7. Dreams Require PerseveranceRelated Media
A Word from Kay Daigle on how to use the resources for this study…I want to encourage you to complete the personal lesson below before you click on any of the accompanying elements that may be found with this lesson (audio lecture, manuscript, PowerPoint, or handout). This study was written to help you maximize your personal spiritual growth. That means that you first spend time with God through His word, and then hopefully, discuss what you learned with a small group of women. After that, if you want to hear the audio (or read the manuscript) and follow the PowerPoint, filling in the handout, then that is a great time to do it! I cannot cover all the verses in depth, but you can read and study them for yourself. It is best for you to think through the passages before hearing what anyone else thinks, even me! You will find some lessons without lectures. At our church we use some of those weeks to spend extra time in our small groups sharing life stories, having a longer prayer time, or expressing how God is working in our lives.
The Lesson 7 Manuscript available for this lesson. The lecture audio, powerpoint and handout for Lesson 7 follows this page.
Thought to Cherish
“Joshua captured in one campaign all these kings and their lands, for the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.”
If you are a mother or have been around young children much, you have probably figured out that time is very long in their eyes. Once they expect something to happen, they want it to happen NOW! Every child in his own way asks, “Are we there yet?” because waiting is so hard!
God’s dreams are often long in coming to pass, and we are forced to wait. Far too often we are like young children and grow tired of waiting. But God has a plan for our waiting—we are to grow in faith and in perseverance, expectantly looking toward the day that God answers our prayers and our dreams come true. We are to move forward as He leads, believing that He is the One who will bring it to pass in His way and in His time; however, as we wait, we must pray each step of the way to be sure we are following His dream!
Day One Lesson
Before continuing our story, we need to go back to God’s orders concerning the conquest.
1. Before the people of Israel ever invaded the land of their dreams, Moses gave them specific instructions. Read them in Deut. 7:1-6; 9:3-5; 20:10-18. What were they to do to the people of the land and why? What about groups who lived outside of the land? Why would they be treated differently?
Read Joshua 9:1-27.
2. At this point of the story of Joshua, all the kings in Canaan had heard of the invaders who had destroyed Jericho and Ai. As we have previously seen, God put them in fear of His people Israel. The Hivites of the town of Gibeon reacted by forming one plan to deal with the invading army while other kings used a different strategy. Contrast the two plans (vv. 1-13). (Feel free to write this as a newspaper article. That seems to work well with these stories!)
3. Once they discovered the deception, why did the Israelite leaders not break the treaty? Read these verses and write down your insights:
dd. Joshua 9:15, 18-20
ee. Psalm 15:1, 4b
ff. Ecc. 5:4-7
4. In case you missed it, what was the mistake that God’s people made (Joshua 9:14)? Read 2 Chron. 16:12-13. How does it relate?
God’s wisdom comes straight out of His word. The more we put it into us, the more wisdom we have to draw from as we live our lives day by day. The more we know the Word, the more we can sort out our own wisdom from God’s. As we diligently seek God’s wisdom, we have His promise to give it to us (Jam. 1:5).
Digging for Diamonds: Read Prov. 1:1-9. What do you learn about the purpose of the proverbs and about seeking God’s wisdom? Consider an area of your life where you need God’s wisdom now. Use a concordance to go to proverbs that may deal with that area. Consider what wisdom God is giving you.
5. Sharing question: Describe for your group how you use prayer, the word of God, and other believers to find God’s wisdom in a decision. If you are married, how do you and your husband work together in this area?
6. Responding to God: In what kinds of situations do you tend to think you have it figured out without prayer? Talk to God about those times. Ask Him to remind you of the story of Joshua when you begin to move ahead of Him. Write this down so that you can look back and remember to pray!
Day Two Lesson
Read Joshua 10:1-11.
7. Why did the coalition of Amorite kings attack Gibeon (vv. 1-4)?
8. Covenants involve the promise to defend the other parties. Although the Israelites had been deceived into making this treaty, they had to act on their promise to protect. How did God use this battle to help fulfill His plans for His people? (The answer isn’t specifically given here, but you know the answer if you think about all we have learned!)
Digging for Diamonds: Read about King Jehoshaphat. If you have time, read all of 2 Chron. 17:1-20:37, but if not, at least read the story in 2 Chron. 18:1-19:3. Think about Jehoshaphat’s real ally and his loyalties as king. How do they relate to what we see about defending our covenant partners?
9. The covenant between Israel and Gibeon explains a later event during the days of King David, and it helps us recognize the importance of being true to our promises. Read 2 Sam. 21:1-6. Explain what happened and why.
10. Sharing question: Do you come to the defense of your covenant partner Jesus when He is attacked? Not in a rude or condescending way but in love? (See Col. 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15) Think of a time when you did and tell the group what happened.
11. Responding to God: Write down your commitment to defend the one whom you should love most of all, your covenant-partner Jesus.
Day Three Lesson
Review Joshua 10:10-11 and read Joshua 10:12-27.
12. In what ways did God bring the victory that day?
Obviously, in these days of science we try to figure out exactly how God answered Joshua’s prayer. Those of us who believe in the truth of the Bible still have a number of options as to how and what happened. I like what Dr. Boice says, “What is certain is that God did something to give the Jewish armies a complete and decisive victory.”22 I have no problem accepting that the sun at least appeared to stand still or the day was somehow extended for the battle by God. I don’t need to know how God did it! He is capable of doing it any way He wanted!
Digging for Diamonds: Use any biblical and online resources on the miracles at Gibeon, but just be sure to check them out before believing them. There has been an email going around for years that says NASA has proven a missing day.23 The email is a pure hoax, but many Christians are so willing to believe anything that supports their view, they are easily taken in and then pass it on to others. I suggest you always check out anything online or by email.
13. God is in the business of working on our behalf and asking us to trust Him rather than ourselves. Look up these verses and write down your insights:
a. Ps. 20:7
gg. Ps. 33:17
hh. Prov. 21:31
ii. Isa. 31:1
14. Sharing question: Because we are in a spiritual battle not a physical one, we must never depend upon ourselves, but we must depend upon our God to fight for us. Of the verses in the previous question, which one is most helpful to you in dealing with a specific situation in your life today? Share the situation and the verse with your group.
15. Responding to God: Use Psalm 20 as the outline of your prayer. Write it out.
Day Four Lesson
We have read how Joshua and his army moved into the land of Canaan, destroying the cities of Jericho and Ai and how they faced a coalition of Amorite kings and defeated them. The rest of Joshua 10 describes his military campaign against a number of cities in the south. We aren’t going to read all of the passages on the battles; however, you should read Joshua 10:40-43, which summarizes this series of victories.
Digging for Diamonds: Read all of Joshua 10:28-12:24 instead of skipping portions of this section. We will also be skipping much of chapter 13, which you may want to read. If you desire, go to commentaries or a Bible atlas to better understand the geographic areas that Israel conquered and settled.
Then, a coalition of northern kings came out to fight the Israelites, but God once again defeated them. Read the summary in Joshua 11:16-20, 23. Note the lengthy list of the defeated kings in Joshua 12:7-24.
Joshua 11:23 says that Joshua conquered the entire land; yet, we know from what follows that many cities were yet to be taken. So how did he take the whole land? Dr. Davis says this: “The children of Israel at this time occupied very little of the land of Canaan. However, Joshua had been successful in removing the significant military threats to Israel’s existence. It would now be the responsibility of the tribes to conquer and to colonize their designated territories.”24
Dr. Woudstra has this to say:
On the one hand, the book presents the Conquest as essentially completed (see 11:23; ch.12). Compared to the promise made to the forefathers, from Gen. 12 onward, this was a proper point of view from which to describe the events. However, the book features another emphasis particularly in the section at hand [chapter 13 ff.]. It speaks of a task yet undone and of a land yet to be occupied and possessed. There remains an assignment that is unfulfilled (see, e.g., 15:63; 17:12). . . . Apparently these two emphases are meant to complement each other.25
Read Joshua 13:1, 6-7; 14:1-5.
16. Read Deut. 7:20-22 to help you understand why God had them complete the taking of the land in pieces rather than Joshua complete it all himself. Write down your thoughts.
Read Joshua 14:6-15.
17. Caleb’s request would fulfill his dream of a particular land. What land was it, and why had Moses promised it to him? (This happened at Kadesh Barnea but that was not the land promised so read carefully!)
Caleb’s words here help us calculate how long the Israelite army under Joshua had been fighting for the land. Caleb was forty years old when he and Joshua spied out the land. Then, because of the lack of faith of the people, they continued living in the wilderness for thirty-eight more years. (They had already spent two years there beforehand for a total of forty years.) That means that Caleb was seventy-eight years old when the people finally entered the land. Now he was eighty-five, which means that the Israelite army under Joshua had been fighting for seven years before the land was allocated.
18. Finally, Caleb would see his dream fulfilled. From his own words, in what ways did he see God’s faithfulness to him through all of those years?
Sometimes it takes a long time for God to bring our dreams to fulfillment. Caleb never stopped believing that it would happen, and he was faithful to God and waited on Him to bring it about.
19. Sharing question: How hard is it for you to wait on God to bring the dreams that He has given you to fulfillment? Share with your group your struggle to remain faithful and wait for God to bring the dream about. Have you given up the dream? Maybe you have a spouse, a parent, or a sibling who doesn’t share your faith and you have given up praying. Maybe you have prayed for a prodigal child but have given up rather than persevere in faith. Maybe you have allowed logic to replace faith and consequently substituted other life plans for God’s.
20. Read these verses and write down how they can help you wait and persevere until the dream that God has given you comes true. Put a star next to the one which is most helpful to you. Memorize it!
jj. Num. 23:19
kk. Lam. 3:22-26
ll. Zech. 4:6
mm. Luke 18:1-8
nn. Rom. 8:28-29
oo. Eph. 3:20
pp. Phil. 1:6
qq. 1 John 5:14-15
21. Responding to God: If you have lost hope or totally given up God’s dream, confess your lack of faith. Ask if you misunderstood the dream, or if you lack the faith that it takes to persevere. Write down God’s answer.
Day Five Lesson
Read Joshua 15:13-17, 63; 16:10; 17:12-13.
Digging for Diamonds: Read all of Joshua 15-21 and use commentaries or a Bible atlas to better understand where the allotted land was.
22. When left on their own, how well did the individual tribes do in conquering the areas they were allotted? Based on all that we have seen in this study, why would this have happened? Review Joshua 1:3.
Dr. Boice explains the next section of the book: “Toward the end of this period, Israel’s camp was moved from Gilgal to Shiloh, which was in the high country between Ai and Gerizim. It was probably changed for military reasons, since the frontiers of the nation were now secured. Here the second stage of the division took place. . . Then, the remaining tribes were assigned their portions by the casting of lots, which means that the choice was God’s.”26
Read Joshua 18:1-10.
23. What was Joshua’s rebuke to the tribes?
Read Joshua 21:43-45.
24. This book continues to remind us that God is faithful to His promises. Imagine yourself as part of the great army that had been fighting off and on for seven years. Now you had been given your own land to occupy. How would you have felt? Why?
25. Sharing question: Is there a part of your dream that you have failed to “occupy”? Something that you have not had the faith to do? What is it? How can you move from unbelief to faith?
26. Responding to God: Focus on the greatness of God and His faithfulness to His promises. Go back to the verses that you read yesterday in #20 and use them to thank God for who He is and for His faithfulness. Write down your prayer or poem.
Debi shares how she told God what to do rather than wait in faith for His direction.
My husband and I have been raising our three children in Dallas for the last 16 years. I was born and raised here in the same area where we now live. Each year we have been going back and forth on trying to decide whether or not to move north to ease the pain of private school tuition. The move would take my husband farther away from work, me farther away from my Mom and sister, and the kids away from the Christian school environment that we love. I had been praying for some time with my husband and my small group on making the right decision.
Summer was fast approaching and we finally decided to make a move even though I was not at peace. We told all of our family and friends of our plans. After looking at many, many houses we found one that seemed just perfect. I was excited yet felt like something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on it. My prayers went from asking God to help us make the right decision to getting God to help us purchase our new found home. We had an inspection done on the house and found that it needed thousands of dollars worth of work done on it. Bump #1: We justified the extra cost and decided to do things in phases. Next we put our house on the market and the unsettlement of seeing the “For Sale” sign in my front yard was horrible. Bump #2: We rented a storage unit out where we were going to move and started storing a bunch of our belongings. The next news we had was that the house we were trying to purchase had some unpaid liens on it, and we couldn’t get clear title. Bump #3: My prayers were now “instructing” God to open the door for us to get clear title so we could move on with the paper work. We then got a low offer on our home the first week and countered and got no response. Bump #4: Then we got the news that the bank was taking over the loan for the house we were trying to buy. We couldn’t purchase it. Bump #5: We decided to keep our house on the market and hope to find another home quickly.
The days were going by and the unsettlement in my heart had deepened. I tried to stay strong and dismissed my uneasiness as a case of the jitters because of all the change we were about to experience. The next week I broke out in hives that were all over my body and was miserable. I remember sitting in my window seat in tears and praying for peace. I realized then that God was trying to tell me to listen to Him, and that the uneasiness was the Holy Spirit talking to me. I called my husband and told him what the Holy Spirit had told me and insisted that he come home and take down the “For Sale” sign.
I was praying for something and then not listening to God when he was trying to answer. Now when I run into “Bumps”, I pray and listen to the Spirit without questioning it or dismissing it when He is trying to speak to me. Some people thought we were a little crazy for shutting down all of our plans, but God’s timing is always right.
Just an update….. This all took place two years ago. My oldest son got a transfer to a public school that has an incredible AP and choir program and is doing quite well. My middle son graduated from the Christian School he had attended since Kindergarten and is moving on to a new public middle school with three of his friends and is very excited about it. My youngest is still at the Christian School learning about and praying to our Savior. My husband was able to coach two of our sons baseball teams because his work was so close to home. As for me, I don’t have the hives, and my business is doing great. I get to walk almost every morning with my Mom who retired recently and lives just blocks away. I know God wanted us here a while longer. We still may be making a move someday, but this time God will let us know when He is ready.
22 Boice, 82.
24 Davis, 77.
26 Boice, 96.