Joshua Lesson 5

Take Time to Remember God: Who He Is and What He Does for Us

Joshua 3:6-17

 

  1. As an opening exercise, ask the group to mention their fondest memories from life.  Discuss the purpose our memories have in developing strong family unity and raising well adjusted children.
  2. As soon as they had miraculously crossed the Jordan River, Joshua directed that they assemble an altar of stones.
    1. It was a visible and encouraging sign for the Jews to “Remember God’s Faithfulness”.
    2. It was also a visible confirmation to the Jews, and to us, that God does not forget His promises!
    3. No doubt that Joshua was thinking about God’s promise to Abraham (made over 400 years earlier, Genesis 12:1-3; 15:5; 22:16-17) which had yet to be fulfilled, and was now being realized.
  3. A Word of Encouragement
    What are some practical and encouraging lessons we see from this passage?
    1. God is faithful in fulfilling his promises.  We should not doubt that.
    2. The “promise of the seed”. Look at the above passages from Genesis that pertained to Abraham.  In Genesis 12:3-4 God promised to bless all nations of the earth through the seed promise; thus, God promised to make of Abraham’s seed, a great nation.  We know that Abraham was an older man (about 75), and Sarah, an older woman (about 65-beyond child bearing age) when this promise was made.  Yet we see that promised fulfilled, in Genesis 21:1-7 when the “seed promise” was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac when Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was about 90! God remembers his promises and nothing is impossible with God and nothing is too difficult for God!  Can’t you just imagine the look on Abraham’s face, when he realized that Sarah was pregnant?
    3. What we do for the Lord (for example, Abraham and Joshua’s actions) although separated by time, is never forgotten nor wasted.
    4. As God is faithful, we should be faithful in honoring our word to others.
    5. God will see us through the challenges we face in life (Phil 1:6).
  4. Also from this Joshua passage, is the notion that God calls us to “remember” (call to mind again) as an important concept. Note some things God has told us to remember and why. Examine the following scriptures and what each pertains to in regards to “remembering”.  There are others in the Bible. “Remembering is an important concept to God!
    Rainbow Genesis 9:13-16
    Covenant Exodus 2:24
    Passover Exodus 13:3
    Sabbath Exodus 20:8
    Lord’s Supper Luke 22:19
    Wholesome thinking 2 Peter 3:1-2
  5. Discussion Questions:
    1. Why do we erect memorials?
    2. Identify some prominent memorials in the US. Why were they developed?
    3. Except for a day off, what is the purpose of holidays? Have they lost their original meaning? Why? What can/should be done to restore these memorials?
  6. A Word of Warning in the middle of an inspiring passage:
    1. Concept of the “living God”. Joshua 3:9-10 Joshua clearly distinguishes God as a “living God”.
    2. To me this is a clear mention that God is a “living God” as opposed to those things we sometimes make objects of worship or “idols” (both living and non living).
    3. I don’t want to dwell on this but scripture calls idols Irrational (Acts 17:29); Enslaving (Galatians 4:8-9) Abominable (I Peter 4:3). There are many other scriptural references to God, God’s anger and Idols.
  7. Discussion Questions:
    1. Why is God so opposed to the practice of idolatry?
    2. What are some things we make idols of today?
    3. What is the difference between an idol and a symbol of remembrance (a cross on a necklace, a stature of a famous person or national symbol?
  8. A Word of Command (Look at Joshua 3:6-17) Notice what the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant were commanded to do. This took great faith, trust and discipline to comply with).  So does standing firm in the face of the trials of life we face in life.  Yet such faith, trust and discipline are exactly what we (as God’s followers) are commanded to do.
    1. So we can summarize this lesson on remembrance of who God is and what he expects as follows:
      1. God expects obedience, exactly as he instructs.
      2. We are expected to stand firm in the task he has given us.
      3. We are to go to the limits of our faith and trust him for the strength to remain faithful.
      4. God’s promises do not free us from work.
      5. Our obedience should be strong, focused and resolute (as the priests carrying the ark were).
  9. Discussion Question:
    1. List some of the promises God has made to his children to strengthen our faith.
    2. Imagine you were one of the first Priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant. What thoughts would go through your mind as you approached the Jordan River?
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