These small group studies take us through almost twenty of the key events in the Old Testament. Our Old Testament Survey contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Old Testament Survey Lesson 10 – Promised Land
The Promised Land (Joshua 2-5)
Spies sent to Jericho (2)
They lodge with Rahab (2:1)
Their enemy was alerted (2:2)
Rahab was commanded to turn them over (2:3)
Rahab saves them (4-7)
Her reason (8-11)
Her request (12-13)
Their conditions (14-21)
Their return (22-23)
Their report (24)
Victor over Jericho (6)
The condition of the city (1)
The command from God (2-5)
The command relayed by Joshua (6-10)
The procession around the city (11-16)
Instructions on taking the city (17-19)
The victory (20-21)
Everything destroyed; Rahab’s family saved (22-25)
The curse on Jericho (26)
Joshua’s fame (27)
What is significant about the conquest of Jericho as it relates to Israel taking the Promised Land?
What are some possible reasons why Joshua sent these spies secretly? (not telling the Israelites)
Why did Rahab do what she did?
Describe Rahab. What was her character? What lessons can we learn from Rahab’s story? What can we learn about God from the story of Rahab?
Does this story justify lying in some situations? Why or why not?
What is the difference between narrative and didactic (teaching) passages?
What can see from verses 10-11 of chapter two? How does this relate to what we learned about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart?
Was Rahab a traitor to her country?
Can we learn anything about our allegiance to God and country here?
What is the difference between the spies’ report this time and the previous time?
How did God instruct the people to capture the city?
What lesson do you think He wanted to teach them?
What lesson can we learn from this?
Why was it important for them to learn this lesson at that time?
Who is the captain of the Lord’s hosts?
Why is the number seven important?
What can we learn from the fact that God didn’t want them taking some of the things from Jericho?
Was the curse in 6:26 ever fulfilled (1 Kings 16:34).
Numbers 13-14 (The first scouting trip into the Promised Land.)
Hebrews 11:31 (Rahab had faith. This was the basis of her actions.)
James 2:25 (Rahab not only faith. She had fruit of this in her life as true faith must have.)
1 King 16:34 (The curse on rebuilding of Jericho fulfilled)
Psalms 20:7 (Boast in God and not in horses.)
Proverbs 21:31 (We can prepare as much as we want, but victory is God’s.)
This passage is significant because it is the first city the Israelites attacked across the Jordan river. Forty years before Moses had sent spies and they came back scared and with no faith (except for Caleb and Joshua). Because of their lack of faith the Israelites stayed in the wilderness for forty years. This was an exciting time in the history of the nation of Israel. The promise that God had made to Abraham and His descendents to give them the land was finally being fulfilled. They were finally getting a home after wandering around and living in tents. God was going to demonstrate His power in a miraculous way to boost their faith.
This time Joshua sent out the spies secretly. Certainly it means that he didn’t want the people in Jericho to know that the spies were coming, but it seems like that he didn’t want the people of Israel to know either, lest a bad report upset some of them like the previous time.
However, the king of Jericho did discover it. He heard that the spies were in Rahab’s house and commanded her to turn them over. We know from other passages and this one that Rahab had faith in God. She had heard what God had done in the country of Egypt and recognized Him as true.
It seems from this narrative that being a harlot was fairly common in those days. It doesn’t mention it as anything special. Since this is narrative material it does not comment on the right and wrong of harlotry. Obviously, it’s wrong. The story is an example of God’s grace in saving anyone, no matter what their sinful state.
When the “police” of Jericho came looking for the spies Rahab met them. She lied and said that they had gone on their way and that she didn’t know where they from. She provided refuge for the spies and protected them from almost sure death. She must have been very convincing as the police left and looked where she sent them.
There are several points we can make from this passage.
First, God used a heathen, harlot to protect his spies from death. God uses anyone, even sinners to accomplish His plans.
Second, she did have faith in God. She recognized that God was going to give the land to the Israelites. She didn’t fight against this fact. But she accepted it and sided with God.
Third, she had to make a choice between serving God or serving her country. To serve God and protect the spies she had to betray her own country. Sometimes in order to follow God and do what is right we have to make tough and unpopular choices.`
Fourth, news of God’s judgment against Egypt and salvation of the Israelites spread across the region. Before we discussed why God would harden Pharaoh’s heart. Here we can see some fruit of that action. Rahab and her family were saved because they heard about it and believed.
Fifth, from this narrative we CANNOT see that lying is good or justified in any situation. This is a NARRATIVE. Narrative stories normally do not make positive or negative judgments about what is going on. There is no place in the Bible that praises Rahab for lying. She is praised for her faith in God and her willingness to help the spies, not her methods of doing so.
Rahab asked the spies to spare her and her family when they took possession of the land. She was bold in her request. We should also be bold in our requests to God. She not only asked them to spare her, but also her entire extended family.
She was not only bold, but also smart in letting them down by a rope and suggesting they go back by the hill country. The men agreed to her request with a couple of conditions. God’s grace reaches everywhere. He is willing to save anyone, anywhere who will turn to Him. Here it only mentions her physical salvation. In Hebrews it is clear that she also had faith in God. Once again, God’s mercy comes alongside His judgment.
God protected their return to Joshua. This time, the report was good. The spies had faith and realized that God would give them the land and that the people were afraid of Him. Fearful people are easy to fight against.
The Lord Himself (commander of the hosts of heaven and the earth) appeared in order to talk with Joshua and instruct him about conquering the city. Clearly it was the Lord and not just an angel because He allowed Joshua to worship Him. Also, He declared the ground to be holy, just like God told Moses at the burning bush.
The city knew Israel was near and closed up. Jericho was known for its massive fortifications. It was an extremely strong and powerful city, with good defenses. Generally they would have been confident against invaders, but invaders didn’t normally have Yahweh on their side.
If most armies had heard a commander give this strategy they would have laughed. How can walking and blowing trumpets knock down a strong wall? With man it is impossible, but with God it was impossible. This was the first city they had attacked. God wanted to teach them a lesson. It wasn’t by strength of arm that they could gain the victory. It was only through His strength. They couldn’t hope to do it by themselves. They needed His help. They needed faith. They needed obedience. This is also how we can have victory in our lives. It’s not by our intelligence or our planning or strategy or talent or skill. God not only wanted to teach this to the Israelites, but also to the people in the city and the surrounding nations. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t want a lot of boasters proud of their own power. If this plan was to succeed it would clearly be by God’s power. There is no way this plan could possibly succeed with man.
Joshua was a good leader. He didn’t care that the people may laugh at him or ridicule or doubt. He did what God said and commanded the people under him to do the same. He didn’t show any hesitation or doubt. This is what a good leader does. He leads in what is right regardless of the response of the people under him.
The people persevered in this even though they must have looked foolish to the people of Jericho. You can imagine what kind of insults were thrown their way. Perseverance is very important. They didn’t give up after one or two days, but they kept marching and marching and saw it through to the end. If God gives you a tough task, don’t begin it and then give up. Be a finisher! Don’t worry about others or what they think. Don’t be timid if you hear insults. Do what is right in order to please God.
Seven is considered the perfect number in the Bible. It signifies completeness.
The people were not to take anything from the city. The gold and silver was to go into the temple. Everything else was to be destroyed. Because Jericho was the first city they were capturing it belonged to God. It was like the first fruit and was to be completely devoted to God. If anyone broke this command he would bring a curse upon Israel.
God’s plan succeeded. The walls fell and Israel achieved a great victory. God’s plans will never fail. If we obey His words we will surely achieve victory.
Joshua also kept his word. Many nations would have gone back on it. After all, they already had spied out the land. They already achieved victory. Many would have just used Rahab. When she was no longer needed, they would cast her aside. However, Joshua and the spies did not do this. They kept their word and they saved her and her family and gave them a place to live within the nation of Israel.
We can learn from this. Firstly, if we make promises keep them. Also we should learn from this example to take care of the people who help us. Don’t just use somebody and cast them aside. The world does this. But this is not God’s way.
The curse relates to the rebuilding of Jericho’s fortifications. I’m not really sure why this curse was proclaimed (perhaps because the city was dedicated to God and not to be a place of war). In any case it was fulfilled later in 1 Kings. A man tried to rebuild the wall and his firstborn and youngest sons died.
God had made Joshua’s name great. This exaltation didn’t come from himself, but from God. As we know, God exalts the humble. If we want God to exalt us we must serve Him humbly and not try to bring credit to ourselves.
God keeps His promises. Hundreds of years before He promised this land to Abraham and His descendents. He kept it. God doesn’t let any of His good words fall.
Salvation comes by faith and is available to everyone. Rahab was a harlot and a heathen. Yet through faith she and her whole family were saved.
Victory is God’s. We can’t have victory by our own power, might, or intelligence. The only way we can have true success in this life is by following the plan that God has laid out for us and obeying it to completely.
OT Event #1 – Creation
OT Event #2 – Fall of Man
OT Event #3 – The Flood
OT Event #4 – Babel and Abraham
OT Event #5 – Call of Moses
OT Event #6 – Let My People Go
OT Event #7 – 9 Plagues
OT Event #8 – The Passover
OT Event #9 – Ten Commandments
OT Event #10 – The Promised Land
OT Event #11 – Early Kingdom
OT Event #12 – David is Anointed
OT Event #13 – Divided Kingdom
OT Event #14 – The Prophet Elisha
OT Event #15- Kingdom Under Hezekiah
OT Event #16 – The Dispersion, Esther
OT Event #17 – Daniel in Babylon
OT Event #18 – Call of Isaiah
OT Event #19 – OT Period Ends, Malachi