“Unit 15: Day 3, Joshua 3–10,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 15: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
Joshua’s calling as a prophet was confirmed to the Israelites when God parted the Jordan River and allowed them to cross into the promised land. The Lord told Joshua to commemorate this miracle by having one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel take a stone from the riverbed and having them construct a memorial with the stones. Once the Israelites entered the promised land, the Lord stopped sending manna, and they ate from the fruit of the land.
Consider what you might do in the following scenario: You feel that you should share the gospel with a friend, but you are nervous that you may do it incorrectly and that it will negatively affect your friendship.
Throughout your life you will likely experience a variety of challenges that will test your faith in God. As you continue to study the book of Joshua today, look for truths that can help you know what to do when you face these challenges.
Joshua and the Israelites moved their camp near to the Jordan River (see Joshua 3:1). They knew they were supposed to cross the river and settle other portions of the promised land, but the river was flooding, which made it difficult to cross (see Joshua 3:15).
What would you have done in these circumstances?
Read Joshua 3:7–13, looking for how the Lord planned to help the Israelites cross the river.
The phrase “stand upon an heap” in verse 13 means the water would stop flowing downstream. Notice what the priests needed to do before the river would part. What did the Lord ask of the priests that indicates crossing the Jordan River required great faith?
One principle we learn from these verses is that moving forward in faith invites God to perform miracles in our behalf. You may want to write this principle in the margin of your scriptures.
Consider what it means to move forward in faith as you read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We find a powerful example of the interaction among assurance, action, and evidence as the children of Israel transported the ark of the covenant under the leadership of Joshua (see Joshua 3:7–17). Recall how the Israelites came to the river Jordan and were promised the waters would part, and they would be able to cross over on dry ground. Interestingly, the waters did not part as the children of Israel stood on the banks of the river waiting for something to happen; rather, the soles of their feet were wet before the water parted. The faith of the Israelites was manifested in the fact that they walked into the water before it parted. They walked into the river Jordan with a future-facing assurance of things hoped for. As the Israelites moved forward, the water parted, and as they crossed over on dry land, they looked back and beheld the evidence of things not seen. In this episode, faith as assurance led to action and produced the evidence of things not seen that were true” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 63).
While we may not have flooded rivers to cross in our lives, we will have other challenges that we may not know how to overcome. Consider what challenges or events you might experience that will require you to move forward in faith before you are able to see how things will turn out.
- Complete one or both of the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
Review the scenario presented at the beginning of this lesson. Write a few sentences explaining how you might be blessed in sharing the gospel with a friend by moving forward in faith.
Think of a time when you or someone you know moved forward in faith and experienced miracles or blessings. Write about this experience in your scripture study journal.
Consider sharing your testimony of this principle with someone who needs help moving forward with faith in God.
As recorded in Joshua 4, after the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they were commanded to build a stone memorial to commemorate this miracle.
Once the Israelites were in the promised land, the Lord instructed Joshua to have all the men circumcised (see Joshua 5:1–11). For some reason this practice had ceased during their 40 years in the wilderness, and the Lord wanted it reinstituted (see Joshua 5:4–5).
The Lord stopped providing manna when the Israelites began to “eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan” (Joshua 5:12).
Read Joshua 5:13–15, looking for indications that the special messenger who visited Joshua may have been Jehovah—the Savior, Jesus Christ.
What similarities do you see in this and in Moses’s experience on Mount Sinai? How might this visit have blessed and comforted Joshua?
After the Israelites entered the promised land, they besieged the city of Jericho. Joshua instructed the people to follow the ark of the covenant and “compass the city” (walk completely around the outside of the city) once each day for six days and then to compass the city seven times on the seventh day (see Joshua 6:3–4).
Read Joshua 6:15–16, 20–21, looking for what happened after the Israelites obeyed these instructions.
Remember that the Lord commanded the Israelites to “utterly destroy” the wicked inhabitants of the promised land to prevent their sins from spreading to the children of Israel (see Deuteronomy 20:15–18). When Israel conquered Jericho, the only people the Lord allowed to be spared were Rahab’s family because she had helped the Israelite spies (see Joshua 2). The only other things not to be destroyed were the riches of the city, which were to be consecrated and placed in the Lord’s treasury. In Joshua 6:18 the Lord warned that if any of the children of Israel kept any items from Jericho for themselves, those items would become an “accursed” thing to them and to the camp of Israel.
If you throw a rock into a pond or lake, what effect does it have on the water?
As you study Joshua 7, you’ll learn about a man named Achan whose actions, like ripples in the water, affected numerous people. Watch for the effects of Achan’s choice as you continue to study.
Read Joshua 7:1, looking for what an Israelite named Achan did that was contrary to the commandment of the Lord.
Read Joshua 7:2–5, looking for a consequence that came upon Israel as a result of Achan’s choice.
How many Israelites died in the battle against the men of Ai?
Joshua asked the Lord why they had lost the battle. Read Joshua 7:11–12, looking for the reason the Lord gave for Israel’s defeat. You may want to mark what you find.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How did Achan’s personal choice affect the rest of the children of Israel?
Complete the following principle based on what you learned from Achan’s actions: If we choose to , it can bring negative consequences upon ourselves and others.
Read Joshua 7:13, looking for what the Lord commanded Israel to do. (One meaning of the word sanctify is to become free from sin.)
In Joshua 7:14–18 we learn that the Lord instructed Joshua to gather Israel according to their tribes. The Lord also said He would reveal to Joshua the person who was guilty of harboring the accursed thing. When called upon, Achan stood before Joshua.
Read Joshua 7:19–21, looking for what happened when Joshua confronted Achan.
Notice what Achan tried to do with his accursed and stolen property. What truth can we learn about trying to hide our sins from the Lord?
The following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles helps us understand why we cannot hide our sins from the Lord: “Do not take comfort in the fact that your transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden. In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about us” (“Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 1995, 77).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can understanding that we cannot hide our sins from the Lord affect our choices?
Joshua 7:22–26 tells us that Achan was held accountable and was put to death, and the accursed things he took were burned, as the Lord commanded.
As recorded in Joshua 8–10, after Israel destroyed the “accursed thing” from among them, they defeated the people of Ai and the Amorites, and they conquered many of the cities in Canaan. Read Joshua 10:42, looking for why the armies of Israel were successful in battle. You may want to mark what you find.
Consider how you might act on the truths you have learned today. You will be blessed as you exercise faith in the Lord, choose to faithfully obey His commandments, and repent rather than hide any sins you may have committed.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Joshua 3–10 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: