June 26, 2022 – Joshua 6 – 7

Lesson Date: June 26, 2022

Focal Scripture Passage: Joshua 5:13 – 7:26

AIM: To lead students to discover what disobedience cost the ancient Israelites, and to commit to obeying God in everything they know He has told them to do.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Joshua 6 – 7 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the word “Obedience” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Obedience” written on the board.  Ask them to suggest definitions for the word.

Ask: “What are some rules or laws we must obey?” (we must obey rules at our workplace, we must obey traffic laws, we must file our taxes and pay what we owe, etc.).  Ask: “What happens when we obey those rules and laws?” (we maintain good standing with our employer, we enjoy freedom and safety on the roads, we enjoy the blessings taxes provide: roads, bridges, hospitals, and protection).  Stress the fact that obedience brings blessings.

Add the letters “Dis” to the word “Obedience” on the board, to produce the word “Disobedience”.  Ask the students to suggest definitions for the word.

Tell the class that because of man’s sinful nature, we are all prone to disobey.  Ask: “What happens when we disobey rules at work, traffic laws, or laws requiring us to file and pay taxes?” (at work: embarrassing correction, demotion, or firing; on the roads: fines, arrest, accidents, or injury; taxes: penalties or arrest).  Tell the students even if we don’t get caught disobeying, we are still guilty before God and must deal with our sin.  Stress the fact that disobedience is always costly.

Tell the class that today’s lesson from Joshua 6 – 7 is about The High Cost of Disobedience.  We will see the blessings the Israelites enjoyed when they obeyed God, and the terrible cost they paid when they disobeyed Him.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (living in such a way that God can bless us).
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (Josh. 3:5).
    • Remind the class that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and camped at Gilgal (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
  2. God’s Clear Instructions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 5:13-15.
    • Explain the following:
      • Joshua had an encounter with an angelic being who identified himself as the captain of the Lord’s host (army).
      • This was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.
      • The Lord came to give Joshua instructions about conquering Jericho (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
    • Read Joshua 6:1-2.
    • Tell the class that Jericho was locked down out of fear of the approaching Israelites.
    • Ask: “What did God say about Jericho in verse 2?” (I have given you the city and its inhabitants; in other words, you will conquer the city).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 6:3-5.
    • Ask: “How did God tell Joshua to conquer Jericho?” (march around the city carrying the Ark of the Covenant once a day for six days, and then seven times on the seventh day, after which they were blow a horn and shout).
    • Ask: “What did God promise would happen if they obeyed His instructions?” (the walls of Jericho would fall down flat, allowing the soldiers to easily enter and conquer the city).
    • Ask: “How would you feel if you were Joshua and God gave you these unusual instructions?”
    • Summarize: God gave the Israelites very clear instructions about how they were to rely on His miraculous power to conquer Jericho.
  3. Obedience Brought Victory.
    • Read Joshua 6:6-11.
    • Tell the students these verses describe day 1 of God’s seven-day plan to conquer Jericho.
    • Ask: “What did the Israelites do?” (marched around the city exactly as God instructed).
    • Explain the following:
      • The armed men went first.
      • They were followed by seven priests blowing trumpets.
      • Following them was the Ark of the Covenant.
      • The rest of the people (women, children, and old men) followed the Ark.
      • This incredible procession of 2 million Israelites may have stretched all the way around the city!
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 6:12-14.
    • Tell the class the Israelites obediently did the exact same thing on days 2 through 6.
    • Ask: “How do you think the Israelites felt doing this for six days?”
    • Ask: “How do you think the people of Jericho felt watching this spectacle for six days?”
    • Read Joshua 6:15-21.
    • Ask: “Did the Israelites obey God’s instructions?” (yes).
    • Ask: “According to verse 17, who were the only people in Jericho allowed to live?” (Rahab and her family).
    • Ask: “What warning did Joshua give them in verse 18?” (stay away from the “accursed thing” – things God marked out for destruction).
    • Ask: “What would happen if they disobeyed this warning?” (they would bring a curse upon the whole nation).
    • Tell the students that according to verses 20-21, the Israelites obeyed God, utterly destroying Jericho, and killing its inhabitants.
    • Read Joshua 6:22-27.
    • Tell the class that Joshua spared Rahab and her family; she lived among the Israelites for the rest of her life, and her name even appears in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).
    • Summarize: When the Israelites obeyed God’s clear instructions, they experienced an amazing and miraculous victory.
  4. Disobedience Brought Defeat.
    • Read Joshua 7:1.
    • Ask: “Why was God angry with the Israelites?” (because Achan kept something for himself that was forbidden).
    • Remind the students that God had told the Israelites to destroy everything in the city, but to put all the valuable metals in the Lord’s treasury (Josh. 6:19).
    • Explain that Israel’s next obstacle was the small city of Ai (locate on the Map of the Promised Land).
    • Read Joshua 7:2-5.
    • Ask: “What happened when they attacked Ai?” (they were defeated and humiliated).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 7:6-9.
    • Ask: “What did Joshua and the elders of Israel do after the terrible defeat at Ai?” (fell on their faces and prayed to God).
    • Tell the students when we experience defeat or discouragement, we often hang our heads, mope, complain, and blame others; but the best thing to do is pray.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 7:10-12.
    • Ask: “What did God say was the cause of their humiliating and costly defeat at Ai?” disobedience).
    • Note that in verse 12 God said He would no longer be with them if they didn’t “destroy the accursed from among you.”
    • Summarize: The sin and disobedience of one Israelite brought humiliation, defeat, and death upon the entire nation.
  5. The Cost of Achan’s Disobedience.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Joshua 7:13-15.
    • Ask: “What did God command them to do?” (sanctify themselves, identify the offender, and destroy him, his family, and his possessions).
    • Read Joshua 7:16-21.
    • Tell the class that Achan was identified as the disobedient sinner.
    • Ask: “When did Achan confess his sin?” (after being caught).
    • Explain the following:
      • Achan could have confessed his sin before the battle at Ai, after the defeat at Ai, when Joshua told the people to sanctify themselves, or even that day before they began going through all the tribes and families.
      • Instead, he waited to get caught.
      • Verse 21 reveals the pattern for most sin: Achan saw, he coveted, he took, and then he tried to hide what he had done.
    • Read Joshua 7:22-26.
    • Ask: “What did Joshua and the Israelites do to Achan?” (they took him, his family, and his possessions to a valley where they stoned them all to death; afterward they erected a huge pile of stones over them, as a reminder of the high cost of sin).
    • Tell the students the cost of Achan’s sin includes the following:
      • They suffered humiliating defeat to a weaker enemy.
      • 36 Israelites soldiers died.
      • 36 families lost a son, husband, or father.
      • Achan lied and tried to hide his sin.
      • Achan’s family was drawn into his lies.
      • The entire nation came under suspicion.
      • Achan and his family died.
    • Summarize: The example of Achan shows that sin carries a very high price for the sinner and everyone connected with him or her.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “What can we learn from Israel’s experiences at Jericho and Ai?” (obedience leads to victory, but disobedience leads to defeat and death).

Tell the students when the Israelites explicitly obeyed God they were blessed with victory, but when they disobeyed they suffered humiliating and disheartening defeat.  The same is true today.  If we obey God we will be blessed with victory, but disobedience and compromise always bring defeat.  The choice to obey or disobey God is ours to make.

Tell the students there is another important principle in this lesson: when Achan sinned, everybody suffered.  The world tells us our sin affects nobody but ourselves, but that is simply not true.  Whenever we sin, our family, friends, and church will suffer.  Stress the fact that sin is serious business.

Direct the class’ attention to the cover of the current Sunday School Member Quarterly, and remind them that the theme of this quarter’s study is Costly Compromise.  In today’s lesson we have found the first of Israel’s compromises and the troubles they caused.  Stress the fact that compromise always brings trouble.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.  Ask: “Has the Lord brought to your mind some area of sin, disobedience, or compromise in your life?  If so, confess it right now.”  Urge the students not to be like Achan who waited to get caught, but to confess their sin right now and ask the Lord to enable them to obey Him explicitly.  Voice a closing prayer of confession and commitment.

 

CONCLUSION: Tell the students to take definite steps to correct any areas of disobedience in their lives.  Urge them to avoid compromise this week.

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