Bible Study November 3, 2020
Joshua 13:1 – 24:33
[text Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25]
Last week, we stood with the Israelites just outside the land of promise – we read of their entry into the land and saw how many of the images mirrored those of the people of God leaving Egypt and entering into the wilderness.
In each of these epic events, the people of God going through the waters begin living into a new identity – in the first they shed their identity as slaves who had no other identity and in the second they are no longer wilderness-wanderers but a cohesive people of God linked to their ancestry by means of the covenant.
Similarly, in our baptisms we come through the water and are claimed as God’s own belove ones and are drawn into life together as the Body of Christ.
Think for a bit about your baptism. Do you know when it was? How has it contributed to the person you are today?
In the Book of Joshua, roughly the first half describes the “conquest” of the land, led by Joshua. A summary is found in Joshua 11:16-23 and a description of lands yet to be conquered is found in Joshua 13:1-7. Joshua 21:43-45 is a statement of God’s faithfulness to them from the time of Abraham forward. Interestingly, the area of the land of promise is approximately 16,000 square miles – about half the size of the State of South Carolina and twice the area of modern day Israel. The second half describes the allotment of the land to the tribes along with some of Joshua’s final words. Notice that lands on both sides of the Jordan River are included in the allocation. Think about what it may have been like for the “ordinary” Israelite entering into this new land. What might the dreams and wonderings have been? What worries or anxieties?
What peculiarities do you see in the allocation? You may want to compare this to the family tree
from earlier this summer – the week of June 29 . In Joshua 20, Cities of Refuge are established
(see Exodus 21:13). What is the purpose of these cities? What do we understand about God given the command to establish them?
In the focus text for this week, we read Joshua’s final words before his death. Compare these to Moses’ last words in Deuteronomy. Compare Deuteronomy 30:15-20 with Joshua 24:14-15.
How would you summarize Joshua’s last address to the people? What that might be in contemporary language? What are the foreign gods that we may be drawn to follow?
Let us pray: Holy God. We give you thanks for your provision to your people in all times and places. Thank you for leaders like Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb. Help us in all of our days and decisions to choose that which is lifegiving and which honors you. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.