STUDY Hebrews 11:30-31
(click here for notes)
By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. (NIV)
Hebrews 11:30 skips ahead to Joshua's leadership following the death of Moses. Moses died before Israel entered Canaan-God's judgment on Moses for striking the rock, a symbol of Christ, when he had been told merely to speak to it. Joshua's first assignment was to lead Israel across the Jordan River into Canaan and to take the city of Jericho. The story of Israel's entering Canaan and the events that led to the conquest of Jericho is in Joshua 1-6.
Before Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan, Joshua sent two spies into the land to bring back strategic information, especially about Jericho.
1. Where did the spies hide when they went to Jericho, and why do you think they chose that place? (see Joshua 2:1-7)
2. Read Rahab's confession to the spies in Joshua 2:8-11. What information does she give that would be important military intelligence for the Israelites, and what does she say that reveals her personal testimony and the reasons for her convictions?
3. What agreement do the spies make with Rahab? (see Joshua 2:12-21)
4. What does the red cord the spies asked Rahab to hang in her window recall in Israel's recent past, and what did it symbolize? (see Exodus 12:13,22-23)
5. What became of Rahab after Israel took Jericho by the power of God? (see Joshua 6:17, 22-25)
6. What significant role did God give Rahab in the lineage of the Messiah? (Matthew 1:5-6)
7. What qualified the Canaanite prostitute to become an ancestor of Jesus?
God's Appointment and Sovereignty
8. Before Israel could take Jericho, God had to establish Joshua as their leader and take them across the border of the Jordan River into the land of Canaan. What miracle did God perform to accomplish both these goals at once? (Joshua 3)
9. How was this event reminiscent of the way God established Moses as the Israelite's leader? (See Exodus 14:29-31)
10. God was no longer leading Israel with a pillar of cloud and fire. Why not, and how did God continue to lead the Israelites and show them where he wanted them to go? (see Joshua 3:10-11)
11. In the ancient Near East it was common for people to be tried by water trial. If, when thrown into a river, an accused person lived, the people believed the gods had found him innocent. If he drowned, the gods had found him guilty. The gods claimed "ownership" of the waters and the lands. Baal was considered to be king among the gods because he had triumphed over the sea-god. (NIV Study Notes on Josh. 3:10) What was the significance of the priests carrying the ark into the river and standing there until all Israel had passed through?
12. What was the significance of this event to the Israelites and to the Canaanites, most notably those living in Jericho? (see also Exodus 14:5, 18, 25, 29-31)
13. How else did God display his sovereignty over the waters? (see Genesis 1:6; 7:17-24)
14. How did this event at the Jordan establish ownership of the land, and who was the rightful owner?
Conquest and Promise of Rest
15. From whom did Joshua receive orders concerning the overthrow of Jericho, the first conquest in the Promised Land which granted Israel the right to settle there? (see Joshua 5:13-14; 6:2-5)
16. Jericho was conquered by a cluster of sevens: seven priests with trumpets, seven days, seven marches on the seventh day. These "sevens" underscore the holiness of the campaign. What did the rams' horns signify when the priests blew them? (see 2 Samuel 6:15; 1 Chronicles 15:28; Zechariah 9:14)
17. Who actually besieged the city? (see Joshua 6:8-14)
18. Israel marched for seven days. There is no mention of Sabbath. What might be the significance of Israel gaining a legitimate claim to territory in the Promised Land on the seventh day? (see Exodus 33:14; Joshua 21:43-45; 1 Kings 5:4)
19. How does Israel taking possession of Jericho on the seventh day reflect creation week? (see Genesis 1-2:2)
20. How does the story of Jericho impact the idea of Sabbath rest?
21. How did God impact your life so you KNEW he was the One to whom you would be loyal?
22. What "battles" or struggles in your life has God resolved for you while you merely were still before him?
23. How has Sabbath rest changed your life?
24. How has your identity changed since accepting Jesus as your Lord?
25. What is the "Jordan River" in your life into which God is leading you to step?
26. Over what is God asking you to let him be sovereign, and what holds you back from letting him?
27. What recognition or privilege do you wish to claim that God is asking you to give up to him?
28. Ask God to make you willing to submit to him. Let him be sovereign in your life, and open yourself to the freedom of holding nothing back from his love and power. Let Jesus make Sabbath rest a reality in the most stressful parts of your life.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised July 1, 2001.