“Unit 15: Day 4, Joshua 11–24,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 15: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
After fulfilling the Lord’s command to conquer the promised land and destroy the wicked nations that were there, Joshua divided the land among the tribes of Israel. He called the Israelites together and warned them against cleaving to, or joining with, other nations and worshipping other gods. He invited them to cleave to the Lord.
The Lord had brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, taken care of them in the wilderness, and prepared them to make and keep covenants. In Joshua 11 we read how the Israelites were able, with the Lord’s help, to possess the promised land.
Read Joshua 11:23, looking for what Joshua did with the land Israel had conquered.
Look at the preceding map, or turn to Bible Maps no. 3, “The Division of the 12 Tribes,” in the Bible appendix, and look for how the promised land was divided among the tribes of Israel. In Joshua 12–21 we read that Joshua gave each tribe an inheritance in the promised land. The Levites were not given a specific piece of land but were given 48 cities and their suburbs from among each of the other tribes’ inheritances. This would allow the Levites to continue their priesthood service among the Israelites.
Read Joshua 21:43–45, looking for how the Lord had blessed the Israelites so far. You may want to mark what you find.
Joshua 22 contains Joshua’s parting advice to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. Read Joshua 22:4–6, looking for what Joshua told these tribes to do as they went to make their homes on the east side of the Jordan River. Consider marking what you find.
In Joshua 22:7–34 we learn that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh traveled to their own lands, where they built an altar to witness that Jehovah was their God.
Joshua 23:1–2 relates that after several years of peace, Joshua had grown old, and so he gathered all of the Israelites together to counsel them.
- Draw a two-column chart in your scripture study journal; label one column God and the other column Israelites. Then read Joshua 23:3–11 and do the following:
In the column labeled “God,” write what Joshua said God had done and would continue to do for the Israelites.
In the column labeled “Israelites,” write what Joshua counseled the Israelites to do. (It might help to know that there were still remnants of the conquered nations in and around the promised land; see Joshua 23:5, 7).
In Joshua 23:3–11 we see the following principle: If we cleave unto the Lord and obey Him, then God will be with us and strengthen us.
The word cleave in verse 8 means to cling or adhere to someone loyally and unwaveringly. Consider what behaviors or actions you might see in a person who is trying to cleave unto the Lord.
- In your scripture study journal, list a few people you know who are good examples of cleaving unto the Lord. Then answer the following questions:
How have you seen the Lord bless these people for being devoted to Him?
In what ways can knowing that God will be with us and strengthen us if we cleave unto Him and obey Him be helpful to you?
Have you ever accidentally “cleaved” to thorns before? Read Joshua 23:12–16, looking for who had the potential to be like thorns (and snares, traps, and scourges) to the Israelites.
What consequences did Joshua say the Israelites would experience if they chose to serve or cleave unto other nations or gods?
Notice that one of the consequences of the Israelites persisting in serving other gods would be that they would lose their promised land and other blessings. In Joshua 23:12–16 we learn the following principle: If we cleave to other gods, then we will bring negative consequences upon ourselves and lose the blessings of the Lord. In our day, other gods can be worldly pursuits.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some things people might cleave unto instead of the Lord?
What could be some negative consequences or lost blessings for doing so?
How could this principle be a helpful warning to someone preparing to make important life choices?
Think of someone you know who has done a lot for you. Write that person’s name in the space provided, and then take 30 seconds and record a few things that person has done for you.
After completing this activity, how do you feel about the person?
In Joshua 24, Joshua related to the children of Israel the things God said He had done for them and their ancestors. Scan Joshua 24:2–13, looking for things God had done for the Israelites. You might mark each time the Lord used the word I.
If you were an ancient Israelite, what feelings might you have toward God after being reminded of what He had done for you?
Read Joshua 24:14–16, looking for Joshua’s invitation to the Israelites. You may want to mark what you find. (Remember that to fear the Lord means to have reverence or respect for Him.) The phrase “on the other side of the flood” in these verses is likely referring to the false gods the people worshipped before the days of Noah.
How do you think remembering what the Lord had done for them might have affected the Israelites’ determination to accept Joshua’s invitation?
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How should remembering what the Lord has done for us affect our determination to love and serve Him? Then list some of the things the Lord has done for you.
Reread Joshua 24:15. This is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can find it more easily.
What does the phrase “this day” indicate about when we should choose to be devoted to the Lord?
The phrase “but as for me and my house” in verse 15 indicates that Joshua chose this path for himself, regardless of what others might choose.
What principle about making our own choice to serve the Lord can we learn from this verse?
- In your scripture study journal, write about a time when you, or someone you know, chose to follow the Lord regardless of what others chose to do.
In Joshua 24:17–33 the Israelites covenanted to serve the Lord. Joshua designated a great stone to be a witness to them of all the words that the Lord had spoken. The purpose of the stone was so that the Israelites would not deny their God. The people served the Lord throughout the rest of Joshua’s life and for many years after.
- Consider marking the phrases “choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” in Joshua 24:15. Repeat these phrases several times until you have them memorized. Then answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why is it important to make the decision to serve God today instead of waiting until some future date?
Take a few minutes and, on a blank piece of paper, create a poster that illustrates these phrases. Think about what the Lord might like you to do to show your choice to serve Him. Put the poster where you can see it daily to remind you to choose to serve God every day.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Joshua 11–24 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: