Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018.11.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Joshua 8:1-29

Questions for Littles: What does Yahweh say to Joshua in v1? What difference does the Lord permit between what they do to Ai and what they were to do to Jericho? How many men does Joshua choose in v3? How does this compare to the number from before (cf. 7:4)? What kind of attack do they make (v4)? Why (2b)? How does Joshua take advantage of the previous defeat (v5-6)? Despite all this clever planning, what explanation does Joshua give for their sure victory in v7? What does Joshua tell them to do next in v8? How many of the thirty thousand were in the ambush (v12)? How many of his people did the King of Ai call together to pursue Joshua’s first force (v16-17)? What signal did Yahweh tell Joshua to use in v18? Of what other great signal does this remind you of a the destruction of the Egyptian army? What (who!) are the sea waters this time (19-26)? What did the people of Israel take (v27)? According to whose Word? What was still the case with the place of Ai at the time this Scripture was written (28)? Was the king left alive in defiance of God’s Word (29)?
In the passage for this week’s Old Testament reading, we find the difference that it makes to have the Lord with you, as opposed to having the Lord against you.

Of course, one great difference is that you cannot lose in the one case, while in the other case you cannot win. But this is a little like when Joseph was sold into Egypt by his brothers. The text of Genesis at that point kept saying “Yahweh was with him… Yahweh was with him… Yahweh was with him in all that he did.” So, the careful reader says, “Yahweh being with him must affect not only the results but what he himself is like and does—what does it look like for Yahweh to be with him?”

We want to know too, for we trust the Lord and look to Him to be with us, and desire to follow Him in truth. Perhaps most surprising is that greater confidence in the Lord leads not to pride but humility. When left to himself in chapter 7, Joshua was arrogant—sending just three thousand against twelve thousand. With the Lord with him, he musters 50,000, and employs shrewd tactics rather than a frontal assault. But Joshua doesn’t urge them to put confidence in the plan but rather that the Lord has said that He has given it to them. Finally, there are a couple more instances that emphasize their following the Lord’s own Word.

When we say, “may the Lord be with me to give me success,” let us learn here that we are saying, “may the Lord be with me to give me humility,” and “may the Lord be with me to give me wisdom” and “may the Lord be with me to give me faith” and “may the Lord be with me to give me obedience.”
In what situation do you most need the Lord with you right now? What does courage look like in that situation? Humility? Cleverness? Faith? Obedience?
Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH164 “God Himself Is with Us”

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