative.
  3. Discussion Questions:
    1. What does total commitment mean? What does total commitment mean to God? Consider a conversation between the chicken and the hog about what to have for breakfast.  They decided on Ham and Eggs. The chicken talked about the effort and pain involved in laying an egg. The hog says “I understand.  I am sure it does take effort, but for me, it requires a total commitment”.
    2. What happens when we don’t give God our total commitment?
    3. Considering the major challenges involved in crossing our personal Jordan Rivers, what causes us to ignore or postpone dealing with them?  Pick two or three “Jordan Rivers” from item 2 and discuss the ramifications of ignoring them.
  4. God’s action plan for crossing our “Jordan Rivers”:
    1. Step #1: God’s Divine Presence is with us. This is assured and he wants us to follow him across the River. (John 10:2-4). Very carefully read Joshua 3: 13-17, about the Ark of the Covenant (symbolic of the presence of the Lord) preceding the Jews across the Jordan River.
      1. Often we want to lead and take action ourselves. When our own effort, resources etc are exhausted, then we begin to seek His leading and draw strength from Him. The reality is, that is where we should have started in the first place!
    2. Step # 2: Realize that God doesn’t expect us to know everything, do everything, or solve everything.
    3. Step # 3: Realize that God wants to lead us across our Jordan Rivers! Rom 8:28.
    4. Step # 4: Submit to Him in every phase of our lives!  Yes, that’s true. God expects us to submit in everything, wait on him, act in total faith and follow his lead.  Psalms 62:1-2, 5; 37:23; and Acts 1:4. Matt 26:39, 42, Mark 14:35-36, Heb 5:7-8.
  5. Discussion Questions
    1. Meditate on the reality that “God wants to lead us across our Jordan Rivers” and read John 15:5. Discuss what this scripture is saying to you.
    2. Read Exodus 3:1-6 and discuss what God is saying to Moses that is instructive to us in overcoming our challenges.  Then read versus 7-10 and discuss those passages in the same context.
    3. Look at how many excuses Moses made for not submitting to God.  Discuss: Do these sound familiar to any of us today?
      1. Verse 3:11 Excuse: “I am a nobody”. God’s answer: Verse 12.
      2. Verse 3:13 Excuse: “I won’t know what to say”.  Answer: Verses 14-17.
      3. Chap 4:1 Excuse: “What if they don’t believe me?” Answer: Verses 2-5; Moses is either hard of hearing or didn’t want to comprehend what he was hearing from God.
      4. Verse Chap 4:10 Excuse: “Lord, I am not an eloquent speaker.” Answer:  Verse 12: “I made you. You are fully equipped; I will help you speak and tell you what to say.”
      5. Verse 13 Excuse: “Lord, please pick someone else to do this job.” Answer: It does indeed appear that God is getting a bit impatient and aggravated with all the excuses. “Go get Aaron, I’ll help you both!”
      6. Verse 18    Finally, after at least 5 excuses, Moses finally gets the message.
      7. So what is the bottom line message God wants us to get, regarding our need to be submissive to him and his will? Answer: To cross our Jordan Rivers (challenges), we need to submit to God, follow / trust his leading.  Additional References Eph 5:21-22; Col 3:18.

If you decide to make this a two part lesson: End the first part at this point.

  1. Read Joshua Chapter 1 at this point to focus everyone on the previous lesson’s thoughts and prepare for this lesson.
  2. Review the major “take-a ways” from the previous part of lesson 4: To overcome the challenges of life (Cross Our Jordan River Challenges), we need to:
    1. Realize that God’s presence with us is assured;
    2. Know that God expects us to submit, wait on him and act in total faith;
    3. Realize that God wants to lead us in overcoming our challenges.
  3. God’s “take a ways” from lesson 4 thus far: To overcome challenges, be submissive and obey.
  4. Discussion Question: How does God reveal his will for us today?
  5. Continuing with Part 2:  God told Israel to sanctify themselves. To the church today: Simply, “contact the Blood of Christ” (Will cover in a future lesson). Assuming you have been obedient and are in a “saved relationship with Christ”, let’s move on with this lesson on practical efforts to cross our “Jordan Rivers”. (If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and savior, contact your pastor/minister to learn how to begin your life in Christ).
  6. Step # 5: Be sanctified or cleansed and readied to follow the Lord’s Leading:  Exodus 19:10; 2 Cor 7:10-11 and 2 Tim 2:19-22. Repent of all sin.
  7. Step # 6:  Hey gang. Do we fully comprehend that God as our creator, has the power to cleanse us from all past stains. In other words, there is nowhere else we can go for cleansing and sanctification?  2 Chronicles 20:12 and 25:8.
  8. Discussion Questions:
    1. (Reflective without discussion). Is there a hidden habit, hidden anger problem, hidden resentment, which may be in our lives or on our minds right now? Remember, God leads those who have “clean hands and pure hearts”. Psalms 24:3-4.
    2. What are some things God has the power to do (or do through others), which we cannot do ourselves?
  9. Step #7: Realize that the size of our Jordan Rivers is not an obstacle to inhibit a powerful, capable God.
    1. The Jordan River was less than 100 yards wide at the likely point of crossing (the Groh Valley) but that was quite an obstacle.
    2. It was at flood stage.
    3. There is no mention in the scripture of bridges, boats, or air lift helicopters available!
  10. Discussion Question:  Imagine you were one of the priests carrying the ark: What thoughts (about Joshua’s command) would go through your mind as you were reaching the Jordan River at flood stage?  Relate those thoughts to our challenges today and discuss what we need to ask God to strengthen in our “faith walk with him”.
  11. Step #8.  Realize that God honors humility (not pride) in our hearts.  Rom 12:3, 10, 16. Gal 6:14.
    1. God told Joshua he would exalt him.
    2. Joshua never mentioned it. Yet, the Jews followed him.
    3. God expects us to honor his servants and each other (not criticize or persecute them).
  12. Step #9.  Realize that our powerful, loving God provides for his own! (Prov 15:6; Psalm 85:12 and 2 Cor 9:8 1:14-17).
  13. Step # 10.  Read and listen to the word of God. Deut 4:2,5, 6..
    1. Say it again (Regular reading, listening to his word). Psalm 11:9, 11, 15-18. Luke 11;28.
    2. Do what it says. Believe.
    3. Act in faith.
  14. Summary: God’s Plan for Overcoming the Obstacles in our Lives based on Joshua 1 (and others)
    1. Step #1: God’s Divine Presence is with us, is assured and he wants us to follow him across the River.
    2. Step # 2: Realize that God doesn’t expect us to know everything, do everything, or solve everything.
    3. Step # 3: Realize that God wants to lead us across our Jordan Rivers!
    4. Step # 4: Submit to him in every phase of our lives!  Yes, that’s true. God expects us to submit in everything, wait on him, act in total faith and follow his lead.
    5. Step # 5: Be sanctified or cleansed and readied to follow the Lord’s Leading:  Repent of all sin.
    6. Step # 6:  Fully comprehend that God has the power to do all things (forgive our past transgressions/sins) since we cannot do that ourselves?
    7. Step #7: Realize that the size of our Jordan Rivers is not an obstacle to inhibit a powerful, capable God.
    8. Step #8.  Realize that God honors humility (not pride) in our hearts.
    9. Step #9.  Realize that our powerful, loving God provides for his own!
    10. Step # 10. Read/listen to the word of God and learn that God provides for his own.
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