June 19, 2022 – Joshua 3 – 5

Lesson Date: June 19, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Joshua 3:1 – 5:12

AIM: To lead students to discover things God expected the Israelites to do before He would bless them, and to evaluate themselves to see if they are living in a way that God can bless them.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Joshua 3 – 5 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Blessing” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Blessing” written on the board.  Ask them to suggest definitions for the word.  Ask volunteers to name some ways God has blessed them.  Tell the class that everyone wants to be blessed.

Write the word “Requirement” on the board.  Ask the students to suggest definitions for that word.  Explain that sometimes we must meet certain requirements before we can do something.  For example:

  • Before you can take an advanced-level college class you must take the required prerequisite classes.
  • Before you can legally drive a car you are required to get a driver’s license.
  • Before you can travel to another country you are required to get a passport.

Ask the following rhetorical question: “Are there requirements God’s children must meet before He will bless us?”  Tell the class that God is sovereign and all-powerful, so He can bless anyone He chooses, but there are some things we should do to be “blessable” – to live in such a way that God can bless us.

Tell the class in today’s lesson we will learn about the requirements God placed on the children of Israel before He would bless them and bring them over into the Promised Land.  The title of today’s lesson is, Are You Blessable?

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students of the following:
      • Hundreds of years earlier, God promised to give the Israelites the land of Canaan.
      • Forty years earlier, God miraculously led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.
      • Because of their disobedience and rebellion, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years.
      • Moses died and God appointed Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (requirements for success).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Josh. 1:8)
  2. Sanctify Yourselves.
    • Using the Map of the Promised Land, remind the class that the Israelites were camped about 6 miles east of the Jordan River.
    • Explain that in Joshua 3:1, Joshua led the Israelites to move their camp to the riverbank.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 3:2-6.
    • Ask: “How were the Israelites to know when to move ahead?” (they were to follow the movement of the Ark of the Covenant).
    • Remind the class that the Ark of the Covenant was a gold-covered box containing the stone tablets on which God had written the Ten Commandments.
    • Ask: “What did Joshua tell the people to do in verse 5?” (sanctify themselves).
    • Explain that the word sanctify means to be clean, holy, and morally pure.
    • Ask: “According to verse 5, why did they have to sanctify themselves?” (because the next day the Lord was going to do wonders among them).
    • Summarize: God expected His people to be morally clean and right with Him before He would bless them. He still does.
  3. Follow Your Godly Leader.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 3:7.
    • Ask: “What did God say He was going to do?” (elevate Joshua in the eyes of the people to the degree that He had elevated Moses; see Josh. 1:5).
    • Read Joshua 3:8-13.
    • Tell the students God was about to miraculously part the Jordan River.
    • Ask: “According to verse 10, what were the Israelites supposed to learn from the miracle God was about to perform?” (God was among them and would drive out the inhabitants of the land before them).
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, when would the water of the Jordan River be cut off?” (when the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water).
    • Ask: “What do you think would have happened if the priests refused to step forward until the water was cut off?” (it would not have been cut off).
    • Read Joshua 3:14-17.
    • Ask: “What happened when the people followed their godly leader?” (God dried up the Jordan River just as He had promised, and several million Israelites crossed over the river “on dry ground”).
    • Summarize: God expected His people to follow the leader He placed over them, requiring obedience before blessings. He still does.
  4. Remember and Publicize God’s Blessings.
    • Briefly lecture on the events described in Joshua 4:1-9:
      • God told Joshua to send 12 men (one from each tribe) back into the riverbed.
      • Each man was to bring a large stone up out of the riverbed onto the western riverbank.
      • The stones would be a reminder of God’s power.
      • Joshua also set up 12 stones in the middle of the riverbed.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 4:14.
    • Ask: “How did the people feel about Joshua?” (they respected him as they had Moses).
    • Read Joshua 4:18.
    • Ask: “What happened when the priests came up out of the riverbed?” (the water returned).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 4:19-20.
    • Explain the following:
    • Read Joshua 4:21-24.
    • Ask: “What was the purpose of those stones?” (they were to be a teaching tool so that succeeding generations could learn that God miraculously brought the Israelites across the Jordan River).
    • Tell the students that verse 24 says God wanted the Israelites to let the entire world know about His power, and He wanted the Israelites to always fear and reverence Him.
    • Summarize: God expected His people to remember His past blessings and tell future generations about them. He still does.
  5. Obey God in Every Area of Life.
    • Read Joshua 5:1.
    • Ask: “How did the inhabitants of the land feel when they heard about Israel’s miraculous river crossing?” (their hearts melted with fear).
    • Read Joshua 5:2-7.
    • Ask: “What did the Lord tell Joshua to do?” (circumcise the men).
    • Explain the following:
      • God initiated circumcision with Abraham (Gen. 17:10).
      • The Israelites continued to circumcise their baby boys while they lived in Egypt.
      • For some reason, they had not been obedient in practicing circumcision during their years of wandering in the wilderness.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 5:10.
    • Tell the class the Israelites observed their first Passover in the Promised Land; they did this in obedience to God’s previous command (Ex. 12:25-27).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 5:11-12.
    • Ask: “What happened the day after the Israelites started eating the fruit of the land?” (God stopped sending them manna every day).
    • Remind the students that for forty years God gave them manna to eat in the wilderness, but now that they were living in the land “flowing with milk and honey,” the manna was no longer needed.
    • Summarize: God expected His people to obey Him in every area of life. He still does.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that God required three things of the Israelites before He would bless them miraculously:

  • First, they had to sanctify themselves (Josh. 3:5).
  • Second, they had to follow their godly leader (Josh. 3:7-8; 4:14).
  • Third, they had to obey God fully (Josh. 3:3, 13; 5:2-12).

Tell the class that in response to God’s blessings, the Israelites were expected to remember His intervention and tell others about it (Josh. 4:20-24).

Ask: “What about you?  Are you living in such a way that God can bless you?  Are you sanctified and blessable?  Are you following your godly leaders?  Are you obeying God in all areas of life?”

Review the three requirements for blessing listed above, asking the students how each one relates to us today.  Ask questions such as: “What does it mean to be sanctified?”  “Are you truly following your godly leader if you complain and gripe about the things he tells you to do?”  “Are you fully obeying God, even when doing so doesn’t appear to make sense?”

Encourage the students to examine themselves to determine: (a) if they are living in such a way that God can bless them, and if not, (b) what needs to change so they will be right with God and be in a position to be blessed.

Tell the students that Evangelist Bill Sturm used to say that “God blesses those that let Him.”  This reminds us that we can cut off God’s blessings by disobeying Him.

Ask: “Are you willing to do what’s required to be blessed by God?”  Encourage everyone to confess their sin and recommit to obeying God.  Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to follow through on the commitments they have made this morning.  Ask them to memorize Joshua 3:5.  Encourage them to tell others about God’s blessings on their lives.

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