“Home-Study Lesson: Deuteronomy 27–34; Joshua (Unit 15)” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Unit 15,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Joshua miraculously led the Israelites across the Jordan River. There they set up a monument to memorialize this event. The Lord then directed the Israelites to conquer the city of Jericho.
Note: Students studied the scripture mastery passage in Joshua 24:15 this week. You may want to have them recite this verse together as a class. You might also ask them to list a few ways they have chosen to serve the Lord today.
If possible, bring 12 stones or rocks to class, and stack them in a place where the students will see them as they enter. If students comment on or ask questions about the stones, do not respond. After the devotional invite students to read Joshua 4:21 silently, looking for the question it contains.
Write the following question on the board: What mean these stones? Ask students to raise their hands if they had a similar question as they entered the room. Invite students to look for the meaning of the stones stacked in the classroom as they continue their study of the book of Joshua today.
Ask for a volunteer to remind the class how the Israelites were able to cross the Jordan River. Then invite students to read Joshua 4:2–3, looking for what the Lord commanded Joshua to do after the Israelites crossed through the Jordan River. Have students report what they found.
Point out the question on the board (“What mean these stones?”), and invite a few students to take turns reading aloud Joshua 4:6–7, 20–24. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the answers to this question.
What did the Lord want the children of Israel to remember when they saw the memorial made of 12 stones brought from the bed of the Jordan River?
Write the following principle on the board: As we remember what the Lord has done for us, our reverence for Him increases and our testimonies are strengthened. Invite students to write this principle in the margin of their scriptures.
How can remembering previous miracles, spiritual experiences, and other things the Lord has done for us increase our reverence for God and strengthen our testimonies?
Encourage students to look for God’s hand in their lives. Invite them to draw a picture of a 12-stone memorial in their scripture study journal. Encourage them to create their own memorials in writing by recording an experience they have had when the Lord helped them or when they felt God’s hand in their lives (see Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 66–69).
Explain that Joshua 4:8–19 describes some of the details of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River. One of the results of this miraculous crossing was that the children of Israel received a witness that the Lord was with their new prophet, Joshua (see Joshua 4:14).
Invite students to read the chapter heading to Joshua 5 silently. Explain that once the Israelites were in the promised land—a fertile land where they could grow and raise their own food—the Lord stopped providing manna and expected them to provide for themselves.
Before class, list on the board a few standards or commandments that some youth may find difficult to obey, such as the following (these phrases come from For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 4, 7, 30–31):
Invite students to read the statements. Ask the class if they or someone they know has ever questioned why these standards are important to obey.
What other commandments or standards has the Lord given that some may question the importance of? (As students respond, you may want to list their answers on the board.)
Explain that as the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, the Lord gave them unusual commandments or instructions for how to attack the well-fortified city of Jericho. To some of the Israelites, these commandments may have seemed strange or unreasonable. Invite students to look for truths as they study Joshua 6 that can guide them when they or others may not understand the purposes for the Lord’s commandments.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud Joshua 6:2–5. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord instructed the Israelites to attack the city of Jericho. Before they read, you may need to explain that to compass the city means to go around it. Have students report what they find.
Explain that in Joshua 6:6–11, Joshua gave the Lord’s instructions to the Israelites.
If you had been an Israelite soldier, what might have seemed strange about these instructions?
Summarize Joshua 6:12–15 by explaining that the Israelites showed their faith by obeying the Lord’s instructions with exactness.
Invite a student to read Joshua 6:16, 20–21, 27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened because Joshua and the Israelites obeyed the Lord with exactness. Have students report what they find.
Imagine that you were one of the soldiers who witnessed the walls of Jericho fall. What principles would you have learned from this experience of following the Lord’s commands?
As students share the principles they have identified, emphasize the following principles: We can show faith in the Lord by choosing to obey His commandments, even when we do not understand the purposes for them. As we act in faith to obey the Lord with exactness, He will be with us and help us do things we could not do by ourselves.
To help students understand and feel the truth and importance of these principles, discuss the following questions:
When have you shown faith in the Lord by choosing to obey His commandments even when you did not understand the purposes for them?
What are some examples of how people might only partially obey the standards and commandments written on the board?
How have you felt blessed as you sought to obey the Lord with exactness?
You may want to testify that the students will be blessed as they faithfully obey the commandments of the Lord with exactness.
If available, invite students to look through the For the Strength of Youth booklet (if available) for instructions they feel they could obey with greater faith or exactness. Invite them to write on a piece of paper how they will obey that commandment or standard with greater faith or exactness. Encourage them to place this paper where they can be reminded daily of their goal.
Ask students to ponder the following question: If you were instructed to conquer an army with a bugle and a lantern, how confident would you be in the outcome? Explain that as they study the book of Judges in the next unit, they will see another example of the Lord fighting the Israelites’ battles. Ask students to also consider the following questions: What was the secret of Samson’s strength? What was he able to do with his physical strength? What was Samson’s downfall? Why is Ruth considered a woman of remarkable faith and action? What noble qualities did she possess?