NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR MARCH 14, 2021 : TOPIC – JOSHUA: PROPHET OF CONQUEST
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE FOR MARCH 14TH, SUNDAY, 2021
Devotional Reading: Hebrews 11:23-31
Background Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13-6:27
Lesson Scripture reading: Joshua 5:13__6:5, 15-16, 20
Golden Text: Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. Joshua 6:2
TOPIC: JOSHUA: PROPHET OF CONQUEST
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
• Narrate the dialogue between Joshua and the Commander of the Lord’s army and the possible implication for believers;
• Discuss the best weapons of winning both spiritual and physical battles;
• Resolve to depend on God for victory over battles of life.
There are many battles in life and each battle can be surmounted, especially when we put our trust in God. One of the battles the children of Israel fought and gained victory was the conquest of the city of Jericho, which was taken by the direct help of God. It started with Joshua, after the death of Moses. The book of Joshua gives the details of how the promise of God was actualised concerning the people of Israel. It also records how the people conquered the Promised Land, under the leadership of Joshua __ a courageous leader with great faith. The conquest of the city of Jericho was a holy war because God was the head of the army. Israel’s enemies knew it and shivered because of the troops that marched round the city from day-to-day and the trumpet blast, until the seventh day when the wall finally collapsed. However, in the list of the heroes of faith, the author of Hebrews states that it was faith that made the walls of Jericho to fall down after the Israelites had marched round the city for seven days (Hebrews 11:30).
Today’s lesson focuses on Joshua’s encounter with a man holding a sword and God’s strategy for conquering the well-fortified city of Jericho, until the walls finally collapsed on the seventh day. It is, therefore, said that while Moses, by faith led the first generation of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage, Joshua led the next generation into the Promised Land, by faith
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. Joshua and the Man with a Sword Joshua 5:13-15
After the death of Moses, in fulfilment of God’s Word that he will not enter the Promised Land, God instructed Joshua, son of Nun to succeed him. He promised to be with His people and never to abandon them (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8). As they continued in their journey to the Promised Land, God commanded Joshua to circumcise the people at Gilgal. They camped there and observed the Passover (vv. 2-10). While they were near the city of Jericho that had posed threat to them, Joshua saw a man standing beside him with a sword. He summoned courage and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” Ordinarily, Joshua’s expectation would have been a simple reply of whether he is for or against them. In verse 4, the man replied, “Neither” “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” In simple terms, God has sent me to take charge of the battle against your enemies. Joshua’s response was amazing. He bowed down in worship and submission. In high expectation, he asked, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did exactly what he was told. Without doubt, the encounter was an assurance that God was with Joshua as He was with Moses. Therefore, victory over the conquest of the fortified city of Jericho was sure.
God had promised to give the land of Canaan to the people of Israel in accordance with the promise He made to their forefather. However, their major hindrance was how to conquer the city of Jericho with its great fortification. Possibly, while Joshua reflected on the enormous task of the conquest of the city, God sent a helper __ a captain of the host of the LORD appeared to him. God’s timely intervention in the passage is worthy of note. The statement of the army of the Lord in verse 14 ‘… I have now come’ suggests that God is the Head of the battle of Israel. What a way to know that God is our burden bearer. The lesson is a reminder that God fights our battles from time to time; therefore, we need not be afraid of the enemies.
Discussion Time 1
1. Discuss how God fights our battles today.
2. Let some class members share their experiences of ‘looking up to God’, when the going became tough and the outcome.
3. What should be the attitude of Church leaders on acknowledging God as the ultimate authority?
B. Joshua’s Strategy for Winning Joshua 6:1-5
The common saying that ‘when God gives an assignment, He also provides the method of accomplishing the task’ is applicable to Joshua. The gates of Jericho were strongly fortified, perpetually kept shut and guarded in order to keep the people of Israel from gaining entrance into the city. Despite the defence, God assured Joshua victory and the method he would use to destroy the city’s walls. He said in verses 2 and 3, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.” Seven priests were to carry a trumpet in front of the covenant box and on the seventh day, there should be a general march round the city seven times. This will be accompanied by the blowing of trumpets by the priests and a loud shout that would bring down the walls of the city and then the army will go into the city (v. 5).
The prescribed method with which Joshua was going to win the battle against the people of Jericho is quite unfamiliar. It is contrary to the standard of the people of the world who depend on sophisticated weapons to win battles. Obviously, Joshua knew that the task to invade and conquer the Promised Land, beginning from Jericho, Ai, to Canaan was enormous. He also knew that following God’s instructions of marching round the city in seven days was the best method to win the battle. This was to be carried out in perfect silence until a great shout is to be made on the seventh day. Apparently, it was a test of obedience, faith and patience on the side of Joshua, the priests and the Israelites (Hebrews 11:30). God’s model of winning both spiritual and physical battles may sound simple and unreasonable but it is the best means of gaining victory over the enemies. The encouragement, therefore, is that Christians should learn to trust God and the power of His Word, especially in times of challenges so that victory will be guaranteed. But very often, people doubt God and sometimes assume His method is cumbersome thus some result to fighting their battles based on their experience and with modern weapons.
Discussion Time 2
1. What would be your response to God’s instruction when it seems the instruction does not make sense?
2. Describe the significance of the Ark of the Covenant in conquering Jericho.
C. Joshua’s Obedience and Victory Joshua 6:15-16, 20
God’s instruction to Joshua concerning the destruction of the city of Jericho (vv. 1-5) was strictly carried out. Precisely, on the seventh day, the people marched round the city seven times, according to God’s command. After the seventh time, when the priests sounded the trumpet, Joshua commanded the people saying, “Shout for the Lord has given you the city!” As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet they gave a loud shout and the walls of Jericho collapsed. According to God’s instruction (v. 5), all the army entered into the city and captured it. It is worth mentioning that the conquest of the city of Jericho was premised on two factors:
• Joshua’s complete obedience to God’s instructions concerning capturing the city. It is like the case of Noah who did everything God commanded him to do concerning the construction of the ark (Genesis 2:22).
• His courage and trust in God’s assurance to conquer the city. Although the instructions about the conquest of the city of Jericho looked simple and unreasonable, yet Joshua and the people complied. They understood God’s principle of choosing the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). The fact remains that we need to depend on God to win both spiritual and physical battles, like the case of Joshua who received God’s help through the provision of heavenly army. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the defeat was not by the expertise of the military or the sophistication of their weapons but by God’s mighty power that was represented by the Ark of the Covenant. Eventually, Joshua became an admired hero, a prophet of conquest and a leader with honour. The implication is that God’s promises would always be fulfilled when we obey His orders to accomplish His mission.
Discussion Time 3
1. What are the consequences of disobeying God? Give some biblical examples.
2. Describe Joshua, as regards his roles in capturing the city of Jericho and compare it with the attitude of some Christian leaders.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
• Let the members compare Joshua’s strategy in capturing the city of Jericho with what Christians do these days in their attempt to defeat their enemies.
• Members should identify at least five ways to win both spiritual and physical battles.
• Christians should adhere to spiritual discipline and focus on God during difficult times.
• God will not abandon us in times of trouble.
• God will give us victory over our enemies.
• Christians should acknowledge the power of God to conquer.
• Complete obedience to God’s instruction brings victory.
• Christian leaders should be ready to lead by example.