This year at Faith West we are studying the books of Joshua and Judges in a series called, Everyone Did Right in Their Own Eyes. It is going to be incredible to see the contrast between a leader like Joshua who was faithful to the Lord and the people who were seeking their own desires. It is our hope that by giving you the basic outline of the lesson you can follow up with your teens to see what they have learned and to help them apply those truths in their life.
Unity in Calling
We’ve seen the Hebrew people in the book of Joshua become a unified nation. In Exodus they were called out of Egypt as slaves to become God’s royal priesthood (Exodus 13). God made signs for them that the rulers and supposed powerful men were nothing when compared to Him. He utterly destroyed Pharaoh and showed to the world that the most powerful nation and so called god were nothing when compared to Yahweh (Exodus 14:30-31). The Hebrew people were who the Almighty God called to be His people.
These people were tested before they were to enter the promised land. They were given a detailed account of commandments and regulations that would help them to grow into the nation that God was calling them to be. The people did not always follow God faithfully and were met with severe punishment that insured the purity of the nation would not be compromised. There were laws against rebelling against your father and mother and if the child was found to be rebellious he would be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). The Hebrew people were tested through the wilderness until they had complete faith in God’s provision.
Then came the day when they were ready to cross the Jordan river and begin to take their inheritance. They were told to do things that seemed completely stupid if they wanted to take the land, but they trusted completely in God and time and time again they were rewarded. They had set backs where people broke faith with God and disobeyed, but those problems were met with harsh punishment. These are now the unified and faithful people of the God who led them out of Egypt, through the wilderness and to their promised homes.
What is our calling as Christians today? How do we as a group recognize that we are called for the same purpose?
Unity in Action
They hear that their brothers across the Jordan river have made a second altar. If this altar was made for sacrifice it would be a blatant rebellion against what God had commanded. Ai is in their memory as a punishment for just small part of the nation rebelling against God’s command and the punishment was stoning until a pile of rocks is all that is left.
As a unified body they rise up to settle the problem. They get into full battle mode and are prepared to scorch the earth until the rebellious people are gone.
They first want to make sure that there is profaning before they launch the nukes. They send Phinehas. Phinehas is the man who will not stand for anyone to muddy the purity of praising God
- Phinehas reminds them of what happened at Peor
- Phinehas reminds them of what happens at Achan
- Phinehas calls them out for rebellion
Have you ever seen one of your Christian peers who seemed to have blatantly rebelled against God? Why is it important to respond in the way the people of Israel did?
Unity in Mind
The people across the Jordan wholeheartedly agree that if someone breaks faith with God they should be destroyed, but they that was not their intention. They made the altar as a sign of their unity with all Hebrew people. They wanted the next generation to see a sign of their dedication to being of one purpose and mind with their brothers across the river. They even accept the punishment if it is found out that they were trying to rebel.
Phinehas and the leaders see that it is good. They reconcile with the people across the Jordan and speak no more of it.
Often times we forget in our Christian walk that our church family and our friends are people God call to be spiritual helpers. We are to be of working with our brothers and sisters “with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
God desires us to be spiritual encouragers and admonishing sin as “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17) so do we as Christians help each other by being unified in the goal of being more like Christ.