Lessons from the Book of Joshua
March 1 – 7, 2020
“And the whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh, and set up the tabernacle of the congregation there. And the land was subdued before them” (Joshua 18:1).
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 512–518.
“The land to which we are traveling is in every sense far more attractive than was the land of Canaan to the children of Israel. They were led by the hand of God. Christ Himself gave them a description of the country in which they were to find a home; for He wished to place before them every incentive to press on with hope and courage. … They had need of courage and constant faith.” The Review and Herald, November 29, 1881.
A MAN OF COURAGE
a. Before the land was distributed, what did Caleb testify of his experience from forty years prior? Joshua 14:6–9. How had he shown courage before?
b. What can we learn from God’s promise to Caleb? Numbers 14:22–24.
Note: “While the doubting ones talk of impossibilities, while they tremble at the thought of high walls and strong giants, let the faithful Calebs, who have ‘another spirit’ (Numbers 14:24), come to the front. The truth of God, which bringeth salvation, will go forth to the people if ministers and professed believers will not hedge up its way, as did the unfaithful spies. Our work is aggressive. Something must be done to warn the world; and let no voice be heard that will encourage selfish interests to the neglect of missionary fields. We must engage in the work with heart and soul and voice; both mental and physical powers must be aroused. All heaven is interested in our work, and angels of God are ashamed of our weak efforts.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 380, 381.
THE FAITH OF AN AGED WARRIOR
a. What refreshing request did 85-year-old Caleb make? Joshua 14:10–12. How is his amazing courage and trust in God inspiring to us?
Note: “Zeal and energy must be intensified; talents that are rusting from inaction must be pressed into service. The voice that would say, ‘Wait; do not allow yourself to have burdens imposed upon you,’ is the voice of the cowardly spies. We want Calebs now who will press to the front—chieftains in Israel who with courageous words will make a strong report in favor of immediate action. When the selfish, ease-loving, panic-stricken people, fearing tall giants and inaccessible walls, clamor for retreat, let the voice of the Calebs be heard, even though the cowardly ones stand with stones in their hands, ready to beat them down for their faithful testimony.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 383.
b. How was Caleb’s faithful claim blessed? Joshua 14:13–15.
Note: “Caleb’s faith now was just what it was when his testimony had contradicted the evil report of the spies. He had believed God’s promise that He would put His people in possession of Canaan, and in this he had followed the Lord fully. He had endured with his people the long wandering in the wilderness, thus sharing the disappointments and burdens of the guilty; yet he made no complaint of this, but exalted the mercy of God that had preserved him in the wilderness when his brethren were cut off. Amid all the hardships, perils, and plagues of the desert wanderings, and during the years of warfare since entering Canaan, the Lord had preserved him; and now at upwards of fourscore his vigor was unabated. He did not ask for himself a land already conquered, but the place which above all others the spies had thought it impossible to subdue. By the help of God he would wrest his stronghold from the very giants whose power had staggered the faith of Israel. It was no desire for honor or aggrandizement that prompted Caleb’s request. The brave old warrior was desirous of giving to the people an example that would honor God, and encourage the tribes fully to subdue the land which their fathers had deemed unconquerable.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 512, 513.
FAITH THAT WORKS
a. Explain how Caleb’s courageous faith was demonstrated in works, even in his old age. Joshua 15:13, 14
Note: “Caleb obtained the inheritance upon which his heart had been set for forty years, and, trusting in God to be with him, he ‘drove thence the three sons of Anak’ (Joshua 15:14). Having thus secured a possession for himself and his house, his zeal did not abate; he did not settle down to enjoy his inheritance, but pushed on to further conquests for the benefit of the nation and the glory of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 513.
b. Explain the difference in outcome between the experience of Joshua and Caleb versus that of the unbelieving spies. Numbers 14:30–32; 1Corinthians 10:5.
Note: “The cowards and rebels had perished in the wilderness, but the righteous spies ate of the grapes of Eschol. To each was given according to his faith. The unbelieving had seen their fears fulfilled. Notwithstanding God’s promise, they had declared that it was impossible to inherit Canaan, and they did not possess it. But those who trusted in God, looking not so much to the difficulties to be encountered as to the strength of their Almighty Helper, entered the goodly land.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 513.
c. What does God want us to realize about the power of faith? 1John 5:4.
Note: “All things are possible to him that believeth; and whatsoever things we desire when we pray, if we believe that we receive them we shall have them. This faith will penetrate the darkest cloud and bring rays of light and hope to the drooping, desponding soul. It is the absence of this faith and trust which brings perplexity, distressing fears, and surmisings of evil. God will do great things for His people when they put their entire trust in Him.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 140.
SHARING BURDENS IN UNITY
a. Which tribes were located (a) on the east side of the Jordan; (b) on the west side of the Jordan? (To view the division of Canaan among the twelve tribes, see a Bible map.) Numbers 34:14, 15; Joshua 13:7, 8.
Note: “Two of the tribes of Israel, Gad and Reuben, with half the tribe of Manasseh, had received their inheritance before crossing the Jordan. To a pastoral people, the wide upland plains and rich forests of Gilead and Bashan, offering extensive grazing land for their flocks and herds, had attractions which were not to be found in Canaan itself, and the two and a half tribes, desiring to settle here, had pledged themselves to furnish their proportion of armed men to accompany their brethren across the Jordan and to share their battles till they also should enter upon their inheritance. The obligation had been faithfully discharged. When the ten tribes entered Canaan forty thousand of ‘the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh … prepared for war passed over before the Lord unto battle, to the plains of Jericho’ (Joshua 4:12, 13). For years they had fought bravely by the side of their brethren. Now the time had come for them to get unto the land of their possession. As they had united with their brethren in the conflicts, so they had shared the spoils; and they returned ‘with much riches … and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment’ (Judges 22:8), all of which they were to share with those who had remained with the families and flocks.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 517, 518.
b. Where was the headquarters of the nation? Joshua 4:19; 10:6, first part.
Note: “Here [at the first encampment in Canaan], Joshua ‘circumcised the children of Israel’ (Joshua 5:3); ‘and the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover’ (verse 10). … And the Lord declared to Joshua, ‘This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you’ (verse 9), and in allusion to this the place of their encampment was called Gilgal, ‘a rolling away,’ or ‘rolling off.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 485, 486.
A NEW HEADQUARTERS
a. After the claim of Joseph’s children had been settled, to where was the tabernacle moved? Joshua 18:1, 10. Why? How long was it there?
Note: “Heretofore Gilgal had been the headquarters of the nation and the seat of the tabernacle. But now the tabernacle was to be removed to the place chosen for its permanent location. This was Shiloh, a little town in the lot of Ephraim. It was near the center of the land, and was easy of access to all the tribes. Here a portion of country had been thoroughly subdued, so that the worshipers would not be molested. [Joshua 18:1 quoted.] The tribes that were still encamped when the tabernacle was removed from Gilgal followed it, and pitched near Shiloh. Here these tribes remained until they dispersed to their possessions.
“The ark remained at Shiloh for three hundred years, until, because of the sins of Eli’s house, it fell into the hands of the Philistines, and Shiloh was ruined. The ark was never returned to the tabernacle here, the sanctuary service was finally transferred to the temple at Jerusalem.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 514.
b. What valuable practice was later instituted at Shiloh? Judges 21:19.
Note: “As a means of education an important place was filled by the feasts of Israel. In ordinary life the family was both a school and a church, the parents being the instructors in secular and in religious lines. But three times a year seasons were appointed for social intercourse and worship. First at Shiloh, and afterward at Jerusalem, these gatherings were held.” Education, 41, 42.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why did God say Caleb had “another spirit” suited to the promised land?
2 How can I develop an attitude more like Caleb than like Joseph’s children?
3 What do I need to realize about faith that perhaps I have not seen before?
4 What kind of faith was exercised by those tribes east of the Jordan?
5 Name some of the blessings reaped by the location of Shiloh.
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