Friday, September 07, 2012

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 3

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Joshua, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, summer 2009, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Stay strong and very courageous. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 3 of the Old Testament book of Joshua. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

3:1 – The people went from Shittim to camp by the Jordan before crossing over. Why? If you look at a map, Jericho appears to be on the same side as the river.

3:2-4 – Officers told the people to follow the ark of the covenant, staying back 1000 yards.

Women and children, too? Probably not. Remember, Reuben and Gad left their families at home.

3:5 – Joshua told the people to consecrate themselves to prepare for the wonders that God would do on the following day. I seem to remember a similar passage in the Pentateuch – the people cleansing themselves – I need a reference.

“amazing things” – wonders.

How do you prepare yourself for what the Lord is doing in your midst?

3:6 – Joshua instructed the priests to take up the ark and pass before the people. Why might Joshua have given this instruction? So everyone could see God went before them? Was this perhaps like the Commander passing before His troops, surveying them?

3:7 – God told Joshua that He would prove to Israel that He is with Joshua just as He was with Moses. Take note of how God does this as you study the text.

3:8 – God told Joshua to instruct the priests carrying the ark to step into the river when they reached it.

3:9 – Joshua calls the people to listen to their God. Is He your God?

3:10-13 – Joshua explains that Israel will know God is among them and going to drive “the ites” out of the land because the ark will go before them and cut off the flow of water.

Hearing that the ark would go before Israel reminds me of that scene at the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where Marcus Brody says, “an army that carries the ark before it is invincible.” Do you know why such an army would be invincible? Because God sat enthroned on the mercy seat (atonement cover) between the cherubim. When the ark led the army, the Lord led the army! How cool is that!?!?!

3:14 – The priests carrying the ark set out.

3:15-16 – The flooded Jordan River stopped flowing as soon as the priests’ feet touched the water. So the people crossed. This proves that God is with Joshua as stated in verses 7 and 10-13.

It would have been difficult for the priests to maintain balance with the water raging at flood stage, especially while carrying the ark on their shoulders. I wonder if these men were afraid? Or if they just knew God would show up? Especially considering Joshua’s words in verse 5.

Close your eyes and imagine this. Note any changes in sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.

3:17 – The priests stayed in the middle of the river until all the people crossed. Remember the people had to stay 1000 yards away from the priests and the ark.

How many people? The last census was taken in Numbers 26. The results of that census reveal the following with regard to the number of men: Reuben – 43,730; Simeon – 22,200; Gad – 40,500; Judah – 76,500; Issachar – 64,300; Zebulun – 60,500; Manasseh – 52,700; Ephraim – 32,500; Benjamin – 45,600; Dan – 64,400; Asher – 53,400; Naphtali – 45,400. That is a total of 601,730 men, not counting Levites.

This was a bit different from the Red Sea crossing.

• The book of Joshua teaches us many things including the fact that we must pursue a relationship with the Lord for ourselves rather than leaning on others’ relationships with Him. Joshua followed Moses as leader of Israel, after all. What have you learned and applied to your life from today’s reading that will help you persevere in your relationship with Christ?
• How do you observe God proving to Israel that He is with Joshua as He was with Moses in today’s text? How does it apply to your own life and relationship with Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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