Sunday School Material 6-12-11: God Has Expectations
(Joshua 1:7-16; 6/12/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God expects obedience from His people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live up to God’s expectations for our lives.
Read Joshua 1:7-9
I. Spiritual Preparation. God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous in today's Sunday School material. He is to live by the Law given to God’s servant, Moses. If Joshua would obey God, God promises great success.
- Strength and courage. Notice in vss. 7-9 of the Sunday School material the repeated urging of Joshua’s strength and courage. More specifically, to be strong in this context means to be obedient to God’s revealed will – the Law.
It will call for courage, but success is promised, if Joshua would simply courageously obey the word of the Lord to Moses with great strength.
As in the Sunday School material, we can count on God to bless those who exercise the strength and courage needed to obey His word.
At the core of God’s word are the issues of making sure that we have accepted Christ as our savior by faith and that we are focused on loving God and others as ourselves. Let’s focus on obeying God’s word with courage and strength.
- No fear or dismay. Notice in vs. 9 of the Sunday School material that fear and dismay should not be entertained, especially since God is present.
If we were in this struggle to live right by ourselves then fear and dismay (i.e., losing our spirit because of fear) would make sense. However, when we remind ourselves that we are not in this struggle by ourselves, we should be able to press on.
God is still with us. The Father oversees us, the Son intercedes for us, and the Spirit indwells us. With this kind of company, we should be more concerned about our enemies than ourselves.
Let’s live like we believe that God is with us. This kind of living should be known for confident obedience to the Lord’s will.
Read Joshua 1:10-15
II. Physical Preparation. In the Sunday School material Joshua called the officers to order and gave them orders to pass on to the people.
In three days, the people were to move towards the blessings that God has prepared for them. The Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh were reminded by Joshua to carry out the agreement put in place under Moses.
These tribes had their land already; however, they were to assist their brother tribes in conquering their land as well.
- Playing our roles. Notice in vss. 9-11 of the Sunday School material that God talked to Joshua; Joshua talked to the officers; and the officers talked to the people. This is still how God likes to operate.
God speaks to the one He sent – the leader. The leader often talks to his helpers. And the helpers help, by passing the message from God through the leader to the people.
In too many cases, there are too many break downs in this system. Too many leaders distort what God said. Too many officers want to revise what God said. And too many followers don’t care who said what, they are not moving.
Let’s work on playing our role in following godly leadership. If we are not careful, we will spend another forty years in the wilderness, instead of enjoying the blessings of God that comes after we follow His plan and person.
- Helping and enjoying. Notice in vss. 12-15 of the Sunday School material that the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe Manasseh were called upon to keep their word.
They had promised during Moses administration to fight with their brothers on the west, before they would enjoy their allotted land on the east.
Thank God the Sunday School material shows that they were people of their word. Perhaps they understood that the same God who gave could take away, if they entertained a lying attitude.
Perhaps they understood that there would be no real fellowship among the other tribes, if they had used their support but was unwilling to give back for the common good.
This is a great point for many of us whom the Lord has blessed already. We are tempted to simply sit back and enjoy what God has given us. However, this text urges us to understand that we are members of the same body.
Consequently, we need to help others with their blessings, instead of simply enjoying our own. However, we must also seek peaceful conscious about how to help others and enjoy what God has given us at the same time.
Because there will always be someone who doesn’t have much (i.e., there will always be poor people). It doesn’t have to simply be one or the other. Let’s work on finding the balance between helping others and enjoying our blessings.
Read Joshua 1:16
III. Total Cooperation. In this portion of the Sunday School material the people responded with words of cooperation. They said that they would follow Joshua's commands.
- Following leadership. Notice in vs. 16 that the people gave an expression of cooperation. In fact, in vs. 18 of the Sunday School material they suggested that they would go so far as to put to death those who gave Joshua any trouble.
If we would simply follow God’s will for our lives – let leaders lead, helpers help, and followers follow – we could be so much further down the road. However, there is so much more to this idea than simply saying nice empty words.
We must grow to understand that God uses sinful human agents to carry out His will. We are charged to exam whatever a person says in light of God’s word.
If the leader is not leading us contrary to God’s word then we ought to follow with our ultimate trust in God. Anything less will often lead to more time in the wilderness. Let’s work on following leadership with our ultimate trust being in God.
Conclusion: Let’s work on living up to God’s expectations for our lives. God has much for those who obey His will.
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