8. Dreams Call for Faithful Servants of GodRelated 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 8 Manuscript available for this lesson. The lecture audio, powerpoint and handout for Lesson 8 follows this page.
Thought to Cherish
“. . . Choose today whom you will worship . . . But I and my family will worship the LORD.”
Standing alone if need be, Joshua pledged to be faithful to the end to Yahweh, and he kept that promise.
Last words are always significant because they show the heart of the one who speaks. What would you say to your loved ones if you knew your words were your last?
This week our study of Joshua ends with his last words, but the power and goodness of God continues on in our lives, bringing to pass those dreams that He has given us.
Day One Lesson
Read Joshua 22:1-6.
1. As Joshua sent the tribes out to their own lands to occupy them, he sent home the tribes that had settled on the east bank of the Jordan River. What was his final reminder to them before they departed (22:5)? Copy it below!
Read Joshua 22:10-12, 16-34.
Digging for Diamonds: Read all of Joshua 22 rather than skipping parts.
2. Why were the 9½ tribes upset when they heard about the altar that the other 2½ tribes had built across the Jordan (22:19-20)? What had they learned from the situation with Achan that we studied two weeks ago?
3. Why had the tribes built this large, conspicuous altar (22:22-29)?
We have seen a number of times in this study that the Israelites built things or named things as reminders of the past. This time they not only built something but named it so that they would be sure everyone knew what it was for (22:34).
4. Sharing question: Can you think of a way to use a name to help you remember God’s goodness, power, answered prayer, etc.? Is there anything that God has done for you through this study that you need to remember? Is there a physical reminder that you could make or use?
5. Sharing question: Just as the people of Israel learned from the sin of Achan, think about what you have learned from the stories in Joshua that you need to remember. What lessons are important for you to keep in mind?
6. Responding to God: If nothing has come to mind for #4 or #5, ask God what He wants you to remember. If you have thought of something, talk to Him about how to best give yourself a physical reminder of that lesson or event.
Day Two Lesson
Read Joshua 23:1-16.
7. Give a brief report of this assembly—who was there and when this took place. Why did Joshua call them together (23:2, 14)? Write down the instructions that Joshua gave them.
8. What warnings did Joshua stress to this group and why would he have been concerned to give them these warnings?
Digging for Diamonds: Compare parts of Moses’ farewell speech in Deut. 6:10-8:1; 20: 31:1-8 or other parts of Deuteronomy to Joshua’s speech.
9. Sharing question: Are there places in your life where you have failed to fully drive out a sin and are trying instead to co-exist with it? Have you failed to get totally rid of something that doesn’t please God but comes from the enemy of your soul? It may not seem big enough to be a bother, but God knows that it can become a snare and a trap to you, just as the inhabitants of Canaan became to the people of Israel. Even sins that seem small to us break our fellowship with the One who created and loves us. Share with your group your commitment to deal completely with that sin and the things that cause you to be tempted in that area. You may want to make it your prayer request for the week. Write down your commitment below.
10. What did Joshua emphasize about God and His character to this group?
11. Responding to God: Talk to God about the commitment to fully deal with whatever sin He has shown you. If you couldn’t think of one when you answered #9, sit quietly before Him with His word and He will show you one! You can count on that! Write down your thoughts.
Day Three Lesson
Read Joshua 24:1-28.
12. How was the audience at this assembly different from the previous group in Joshua 23?
13. What was different in Joshua’s emphasis with this group? (You’ll have to review Joshua 23:3-16.) Why would Joshua have changed his emphasis with this particular group?
Digging for Diamonds: Look in commentaries and/or other online helps and read about how chapter 24 resembles the kinds of treaties common in that day.
14. What characteristics of God did Joshua stress in this second assembly?
15. Sharing question: How do these reminders about God in both chapters 23 (review #10 in yesterday’s lesson) and 24 help you as you deal with trials in your life? What can you erect in your heart and mind to remember the greatness of God? Maybe you would like to draw a picture of something to remind you! Maybe you should set a small rock on your desk or a prominent place where you will see it. Maybe you can get a picture to put up.
16. Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem extolling these characteristics of our great God!
Day Four Lesson
Read Joshua 24:29-31.
17. How was Joshua described? This is the first time in the scriptures that description was used for him. In light of its previous use in Joshua 1:1, 7, 15, why would its ascription for Joshua be significant, particularly to his contemporaries?
Joshua lived a long and faithful life before God. He was truly a hero of the faith who followed God’s dream, believing in it for himself and his people.
Digging for Diamonds: Use a concordance or bible.org to find other verses using servant or slave to describe believers. What do you learn from them?
18. Read Mt. 25:14-30. When the master responds to the servants’ deeds (vv. 21, 23), some translations use the term servant while others use the word slave. What is the point of this parable for us?
19. Sharing question: Think about how you will feel if you heard Jesus say the words used by the master in the previous parable in Mt. 25:21, 23. What do you need to do differently to hear that from Him? (Remember this is about rewards, not salvation!)
Read Joshua 24:32-33.
20. Read Gen. 50:24-26. What was so significant about the burial of Joseph’s bones? What did this show about God and about Joseph? What does it show about the dreams that God gives?
21. Responding to God: Talk to God about trusting Him with your dreams and about having the kind of faith that Joseph, Moses, and Joshua had, believing that God will bring about the dreams that He gives, even if they are delayed beyond your lifetime. Write down your thoughts.
Day Five Lesson
Unbelievably, this is your last day’s study in the book of Joshua! I pray that it has been a blessing in your life and that you have been challenged to follow your God-given dreams. If you have had to skip any lessons or days’ work, you may want to go back and do those while your small group is not meeting for a few weeks. Or you may desire to reread the entire book and pray through it for application to your own life.
Go back through this study and review the lessons that we have covered in Joshua. Particularly focus on your answers to the Sharing Questions and the Responding to God questions. Look back at the Thought to Cherish verses. As you review, think about your answers to the following questions:
22. Describe the man Joshua. What have you learned from him for your life?
23. What characteristic of God has stood out to you? Why?
24. What has been most meaningful to you through this study?
25. What have you changed in your thinking or in your living because you have spent time with God and His word?
26. Responding to God: Write out a prayer of thanks to God for His word and for those things that you have written down. Thank Him for how He has used this time in your life. Writing this out can become a stone of remembrance for you if you will write it in a prominent spot.
Joshua was faithful to the end of his life. He chose to follow God whether or not anyone else did. Here are two stories about standing alone to be faithful to God.
I grew up in what most people would see as a “good Christian home”. My parent’s lives resembled that of good people who went to church and followed the rules of a moral life. As an adult I have seen that this status is no foundation to stand on. Christ is our only true foundation. I began to see as a teenager and college student that as cultural values changed and people around us changed, my parents’ actions and views on things began to change, too.
During this same time period of shifting values and standards in my family, the Lord was doing a work in my heart. What evidence of his faithfulness in my life! I began to see the reason behind “moral values” and what really mattered in faith. Through studying God’s word on my own, much prayer, biblical teaching and through sweet older women who mentored me I had a growing desire to know my heavenly Father even more. Along with these changes came new convictions and a stronger desire to please God more than people. I broke up with a long-time boyfriend and had to walk away from some close but destructive friendships. I even found myself wanting to steer away from conversations that were not edifying during family get-togethers.
This change in my life created new tensions with my family. Many people in my family and some friends began to see me as close-minded and prudish. Their lives continued to be the same, some even on a path to destruction. It was a lonely time for me feeling rejected by my family and close friends. Though, the whole time God was so merciful to provide friendships and encouragement that helped me to not turn back.
I got married shortly after graduating from college to a godly man who desired to raise a family that glorified the Lord. We continue to see my family on a regular basis. It still is not easy. My brother and sister might still be questioning reasons behind changes in my life. But I have definitely seen my parents take notice. During time visiting with my mom and dad together and individually, we have been able to talk about matters of faith in a way we never did growing up. I have had opportunities to love my dad through some difficult times in his life by praying for him and with him. I have been able to challenge my mom in gentle ways to lift others up with words instead of tear them down.
I know in my heart that God wanted to do a work in my life through those times of change. But I also know that he wants to do the same in the lives of my family. I am so glad I responded with obedience when He called my name even though it was hard to take a different path. Now my relationship with my Savior is closer than ever before and my family has been challenged and encouraged in their faith as well.
God has given me many unique experiences which have caused me to follow a different path from that of my immediate family and friends. About 8 years ago I went on my first mission trip to the border of Mexico. I saw people who were sifting through garbage and eating leftovers because of poverty. I heard the stories of despair and saw illnesses for which people could not afford medications. I also saw the hopelessness in my countrymen and was able to pray with many of them and tell them about Jesus Christ. I went on 4 of these trips to Mexico and then 2 to India. I couldn’t get the poverty and despair out of my mind and realized that there is so much suffering in this world, for which Jesus is the only hope. I then began participating in the Hidalgo ministry here in Dallas and found people in need right here in my city and began to think about them a lot and pray for many of them. Some of the most sincere and kind people I met had little money or education but were rich spiritually. Through these experiences I began to have less interest in material things and derived great pleasure from counseling and praying for others. I became even more involved with Bible study, devotions, and church ministry activities, which gave me fulfillment.
As I have gone through this process, I have noted some criticism and distancing from some of my family members and friends. They can’t understand why I have been focusing so much on others, especially those who are poor, involved in addictions, in dysfunctional families, the elderly and those with mental disorders. They view me as different or weird and do not approve of some of these activities, but I see it as a great way to follow the teachings of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I pray that these family members and friends will one day experience the great joy I have felt over the last few years by focusing more on Jesus. I have learned that I can never please the world but that it is more important to please the Lord and to focus on eternity rather than the things of this world.