User:RobertC/OT Lesson 18
Lesson 18: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage” (Joshua 1–6; Joshua 23–24)
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- During the Israelites’ 40-year sojourn in the wilderness, Moses had given them God’s law, acted as God’s spokesman, and served as their guide. He was the only leader an entire generation of Israelites had known. But the Lord took him at the end of their sojourn—just when they faced a great test. Remembering his promises to Israel, the Lord raised up a new leader, Joshua, who ably directed the conquest and settlement of the promised land.
Who is Joshua? (Numbers 13-14)
- One of the 12 spies. See Num 13:1-16—Joshua is "Osea" in verse 8. Notice that there is one spy from each of 12 tribes (incl. Reuben), except Levi (Joshua is from Ephraim, and a spy is sent from Manassah).
- Only Joshua and Caleb showed faith. Whereas most spies complained (cf. Num 14:26-33, esp. verse 28), Caleb and Joshua showed faith in God's promises (cf. Num 13:30; Num 14:6-10). Because of such faith, Joshua and Caleb were excepted from the prophibition on entering the promised land (cf. 14:15-39, esp. verse 24 and verse 30).
Joshua's calling (Joshua 1)
- Soles of feet. See Josh 1:3 commentary regarding God's gift of delivering enemies to be tread upon vs. Israel having to walk by faith.
- Joshua's challenges and assurances. From manual:
- What challenges do you think Joshua faced when the Lord called him to succeed Moses in leading the Israelites? (He was to lead Israel in the conquest and settlement of Canaan, which was a mighty undertaking. He was also taking the place of a great leader.)
- What assurance did the Lord give Joshua as Joshua prepared to enter the promised land? (See Josh 1:5.) How can this assurance help us in new callings or challenges? How has the Lord helped you in such circumstances?
- Be strong and of good courage. From manual:
- What command did the Lord repeat three times in verse 6-9?
- What did the Lord say Joshua would need courage and strength to do? (See Josh 1:7. Point out that although Joshua would need courage to fight many military battles, he would also need moral courage—the courage to do what is right.)
- What challenges do we face today that require strength and moral courage? What examples of moral courage have you observed?
- Scripture study. From manual:
- What did the Lord tell Joshua to do to “have good success”? (See Josh 1:8. Explain that the book of the law is the scriptures.)
- Why do you think scripture study would have been important for Joshua to succeed in his calling? How does regular scripture study help us?
- Joshua as a good soldier. See Josh 1:10-11 commentary.
- Rest. The term "rest" is used in verses 13 and 15, see this subpage for possible meanings of this term in the scriptures.
- Put to death. See Josh 1:18 commentary for BOM parallel.
Crossing Jordan (Joshua 3-4)
- As soon as. See Josh 3:13 commentary regarding the "stepping beyond the edge of the light" aspect of faith.
- Walking beyond light. From manual: Elder Boyd K. Packer said:
- “Shortly after I was called as a General Authority, I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing to be obedient but saw no way possible for me to do as he counseled me to do.
- “I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in the direction I was counseled to go. He said, ‘The trouble with you is you want to see the end from the beginning.’ I replied that I would like to see at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: ‘You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you’ ” (“The Edge of the Light,” BYU Today, Mar. 1991, 22–23).
- Stone memorial. Josh 4:19-24 discuss the stone memorial erected after crossing the Jordan River.
- From manual:
- Why did Israel set up a memorial of 12 stones after crossing the Jordan River? (See Josh 4:1–9. It was to be a testimony of the Lord’s power to future generations, reminding them that the Lord would bless them just as he had their fathers.)
- What personal memorials remind you of God’s power in your life? (Answers could include the sacrament; pictures of Christ, temples, and prophets; the scriptures; and spiritual experiences recorded in journals.)
- How can these memorials bless the lives of others? (See Josh 4:21–24.)
- Testify that the Lord will answer prayers, give blessings, give revelation, and perform wonderful works for each new generation. Ask the previously assigned class members to share experiences that remind them of God’s power and love.
- Also see this subpage on remembering.
Battle of Jericho (Joshua 2 and 6)
- Rahab. See Josh 2:1 commentary for NT mentions of Rahab's faith. See Josh 6:17, 22-25.
- Faith to break down walls. From manual:
- What caused the walls of Jericho to fall? (See Heb 11:30.) Why was the Israelites’ behavior an act of faith?
Choose you this day (Joshua 23 and 24:14-31)
- Rest (again). Notice rest appears again in Josh 23:1 (see notes above), after Israel has conquered their enemies in Canaan.
- If you do in any wise go back. Josh 23:12 warns the Israelites against going back (back to idolatry?), and intermingling with the Canaanites ("if ye do . . . cleave unto the remnant of these nations . . . and shall make marriages with them").
- Traps and snares. In Josh 23:13, Joshua says the (remaining) nations of Canaan will be "snares and traps unto you" (if the Israelites "go back" to idolatry).
- Ye shall perish quickly. The punishment for disobedience is given in Josh 23:16.
- Choose you this day. Josh 24:15 is a famous scripture (a scripture mastery verse in seminary), and captures what is probably the main moral lesson of the book of Joshua.
- Elder Marvin J. Ashton said:
- “Joshua reminds us of the importance of making decisions promptly: ‘Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15). Not tomorrow, not when we get ready, not when it is convenient—but ‘this day,’ straightway, choose whom you will serve. He who invites us to follow will always be out in front of us with His Spirit and influence setting the pace. He has charted and marked the course, opened the gates, and shown the way. He has invited us to come unto Him, and the best time to enjoy His companionship is straightway. We can best get on the course and stay on the course by doing as Jesus did—make a total commitment to do the will of His Father” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 41; or Ensign, May 1983, 30–31—as quoted in Lesson 18, GD manual).
Summary of other chapters in Joshua
See Josh 5:2 commentary (flint knives for ceremony; symbolism of circumcision). Summary: Israel defeated by people of Ai—Joshua complains to the Lord—Achan and his household destroyed because he disobeyed the Lord in taking of spoils of Jericho.
This chapter discusses the communal consequences of individual sin. Summary: Israel defeated by people of Ai—Joshua complains to the Lord—Achan and his household destroyed because he disobeyed the Lord in taking of spoils of Jericho.
- See Josh 7:13 for a note about individual guilt and communal suffering.
- See Josh 7:16 for a note on the casting of lots.
These chapters finish the story of the conquest of Canaan, relating to the central, southern, and northern portions, respectively. This narrative concludes with a general statement of the results of the conquest and a list of conquered cities.
These chapters relate the allotment of the land among the tribes and Joshua’s final exhortations.
- Joshua 13. The assignment of the eastern territory to Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh.
- Joshua 14-19. Western territory to Judah (chs. 14-15), to children of Joseph (chs. 16-17), and to seven remaining tribes (chs. 18-19);
- Joshua 20-21. The arrangements about the cities of refuge and the provision for the Levites.
- Joshua 22-24. The book concludes with an account of the setting up of the altar by the trans-Jordanic tribes and Joshua’s farewell address.