Sunday School Material 6-5-11: God's Promises Fulfilled
(Joshua 1:1-6; 11:16-19, 21-23; 6/5/11)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is that God keeps His promises. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to learn and live by the promises of God, which are often based on our obedience.
Read Joshua 1:1-6
I. The Promise of a Land. We see in the Sunday School material that Moses has died. God speaks to Joshua. God assures Joshua that as He was with Moses, so He shall be with him.
He urges Joshua to move forward with strength and courage, as he trusts in the promises of God.
- Death and moving forward. Notice in vss. 1-2 of the Sunday School material that Moses died and the work of God was to move forward.
First, we like Moses, must leave this life. It reasons that we make sure we are ready for our date with death – salvation, will, living will, gifts to the church, reconciliation with loved ones, etc.
Second, as in the text, the work of God is to move forward, in spite of the death of key leaders. It reasons that we would always seek to have a second and third option for essential work in our churches and communities.
God can use the next leader just like He uses the current or former one. Leadership has much more to do with God than with the human personality.
Let's work on being ready for our date with death and moving forward with God's work, after the death of key leaders.
- God's talking to His leader. Notice in vs. 1 of the Sunday School material that God speaks to the leader that He chose.
In spite of our experiences with ungodly leaders, helpers, and followers, God still operates by a similar pattern. That is, God chooses which sinner (see Rom. 3:10, 23) He wants to serve as the leader.
And then God speaks to the leader about what He wants him/her to do. If you want to be blessed, you need to find a leader whom you believe God has chosen and is using. And then you need to follow leadership.
If the person in the seat of leadership is not of God then perhaps you need to either get rid of that person or more likely find a leader whom you believe to be of God.
If you cannot find a leader whom you believe to be of God then maybe the problem is more with you than with the leaders. Let's work on praying for the leader's listening to and obeying God as well as our following the leadership of the one God has chosen.
A commitment to pray for God's will to be done and to following the one God has sent, unless he/she is leading contrary to God's will, are strong steps in the right direction.
- Obedience and blessings. Notice in vss. 1-6 that God blesses faithful obedience. In our Sunday School material, Joshua was to be strong and courageous, in obedience to God. God promised a great amount of land.
First, God is still calling His people to trust and obey His will. If studying, serving, and giving are still giving you problems then you have a ways to go, in this area of obedience.
Second, just as God had great blessings in the text, God still has more than we can imagine, if we would obey. God still has material blessings, and He is has immaterial blessings like peace of mind, joy, and hope.
Let's work on being obedient to God's will, so we can experience the blessings of God.
It should be noted that when God keeps on telling someone to be strong and courageous, it often implies that situations are coming that will tempt that person to be weak and cowardly.
The good news for us is that no matter how we are tempted to the do the contrary, we can trust God to see us through whatever is before us, if we would simply obey His will.
Read Joshua 11:16-19
II. The Taking of the Land. In the Sunday School material we see the land that Joshua conquered is noted. Joshua was a man of war. He fought for a long time and killed many kings. Only the Hivites of Gibeon were mentioned as those who were spared.
- Faith and works. Notice in vs. 17 of the Sunday School material that the method that God used to bless His people was by war.
In ethics, we deal with the idea of "just war." In religion, we deal with the idea of "holy war." In a broader sense, we are also dealing with the idea of faith and works.
First, even though there may well be such a thing as a just war, the problem always comes when the question is asked what makes a war just and who makes the decision.
In America capitalism, it seems that gaining more capital or protecting our capital ranks very high on the list of what is justified.
For Blacks and poor people in America, it seems that too few of us make the terms or the decisions, but we often are called to shed our blood.
Second, church history is filled with the Abrahamic religions (i.e., Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) killing one another in the name of their God. There seems to be something seriously wrong with this.
Third, however, in spite of the complexities of just and/or holy wars there is the more manageable concept of faith without works is dead. Some of the blessings of God takes more than praying for God to give them to us.
Some blessings call for us to pray for God to empower our efforts to gain the blessings in question (e.g., job, money, house, wealth, relationships, etc.).
Let's seek the wisdom and energy to do God's will in the area of having a faith that works.
- Prayerfulness. Notice in vs. 19 of the Sunday School material the mention of Gibeon. I am sure that Gibeonites (i.e., Hivites) reasoned that the greater good was to lie, so they could be protected by God and His people.
It is beyond the scope of our lesson to give serious thought to the idea of the "greater good." However, also notice that because of Joshua's failure to talk with God, they had to deal with the Gibeonites.
In like manner, it seems the less we talk with God about what He wants us to do and how to do it, the more problems we have in our lives.
Think about troubles that have come up in our relationships, on our jobs, and even with our finances because we did not talk with God, listen for His response, and obey His instructions. Let's work on always being prayerful and obedient to God's will.
American individualism and the unhealthy independence (or lack of coordination and authorization) seen in our churches are often in conflict with God's will for us to be as dependent upon Him as a branch is upon a the True vine (see Jn. 15:1-4).
Read Joshua 11:21-23
III. The Completion of the Task. More land that was conquered by Joshua is noted in our Sunday School material.
Only a few of those who inhabited the land before Joshua came remained. The land was divided among the tribes, and the land rested from war.
- God the promise keeper. Notice in vss. 21-23 of our Sunday School material that God can be trusted, even with the giants that we encounter.
The Anakims were considered giants, in their day. But yet they were conquered and managed (i.e., restricted in where they yet existed) by the power of God.
It is absolutely marvelous to know that God can and will keep His promises about blessing our faithful obedience, even when we see giants on our path.
Let's live like we believe that God keeps His promises. Such living is known for obeying God's core commandments to love Him and others, as we love ourselves.
Conclusion: Let's work on learning and living by the promises of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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