Category Archives: Bible Studies

Bible Studies for women

01. Chosen for God’s best: Chosing to obey

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 1 (1 Peter 3:1,1:1-5).

We are chosen for provision, protection, obedience, and forgiveness when we choose to follow Christ. As wives, are we willing to obey what God shows us regarding submission?

Chosen for Provision and Protection

Christ chose to submit to God and death on the cross. This is explained in 1 Peter 2, and we are chosen to follow his example, to submit “in the same way” Christ did: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands…” (1 Peter 3:1) By following Christ’s example, we receive God’s provision and protection.

As wives, most of us have convinced ourselves that this Scripture does not apply in our own circumstances. It can’t mean we are to submit to our husbands if their decisions are not in line with what we understand God’s will to be. Yet upon closer examination we realize this passage was written especially for us when our husbands are not Christians or fail to make decisions in line with what we understand to be God’s direction. Read the rest of the verse:

“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,” (3:1).

Do you have the courage to look into what God is saying? If so, be prepared to make some changes. 1 Peter 3:1 is a key verse for us. To understand what God means by, “In the same way,” we must start at the beginning:

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1:1-2)

This Scripture is written to those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord and thus have become part of God’s elect. He has elected those who accept his Son for special blessing, provision, protection, and honor.

Notice first that we have been “chosen.” From the beginning, the God who had all foreknowledge of the situations we would face in our marriages today chose you and me!.

Chosen for Obedience

What are we chosen for? First we are chosen for obedience. Because we are chosen, we are immediately faced with a choice. Our choice is: “Will I choose to be obedient or disobedient to God’s choices for me?” In the context of being a wife, and the question of submission to our husbands, am I willing to obey what God shows me? That is the only question that matters.

This is not a question of whether our husbands are capable; or whether they are worthy of leadership; or whether we can do a better job. Those areas are for God to decide. The question for me, ultimately is not whether I will submit to my husband. It is whether I will submit to my God. I have been “chosen…for obedience.” Will I choose obedience or disobedience to God? If we are unwilling to submit to God here, at the foundation of his call to us, how do we dare to judge our husbands for their failures in the leadership areas God has called them to?

Chosen for Forgiveness

God knew we would blow the obedience issue before we ever started. We have not always chosen to submit to our husbands. But the real problem is that by choosing not to submit to our husbands in the ways that God has ordained, we have chosen to rebel against God’s design for us. So the second thing that God chose us for is “sprinkling by his blood.” I thank my God that his choices for me have the power to overcome and rescue me from the wrong choices I have made!

I am chosen for obedience. Because God knew I would fail in obedience to God, he chose me for forgiveness, for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you” (1:3-4).

Chosen to Choose

This is a hard choice God has called us to make. It always seems that it would be easier to have someone else’s choice — to be required to make someone else’s commitment. Commitment is never easy. Commitment to God by submission to another human has to be one of the toughest callings God has ever required. But it brings with it the richness of God’s protection and blessing in a way that frees us as nothing else can.

We are “chosen…for obedience” through the “sprinkling by his blood,” into “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:4-5).

Prayer

Lord, the topic of submission is a place that we don’t want to go. We would like to write something else into what you are saying in your word on this subject. But we cannot. You have told us that our submission is ultimately an act of commitment and submission to you.

Thank you for the privilege of saying “yes” to you, Lord. Thank you that we can give you the gift of our desires and even the security we feel at being in control. We trust in a greater security of your control and your desires for our good, Lord.

We don’t want to go to the topic of submission. But we choose to go there because that is where you have called us, and we go with you, Lord. Thank you for leading us safely through all the troubled waters we must travel as we submit to your plan for us. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does it mean to you to be chosen for obedience?
  2. How does being chosen cause us immediately to be confronted with a choice?
  3. If our husbands are not following God in their lives, should we follow their leadership? How does this work?
  4. Why is submitting to our husbands so important?
  5. If God had chosen us for obedience without choosing us for redemption, where would that have left us?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted.

0. Called to be a mother – Contents

Table of Contents
(There are 21 sessions in this study.)
.
Introduction: Author’s Preface/Introduction The Battlefield of Prayer
Session 01: Train a Child Just One Will Do
Session 02: Finding God’s Way Help for Parents
Session 03: Living God’s Word Teaching our Children Day by Day
Session 04: The Time God Gives Redeem and release
Session 05: The God of Circumstances Left behind, a mother’s faith
Session 06: Positive Support Praising right choices
Session 07: Discipline and Affirmation Confident of better things
Session 08: The (Not) Ideal Home She did what she could
Session 09: Excitement is Brewing Teach what you are learning
Session 10: Offspring, Inlaws, and Torches Heritage of faith
Session 11: Anticipate the Harvest Sowing, claiming, reaping
Session 12: Unleashing God’s Power Catalyst of prayer
Session 13: Campaign of Prayer Media advocates
Session 14: Activating God’s Promises Catalyst of faith
Session 15: Remembering the Past Lessons from Joshua
Session 16: Faith for the Battle Listening in God’s Presence
Session 17: Learning from Godly Leaders Mentored by Moses
Session 18: Battling the Giants Reclaiming our children
Session 19: From Victory unto Victory It’s time to take the land
Session 20: Advice from the Crowd Reaching a wayward son
Session 21: Wondrous Things Though it linger, wait for it

— Begin: Introduction

21. Wondrous things: Though it linger, wait for it.

God can work in our children’s wrong choices. He can use evil influence to bring about good. God can reach us in our sin! We pray for our children, and we see God’s answers by faith.

“Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3)

Worship Our Father, He Is Working

What can we do when our children stray and we don’t see God working? We can join the Psalmist when he says:

“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!” (Psalm 72:18 NKJV)

God is always at work in our children’s lives, whether we see it or not, and God only does wondrous things! We cannot think of anything God has done that is not wondrous. God made everything from nothing.

Fix Your Faith in the Wonder

How wondrous the unsearchable galaxies that extend so far into space we can’t even begin to count them!

How wondrous the elusive microorganisms that challenge our most powerful microscopes to explore their detail!

How wondrous the human body that began as dust and returns to dust yet lives with such awesome splendor!

How wondrous the uniqueness of each blade of grass, each drop of rain, each human soul!

How wondrous that the God who reigns over all his creation would allow his most prized creation, mankind, the freedom to choose to rebel!

And wonder of wonders that this great God would redeem the creature by becoming the created and suffering the full penalty in himself for our rebellious choice!

This God–our God–is always at work to bring individuals into a love relationship with himself. We can be assured that God is doing something wondrous in our children’s lives right now.

Find Fulfillment in the Waiting

We don’t see everything that happens in our children’s lives. We don’t have access to God’s communication with them. We may not be aware of the witness God sent to our children yesterday. We can’t hear the words of a scripture that sounds over and over in their minds.

We can’t see all that God is doing. We must not assume that God is not working just because of our unawareness of his presence. On the contrary, we must assume that God is working because of his awareness of our need.

We can ask God to let us see a little glimpse of his activity in our children’s lives. We can begin to recognize everything that happens in our children’s lives as God’s working to bring our children to himself. Whatever is happening in our children’s lives, we are seeing God at work. The happening is God working!

God can even work in our children’s wrong choices. Our powerful God can use evil influence to bring about good. God can reach us in our sin!

Wield the Weapons of our Warfare

We can unleash God’s power through prayer. God has ordained prayer as the means by which his work is done on earth. Our prayers have the power to bind Satan and to free God’s Spirit to open our children’s eyes and draw them to Himself.

What a wonder that God would allow us this privilege to cooperate with Him through prayer!

There are many prayer promises. Here are just a few of them:

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

Application

What can we do when we don’t see God at work? We can praise the wonder of our God. We can recognize that what we do see is God’s work. We can cooperate with God through prayer. We can rest assured that God has already answered our prayers.

The drama of God’s work is unfolding day by day in this world captured by time. God’s answer is on its way, and we can see the vision through faith.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).

Thought for Today

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).

Question for Discussion

  1. What should we do when our children go farther and farther astray, and God doesn’t seem to be doing anything?
  2. Which prayer promise will you claim for your children today?

Called to Be a Mother – Contents

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

20. Advice from the crowd: Reaching a wayward son

The father’s #1 goal was to reach his wayward son. Children are more important than rules. Raising our children takes priority over adhering to rules so we look good.

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

A Son Goes Missing

The son had come of age, and he left for a distant country. His father longed to reach his wayward son and give him positive support, but there was no communication between them. Oh, how the father missed his son!

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, `Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'”

–Luke 15:11-24,28-30

A Crowd Starts Meddling

There must have been a lot of noise among the crowd as they surmised what was going on in the “Prodigal” household. Young Joe Prodigal most likely had been a wayward son for quite some time to have made such a request. No doubt there was plenty of free, unsolicited advice for Mr. Prodigal as he was rearing this son upon whom the world had such a hold.

No one really knew all the circumstances in the Prodigal household. But everyone surely had an opinion of what Mr. Prodigal needed to do to get young Joe in line.

Have you ever wondered why Mr. Prodigal gave in to this son’s request and handed him the inheritance he requested at such an early age? If we had been there, we might have joined the crowd and cried, “Mistake! Mistake!” But as our Lord told this story, he did not indicate in any way that what the father did was wrong.

Many people will have opinions on how we should raise our children. But only one opinion matters. We must look to our Heavenly Father and ask him for wisdom.

There are many absolute answers. For example the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal,” and it is always wrong to steal.

But the question of whether to give a son the inheritance is not so absolute. For one son the right thing may be to do this. In another household, it be right to refuse to give the inheritance at such a young age.

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

–Mark 2:23-27

God’s laws are always right. But many times man adds his wisdom to God’s law. God had said:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

–Exodus 20:8-11

When our Lord and his disciples were hungry and plucked enough grain to meet their immediate needs, man said they were breaking the law. Yet our Lord himself is the one who wrote the law! They had added their own ridiculous interpretations.

A Father Watches Mindfully

Mr. Prodigal must have faced many episodes of humiliation. The world as well as his Christian comrades were probably quick to judge his household. But Mr. Prodigal knew that it sometimes takes a lot of cultivating and pruning if the rosebush is to bear fruit. He knew that the world might only see a thorn bush before the roses bloom.

Mr. Prodigal kept his eyes off the crowd and on the end of the pathway. Why? Because Mr. Prodigal knew that he had done what God told him to do, and he lived in anticipation of the day that God would bring his boy home!

Application

Today, many good and well-meaning people will tell us what we need to do differently in the rearing of our children. We must not cast this advice aside lightly. God may indeed speak to us through those he sends our way. We may need to wake up and save our household.

But we must also keep in mind that only God knows what we should do in each particular situation. If we have several choices that are not contrary to his Word, we must seek His will. The world will have its ideas. Other Christians may help us with the answers, but ultimately we must look to God.

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is insist that our children obey the rules that make us look good in everyone else’s eyes. But Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” God would say to us today, “The rules are made for your children, and not your children for the rules.” Raising our children must always take priority over adhering to rules.

Today we may be discouraged. It may seem we have done all God said, yet our child is living with the swine. It may seem God has let us down. What if….

We will never know how much lower our wayward children may have fallen without our restraining presence. We can find peace in leaving the finalities to God. He is the God of all justice. He is the God of incomprehensible love. Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him” (Job 13:15).

Thought for Today

As we look toward the end of the pathway, there is good news: The prodigal son did come home!

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Questions for Discussion

  1. How do we answer the advice from the crowd?
  2. What’s more important, the rule or the child?
  3. What if….

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

19. From victory unto victory: It’s time to take the land!

God commissioned us to train our children. He will not call us to fruitless labor, for he will enable. We will defeat the giants, and we will train our children. God has given us the land!

“So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed….” (Joshua 11:23).

It’s Time to Take the Land!

The battle had begun. It was time to take the land in the power of God. Read the following accounts of battle, and see God’s power displayed!

Then the LORD said to Joshua, “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. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”

The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!”

When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it–men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert.

“I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, `They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand.”

Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. They had the soldiers take up their positions–all those in the camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.

When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city.

Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the desert. All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.

Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out his javelin toward Ai. As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising against the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction, for the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the desert had turned back against their pursuers.

So Joshua took the entire land, just as the LORD had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah…. thirty-one kings in all.

–Joshua 6:2-5,16,20-21;8:1-7,12-20;11:23;12:1,30

Application

God, you have parted the Jordan before our eyes. We have stepped into the land of promise, and the battle begins.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

–John 15:4-5,16

God gave us a commission. He said, “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). He will not call us to that which he does not enable us. He will not call us to fruitless labor.

We will train our children. We battle with giants who strive to produce the fruits of evil in our children. But our God has given us the land.

Thought for Today

God has told us to take our children for him, and that we will do! We will bear fruit of righteousness in our children through the power of our God. For we are branches of God’s Son!

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are the giants God is calling you to take for the protection of your children?
  2. What Scripture promise will you carry with you to battle?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

18. Battling the giants: Reclaiming our children

God commissioned Joshua to take the land of the giants. Joshua didn’t hesitate. Will we tremble in fear as our children follow giants today, or will we reclaim our children for God?

“God is getting ready to do something great!” (Joshua 3:5, paraphrased).

Commission and Covenant

“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites'” (Joshua 1:1-2).

This was an awesome responsibility that God placed upon the shoulders of Joshua. Fear had kept the Israelites from inhabiting this land forty years earlier. Those people had died in the wilderness, and a God had raised up a new generation.

Then Moses died, and Joshua’s first commission from God was to take the land of the giants. But with God’s commission, God gave a promise!

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

–Joshua 1:3-9

God promised to be with Joshua. He told Joshua to take courage in the fact that God would never leave or fail him. He told Joshua that his success would come from meditating continually in God’s Word.

“Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you'” (Joshua 3:5).

Consecration and Conquest

When God spoke to Joshua, Joshua didn’t hesitate. Immediately he told the people, “Get your hearts right with God. God is getting ready to do something great!” (Lois’ paraphrase).

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God. This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.

Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD–the Lord of all the earth–set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them.

Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

–Joshua 3:9-17

With this, the Israelites entered the promised land. And the battle had begun!

Application

God gives a commission to parents today. God says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The giants have claimed our children. If we would carry out God’s commission, we face an awesome task.

But every promise Joshua had, and many more, are written in God’s Word. These promises are ours today. God tells us to “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV). “…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Will we tremble in fear as our children follow the giants? Or will we take our children for God?

God, as mothers, we ask you to cleanse and prepare our hearts. Our children are in the land of the giants. But the land belongs to you. You have commissioned us to take it. You are getting ready to do something great!

Thought for Today

“Get your hearts right with God. God is getting ready to do something great!” (Joshua 3:5, Lois’ paraphrase.)

Questions for Discussion

  1. How did God use previous victories in Joshua’s life to prepare him to face the tremendous responsibility of taking the land of the giants without the aid of his mentor?
  2. How did God bolster Joshua’s faith with a promise?
  3. What are the giants God is calling you to take for the protection of your children?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

17. Learning from Godly leaders: Mentored by Moses

History was in its infancy, yet Moses asked, “Has God ever before done anything so great?” We have far more than Moses today. We have the risen Savior living inside us.

“Has God ever before done anything so great in history as we have seen?” (Deuteronomy 4:32, paraphrased.)

Moses Was Meek, but God Was Mighty

The Bible says of Moses:

“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth)” (Numbers 12:3).

Moses said to the LORD, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.

–Exodus 4:10.

God delivered through this meek man Moses, slow of tongue, some of the mightiest exhortations ever spoken. Joshua learned from this great leader, and applied these Godly principles in his own life. Here are some excerpts from some of the messages Joshua learned from Moses:

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.

–Deuteronomy 4:7-9

We hear God saying to us today, “Do the giants of the world today have gods who hear them when they pray the way we do? Do they have so marvelous instructions as those written in the precious Book that God has written for us?”

Take time to pray to the God who always hears us and read the book he has written for us. Teach these things to your children and your grandchildren.

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other.

Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived?

Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?

You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

–Deuteronomy 4:32-35

God Interceded in History’s Infancy

History was in its infancy, yet Moses asked, “Has God ever before done anything so great in history as we have seen?” We have far more history than Moses had. We have the risen Savior living inside us! Has God ever before done anything so great in history as what he has done for us?

You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you.

You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?” But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.

You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.

Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.

–Deuteronomy 7:16-21

Application

Joshua learned giant warfare from the great teacher Moses. And God is saying to mothers today, “You shall not be afraid of the giants. Remember what God has done. God is a mighty God among you.”

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

We will learn from our mentors as Joshua did. We will learn from the Godly wives and mothers who have set the example for us. We will learn from our pastors and teachers and leaders who teach us the truth of God’s Word.

But we have a Teacher far greater than these. The Holy Spirit himself will be our teacher. God’s Holy Spirit will teach us all truth. He will guide us step by step. He will encourage us. He will teach us how to fight the giants, and he will empower us to do it!

Thought for Today

In the twenty-first century, we can still hear God’s voice through his Spirit saying, “Do the giants of the world today have gods who hear them when they pray the way we do? Do they have so marvellous instructions as those written in the precious Book that God has written for us?”

Question for Discussion

  • Who will be my teacher?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

16. Faith for the battle: Listening in God’s presence

Joshua found faith for the battle by listening in God’s presence, meditating upon God’s deliverance, and rehearsing God’s words. God told Moses, “Make sure that Joshua hears it.”

“Write this…to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it” (Exodus 7:14).

Joshua Rehearsed God’s Words

In chapter 15, we saw that Joshua remembered God’s deliverance and God’s banner. Joshua also rehearsed God’s words.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).

“Make sure that Joshua hears it.” God gave Moses the words to write to describe what happened, and God told him to read and discuss this especially with Joshua. God was nurturing Joshua’s faith. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). God was preparing Joshua to be a man of faith.

God is challenging us today to study his Word that we might become God’s faithful women. We must accept the challenge. Only by faith can we pull our children from the edge of the sword.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

–Ephesians 6:10-18

We go to battle for our children against the armies of Satan himself. Our sword is the Word of God, and our shield is faith in God’s faithfulness. The victory is ours as long as we hold God’s banner high.

Joshua Spent Time Listening God’s Presence

Not only did Joshua remember God’s deliverance, God’s banner, and God’s Word, but Joshua also remembered his personal encounters with God as Moses’ aide. Wherever Moses went, Joshua went to assist and minister to Moses. Whenever Moses encountered God, Joshua encountered God also.

Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

–Exodus 24:13-18

When Moses received the instructions for the tabernacle and the ten commandments written on two tables of stone with the finger of God, Joshua was near. Joshua and Moses went together up into the mount of God. For six days, Joshua and Moses fellowshiped in the light of God’s glory. On the seventh day, Moses went farther, into the midst of the cloud, and he stayed there forty days and forty nights.

Joshua probably could not go all the way with Moses. But Joshua remained in the warmth of God’s presence. For forty days and nights, God spoke with Moses. God ministered to Joshua during this time as well. Joshua probably could not hear God audibly, but this was a time of refreshing for Joshua. Joshua basked in the glow from magnificent splendor of the glory of God. He meditated upon the ways God had delivered them. Surely Joshua rehearsed again and again the words of God that Moses had already shared with him. He experienced the calming atmosphere of the presence of God. And he waited in anticipation to see what Word God would give them through Moses.

When Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, Moses brought with him God’s instructions for building the tabernacle. But before the actual tabernacle was constructed, God would talk with Moses inside the makeshift “tent of meeting.” When God met with Moses in this makeshift tabernacle, Joshua was there:

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.

As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.

The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.

— Exodus 33:7-11

Application

Joshua delighted in the presence of God. Just being in God’s presence while God spoke with Moses gave Joshua strength. It was during these times of refreshing that Joshua found the faith to go back into the battle.

Joshua remembered God’s deliverance. Joshua fought under God’s banner. Joshua rehearsed God’s Word. Joshua spent time in God’s presence. These things made a difference for Joshua, and these are the things that will make a difference for us!

I wrote earlier about Joshua meditating on God but, when I proofread what I had typed, I discovered that instead of typing “meditated,” I accidentally typed “medicated.” This may be the best rendering of all: “Joshua medicated on God.” As we medicate on God, our spirits are healed!

Thought to Remember

Like Joshua, we can win this battle if we remember our past encounters with God, and spend time in his presence through Bible study, prayer, meditation, and medication on our faithful God.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 2)

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

15. Remembering the past: Lessons from Joshua

Joshua believed God’s promise, remembered God’s faithfulness, obeyed God’s orders, experienced God’s victory, and led the Israelite army under banner of God’s deliverance.

“The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid” (Numberrs 14:9).

Joshua Believed God’s Promise

How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? The story of Joshua in the Old Testament shows us a wonderful answer to that question.

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country.

At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land…. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

–Numbers 13:17,25,27-33; 14:6-10

The Israelites were at Kadesh-Barnea, just 50 miles from the promised land. Moses sent twelve men to spy out the land. The land was magnificent, but the taking of it was impossible from a human viewpoint. Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith to believe that God could enable them to possess the land God had promised them. Had the Israelites believed God here, they could have been spared forty years of wandering in the wilderness!

Joshua’s Remembered God’s Faithfulness

Joshua was human just like you and I. What made Joshua different? Why did Joshua believe God could give them the land while almost everyone else trembled in fear? Joshua was different because Joshua remembered some things.

Joshua remembered God’s mighty deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Joshua remembered the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Joshua remembered how God departed the water so the Israelites could walk across on dry ground. Joshua remembered the Egyptian army drowning in the same water. Joshua remembered the manna that God provided each day.

Joshua remembered. While the rest of the people saw a situation that could not be overcome, Joshua remembered a God who could not be defeated. And Joshua’s mind must have gone back to the Israelites’ initial encounter with these huge warriors that lived in the land.

This initial encounter came not long after they crossed the river in flight from Pharaoh’s army. As slaves of the Egyptians, the Israelites had never been trained in warfare. God caused the Egyptians to give the Israelites food, clothes, cattle, gold, silver, weapons, and all they required before the Israelites fled from Pharaoh’s clutches, but the Israelites had never been taught to use the swords and shields they bore. As they wielded their armor, they were almost like children playing with toys.

Joshua Obeyed God’s Orders

Egypt had fought the Israelites’ battles before, because the Israelites were Egypt’s slaves. Now the Israelites must learn to fight for themselves. Surely God would give the Israelites a small battle at first, and gradually train them until they were capable of fighting a larger army. But this was not God’s plan. Here is the account of that initial encounter with the inhabitants of the land:

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.

–Exodus 17:8-15

Joshua Experienced God’s Victory

The Amalekite warriors were huge. Their army was vast and ruthless. All the heathen nations would reinforce the Amalekites to oppose Israel. What hope did Israel’s faltering, unskilled army have against the Amalekite army and all the heathen world?

Moses appointed Joshua to lead the Israelite army, and Moses himself stood on a hill and held holy hands up to God. Moses held high his rod. God had used Moses rod to perform miracles in the past. Moses’ rod represented God’s deliverance, and that deliverance was the banner of the Israelite army.

As long as Moses held high the banner of God’s deliverance, the Israelites were victorious. When the banner began to slip, the enemy prevailed.

Application

What hope do we as mothers have against the army of Satan as he marches against our children, pulling them into the clutches of a heathen world today?

After the battle was over, Moses built an altar and called it “Jehovah Nissi” in Hebrew, which means “The Lord is my banner.” We have the same banner today that Moses did. We have the same Lord.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who delivered Joshua and the Israelites from the Amalekites. We hold our hands high to him, and wave his banner of promise and victory.

Thought to Remember

Sometimes our hands get heavy. We cannot maintain the vigil. But our campaign of prayer has provided intercessory prayer partners who support us on either side. Our banner waves on.

Question for Discussion

  • How can I have the kind of faith that gets results? (part 1)

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

14. Activating God’s promises: Catalyst of faith

We activate God’s promises with the catalyst of faith. Do we dare to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. God is honor-bound to keep his word.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).

Seeking Faith to Believe

Jesus indicated that the key is to believe. Our problems with our children are not impossible, if we can just believe that they aren’t. We have power over our problems if we just believe that we do.

A father brought his ailing son to Jesus, and asked if he could help. Jesus told him: “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

When the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, “He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you'” (Luke 17:5-6).

But how can we make ourselves believe? The fact is, we can’t. We cannot believe. We cannot cause ourselves to have faith. But we can choose the focus of our attention. We can choose to focus our attention on problems or on promises!

Finding Faith in Focus

If we focus on our circumstances and those of our children, we will be helpless and hopeless before them. If we focus on God’s faithfulness, God will generate inside of us a faith that can pluck up trees and rearrange nature if necessary to accomplish God’s will.

God’s will. That is what we are talking about here. Remember the story of Hannah? Remember how we paraphrased Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 1:28? Hannah was saying, “I trust God to do the right thing in Samuel’s life. I trust God to take over Samuel’s training where I cannot go. I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my son.”

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work all things out the best way. God said it like this:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

To find this faith, we must be willing to say with Hannah, “I accept whatever outcome God brings forth with my children.” Throughout the Bible, God did remarkable wonders in the lives of men and women who dared to accept in advance whatever outcome God brought forth, knowing whatever God did would be right.

Whatever God does in our children’s lives will be right. How can we really believe this? Where can we find the faith? Herein lies the key to increasing our faith:

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Finding Faith in History

God’s word is brimming with stories of his faithfulness down through the ages. It’s promises overflow into our lives as God illuminates them to us.

We come before the Lord. We have focused our attention on the accounts in his Word of his faithfulness to men and women who walked according to his ways. We reach into God’s word and grab a fistful of these accounts in our left hand.

Finding Faith in Promise

Now we reach deep into God’s Word, and clench tightly as many promises as we can hold in our right hand. We hold high before our God an open Bible. Every page is a promise and a testimony that our faithfulness to God will be multiplied beyond measure in his faithfulness back to us!

We refresh ourselves in God’s promises which are as old as all ages and as new as today! And above our heads is our Banner Promise, the promise which undergirds our hope in all the others:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same God who was faithful to Moses’ mother; to Samuel’s mother; to Timothy’s mother. He is the same God who was faithful to Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob; to David, Joseph, Isaiah, Rahab, Joshua, and Hannah; to Peter, James, John, Mary, and Paul. He is the same God who has kept his promises to Christians unnamed and unnumbered down through the ages.

Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not oneword has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.

–1 Kings 8:56, Deuteronomy 7:9

Finding Faith in Boldness

He is the same God who has been faithful to you and to me in the past. He is the same God. He will always be faithful. As we stand before our God we hold our hands high. Our left hand holds before him the testimonies we have gathered of his faithfulness. Our right hand waves God’s promises toward heaven like a flag of victory. God is honor-bound to keep his Word to us!

Have we dared to force God’s hand? No, God has forced his own hand. We are nothing, unworthy, helpless and hopeless. God in mercy and love reached down through his Son our Savior and gave us hope and made us mighty in his Son. He gave us all power in his name. He has told us to come boldly before His throne. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)..

The Lord has said:

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

–Hebrews 6:10-19

Application

Let us give God the preeminence in our lives. Then God will teach us his promises. He dares us to hold him to them. We accept the challenge — and we have won. Our faith has been turned on. The catalyst that sets off God’s promises has been activated. The fulfillment of God’s promises has been accomplished. We simply await their enactment in a world bound by time!

In the next few sessions, we will study these principles as they were applied in Joshua’s life. We will see how the Word of God enabled Joshua’s faith to “turn on” God’s promises. And we will see our mighty God respond!

Thought to Remember

We will not find a faith that believes God will work all things out our way. But we can find a faith that believes God will work things out in a way greater than we could have ever imagined.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What do you do when the world seems to crush down upon you?
  2. What do you do when you claim God’s promises yet he does not seem to be doing anything?
  3. How do you keep from getting depressed when your children continue to go farther astray?

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Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted