Joshua 6:1-8:1 tells a story of both victory and defeat. It serves as a reminder that we should avoid temptation and the influences of evil, and that there are consequences to our actions. It also reminds us of God’s loving patience and persistent grace. Take time to become thoroughly acquainted with the details of the story before you present the lesson to your group. It will save time if you are able to refer to the story highlights without reading the entire passage.
1. God is jealous. (Joshua 6:18-19)
God’s command to utterly destroy Jericho certainly struck fear in the hearts of the surrounding cities. However, God was also deeply concerned that Israel not be morally and spiritually contaminated by the idol-worshipping Canaanites. “Canaan was infested with idolatry and the grossest forms of immorality. The people embraced idol worship to hideous extremes. Farmers desiring rain for their crops and a lucrative harvest would sacrifice their own children on an altar in an effort to win their idol’s favor. Their depraved worship included prostitution and immoral acts as a part of the religious services. The pagan religion encouraged every debased practice God had condemned. Canaanite worship was the vulgar antithesis of what holy God prescribed for His people.” (Blackaby) This story reminds us to avoid the influences of evil.
· 1 John 2:15-17
· 2 Timothy 3:1-5
· 1 Peter 1:15
2. God is patient and slow to anger. (Joshua 6:26)
Was God being fair to Jericho? How could he just wipe out an entire city? Doesn’t His retribution seem a little harsh? The fact is God had been patient with the people for over 400 years (Genesis 15:13-16). Yet there comes a time when God will no longer delay bringing judgment on those who continuously insist on rebelling against Him (Jer 15:1). This story shows us how God is both infinitely loving and absolutely just.
· Nehemiah 9:17-20
· Psalm 103:8-12
· 2 Peter 3:9
3. God does not overlook sin. (Joshua 7:13)
Benjamin Franklin said, “So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make reason for everything one has a mind to do.” This was not a mistake. It was not an oversight or a flaw in judgment. God gave specific instructions yet Achan chose to disobey (Joshua 7:20-21). This story teaches us that there is no such thing as partial obedience.
· 1 John 2:3-4
· 1 John 3:6
· 1 John 3:9
· Romans 6:1
· Numbers 14:18
· Exodus 34:6-7
4. This story teaches us that our personal sin impacts others. Read the verses below and list the ways Achan’s sin impacted those around him.
· Joshua 7:1
· Joshua 7:5
· Joshua 7:12
· Joshua 7:24-26
5. God is waiting to forgive and restore. (Joshua 8:1)
What a terrifying thing to be an object lesson of God’s displeasure! However, this story does not end with Achan’s ruin. It concludes with Israel’s new beginning (Joshua 8:1). Certainly Achan’s sin needed to be dealt with quickly and decisively lest the Israelites fall into a lifestyle of compromise and concession. But we must be faithful to call attention to God’s redemptive act. This story teaches us that repentance leads to new life. There is good news to share. “No matter what you have done, or what sins you have committed, God is patiently waiting to forgive and restore.”
· 1 Timothy 1:15
· 1 John 1:9
· 1 John 2:1-2
· Ephesians 2:4-10
1. Without question we see evil influences everywhere. The temptation to compromise or accept modern idols is very real. What can you do to guard against temptation? What can the members of your MOSAIC group do to hold one another accountable? Are you willing to become vulnerable and accountable to other members in your group? What would it take for your group to be more open and honest about daily life struggles?
2. Can you remember a time when you experienced God’s grace? A time when you knew God was being patient and generous? What would you say to a person who doesn’t feel worthy of God’s grace? How would you explain His love?
3. Achan did his best to hide his sin. He dug a hole and buried his plunder under his tent, but he could not hide from God. Are you willing to live a life of complete honesty and integrity before God? What does it mean to be a fully devoted follower of Christ?