“Unit 15: Day 2, Joshua 1–2,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 15: Day 2,” Old Testament Study Guide
The book of Joshua begins where Deuteronomy ended—with the Israelites camped on the east side of the Jordan River, ready to enter the promised land. After Moses was translated and taken from among the Israelites, the Lord directed Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. The Lord assured Joshua that He would be with him. Joshua prepared the Israelites to cross the Jordan River and organized their departure. He sent two spies to Jericho. There, Rahab saved the spies from capture, and in exchange they promised to preserve her and her family from the forthcoming destruction.
Imagine that you receive a phone call from your bishop or branch president asking you to speak in sacrament meeting this Sunday. What feelings might you have about this invitation?
Some people might experience feelings of nervousness or fear about speaking in front of others. What are some other things the Lord asks us to do that some Church members might fear? As you study Joshua 1–2, look for truths that can help you whenever you feel fearful about doing what God asks of you.
Read Joshua 1:1–4, looking for what the Lord commanded Joshua to do.
Ponder what might have been frightening about this task. For example, if you had been in Joshua’s position, how might you have felt about taking Moses’s place as leader of such a large group of people or taking on the responsibility of commanding your people in battle?
Read Joshua 1:5–7, 9, looking for promises or instruction from the Lord that might have helped Joshua. What instruction do you see repeated in these verses? (Consider marking this instruction.)
What promise from the Lord might have helped Joshua be strong and courageous (specifically in verses 5 and 9)?
From these verses we learn that when the Lord is with us, we can be strong and of a good courage.
- In your scripture study journal, answer two or all of the following questions:
Why can we “be strong and of a good courage” when the Lord is with us?
What can we do to invite the Lord to be with us?
When have you felt that the Lord was with you and gave you strength or courage to do something difficult?
In Joshua 1:7 we see that Joshua was told to not turn from God’s law to the right or to the left (in other words, he was to keep God’s commandments with exactness). Read Joshua 1:8, looking for what would have helped Joshua do this. Mark what you find.
The “book of the law” likely refers to the five books of Moses available to Joshua (Genesis–Deuteronomy). To meditate on the scriptures means to study and ponder them.
Along with meditating on the scriptures, what else did the Lord command Joshua to do, according to verse 8? Mark what you find.
According to verse 8, what did the Lord promise if Joshua meditated on the scriptures and lived according to the teachings therein?
Consider writing the following principle in your scriptures: If we meditate on the scriptures daily and live according to the teachings therein, then we will prosper and have success.
What do you think it would have meant for Joshua to prosper and have success in his situation? What might it mean for you to have success?
As you ponder these questions, read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson, and underline the kind of success that comes from meditating upon the scriptures daily and living according to their teachings: “The Lord was not promising Joshua material wealth and fame, but that his life would prosper in righteousness and that he would have success in that which matters most in life, namely the quest to find true joy. (See 2 Ne. 2:25.)” (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How has meditating on the scriptures and living according to their teachings helped you prosper in righteousness and have success in finding true joy?
- Consider how meditating on the scriptures and living according to their teachings can help you with a challenge or problem you are currently experiencing. In your scripture study journal, write a goal to improve your daily scripture study. Consider asking a family member or friend to help you accomplish your goal.
If the prophet asked you to leave your family for a certain amount of time and expose yourself to hardship and maybe even danger, would you go?
Remember that the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh were granted their land inheritances on the east of the Jordan River on the condition that the men would help the remaining tribes of Israel fight for and obtain their land inheritances on the west side of the river (see Numbers 32). In Joshua 1:10–15 we see that Joshua reminded the men of these tribes of this agreement.
Read Joshua 1:16–18, looking for how the men of these tribes responded to Joshua. Consider marking their response.
Why do you think these men were willing to follow Joshua’s counsel and direction?
Before the children of Israel entered the promised land, Joshua sent two spies across the Jordan River to the city of Jericho. Jericho was the first city on the west side of the Jordan River that the Israelites were commanded to conquer.
Joshua 2:1–8 tells us that the king of Jericho heard about the Israelite spies and sent men to capture them. A harlot named Rahab saved the spies from being captured by hiding them on the roof of her house.
Read Joshua 2:9–11, looking for what Rahab told the two Israelite spies.
Who did Rahab testify of?
In spite of Rahab’s past as a harlot, two New Testament writers described her as a woman who showed faith in the Lord and was blessed because she provided safety for the Israelite spies (see Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).
In Joshua 2:12–16 we read that Rahab asked the two spies to make an oath that the Israelite army would spare her life and the lives of her family in return for saving the spies’ lives. Read Joshua 2:17–21, looking for the spies’ response. (The “line of scarlet thread” [Joshua 2:18] is likely referring to some type of cloth or cord made of red thread. This would help the army identify Rahab’s home.)
After making this oath with Rahab, the two spies were let down out of the city from Rahab’s window, and they escaped back across the Jordan River to report to Joshua.
- Conclude your study of this lesson by choosing one of the following people or groups of people: Joshua; the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh; the spies; Rahab. In your scripture study journal, summarize in a few sentences how that person or group of people showed faith in the Lord.
One principle we can learn from the examples of these people or groups of people is that we can show our faith in the Lord through our actions.
You can show your faith in the Lord by acting on the truths you have learned today.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Joshua 1–2 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: