Dreams that Depend upon God (Lesson 5)
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.
Thought to Cherish
“The LORD told Joshua, ‘See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you, along with its king and warriors.’”
In the past few years there has been a lot written and said about people having “control issues.” Some psychologists use the term “control freaks,” and I am sure that some people are more prone to insist upon control than others—who want it but are not quite so insistent!
I think the desire to be in control is a common malady for human beings, not simply a few; in fact, it’s the essence of sin. We desire to be in control, to do things our own way, and to be able to take credit for what we have done. God wants us to realize that He is in control, that we must do things His way, and that He should receive the glory for what happens. Often His way is not logical and definitely not the way we would do it, making it hard to follow Him! However, the truth is that the success of our dreams is dependent upon relying upon Him rather than ourselves.
Day One Lesson
Review Joshua 5:13-15 and read Joshua 6:1-5.
1. Why do you think that the commander of the LORD’s army appeared at this point of the story?
Digging for Diamonds: Look for verses that speak of the LORD of hosts, which is another way of saying the armies of heaven. The NET Bible often translates the phrase as “the Lord who commands armies.”10 Write down your insights and how it relates to this passage in Joshua.
Dr. Davis gives this explanation concerning chapter 6: “It appears that verse 1 of this chapter is parenthetical and verse 2, in effect, carries on the conversation between Joshua and the ‘captain of the Lord’s host’ (5:13-15).”11
2. What was the promise concerning Jericho (6:2)? Be sure and memorize it and remember the power of God!
3. How would the parenthetical statement about the situation in Jericho (6:1) encourage Joshua?
4. Sharing question: In what area of your life do you need encouragement today? How has God used small things to encourage you so far—people’s words, circumstances, reading His word? Share those with your small group. If there is a person who has encouraged you, write that person a note of thanks.
5. Responding to God: Write a prayer of thanks for the ways that God uses His word, circumstances, and other people to encourage you. Thank him for a specific person who has encouraged you.
Day Two Lesson
Read Joshua 6:6-11.
6. Describe the movement of the Israelite army or draw a picture of the groups as they marched around the walls.
7. If you had been Joshua, how would you have felt to give these orders to your battle-ready troops?
Read Joshua 6:12-15.
8. What did the Israelites do on the 2nd-6th days?
Digging for Diamonds: Use bible reference books or online resources to look up the city of Jericho. What do you learn about the city and its people?
9. Sharing question: What do you learn for your own life from Joshua’s example in 5:13-6:15?
10. Responding to God: Ask God if there is any area of your life where you are failing to follow Him because you want to be in control. If He shows you such a situation, confess that sin before Him. Write down your thoughts below.
Day Three Lesson
Read Joshua 6:15-19.
11. What were Joshua’s instructions and accompanying warning about the things in the city of Jericho?
12. Review Rahab’s words in Joshua 2:9-11. How did she describe the attitude of the people of Jericho toward the invaders who had come up from Egypt? How did this fulfill God’s promise in Deut. 2:25?
Dr. Woudstra gives us some insight into the march of the army: “In view of the large numbers of marchers one must assume that the head of the column had long returned to the camp when the others were still marching.”12
13. Keeping in mind Rahab’s words, what emotions would you as a resident of Jericho have had as you watched this army, which has marched around your city for six days, now keep on going around and around? Would their actions have caused you to question their abilities to defeat you or would you be more afraid? Why? How would you have felt if you were Rahab and her family?
Digging for Diamonds: Read Acts 10:9-48. This is another story where God’s instructions went against logic, but God moved greatly through obedience to his plans.
14. Sharing question: For six days the army of Israel marched in a seemingly pointless procession as nothing happened. Sometimes we experience situations where we cannot see God at work, either. We do what we think He wants us to do, but He appears to be absent or asleep. Share with your group the story of a time when appearances were later proven wrong; God was indeed at work but in ways that you didn’t expect or recognize. OR share a present situation where God appears asleep. You may want to ask for faith to trust God despite His seeming absence in the situation as you write a prayer request for your group.
15. Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God to lead you to some verses which will help increase your faith when you face such situations. Spend time looking for some and/or ask other believers for verses that help them. Once you find a couple that you really like, write them out and memorize them. Share the verses with your group.
Day Four Lesson
Read Joshua 6:15-17, 20-21.
16. Describe what happened the 7th day of the “battle”.
The army implemented the order that Joshua mentioned in 6:17, when he said that all was set apart or devoted to God. Dr. Woudstra explains this curse:
This curse (Heb. herem) meant that something or someone was absolutely and irrevocably consecrated so that it could not be redeemed (Lev. 27:28-29). It also meant that the object (person) was sentenced to utter destruction (Deut. 13:16). Both connotations are intended here. . . . The temporal destruction by the curse must be seen as a prelude and a foreshadowing of a more final judgment that God will mete out to those whose unrighteousness will be full (cf. Gen. 15:16) in the end of days (see Jer. 51:63-64; Rev. 18:20-21).13
Digging for Diamonds: Read all of the passages that Dr. Woudstra mentioned in the quote above. Write out your understanding of the herem as you would explain it to someone new to this concept.
17. Read these verses that give God’s instructions to Israel concerning the people in the land they were invading. Write down your insights as to how these relate to what happened at Jericho.
a. Gen. 15:16
v. Deut. 7:1-4
w. Deut. 7:16-24
x. Deut. 9:1-6
Read Joshua 6:22-25.
18. Because of Rahab’s faith, her entire family was spared destruction. The people of God are always called to influence those around them. In what ways are you to affect others according to these verses?
a. Phil. 2:14-15
y. 1 Peter 2:9
z. 1 Peter 2:11-12
19. Sharing question: Consider the verses in the previous question. How are you doing influencing others in those ways? Rate yourself 1-10 and explain why you put yourself where you did.
20. Responding to God: Ask God to show you ways to be more influential to others in pointing them to Jesus. Write a prayer asking God to fulfill the dream of drawing others to Him, knowing that He must work through you. OR write a poem describing the person you dream to be with God’s help.
Day Five Lesson
Read Joshua 6:26-27.
21. How does 1 Ki. 16:34 relate to Joshua 6:26?
The translators of the NET Bible consider Joshua “to be announcing the certain punishment of the violator. 1 Ki. 16:34 . . . supports this. Casting Joshua in a prophetic role, it refers to Joshua’s statement as the ‘word of the LORD’ spoken through Joshua.”14
22. What was the secret of Joshua’s success (6:27)?
Digging for Diamonds: Use your Bible software or online Bible to search for the same phrase used in Joshua 6:27 to describe his success. See how often it is used of other successful biblical leaders.
23. Sharing question: Share a dream that God has given you, not a physical dream of wealth or status or marriage, but a dream for your spiritual future—a dream of trusting God no matter what, a dream of the nearness of His presence, a dream of overcoming a temptation, or maybe a dream of making a real difference with your life. If you aren’t sure what dreams God has for you, go to the promises of the New Testament and read verses that help you see what He desires for you. Or go back to #18 in this week’s Day Four lesson and see God’s dreams for you to influence others. Share what God impresses upon your heart as a possible dream.
24. Responding to God: Pray that God will put His hand upon you as you follow that dream, knowing that He alone can bring it to pass.
25. Responding to God: Pray that the same thing true of Joshua’s success would be true of the leaders of your church. Pray the same for your group’s missionary.
Following God’s dreams often means that we go against the crowd, or even a friend who is making a different decision. Our first story involves a woman who spent time each day listening to God and followed the path that He showed her to follow, even though it was difficult. The second story concerns a couple who followed God’s principles although it was the more difficult option.
In one of my pastor’s messages, he asked, “Where does God want you to go against the crowd?” I knew immediately—He does not want me to sell my paintings inside a church—which I have done in the past!
At this time God began to use my daily Bible reading to speak to me. In John 2:16 Jesus said “Stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
I have been invited to be one of three or four artists in an art show which will be in another church. I knew that removing my name from the show would cause a big depletion in the number of paintings displayed. I also knew that I had to talk with my friend who had invited me into the show and explain the situation to her in a way that would not condemn her.
Psalm 105:19b says, “The word of the Lord tested him [Joseph].” I really felt that I was being tested also. Then I read in 1 Sam 1 that Hannah gave her most precious possession to the Lord and trusted him to take care of Samuel. I could trust God with my decision.
I really prayed about my decision regarding the show, and then I read that Jesus said that He could do nothing on his own. So I asked God to give me His words when I told my friend my decision. I really wanted her to know that the decision was mine, not my husband’s, and that it didn’t make me feel that she was doing something wrong by selling her own paintings in her church.
She listened as I talked and seemed to understand my point of view. She responded by asking if I would place some of my paintings in the show but mark them “not for sale”. That seemed like a good compromise to me. The rest of the story will be written in a few months.
My husband has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which has brought with it both some exciting adventures during our marriage as well as some challenges. In fall of 2001 he started a business with a co-worker from another company that, in hindsight, he had no business going into business with. While we should have both taken a step back, we jumped into it with the prospect of what could be. During a short 6 month period, the partner maxed out the company credit card--which was in our name--and was involved in some self-destructive behavior that was affecting the company’s ability to succeed. We had also secured some investment money from friends that had become involved simply because of our good name.
One night my husband realized he needed to quickly sever ties and shut down the business before we were ruined even more financially. What this did was leave us with a significant amount of debt that was tied to us personally. My husband was distraught, and we knew there was no way we could come up with the money to cover the amount of debt that had been accumulated in such a short period of time.
Needless to say, it was a very trying time for us both. I felt strongly that we were obligated to pay back as much of the debt as we could, regardless of how long it took. The world, though, said we were legally allowed to declare bankruptcy especially since it was a business venture, and my husband was at the point where he also wanted to pursue bankruptcy because it seemed the path of least resistance.
We sought the counsel of an elder from church--who also happened to be an accountant—who really encouraged us to do everything in our power to pursue other options, with bankruptcy being the absolute last resort. We did so and settled with the credit card company and set up payment plans with the individual investors. To date, we have paid off most of the debt, and although we’re not there completely, we have been obedient to what we felt called to do. In looking back on a few of the years since then, we have no idea how we were able to pay all our bills while paying off the debt but we believe God was faithful to take care of us because we were obedient to Him.
The law and the world’s system justified us in declaring bankruptcy, but we felt led to follow the Lord’s calling on our lives. We are all the richer for it.
10 Look in an exhaustive concordance or do an advanced search on bible.org. You will need to use the words used in that translation in order to find the cross references.
11 Davis, 42.
12 Woudstra, 109.
13 Woudstra, 113.
14 Note 34 in NET Bible: New English Translation (Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., 2003), 403.