Session 1: Conquest

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  • Study

    Begin this session by reading Scripture and answering questions to reflect on the selected Bible verses.

    What does God say is key to the success of the Israelites as they seek possession of the land God promised them?

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    Go back and read Numbers 13:25-33 to recall how the spies were sent in to the promised land. How would you contrast the Israelites’ attitudes in Numbers to their attitudes in Joshua chapter 2?

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    Do you think the story of Jericho is meant to tell us about God‘s power or tell us about the character of the Israelites? Why?

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    What happens to the Israelites at Ai? Why?

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    Does the fact that Achan’s children and animals shared his punishment seem fair? Why or why not?

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    This book is referred to as a book of conquest. With this in mind, what did you think the content of the book would be? Did you expect more or less fighting? Why?

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    Are there other people besides the Israelites in the land? If so, who are the other people?

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    When you compare these accounts, what pattern do you see?

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    How would you describe Gideon? Explain how he does or doesn’t display confidence. Does God refuse to use him?

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    How do Samson’s relationships help lead to his downfall?

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    Based on this story, what do you think is the source of Samson’s strength? Why?

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    What repeated pattern or phrase do you see in these passages?

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    By using repeated stories of sin, what idea do you think the writer of Judges is trying to communicate?

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    Why do you think the book ends with the repeated words about Israel not having a king?

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  • Learn

    Historical Books: the books of the Old Testament that narrate the events of the people of Israel; they include Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

    In this session, the book of Joshua shows us a new generation of Israelites that enter the promised land with great confidence and trust in God. Instead of focusing on God’s power, the focus shifts to the transformation of God’s people. The second half of Joshua focuses on dividing the land of Israel–much of which the Israelites do not control–among the twelve tribes.

    The story of Achan demonstrates the difference between our individual view of humanity and the Bible’s corporate view of humanity. The Bible does not see people as separate individuals disconnected from each other, but teaches that we are all connected, both morally and spiritually, to those around us.

    The book of Judges has a misleading title. A “judge” in the Old Testament was not one who rendered a verdict but was someone divinely appointed to deliver people and come to the aid of those being attacked. The majority of this book follows a cycle of peace, followed by sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, and then restoration by God.

  • Grow

    If God asked you to conquer a city by simply marching around it, what would you think? What would you do? In what ways can you learn to display the same confidence in God that the Israelites had?

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    Recalling the story of Achan, what is one specific way your righteous acts positively impact your family, friends, and strangers? What is one specific way your sinful acts negatively impact your family, friends, and strangers?

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    To what degree are you susceptible to the cycles expressed in the book of Judges? What concrete steps can you take to stop the cycle?

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    Have you ever had someone help you overcome a cycle of sin? Have you ever helped to break the cycle of sin in the lives of others? If so, how?

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