July 17, 2022 – Joshua 22 – 23

Lesson Date: July 17, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Joshua 22:1-6, 10-12, 24-29; 23:1-16

AIM: To lead students to discover that the Israelites were encouraged to follow God faithfully in the future because of His goodness to them in the past, and to personally commit to follow the Lord faithfully based on His past faithfulness to them.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Joshua 22 – 23 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Get enough index cards or sheets of note paper and pens or pencils for your anticipated attendance.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Give each of the students an index card or piece of note paper and a pen or pencil (if needed).  Ask everyone to take a moment to write down a few things God has done for them in the past.

Give the students about two minutes to write something.  Ask for volunteers to read some of the things the Lord has done for them in the past.  Ask: “How does it make you feel to remember the good things God has done for you?” (blessed, grateful, and confident about the future).

Tell the class in the chapters we will study today, we will learn that Joshua reminded the Israelites about God’s faithfulness to them in the past.  Because of God’s faithfulness to them in the past, Joshua urged the Israelites to remain faithful to Him in the future.  The title of today’s lesson is Remember the Lord.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Briefly remind the class of the things they have already studied in the book of Joshua:
      • Chapters 1 – 2: Requirements for successful living; Rahab and the spies.
      • Chapters 3 – 5: Requirements for receiving God’s blessings and the proper response to those blessings; crossing the Jordan River.
      • Chapters 6 – 9: Obedience brings victory, but disobedience results in defeat, death, and humiliation; the battle of Jericho.
      • Chapters 10 – 12: The only way to have victory in life’s battles is to obey God fully; the Israelites claimed their land.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (what we must do to claim the good things God has promised us; the division of the land among the tribes).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 21:43-45 (verse 45 was last week’s memory verse).
    • Tell the students the Israelites’ warfare was now over, their enemies were conquered, and the Lord gave them rest (peace) in their new land.
    • Ask: “According to verse 45, how many of God’s promises came to pass?” (all of them).
  2. Remember Your Commitments.
    • Read Joshua 22:1-4.
    • Ask: “What was going on here? Why did Joshua say these things to the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh?”
    • Explain the following:
      • Years earlier, these tribes asked Moses for permission to settle in the land of Gilead on the east side of the Jordan River (locate on the Map of the Promised Land), rather than in the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan River (Num. 32).
      • Moses granted their request, on the condition that the fighting men from those 2½ tribes would leave their families in Gilead and go into the Promised Land with the rest of the nation to help the other tribes secure the land.
      • The land was now secure; the fighting men of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh had kept their promise.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 22:5-6.
    • Ask: “What did Joshua tell these men to take ‘diligent heed’ to?” (to do the commandments and the Law Moses had taught them).
    • Tell the class the rest of verse 5 contains five verbs (action words) telling what these men were supposed to do.
    • Ask the students to identify those words (“to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul”).
    • Ask: “What did Joshua do in verse 6?” (blessed the men and sent them home).
    • Tell the students the men of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had faithfully kept their promise to help the other tribes secure their land, so Joshua sent them home to their families.
    • Summarize: Like the eastern tribes, we must remember our commitments. When we do, God will bless us.
  3. Remember Who You Are.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 22:10.
    • Ask: “What did the men of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh do at the Jordan River?” (built a great altar).
    • Read Joshua 22:11-12.
    • Ask: “Why do you think the rest of the Israelites were upset about this altar?” (they thought the altar would be used to sacrifice to false gods, an act of rebellion toward the Lord).
    • Explain the following:
      • This is evidenced by their statements in verses 16 and 18.
      • Verse 18 reveals that the rest of the Israelites feared this act of rebellion by these tribes would bring God’s wrath upon the entire nation.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 22:24-25.
    • Ask: “What was the fear of the eastern tribes?” (that future generations of the western Israelites would forget that the eastern tribes belonged Israel, and would thus forbid them from crossing the Jordan to worship God at the Tabernacle).
    • Read Joshua 22:26-29.
    • Explain the following:
      • The eastern tribes wanted to be sure they and their descendants could always go and worship the Lord God of Israel.
      • The altar served as a witness between the eastern and western tribes that they all belonged to the Lord and that He is the true God (v. 34).
      • This explanation satisfied the western tribes, so they went home peacefully.
    • Tell the students the eastern tribes set up an altar as a reminder that they were children of Israel, just like the western tribes that lived in the Promised Land.
    • Summarize: The eastern tribes wanted their descendants to remember who they were. Similarly, we must always remember that we belong to God’s family.
  4. Remember God’s Goodness and Promises.
    • Read Joshua 23:1-2.
    • Tell the students that Joshua was nearing the end of his life, so he called all the Israelites together to give them some final instructions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 23:3-5.
    • Ask: “What had God done for the Israelites in the past?” (He fought for them, He drove out the Canaanites, and He gave them the land as inheritances for their tribes).
    • Tell the class it is important that we remember the things God has done for us.
    • Read Joshua 23:6-11.
    • Ask: “What instructions did Joshua give the people?” (v. 6 – be courageous, obey the Word of God, and don’t turn aside from it; v. 7 – don’t have anything to do with heathens or their gods; v. 8 – cling to the Lord; v. 11 – be careful to love the Lord your God).
    • Tell the students in verse 9 Joshua again reminded the Israelites that God drove out the nations before them.
    • Ask: “What promise did Joshua remind them of in verse 10?” (one Israelite would be able to chase off a thousand enemies because the Lord would fight for them).
    • Tell the students that Joshua wanted the Israelites to remember God’s goodness to them in the past and His promises.
    • Summarize: God wants us to remember His goodness to us in the past, cling to His Word, and trust His promises.
  5. Remember God’s Warnings.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 23:12.
    • Write the word “IF” on the marker board or chalkboard.
    • Tell the class that Joshua warned the Israelites what God would do IF they turned back from following Him and clung to or intermarried with the heathen Canaanites.
    • Read Joshua 23:13-16.
    • Ask: “What did Joshua say God would do if they turned back from following Him and intermarried with idol-worshippers?” (v. 13 – the Lord will no longer drive out their enemies, but they will be snares, traps, scourges, and thorns to the Israelites; v. 15 – God promised to bring evil on the Israelites, destroy them, and thus remove them from the land He had given them; v. 16 – the anger of the Lord will be kindled against them, and He will drive them off the land He had given them).
    • Tell the students that in the midst of these warnings, in verse 14 Joshua reminded the Israelites that God had kept ALL His promises to them.
    • Tell the class that Joshua wanted the Israelites to remember God’s warnings of the consequences of disobedience and unfaithfulness to Him.
    • Ask: “What are some warnings God has given us?” (the Ten Commandments, don’t love the world, sin breaks our fellowship with God, don’t forsake church attendance, etc.).
    • Summarize: God wants us to remember that just as blessings come from obedience, unfaithfulness and sin always bring bad results.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class when Joshua wanted to urge the Israelites to faithfully follow God, he reminded them of the things God had already done for them in the past.  In light of God’s goodness to them in the past, Joshua urged the Israelites to faithfully follow Him in the future.  Remind the students that Joshua 23:15 says that just as surely as God brought good upon the Israelites, He promised to bring evil upon them IF they turned from following Him.  In the same way, we need to remember that being unfaithful to the Lord always brings bad results.

Ask everyone to look at the index card or piece of note paper you gave them at the beginning of class, on which they wrote things God has done for them.  Those are things God has already done for them.  Ask: “In light of God’s goodness to you in the past, don’t you want to faithfully follow Him in the future?”

Tell the students: If God’s people remember God’s faithfulness in the past, they are more likely to serve Him faithfully in the future.  Encourage everyone to make a personal commitment to follow God faithfully.

Remind the class that the Israelites were sternly warned against the dangers of intermixing with the pagan people who lived in their land and adopting their ways.  Tell the students there is still a grave danger in intermixing with the lost world around us and adopting their ways.  The Bible warns, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).  Tell the students if they are doing any mixing with the world or adopting any of the world’s sinful ways, they must repent and turn from that sin before they can expect any blessings from God.  Encourage everyone to personally repent and ask God’s forgiveness, as you lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Say: “If you have repented of sin, you need to take definite steps this week to free yourself from entangling relationships with the lost world.  If you don’t, you can forget about receiving God’s blessings.”  Ask everyone to memorize Joshua 23:11, and to start a journal of God’s faithfulness and blessings in their lives.

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