OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 18
Joshua 1-6; 23-24
- The Lord calls Joshua.
- The Israelites cross the Jordan River on dry ground; through their
faith Jericho is destroyed.
- Joshua and his people covenant to serve the Lord.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to be strong and courageous
in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Moses To Joshua
- READ DEUTERONOMY 34:1-6. Moses leaves the people
& buried by the Lord.
READ 34:9. Joshua assumes the prophetic calling
and leads Israel.
WHO WAS THIS JOSHUA?
- Alma 45:18-19: "And when Alma had done this he departed out
of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came
to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know
"Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying
went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried
by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith
the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received
Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing
concerning his death and burial."
- Joseph Fielding Smith wrote the following regarding the reason for
Moses being translated: "The priesthood is everlasting. The Savior,
Moses, and Elias (Elijah) gave the keys to Peter, James, and John, on the
Mount when they were transfigured before him.... From that we understand
why Elijah and Moses were preserved from death: because they had a mission
to perform, and it had to be performed before the crucifixion of the Son
of God, and it could not be done in the spirit. They had to have tangible
bodies. Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection; therefore if any
former prophets had a work to perform preparatory to the mission of the
Son of God, or to the dispensation of the meridian of times, it was essential
that they be preserved to fulfill that mission in the flesh."
(Doctrines of Salvation, 2:107, 110-111)
- "And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of
Moab thirty days" (Deuteronomy 34:8).
WHAT CHALLENGES DID JOSHUA FACE WHEN THE LORD CALLED HIM TO SUCCEED
MOSES IN LEADING THE ISRAELITES?
- The son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim.
- First called Oshea or Hoshea.
- Moses changed his name into Yehoshua or Joshua.
- Meaning = he shall save or the salvation of Jehovah.
- In the original Hebrew both Joshua and Jesus were the same name.
- Served faithfully with Moses.
- Went up onto the mount and waited for Moses 40 days.
- Among the 12 sent to spy out the land of Canaan. Only he and Caleb
brought back a favorable report.
- Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of the generation over 20 years
old to survive the 40 years in the wilderness because "they wholly
followed the Lord" (Numbers 32:11-12).
- Modern day comparison: Brigham Young has been called a modern day Moses,
but he really was more like Joshua. Joseph Smith was the lawgiver (Moses)
and Brigham Young was the leader (Joshua) who led the people into the promised
READ JOSHUA 1:1-2,5,7-9. The Lord instructs Joshua
to continue in the path of Moses.
- Moses was a great leader and prophet, revered by the people. How does
one fill Moses' shoes?
- He had to assume the role of a military general in order to lead Israel
in the conquest and settlement of Canaan.
- WHAT WERE THE SIGNIFICANT POINTS OF THE LORD'S MESSAGE TO JOSHUA?
- The Lord will be with Joshua as he was with Moses (1:5).
- Be strong & courageous (1:7).
- Do not turn to the right or left of the law and you will prosper (1:7).
- Meditate upon the law day and night in order to observe it (1:8).
- This is a formula that is as valid for us today as it was in Joshua's
day, more than three thousand years ago:
- The Lord will be with us.
- When the Lord calls us to do a work, he will support us in that effort.
- "...the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men,
save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing
which he commandeth them" (1 Nephi 3:7).
- Neal A. Maxwell: "When we are humble enough to have basic faith,
we can, like Nephi, trust the Lord when he gives us an errand, for he will
also give us the necessary spiritual and logistical support."
(Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, p48)
- Be strong & courageous.
- "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are
bold as a lion." (Proverbs 28:1)
- WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF STRENGTH & COURAGE?
- Our youth who stand up those attempting to pursuade them to break the
law of chastity or the word of wisdom.
- Those who quietly defend the Church when others accuse us of not being
- Do not turn to the right or left of the law and you will prosper.
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- "...strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth
unto life" Matthew 7:14.
- D&C 130:20-21: "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in
heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are
predicated--And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience
to that law upon which it is predicated."
- George Albert Smith: "If the people who dwell on this earth
were obedient to the loving advice of our Heavenly Father, that has been
given through his servants down through the ages...we would have peace,
prosperity and happiness. There is no way for us to enjoy the blessings
of our Heavenly Father but by obedience to his counsel." (Sharing
the Gospel With Others, p203)
- The Lord has given us commandments to observe. We cannot keep them
some of the time and prosper spiritually. We cannot deviate and partially
keep the commandments. We must follow the law as laid down to achieve our
- Meditate upon the law day and night in order to observe it.
- HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS?
- Joshua had a great and noble undertaking. He was called by God to lead
Israel into the promised land and to establish a nation. How could he possibly
succeed without knowing the mind and will of the Lord.
- How can we possibly succeed in our eternal goals without knowing God's
will. Said the Prophet Joseph Smith: "Happiness is the object and
design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the
path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness,
holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all
the commandments without first knowing them" (TPJS, p255).
- The Lord, in speaking to Joshua, indicated that he should "meditate"
upon the law. In order to better compy with the law, we need to ponder
the commandments and consider how we might better keep them. We can only
do this as we seek for the Spirit and consult with the Lord in prayer.
For instance, we have been counseled to seek out someone or some family
with which to share the gospel. How can we possibly comply with this commandment
without meditating and pondering the possibilities? How can we possibly
succeed without consulting with the Lord?
- Like Joshua, we are in the the process of attempting to carry out the
will of the Lord. The counsel given to Joshua is valid counsel for us today.
Crossing The Jordan & The Conquest of Jericho
- WHERE IS THE LAND OF CANAAN?
- See Map #3 at the back of the Bible.
- WHO WERE THE CANAANITES?
- Refers to all those living in the land of Canaan.
- Not a cohesive nation, but a loose conferation of city states.
- At this time it appears that they were in a state of considerable decline.
The cities were in a state of decay.
- Canaan had been torn by feuding.
- Canaan was obviously a land ripe for conquest. Instructions to Israel.
- Deuteronomy 20:16-18: "But of the cities of these people, which
the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive
nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the
Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites,
and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach
you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their
gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God."
Spies Sent to Jericho - Chapter 2
- Two spies were sent to Jericho.
- They were received into the home of Rahab, an harlot.
- The King of Jericho had his own intelligence service.
Evidently the stories of the miraculous exodus had proceeded Israel
to the land.
Rahab hides the spies and concocts a story about their having left
Rahab asked the spies to preserve her household when Israel comes to
conquer the land.
- He had discovered that 2 spies from Israel had come into the land and
gone to the home of Rahab.
- The king requested Rahab to bring the spies.
The spies returned to the camp of Israel and reported to Joshua.
- The spies said that her household would be preserved if they did not
reveal them and their business.
- She was to bind a scarlet thread in her window. Any that remained in
that house would be preserved.
WHAT LESSON MIGHT WE LEARN FROM THIS ENCOUNTER BETWEEN RAHAB AND THE
- Joshua 2:24: "Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands
all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because
- Accept the servants of the Lord (priesthood, home teachers, missionaries).
- Recall: Amulek was blessed for accepting Alma into his home.
- Alma 8:21-22: "And it came to pass that the man received him
into his house; and the man was called Amulek; and he brought forth bread
and meat and set before Alma. And it came to pass that Alma ate bread and
was filled; and he blessed Amulek and his house, and he gave thanks unto
Israel crosses the Jordan - Chapters 3 & 4
- Israel moves from Shittim to the east bank of the Jordan (see map 4).
READ JOSHUA 3:15-17. The people cross the Jordan
on dry ground.
WHAT ACT OF FAITH DID THE PRIESTS WHO CARRIED THE ARK HAVE TO PERFORM
BEFORE THE WATERS OF JORDAN WERE STOPPED?
- READ JOSHUA 3:7-8. The Lord gives instructions
- The were people instructed and those bearing the Ark led forth.
HOW DOES THE LORD SOMETIMES ASK SIMILAR THINGS OF US?
- They had to simply follow the instructions of the Lord delivered by
Consider the magnitude of the miracle at the Jordan River: This may
not have been the Red Sea, but was it any less of a miracle to stop the
flow of water?
- Boyd K. Packer: "Shortly after I was called as a General Authority,
I went to Elder Harold B. Lee for counsel. He listened very carefully to
my problem and suggested that I see President David O. McKay. President
McKay counseled me as to the direction I should go. I was very willing
to be obedient but saw no way possible for me to do as he counseled me
"I returned to Elder Lee and told him that I saw no way to move in
the direction I was counseled to go. He said, 'the trouble is you want
to see the end from the beginning.' I replied that I would like to see
at least a step or two ahead. Then came the lesson of a lifetime: 'You
must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into
the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you'."
(BYU Today, Mar. 1991, 22-23)
- I can illustrate moving to the "edge of the light" in a graphic
way in my own life. Back in 1984 I got the strange notion in my head that
I wanted to bicycle from Seattle (where we were living at the time) to
my folks home in Orem, Utah. After struggling throughout the spring of
'84 to get in sufficient shape to make such a ride, I embarked on my solo
journey late in June.
After spending the night in Twin Falls, Idaho, I began my ninth day of
riding. I remained away from the freeway and traveled east through southern
Idaho to Burley and continued on the old road until it turned south toward
the small, rural town of Malta, Idaho. I arrived in Malta late in the afternoon
and determined that I would continue on southeast into Utah. I stopped
near the Utah-Idaho border and fixed dinner before resuming my ride. Darkness
fell shortly after I had commenced riding once again. I was on a isolated
road with virtually no traffic and no light. It was still several miles
to Snowville. I had carried a bike light in case of such a situation. Unfortunately,
it was a poor light and did little to illuminate the road. I was literally
riding to the "edge of the light". But as I slowly ventured into
the darkness, the light moved ahead giving me just enough light so that
I could make my way. Late that night, well after midnight, I arrived in
Snowville. I was tired, thirsty, and sore, but I had made it to the safety
of that small northern Utah town.
- So it is with our callings and the things the Lord has asked us to
do. It may be tedious and difficult at times, as was my late night ride
through northern Utah. But if we continue to move forward, in faith, the
Lord guides us and gives us enough light assist us in accomplishing that
which he has asked of us. I found this to be true on my mission. I can
recall times when my companion and I were out tracting, the day wore on
with no success, and we became frustrated. There were times when we wondered
if it was worth it. We were moving to the edge of the light. But when we
were diligent and pushed on in spite of frustration, fatigue, or poor weather,
we often found doors opening, golden contacts, and persons truly interested
READ JOSHUA 4:14. Joshua magnified before the
people. Feared as Moses.
- Priests bearing the Ark remained in the Jordan until all had passed
over. When they lifted their feet to "the dry land" the
Jordan continued to flow as before.
READ JOSHUA 4:4-9. The people construct a memorial
commemorating their miraculous crossing of the Jordan.
- What a challenge Joshua faced filling the shoes of Moses. Moses had
miraculously led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He had delivered
the law. He had led the people for forty years. He was the only prophet
most Israelites knew. Would they accept Joshua as the new prophet and successor
to Moses? Those who had the faith to keep the commandments and follow Joshua
to the Jordan beheld a great miracle.
- HOW DOES THE LORD SHOW US THAT HE DIRECTS AND INSPIRES THE LIVING PROPHET
AS HE DID PAST PROPHETS?
- Most of us have experienced the death of a prophet and watched his
successor become the President and Prophet. I grew up during the administration
of President David O. McKay. He was the only prophet I had known until
he passed away during my senior year in high school. I wondered how any
man could possibly fill the position he had filled. And yet I watched as
Joseph Fielding Smith took the reigns of the Church and was almost surprised
when I heard his voice in General Conference and had the spirit witness
to me that this was indeed the Lord's annointed.
- When our beloved prophet, Spencer W. Kimball passed away, we watched
as Ezra Taft Benson stood before us and testified of the importance of
studying and utilizing the Book of Mormon. The spirit bore witness that
this was God's prophet and he was delivering the message we all needed
- And when President Hinckley stood before the priesthood of the Church
during the October 1997 Conference and testified of the importance of reclaiming
our brothers and sisters who had strayed, we were touched and had the witness
of the Holy Spirit thrust into our hearts saying, "You are hearing
a prophet of God and he is delivering the message Lord wants you to hear."
- Who can doubt that these men speak for the Lord, as did Moses and Joshua?
And yet I have heard it said that with the death of each prophet, there
are many testimonies that die. Our testimony is not in the prophet, but
in the Lord and his gospel. When our testimony is properly founded, we
know that the man who stands as president of the Church, stands as a prophet
of the Lord.
- Biblical peoples were fond of symbolic acts commemorating great events.
- WHAT A GREAT IDEA. IN WHAT WAYS MIGHT WE CREATE MEMORIALS TO REMIND
US OF GREAT SPIRITUAL EVENTS?
- I have a lot of rocks in my yard. Should we construct a memorial?
- Pictures of important events such as missions and temple marriages.
- What about planting a tree to honor an important life.
Preparation For War & The Conquest of Jericho - Chapters 5 &
- READ JOSHUA 5:1. Canaanites afraid (already spiritually
- Circumcision (a physical token of the covenant) was reinstituted by
Joshua. It had not been practiced during the years in the wilderness.
Israel kept the passover on the plains of Jericho.
They ate the old corn of the land and the following day the manna did
- "At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives,
and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time" (5:2).
- This was a renewel of the covenant prior to heading off for conquest
of the Land.
- In the early days, after having arrived in Utah, the Saints were rebaptized
as a renewel of their covenant.
READ JOSHUA 5:13-15. The Lord appears to Joshua.
- This was a major turning point for the people. They had been eating
the manna for 40 years (now they would find out what it was like to work
for a living).
READ JOSHUA 6:1-5. Instructions for conquest given.
- This was Jehovah, the premortal Christ (see Mormon Doctrine, p111).
- He did nothing to stop Joshua when Joshua fell on his face and worshiped
Him. In angelic visitations, they have prohibited their worship.
- V15: "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon
thou standest is holy." Compare this to Moses' experience.
WHY WAS IT NECESSARY THAT THE CITY AND ALL ITS INHABITANTS BE COMPLETELY
- The instructions were followed.
- Joshua commanded that only Rahab and those in her house were to live
- All wealth was to go into the treasury of the Lord (v19).
- READ JOSHUA 6:20-21. Jericho destroyed.
- The two spies sent to Rahab to bring her out to the camp of Israel.
- The city was burnt (24).
The people of Jericho hid behind the false security of the walls of
- It was imperative that all idolatrous nations in Canaan be destroyed.
- Later Joshua warned Israel of three things in the event that some heathen
nations, including those that surrounded them, were allowed to remain (see
- Beware of social intercourse with them (v7).
- Refrain from worshipping their false gods (v7-11).
- Avoid intermarriages with them (v12).
- If these were not heeded "snares and traps," "scourges,"
and "thorns" awaited Israel (v13).
- WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PEOPLE OF JERICHO, WHO TRUSTED IN THE SAFETY OF
THEIR CITY WALLS?
- DO WE EVER TRUST IN SUCH "WALLS" OF FALSE SECURITY?
- Good health.
- Financial stability.
- Positions of power and influence.
- WHAT MUST WE DO? HOW DO WE BUILD TRUE SECURITY?
Conquering the City of Ai - Chapters 7 & 8
- First attempt on Ai.
Joshua goes to the Lord and asks why they were defeated when the promise
was given that they would conquer the land.
- Joshua sent spies and found that the city was weak.
- About 3,000 men sent up to Ai to conquer the city.
- The army of Ai repelled and pursued the army of Israel. 36 men were
Second attempt on Ai.
- The Lord's response:
- READ JOSHUA 7:10-12. Israel cursed because of
- Joshua seeks out the transgressor.
- Achan confesses to retaining silver and gold found in Jericho which
he hid in the ground near his tent.
- Achan was stoned to death.
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO ATTEMPTS TO TAKE AI?
- After Achan destroyed the Lord commands Joshua to take the city.
- 30,000 men sent out to hide in ambush.
- Camp of Israel moved to the north side of Ai.
- All in Ai came out in pursuit of Israel. Israel was fleeing.
- When the city was empty, the men in ambush took the city and set it
- The people of Ai were then surrounded and destroyed.
- CAN OUR SINS AFFECT THE PROGRESS OF OTHERS AS WELL AS OURSELVES?
Joshua's Final Exhortation to Israel - Chapters 23 &
- Joshua warned Israel of the things that would pollute Israel (23:7-12).
- READ 24:14-15. Choose ye this day.
Commentary on Joshua's discourse:
- Marvin J. Ashton: "Joshua reminds us of the importance of making
decisions promptly: 'Choose you this day whom ye will serve;...but as for
me and my house, we will serve the Lord'. Not tomorrow, not when we get
ready, not when it is convenient--but 'this day,' straightway, choose whom
you will serve. He who invites us to follow will always be out in front
of us with His Spirit and influence setting the pace. He has chared and
marked the course, opened the gates, and shown the way. He has invited
us to come unto Him, and the best time to enjoy his companionship is straightway.
We can best get on the course and stay on the course by doing as Jesus
did--make a total commitment to do the will of His Father." (Ensign,
May 1983, pp30-31)
READ JOSHUA 24:28-30. Joshua dies.
- "Such messages should be considered very significant, for what
a prophet says as he approaches death seems to be an effort on his part
to rid his garments of the blood of the people by placing the full responsibility
for their conduct squarely upon their shoulders." (Old Testament
Student Manual, p242)
- Ezra Taft Benson: "Now during this critical period, and it
is a critical period that we are passing through, I hope that we will keep
ever burning in our hearts the spirit of this great work which we represent.
If we do so, we'll have no anxiety; we'll have no fear; we'll not worry
about the future because the Lord has given us the assurance that if we
live righteously, if we keep his commandments, if we humble ourselves before
him, all will be well. I turn to two passages of scripture today which
I'd like to read:
"'. . . Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou
dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.'
"This was the Lord's admonition to his son, Joshua, encouraging him
to trust in God. Joshua answered that admonition in counsel to his people
"'. . . choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . but as for me
and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Ibid., 24:15.)
"Embodied in these two passages of scripture are the two principal
essentials for security and peace: first, trust in God; and second, a determination
to keep the commandments, to serve the Lord, to do that which is right.
Latter-day Saints who live according to these two admonitions - trust in
God and keep the commandments - have nothing to fear.
"The Lord has made it very clear in the revelations that even though
times become perilous, even though we be surrounded by temptation and sin,
even though there be a feeling of insecurity, even though men's hearts
may fail them and anxiety fill their souls, if we only trust in God and
keep his commandments we need have no fear." (CR, Oct. 1950, pp145-46)
Ancient Israel had to fight to gain their inheritance. They were successful
because they followed the prophet Joshua and obeyed the commandments of
the Lord, even when the commandments seemed unbelieveable, as with Jericho.
We, too, are in a battle, but ours is a battle for an eternal inheritance.
We can be successful, as was ancient Israel, if we heed the words of the
Lord to his servants and make a choice to "serve the Lord."
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