Entering God's Rest (Joshua 1:10-18)
Topic: Joshua Scripture: Joshua 1:10–1:18
First Scripture Reading: Numbers 32:1-32
Second Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:1-13
Sermon Text: Joshua 1:10-18
I’ve noticed that one of the common responses people give after I ask, “How are you doing?” is “I’m tired.” Whether it’s a young mother dealing with a colicky baby, a student during finals week, or an older adult with difficulty sleeping, many people feel tired. In the midst of this struggle, God promises us his rest. This rest does not necessarily equate to more naps, but it involves rest from the curse of sin and the pain that comes with living in a fallen world. God promised that Israel would find rest in the Promised Land that he gave them as an inheritance. Kim Riddlebarger writes:
Throughout the Book of Joshua, a time of rest for the people of Israel follows deliverance from their enemies (Joshua 21:44; 22:4; 23:1). Later on in Israel’s history, the idea of rest (in this same sense of being delivered from enemies) will point ahead to a time in the future (in the Messianic Age), when God’s people would dwell safely in the land, finally delivered from all their enemies so that the people can live in peace (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4). At this point in redemptive history, it was Israel’s defeat of the Canaanites which would secure the promised rest. Israel has already escaped from the armies of Pharaoh and they have defeated the Amalekites. Now the tribes of Canaan are added to the list. It is victory which secures the time of rest. This same pattern is found in the New Testament, when Jesus secures rest for the people of God, by conquering our greatest enemy, the guilt and power of sin.
1. For review, read Joshua 1:1-9. On what basis did God command Joshua to be “strong and courageous” as Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land? How would you apply this same command to the Christian life?
2. Read Joshua 1:10-18. What do you notice about Joshua’s response to the Lord’s command? Did he hesitate? Do you think the Lord was commanding something that was easy or difficult?
3. What do you learn about the importance of church unity in these verses, especially as you consider our First Reading from Numbers 32:1-32? Why is it important for us to see ourselves more as a body of believers than merely as individual Christians who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Compare your answer with Ephesians 4:1-16.
4. What is significant about the repetition of the word “rest” in Joshua 1:10-18? How does Hebrews 4:1-13 give us greater insight into the importance of the rest God provides for his people?
5. In preparation for next week, read Joshua 2. As you consider Rahab’s profession and pedigree, why do you think it’s significant that Rahab expressed faith in God (verse 11)?
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