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Leader Guide ESV, Unit 8, Session 3
© 2018 LifeWay Christian Resources, Permission granted to reproduce and distribute within the license agreement with purchaser.
Edited by Rev. Lex DeLong, M.A.
Summary and Goal
In the previous session, the Israelites began their campaign to conquer the promised land with a victory over the fortified city of Jericho.
We saw that God provided the victory and how Rahab was spared and brought into the people of God.
Next, the Israelites suffered defeat at the city of Ai because they failed to follow God’s instructions, but then they were given victory over that same city after they repented.
In this session, we will see that Israel had learned an important lesson: Victory was theirs if they obeyed God, but defeat was certain if they relied upon themselves.
Session Outline
++1.
God promises victory for His people (Josh.
10:1-8).
++2.
God fights for His people in miraculous ways (Josh.
10:9-15).
++3.
God gives His people what He has promised.
(Josh.
11:23).
Session in a Sentence
God fights for His people to provide the victory that He has promised.
Christ Connection
God fought for Joshua and the Israelites, giving them victory over their enemies and peace in the land.
God has provided victory over sin and death for us through His Son’s death and resurrection.
Through Jesus we have peace with God.
Introduction
DDG (p.
66).
Begin this introduction with providing the answers and information below.
NUMBER OF YEARS OF PEACE IN RECORDED WORLD HISTORY
268 of the last 3,400 years
NUMBER OF DEATHS FROM WAR IN RECORDED WORLD HISTORY
150 million to 1 billion people
· Reportedly, the world has been at peace only 268 of the last 3,400 years.
In other words, only 8 percent of recorded history has known worldwide peace.
The 3,100-plus years of war have led to the deaths of anywhere from 150 million to 1 billion people, 108 million of those in the twentieth century. 1
Commentary: As of 2018, surveying a wide array of factors, these thirteen countries are ranked the most peaceful in the world by the Institute for Economics & Peace: Iceland, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Canada, Czech Republic, Singapore, Japan, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Australia.
2
Explain: Note that the Israelites in the Old Testament were no strangers to war either.
· Abraham, the father of the Israelites, defeated four kings to rescue his nephew Lot (Gen.
14:1-16).
· Moses raised his hands—with a little help—over a battle of self-defense with the Amalekites soon after the Israelites escaped from Egypt, and though they had received no battle training, God’s people defeated the Amalekite army (Ex.
17:8-16).
· God even commanded the Israelites to war with some of the surrounding peoples, dispensing His judgment in His strength on sinners, not unlike how God would discipline them with foreign nations.
The Israelites began their campaign to conquer the promised land with a victory over the fortified city of Jericho.
Next, the Israelites suffered defeat at the city of Ai because they failed to follow God’s instructions, but then they were given victory over that same city after they repented.
Now we will see that Israel had learned an important lesson: Victory was theirs if they obeyed God, but defeat was certain if they relied upon themselves.
Point 1: God promises victory for His people (Josh.
10:1-8).
When the Gibeonites in the promised land heard about how Jericho and Ai had fallen, they went to visit Joshua and asked for a treaty of peace.
But knowing the Israelites’ intent to destroy all the peoples of the land, the Gibeonites pretended they had journeyed from far away.
Even Joshua failed to consult God and fell for the ruse.
So they were allowed to live as slaves in service to the house of God, but some other Canaanite kings felt betrayed.
Read Joshua 10:1-8 (DDG p. 67).
1 As soon as Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, heard how Joshua had captured Ai and had devoted it to destruction, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them, 2 he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were warriors.
3 So Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent to Hoham king of Hebron, to Piram king of Jarmuth, to Japhia king of Lachish, and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me and help me, and let us strike Gibeon.
For it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered their forces and went up with all their armies and encamped against Gibeon and made war against it.
6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal, saying, “Do not relax your hand from your servants.
Come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the hill country are gathered against us.”
7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.
8 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands.
Not a man of them shall stand before you.”
DDG (p.
67)
An alliance of five kings attacked Gibeon, so they sent word to Joshua for help.
Often in their history, Israel had avoided risk and chosen the “safe” route, even if that route meant departing from God and His ways.
But here they kept their oath and marched to defend a people who had tricked them.
· The previous generation of Israelites often took things into their own hands instead of trusting in God.
They had tried to gather more manna than was allowed because they couldn’t trust God’s provision.
They had created a golden calf when Moses was absent for what seemed to be too long.
They had refused to go into the promised land because they feared the people of the land would wipe them out.
Fill in the blanks: DDG (p.
67) quote from Betsie ten Boom.
“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world.
And no places that are safer than other places.
The center of His will is our only safety.” 3 –Betsie ten Boom
Commentary: Betsie ten Boom was the sister of Corrie ten Boom, a survivor of a German concentration camp during World War II.
These sisters, along with their father, were Christians who worked to help Jews survive the brutal policies of the Nazis in German-occupied Holland.
For their brave efforts, they were arrested and imprisoned like the Jews they tried to save.
Betsie and their father both perished in their imprisonment, but their faith and wisdom are recorded in Corrie’s book The Hiding Place.
DDG (p.
67)
Joshua committed himself and his army in keeping with his word to the Gibeonites, and God would use this circumstance to fulfill His promises to Israel.
Though the Israelites faced a daunting battle, God’s first instruction to their leader was not to be afraid—God would give them victory.
What appeared from a human perspective to be a great risk and the fallout of Joshua’s rash promises was actually God’s way of delivering five kings and their armies into Israel’s hands.
Once again we see God reminding Joshua that victory was based on who He is and what He would do, not on who the Israelites were and what they could do.
Though this situation came about from deception, none of it was outside of God’s plan to make good on His promise to give His people the land.
God was going to be glorified, even through the trickery of the Gibeonites and the rash promises of Joshua.
Interact: Ask the following question.
How is it comforting to know that God can be glorified and bring good from anything, even our mistakes?
(though we make mistakes, God is not finished with us and continues to use us for His glory and our good; our struggle with temptation and sin does not disqualify us as sons and daughters of God; God’s eternal promises do not rest on our ability to be perfect in His sight)
Point 2: God fights for His people in miraculous ways (Josh.
10:9-15).
Read Joshua 10:9-15 (DDG p. 68).
9 So Joshua came upon them suddenly, having marched up all night from Gilgal. 10 And the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
11 And as they fled before Israel, while they were going down the ascent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died.
There were more who died because of the hailstones than the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar?
The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.
14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.
15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
DDG (p.
68) The Israelites’ weakened state allowed them to see the Lord demonstrate His omnipotence over nations and nature.
When the Israelite army drew near Gibeon, they were worn out.
Yes, they had caught the alliance of five kings by surprise, but they had marched all night to do so.
Their advantage was lessened by their weakened state, which was exactly what God wanted.
He wanted them to remember and to know that He is the Lord who fights on behalf of His people and that He is omnipotent over nations and nature.
· God’s strength is made known most clearly through the weaknesses of His people (2 Cor.
12:9).
Notice who acted in these verses.
The Lord was the One who threw the opposing armies into confusion.
He was the One responsible for the great slaughter of the people’s enemies.
He was the One who threw large hailstones that killed more enemy soldiers than the sword.
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