Friday, October 05, 2012

Bible Study: Be Strong and Courageous - Joshua Chapter 7

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 7 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…

7:1 – “acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things.” Achan, a member of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things, angering God.

7:2-3 – Joshua sent spies to Ai who informed him that there were few men there and to send only 3000 Israelites to take the land.

What didn’t Joshua do? Why do you think he didn’t do it? If Joshua had sought the Lord, what do you think would have happened?

7:4-5 – The men of Ai defeated Israel, killing 36 men and Israel was afraid.

Do you think these men were from the tribes of Ephraim, Gad and Manasseh? Why might they have been from there?

7:6 – tore his clothes – a sign of distress.

Fell facedown before the ark – submission, petition.

Remained there till evening – how long have you remained like this before God?

The elders did the same and sprinkled dust on their heads. The sprinkling of dust is a sign of mourning. For Israel’s sin, yet undiscovered? For the 36 men who died? For their realization that they should have consulted God before attacking Ai?

7:7-9 – Joshua’s prayer asks “why” and “what will the Lord do for His own name if Israel is wiped from the earth”. What does this tell you Joshua knows about the promises of God?

7:10-13 – God answers Joshua’s prayer by saying there is sin in Israel and it must be destroyed if Israel is to stand against their enemies.

7:11 – “taken some of the devoted things.” See 7:1.

7:14-21 – An elaborate selection process is planned and executed revealing that Achan took the devoted things. See verse 1.

Why such an elaborate selection process? So everyone would know it wasn’t Joshua making the decision against Achan. Israel had to know it was God identifying the guilty one. Why might that be important? Can you imagine the build-up of tension?

7:18 – What do you think was running through Joshua’s mind when his own tribe was chosen? As his tribal brothers came forward? As Achan was selected?

7:20 – Achan admitted his sin immediately when confronted. Do you? Can you think of another instance in the Bible where a sinner was confronted and admitted their sin? David with Nathan? The unbelieving father with Jesus? The Samaritan woman at the well?

7:21 – Why do you suppose the Bible describes the devoted things Achan stole? How can you apply this to your own life to help you in your walk with Christ?

7:24 – “Achor” means trouble. The word looks a bit like Achan’s name, doesn’t it? It is actually another form of his name. Do you know the meaning of your name? When we get to heaven, the Lord will give us a new name. What would you like your new name to mean? How about allowing Him to live up to that by letting Him work through you!

7:25 – What trouble did Achan bring on Israel? What was God’s punishment for Achan’s sin?

In our notes for verse 20, we mentioned other passages where a sinner was confronted with and admitted their sin. How were those stories similar to Achan’s? How were they different? How did those stories end in comparison with the end met by Achan and his family? Why do you think they ended differently?

What lesson does this passage hold for us, today?

Israel stoned Achan, first. Did he try to run, maybe? His family watched. Do you think they just stood there silently? Maybe they cried or screamed. Did they know what was coming? Then Israel stoned his family and cattle. This must have been chaotic! The cattle would have trampled smaller animals and people. After it was over, Israel burned them. Why do you think they did this?

7:26 – Israel buried Achan under rocks. A pile of rocks has been a monument to Israel in the past. What type of monument was this pile of rocks?

• 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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