The Commission: Joshua 1

Coincides with Sunday, September 4

Prepare to study this chapter by first looking back to the last chapter of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy (and the Pentateuch) ended with the death of Moses after he had surveyed the land from the top of a mountain just east of the Jordan. He had led Israel for 40 years right up to this pivotal point, and now the reigns are being handed to Joshua.

Preliminary question

  • We could say that our basic disposition in the Christian life is one of rest (Matthew 11:28-30, Revelation 6:11; 7:15-17; 22:1-5). What is this rest? Can you think of a time when you have felt it?

TAKING IN: Understanding

  • What are the repeated words and ideas?
  • Who speaks and in what order?
  • Who gives commands and what is the response to those commands?
  • What does God command?
  • What does God promise?
  • How do you understand the verb tenses in in verse 3: “every place that the sole of your foot will tread” (future tense) “I have given you” (past tense)?
  • Three times God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” What is referred to in each exhortation? (Consider: Is courage more necessary for obedience than it is for battle? Or are those the same thing?)
  • What is the meaning of having “success” (7-8)?
  • What is the key to having success in everything?
  • What does it mean that the book of the law shall not depart from his mouth?
  • What does it mean to meditate day and night on the law?
  • Why do you think that Joshua specifically addressed the three tribes from east of the Jordan, the ones who already had their land (1:12-15)? (See chapter 22.) Remember: this is at the very beginning of the book and thus tells us something significant about the community.

LIVING OUT: Applying

  • The key to Joshua’s success was being obedient to God’s command and listening daily to his word. In what specific ways can you better apply this to your life?
  • Compare the commission of God to Joshua with that Jesus to his disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). In both there is a command to “go,” both are to enter foreign territories, and both are dependent on the teaching they have received. What do we learn from this comparison? (Consider especially the repeated idea of “success” in Joshua 1:7-8, and consider what exactly “successful missions” should entail.)
  • The word of God is key for giving us rest (Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 11:28-30). How can you apply this to your life this week?
  • In what ways might your idea of success differ from that of God?
  • Consider: We are not to be students who know God’s Word as much as listeners who hear God’s Word. What do you think of this statement?

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