Sunday School Material - Joshua: A Leader for the People
(Joshua 1:1-11, 16-17; 9/6/09)
Introduction: A key idea in today's Sunday School material is God sent a new leader and the people pledged to follow. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to follow the one God sends to lead us.
Read Joshua 1:1-5
I. God's Encouragement. After Moses died, the Lord spoke to Joshua, in this first section of the Sunday School material. The Lord told him to go and posses the land. As the Lord was with Moses, He would be with Joshua.
- Notice in vs. 1 that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the new leader. First, as much as we should love and respect our human leaders, God's program is bigger than any human being. Moses ran his lap, but it is Joshua's turn now.
And after Joshua, it will be someone else's turn. Churches like Southern should thank God for those who have ran previous laps, for those who are running now, and for those we have no idea that God is going to use in the future.
Let's live as if we understand that human leaders change, but God's blessed program for His people continues. This is true in our families, communities, and on our jobs as well.
Second, notice that God speaks to the leader, not always the helpers and followers. Some people will not follow leadership, because they have not heard God speak to them. God often only speaks to the leader that He sent.
Let's learn to trust that God will lead the leader and keep the leader from causing harm to those who are trying honor God with followership.
- Notice in vs. 5 of this Sunday School material that no man or person can stop what God has planned to happen. Let's live in this confidence.
When we know we are doing God's will and obstacles come, we can keep on going with the confidence that God will make a way, if it is His will.
If God doesn't make a way, it may well be that we are not in the will of God or not in line with His time table. In which case, we should seek and obey God's will with patience and confidence.
Read Joshua 1:6-9
II. God's Exhortation. In the second section of the Sunday School material, the Lord tells Joshua several times to be strong and of good courage. The key to Joshua's prosperity and success is obedience to God's Word. The Lord promises to be with Joshua.
- Notice in vss. 6-9 the importance of being strong and courageous in obeying God's Word. Whenever the Lord tells you to be strong and courageous this many times, one can expect that there are some circumstances ahead that will tempt one to be weak and fearful.
There will be some circumstances that will tempt one to be disobedient. However, if we resolve to be strong, courageous, and obedient then the Lord has promised us success and prosperity.
First, let's work on being strong, courageous, and obedient. We can work on these issues by prayerfully studying and obeying God's Word with the support of Christian loved ones.
Second, let's be mindful that success and prosperity is not always a Lexus, big money, and powerful friends. Success and prosperity is whatever God makes it to be. For believers, the ultimate success and prosperity is to be with the Lord forever.
Read Joshua 1:10-11
III. Joshua's Obedience. Joshua commanded the officers, who were to command the people, in this third section of the Sunday School material. There would be movement in three days. It was time to do God's will.
- Notice the command structure in vss. 10-11. The leader of the whole group commanded the sub leaders who commanded the people, and the people were willing to follow.
First, leaders must be confident enough in knowing what God has called them to do, in order to give commands or instructions. Let's pray for God to lead our leaders so clearly that they can lead us with confidence.
Second, sub leaders or helpers need to know that they are not independent of the leader. They work within the parameters set by the leader.
Too often there are power struggles within churches because auxiliary leaders think that the church's leader is not the leader of their auxiliary.
Let's remember that God sends one leader and the other leaders are actually helpers of the one that God sends to lead.
And third, let's be humble enough to follow commands and instructions. Without followership, leadership can do nothing. Where there is no followership, we may well spend another forty years on the wrong side of the Jordan River.
Let's work on the humility needed to follow commands, instructions, and leadership.
Read Joshua 1:16-17
IV. The People's Response. In this fourth section of the Sunday School material, the people declared their allegiance to Joshua. They said they would be as obedient to him, as they were to Moses. They wanted the Lord to be with Joshua, as He was with Moses.
- Notice the noble thoughts of followership in vss. 16-17 of this Sunday School material. If we didn't know any better, we would think that the people's promises to follow Joshua as they followed Moses meant they were going to be great followers.
However, Bible students know that they gave Moses the blues. It is not strange for people to have strange and inaccurate memories of the past, especially when a person dies and are unable to set the record straight.
When Dr. M. L. King, Jr. lived, there were many who were skeptical and opposed him. However, after he died, almost everyone claimed he was a hero.
Let's work on being real about what we are saying. The greatest measure of who we are is not what we say but what we do. Let's be doers of God's will.
Conclusion: Based on this Sunday School material, let's work on following the one God sends to lead us. God has much for those who obey His will.
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