(I taught 5 lessons at a kids camp recently and wanted to get them online for anyone to use. I’ll try to get them formatted better soon. ~ Anthony)
Obedience – Joshua Chapter 1
1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying,
2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
Moses had been God’s ambassador. What’s an ambassador? – Discuss.
Right. An ambassador is like a representative, or a person sent on behalf of another to speak for them. So if Jonathan were king of a new country called Sisco, and he wanted his slaves – you guys- to do all of his yard work for the entire weekend of cousins camp, he might send his servant – Anthony – to speak on his behalf. Of course, I would command all of you to mow the lawn, poop scoop the yard, trim some trees, and so on.
Moses had been God’s ambassador and Moses had now passed away. God had created a priesthood using only the tribe (or family) of Levi. They were called the Levites. In Jonathan’s case, his tribe would be called what? The Jonathites. In Joshua’s family, they might be called the Joshites or the Joshuites. In Jeremy’s family they might be called the Jeremites. You see they didn’t use LAST names to name the tribes, they used the FIRST names.
Moses was the ambassador of God and Moses was also a Levite, or of the family that God used to create the priesthood. The priests’ job was to go back and forth to God and from God. The priest would speak to God on behalf of Israel, and then the priest would sometimes hear from God and speak to the Israelites on behalf of God.
God had spoken through Moses to the Israelites many times already. The Lord also spoke through Moses to Pharaoh when God was warning the Egyptians to let His people go.
And it came to pass on the day when the LORD spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, that the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, I am the LORD: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say unto thee. ~ Exodus 6:28-29
Today, God has given us Jesus as our High Priest, and He has also given us the Holy Spirit to empower us and to intercede for us.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. ~ Acts 1:5-8
So first point I want you to hear is:
God has given us the Holy Spirit and Jesus to be our “go-between”.
(Setup an example with the kids of one person on the other side of the room, and pretend I have offended them or done wrong to them somehow. Ask a “go-between” kid to apologize on my behalf, ask forgiveness for me. Then ask the “go-between to tell the other person how wonderful they are, how much I appreciate just how awesome, smart, athletic, etc. they are.)
Be Strong and Courageous
5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
In these five verses, God instructs/commands/ comforts Moses with the words:
I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee
Be Strong and of a good courage
Be thou strong and very courageous
Be strong and of a good courage
Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed
The LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest
What message do you think God was trying to tell Joshua?
Be Strong! Have courage! And take courage, or TAKE HEART! And don’t be afraid! Don’t be dismayed! God is WITH YOU!
I love that God starts with “I won’t fail you”, then repeats “Be strong and courageous” three times, then finishes with “Don’t be afraid” and “I’m with you”. These are like bookends to a difficult instruction.
Notice God ends His message with “Don’t be afraid”, “Don’t be dismayed”, and “I’m with you”. I’m a parent of four kids. When do I tell my kids not to be afraid and remind them that I am with them?
Right! When they are scared!
Look at this!
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. ~ Hebrews 12:12-13
What do we do when we are scared or discouraged or afraid? Our knees knock, we get weak, and we can’t walk in a straight line. This message is as much for me as it is for you. I get scared all the time. I get nervous speaking in large groups of adults. I get scared walking in downtown after dark.
There are lots of other examples of men and women in the Bible who were scared – and with good reason – and yet God provided for them. Joseph, Isaac, Peter, Paul, David, and so many others. Let’s look at one.
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
~ Esther 4:13-16
Did God save Esther? Yes He did!
1 On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews’ enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her.
2 And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.
4 Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king. ~ Esther 8:1-2, 4
Joshua the Warrior and Spy
10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
Joshua’s past was as a warrior and servant of Moses. He had been a spy for Israel. God had prepared Joshua for this time and place much like He had prepared Esther – “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
God had assured Joshua that he would have success, but there were conditions:
From vs 7 and 8: “that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Two conditions: 1) Obey and 2) read the Bible.
Are these conditions still true today? Absolutely!
However, think about this: These are not meant to say tat you and I each need to follow every letter of the law or we’ll be a failure. Rather, #1 is meant to show us our need for Jesus!
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
~ Romans 3:23-24
And #2 is meant to remind us that God wrote us a letter! He gave us an instruction book.
Whenever we get a new piece of furniture that we have to put together ourselves, I am the WORST at reading the instructions. The. Worst. Ever.
However, I married up. I married a woman who is the very best instruction-reader on the planet. She has taught me, over and over and over and over again, to read the instructions. My blessed bride has also taught me to read the instructions given to us by God.
You see, I didn’t get a Bible education growing up as a kid in Catholic school. I didn’t go to Sunday school where they taught us the Bible. It has become my constant companion.
The Bible and it’s instructions are meant to make you and I aware of our need for a Savior and to guide and direct us to Him. Once we’ve found Him, the Bible helps keep us on His path for us.
That’s what God was telling Joshua. “Stay on this path Joshua, and you’ll be OK. If you stray off the path and go to the left, there is danger out there and you’re gonna get hurt. If you wander off to the right Josh, there’s more dangerous stuff. Stick with me and you’ll be safe.”
God Brings it all Home
13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.
16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
17 According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
God reminds the Hebrews that He is giving them the land of Israel, and that He will give them rest in the land. Their response?
“All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.”
It’s easier said then it is to do. That’s again why God gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one of the ways that “the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest”.
“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. ~ Acts 1:8