Session 1: Joshua 1:1–2:24
Every session has a point—what each participant should walk away from the discussion knowing, feeling, and doing.
Main Idea: We can trust that God will bring us through life’s challenges when we faithfully follow him.
Head Change: To know that God can deliver us through any obstacle we face.
Heart Change: To feel confident in God’s ability to lead us through difficulty no matter how long the odds may seem.
Life Change: To courageously follow God wherever he leads and trust him in all circumstances.
What were some big challenges you faced as a child which seem insignificant in retrospect?
At some point, we will all face challenges in life—both large and small, serious and silly. They are unavoidable. But we can choose the way we face those difficulties, even if they’re relatively minor. We can either depend on God and his strength to carry us through or we can do the opposite and depend on ourselves. How we choose to react matters greatly.
In this first session of The Book of Joshua, pastor Louie Giglio will introduce us to Joshua, the rising leader of Israel with a seemingly impossible mission—to settle God’s people in a land full of giants and enemies. To succeed—to survive—he would have to courageously trust God.
Read Joshua 1:1–2:24. If you are running short on time, you can shorten your reading to Joshua 1:1–9; 2:1–5, 8–15.
Before viewing the session, here are a few important things to look for in Louie Giglio’s teaching. As you watch, pay attention to how he answers the following questions.
Who was Joshua’s predecessor?
Where was God leading his people?
What obstacle stood before them?
What instruction does God repeatedly give his people in this passage?
Show Session 1: Joshua 1:1–2:24 (19 minutes).
The book of Joshua opens on a somber note: Moses, Israel’s leader, was dead. He had led God’s people out of slavery, through the wilderness, and to the edge of the Promised Land. The first verses of the chapter tell us how God prepared Moses’s successor, Joshua, to lead his people into the Promised Land. Read Joshua 1:1–9.
In verses 1–2, God identifies Joshua as Moses’s successor. He would be the one to lead Israel into the Promised Land. How do you think Joshua must have felt learning that he was the one who’d fill Moses’s shoes? Why might it have been intimidating or unnerving to follow Moses as Israel’s leader?
A formidable obstacle stood between the people of God and the Promised Land: the Jordan River. Louie said that, at this time of year, the river would have been at flood tide. God would have to perform a miracle to get the nation into the Promised Land. What difficulties would crossing a major river have posed for God’s people? How could Israel’s history with God (leaving Egypt by crossing the Red Sea) have prepared them to trust him as they faced this obstacle?
The Israelites aren’t the only group of people to have ever faced obstacles. We face obstacles today, too—and some often seem impossible to overcome. Have you ever faced an obstacle that seemed impossible to cross over? How did you navigate that challenge?
With all the danger that lay before them, God repeatedly commanded Joshua and the Israelites to “Be strong and courageous” in verses 6, 7, and 9. What do you think it means to be courageous? When have you had to exercise courage?
The kind of courage God called the Israelites to wasn’t primarily about conquering enemies or doing grand acts. Instead, God told his people to be strong and courageous in distributing the land in verse 6 and observing his commandments in verses 7–8. In other words, they were to courageously obey God’s instructions. God wants his people to follow him even when we are afraid to do so. Why does obeying God sometimes require strength and courage? When has obeying God’s commands required you to be courageous? How did you respond?
God tells Joshua not to be afraid or discouraged. And, once again, he reminds Joshua in verse 9, “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God’s presence assured Joshua, and assures us still, that God is for his people and will act on our behalf. In what ways can the presence of God make you more courageous?
What can we do to remind ourselves of God’s presence with us?
After God addressed Joshua, Joshua turned and addressed his “officers,” giving them instructions to relay to the people. Read Joshua 1:10–18.
God told the leaders of Israel to ready themselves and the people to cross the Jordan River. As far as we can tell, there was almost no time between Joshua hearing from God and obeying God. What does Joshua’s prompt obedience communicate about his trust in God? What can make it difficult for us to obey God promptly?
Joshua seems confident that Israel would take possession of the Promised Land. Why was Joshua so confident? How confident are you that God will keep his promises? What can we do to grow more confident in God’s promises?
In verses 12–15, Joshua addressed the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, specific family groups of Israel. He reminded them of a command given by Moses in Deuteronomy 3:18–20 and told them to obey Moses’s instructions. Weaved into Joshua’s command to obey was the command to “remember” in verse 13. What role does remembering play in our obedience to God? What happens when we forget God’s commands and promises?
Is remembering only an intellectual exercise or does it require action? Explain your answer.
In verses 16–18, the Reubenites, Gadites, and Manassites agree to obey Moses’s commands and follow Joshua, repeating God’s command to Joshua: be strong and courageous. Through these people, God was reaffirming his command to Joshua and reminding him of what was expected of him. In what ways do you think it encouraged Joshua to hear his followers respond so favorably? To what degree is having godly people affirming God’s Word to you important for your pursuit of faithfulness?
In chapter 2, the scene shifts from Joshua and his inner circle to scouting the land of Canaan. Joshua sent spies across the Jordan River to the city of Jericho, a fortified city. Read Joshua 2:1–7.
While in Jericho, Joshua’s spies found and stayed with a prostitute named Rahab. Instead of turning them in, Rahab lied to the king and chose to harbor the spies. What do you make of Rahab’s dishonesty? Do you think she did right by lying to the king or did she sin?
How do you think you would have acted in that situation?
After the king’s men leave, we learn why Rahab lied. Read Joshua 2:8–24.
Rahab explains that she has heard of Israel and their God. Though “everyone’s courage failed,” Rahab’s didn’t. She chose to trust God instead of her city’s strength. Would you say that her faith in God required courage? Why, or why not?
Louie contrasted the Israelites’ historic struggle to trust God with Rahab’s firm confidence. Whereas Israel wavered and questioned God’s decisions, Rahab did not—she was certain that God would do as he said. Does your faith in God look more like the Israelites’ or like Rahab’s? What could you learn from Rahab about exercising your faith in God?
After leaving Rahab, the spies reported to Joshua with confidence that God had indeed given them the land. Louie said they got a perspective shift. They were no longer questioning God, wondering how they would cross the river or overcome Jericho—they were certain God would fulfill his promises. What challenges or barriers are you facing today? In what ways, if any, are they causing you to question God and his promises?
What would it look like to have a perspective shift, to live certain that God would do what he has promised?
Joshua and the Israelites needed courage to accomplish God’s commands. That’s why God tells them repeatedly to be courageous. Today, we still need the courage to follow God into the unknown and through the obstacles of life. In what ways do you need strength and courage today? What is one courageous step you can take to follow God?