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Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Chapter and Verse: Joshua1-2, 6, 8, 10-11, 23-24 (Joshua 1:1-11,16-18; 2:1-16,22-24; 6:1-17,20-27; 8:1-2,10-22,25,30-31,34-35; 10:1-28,40-43; 11:115,23; 23:1-5,14-16; 24:1-15,24-31)

Summary: God tells Joshua it is time for the people to enter the land and that they will need to be “strong and courageous” and obey the law that Moses gave them. Joshua sends spies to check things out and they are saved in Jericho by a prostitute named Rahab. The people cross the Red Sea, get circumcised and then attack Jericho with trumpets and the walls came tumbling down. They destroy everything and everyone in Jericho except Rahab and her family. Then they take the city of Ai on the second try (because of some disobedience of God’s commands). Joshua builds an altar to the Lord and reads to the people the Book of the Law. The Israelites, with God at the helm, conquer lots of various enemies and occupy the land that had been promised to Abraham. When Joshua is old, he assembles all the tribes and reminds them of their history with God and asks them to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” The people promise to “serve the LORD our God and obey him.” Joshua dies at 110.

Cast of Characters: God (YHWH), Joshua, Rahab, various kings of other nations © 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Important Terms/Concepts:  God’s faithfulness – the promise of land made to Abraham centuries before is finally realized  God’s action in history – the battle action, as it is described, is clearly directed by God and God has power even over the sun  Covenant – God’s promise of the land appears to be conditional upon Israel’s obedience to the law  Remembering – Joshua’s valedictory speech recounts the history of what God has done for Israel  Foreign women/Idolatry – on the one hand, Rahab rescues the spies and her family becomes part of the nation of Israel; on the other hand, the temptation of “the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living” is still quite real  God chooses the imperfect – Rahab is a prostitute and a foreigner  God’s Reputation – Rahab has heard of YHWH and this is why she helps the spies

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Points of Help and Clarification  The evidence of archaeology and other historical sources indicates that Israel’s conquest of the land was probably not the series of overwhelming military victories that the book of Joshua portrays.  Joshua and the books that follow it narrate the history of Israel, but with a theological, rather than a historical, purpose. The idea of writing history “objectively” that modern historians strive for would have been unknown to ancient writers.  Rahab is listed in the ancestry of Jesus in the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.  Joshua means “the LORD saves” and is basically the same name as “Jesus.”  God makes it clear that the land is a gift, not something that Israel earned. (“You did not do it with your own sword and bow” Joshua 24:12, p.101)  The first five chapters of the OT (Genesis-Deuteronomy) focus on the anticipation of the land. The next group of books (Joshua2Chronicles) focuses on the reality of what happens once Israel possesses the land.

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Points of Help and Clarification (continued)  “Thus we read this literature of Joshua and Judges as the entry that faith must always make into the complexities of life. It is a journey made by ancient Israel as it formulates its narrative account of its life with Yahweh. It is, moreover, the primary journey that faith must always make as it moves from simple, one-dimensional, child-like claims to the real world, where every such claim is endlessly contested.” (A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, p.180)  “Thus the overthrow of entrenched, abusive power, albeit by violent means, is not as ethically objectionable to the disenfranchised as it is to the safely and prosperously ensconced.” (A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, p.195)

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

For Discussion - General Questions  Where have you seen God at work in the world this week? How does this relate to how you’ve seen God at work in The Story?  In this week’s chapter, what is God doing?  What do we learn about the character/nature of God?  What are people doing?  What do we learn about people/creation?  What do we learn about the relationship between God and God’s people/creation?  What did you find most interesting/surprising/new?  What did you find most troubling?

© 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org


Chapter 7 – The Battle Begins “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve ………. but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

For Discussion – Chapter 7 Questions  Is it troubling to you that the historical records we have don’t always match with how events are portrayed in the Bible?  Do you believe God works through and intervenes in historical events?  What might we learn from the story of Rahab?  The conquest of the land may seem excessively militaristic and violent to us. How do we reconcile this with what else we know about God? How does this compare to the settlement history of our own nation?  What are the natural consequences of not following God’s commandments?  How do we reconcile the biblical idea of God’s power with our American ideals of rugged individualism and pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps?  Joshua challenges the people of Israel, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15, p.101) Whom do you choose to serve?  Discuss how and why it is hard to serve God in the midst of a culture that worships other gods. © 2015 Rev. Linda J. Thurston. All rights reserved. For permissions contact Rev. Linda J. Thurston 1045 S. Arlington Heights Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 847.437.2666 Linda.Thurston@CVLutheran.org

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