Category: Bible Essentials

Ezekiel Essentials

Ezekiel Essentials

Theme: God is sovereign over all creation, including the course of history. He is absolutely free either to judge or to be gracious and merciful. 

Author: The book identifies its author as Ezekiel, a priest exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 BC, before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

Date of Writing: Ezekiel probably wrote this book over the course of his ministry, between 593 and 571 BC.

Encouragement From Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel36:26).

Challenge From Ezekiel: “Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:31–32).

 

Storyline

Ezekiel connects beautifully with the New Testament doctrines of salvation and rebirth in Jesus. For one day, God would “sprinkle clean water” on His people making them “clean from all [their] impurities and from all [their] idols.” He would give them “a new heart”—not a “heart of stone,” but a “heart of flesh.” Then, empowered by the Spirit of the Lord, the people would obey all that God had commanded (Ezekiel 36:22–38). This change would be nothing short of a new creation, or recreation, of God’s people, as if from dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1–14). And as redeemed people, they themselves would become “temples of the Holy Spirit,” as Paul expressed it in 1 Corinthians 6:19.

 

Key Verses: Ezekiel 36:24–26 and 36:33–35—“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (36:24–26).

 

“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, “This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited” ’ ” (36:33–35).

 

Key People in Ezekiel

Ezekiel —prophet to the people of Israel in Babylonian captivity (1:1– 48:35)

Israel’s leaders —led the people of Israel into idolatry (7:26–8:12; 9:5–6; 11; 14:1–3; 20:1–3; 22:23–29)

Ezekiel’s wife —unnamed woman whose death symbolized the future destruction of Israel’s beloved temple (24:15–27)

Nebuchadnezzar —king of Babylon used by God to conquer Tyre, Egypt, and Judah (26:7–14; 29:17–30:10)

 

Key Doctrines in Ezekiel

The work of angels —who carry out God’s program behind the scenes in many ways by demonstrating God’s glory (1:5–25; 10:1–22), destroying evil (Genesis 19:12–13), and worshiping God (Deuteronomy 32:43; Isaiah 6:2–4; Revelation 4:6–8)

The sinfulness of Israel (2:3–7; 5:6; 8:9,10; 9:9; 1 Samuel 8:7,8; 2 Kings 21:16; Psalms 10:11; 94:7; Isaiah 6:9; 29:15; Jeremiah 3:25; Micah 3:1–3; 7:3; John 3:20,21; Acts 13:24; Revelation 2:14)

God’s Character in Ezekiel

God is glorious —1:28; 3:12,23; 9:3; 10:4,18–19; 11:23; 43:4,5; 44:4

God is holy —1:26–28; 8–11; 43:1–7

God is just —18:25,29; 33:17,20

God is long-suffering —20:17

God is provident —28:2–10

God is wrathful —7:19

Christ in Ezekiel

Ezekiel contains several passages illustrating Israel’s triumph through the work of the Messiah. Christ is pictured as “one of the highest branches of the high cedar” (17:22–24). This messianic prophecy demonstrates Christ’s royal lineage connected to David. The branch, used consistently in Scripture to depict the Messiah, shows Christ as a “young twig, a tender one” who will be planted on the mountain of Israel (34:23,24; 37:24,25; Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12). On this height, Ezekiel pictures Christ as growing into a “majestic cedar” able to protect Israel in its shadow. Christ also appears as the Shepherd over His sheep (34:11–31). However, Ezekiel also describes the Shepherd’s judgment on those who abuse the people of Israel (34:17–24; see Matthew 25:31–46).

Key Words in Ezekiel

Son of Man: Hebrew ben ‘adam —2:1; 3:17; 12:18; 20:46; 29:18; 39:17; 44:5; 47:6—used over one hundred times referring to Ezekiel. It serves both to emphasize the difference between God the Creator and His creatures, and to mark the prophet Ezekiel as a representative member of the human race. Ezekiel’s life was a living parable or object lesson to the Hebrew captives in Babylon (compare 1:3; 3:4–7). In word and deed, Ezekiel was a “sign” to the house of Israel (12:6). Jesus adopted the title Son of Man because He, too, is a representative person—the “last Adam” who became a life-giving spirit (see Matthew 8:20; 1 Corinthians 15:45). The title Son of Man also alludes to Daniel’s vision of the heavenly being who is “like the Son of Man” (Daniel 7:13). Thus the title highlights the mystery of the Incarnation, the fact that Christ is both divine and human. As the God-man, Jesus became a glorious sign for all of sinful humanity (Luke 2:34).

Idols: Hebrew gillulim ––6:4; 8:10; 14:6; 20:24; 23:30; 36:18; 44:10—related to a verb which means “to roll” (Genesis 29:3; Joshua 10:18). The word refers to “shapeless things” like stones or tree logs of which idols were made (6:9; 20:39; 22:3; 1 Kings 21:26). The prophet Ezekiel uses this Hebrew term for idols nearly forty times, always contemptuously, as these false gods had led Israel away from the true God (14:5). The word gillulim may be related to a similar Hebrew expression meaning “dung pellets.” Later Jewish commentators mocked the gillulim as the “dung idols,” idols worthless as dung.

Glory: Hebrew kabod —1:28; 3:23; 9:3; 10:18; 31:18; 43:2; 44:4—derived from a Hebrew verb which is used to describe the weight or worthiness of something. It can refer to something negative. For example, in reference to Sodom, it depicts the severe degree of sin that had reached the point of making that city worthy of complete destruction (Genesis 18:20). But usually the word is used to depict greatness and splendor (Genesis 31:1). The noun form is translated honor in some instances (1 Kings 3:13). God’s glory is described in the Old Testament as taking the form of a cloud (Exodus 24:15–18) and filling the temple (1 Kings 8:11). The appropriate response to God’s glory is to reverence Him by bowing before Him, as Ezekiel did (3:23; 43:3).

 

Teaching Structure

  1. God’s judgment on Judah and Jerusalem
  2. The call of Ezekiel to confront a rebellious people (chs. 1-3)
  3. Signs, visions, metaphors and oracles declaring judgment for Jerusalem (chs. 4-24)

 

  1. God’s judgment on foreign nations
  2. Oracles against Ammon, Moab, Edom and Philistia (ch. 25)
  3. Oracles against Tyre (chs. 26-28)
  4. Oracles against Egypt (chs. 29-32)

 

  1. God’s restoration of Israel
  2. Renewal, return, restoration and resurrection (chs. 33-39)
  3. Vision of new temple, Torah, land and city (chs. 40-48)

 

A Brief Introduction to TaNaKh

A Brief Introduction to TaNaKh

I have said that, as we journey through the Bible Essentials Series, we will follow the order of TaNaKh, the Old Testament as Jesus (Yeshua) and the Disciples would have known.

 

TaNaKh is made up of 3 Sections: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. Here is the basic structure of TaNakh.

 

Torah

The Torah (תּוֹרָה, literally “teaching”), also known as the Pentateuch, or as the “Five Books of Moses”.  Torah is often, especially by Gentiles, referred to as the Law. This is partially correct in that it does contain the Mitzvot (Commandments/Law) but the Law is not the whole of Torah. Instead, Torah is the beginning of our instruction as to our need for a Redeemer and to His Person.

  • Bereshit (בְּרֵאשִׁית, literally “In the beginning”) – Genesis

  • Shemot (שְׁמֹות, literally “The names [of]”) – Exodus

  • Vayiqra (וַיִּקְרָא, literally “And He called”) – Leviticus

  • Bemidbar (בְּמִדְבַּר, literally “In the desert [of]” also called Wanderings) – Numbers

  • Devarim (דְּבָרִים, literally “Things” or “Words”) – Deuteronomy

Nevi’im

Nevi’im (נְבִיאִיםNəḇî’îm, “Prophets”) is the second main division of the Tanakh, between the Torah and Ketuvim. It contains three sub-groups. This division includes the books which cover the time from the entrance of the Israelites into the Land of Israel until the Babylonian captivity of Judah (the “period of prophecy”).

Their distribution is not chronological, but substantive.

The Former Prophets (נביאים ראשוניםNevi’im Rishonim)

  • Yĕhôshúa‘ (יְהוֹשֻעַ) – Joshua

  • Shophtim (שֹׁפְטִים) – Judges

  • Shmû’ēl (שְׁמוּאֵל) – Samuel

  • M’lakhim (מְלָכִים) – Kings

The Latter Prophets (נביאים אחרוניםNevi’im Aharonim)

  • Yĕsha‘ăyāhû (יְשַׁעְיָהוּ) – Isaiah

  • Yirmyāhû (יִרְמְיָהוּ) – Jeremiah

  • Yĕḥezqiēl (יְחֶזְקֵאל) – Ezekiel

The Twelve Minor Prophets (תרי עשר‎, Trei Asar, “The Twelve”), which are considered one book

  • Hôshēa‘ (הוֹשֵׁעַ) – Hosea

  • Yô’ēl (יוֹאֵל) – Joel

  • ‘Āmôs (עָמוֹס) – Amos

  • ‘Ōvadhyāh (עֹבַדְיָה) – Obadiah

  • Yônāh (יוֹנָה) – Jonah

  • Mîkhāh (מִיכָה) – Micah

  • Naḥûm (נַחוּם) – Nahum

  • Ḥăvaqûq (חֲבַקּוּק) – Habakkuk

  • Tsĕphanyāh (צְפַנְיָה) – Zephaniah

  • Ḥaggai (חַגַּי) – Haggai

  • Zkharyāh (זְכַרְיָה) – Zechariah

  • Mal’ākhî (מַלְאָכִי) – Malachi

Ketuvim

Ketuvim (כְּתוּבִים‎, “Writings”) consists of eleven books, described below. They are also divided into three subgroups based on the distinctiveness of Sifrei Emet and Hamesh Megillot.

The three poetic books (Sifrei Emet)

  • Tehillim (תְהִלִּים) – Psalms

  • Mishlei (מִשְׁלֵי) – Proverbs

  • Iyyôbh (אִיּוֹב) – Job

The Five Megillot (Ḥamesh Megillot). These books are read aloud in the synagogue on particular occasions, the occasion listed below in parenthesis.

  • Shīr Hashīrīm (שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים, literally “Song of songs”, also known as “Song of Solomon”) – Song of Songs

  • Rūth (רוּת) – Ruth

  • Eikhah (אֵיכָה) – Lamentations

  • Qōheleth (קֹהֶלֶת) – Ecclesiastes

  • Estēr (אֶסְתֵר) – Esther

Other books

  • Dānî’ēl (דָּנִיֵּאל) – Daniel

  • ‘Ezrā (עֶזְרָא) – Ezra and Nehemiah

  • Divrei ha-Yamim (דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים) – Chronicles

As we continue our journey through the essentails of each book of the Bible, may you be blessed by our time together and may Christ be glorified in you.

This information is sourced from the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) and is used by permission

Judges Essentials Lesson Notes

Judges Essentials Lesson Notes

Storyline of Judges

Though the Israelites were deeply enmeshed in sin and their enemies were formidable, even overwhelming, all was not lost. For “the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders” (Judges 2:16). This He did for Israel in that day—against the Amalekites, the Ammonites, and Moabites—and this He has done for all time for all who will trust in Christ—against all forces and beings, natural and supernatural, who would seek to separate Him from His children.

Key Verses: Judges 2:20, 21; 21:25—“Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, ‘Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died’” (2:20, 21).

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25).

Key People in Judges

Othniel —first judge of Israel; victorious over a powerful Mesopotamian king; brought forty years of peace to Israel (1:13–14; 3:7–11)

Ehud —second judge of Israel; brought Israel eighty years of peace by helping to conquer the Moabites (3:15–31)

Deborah —prophet and Israel’s only female judge; succeeded Shamgar as fourth judge of Israel (4:4–16; 5)

Gideon —Israel’s fifth judge; destroyed the Midianite army (6–8)

Abimelech —Gideon’s evil son who declared himself king over Israel; killed sixty-nine of his half brothers (8:31–9:57)

Jephthah —judge of Israel and warrior who conquered the Ammonites (11:1–12:7)

Samson —dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth; also a judge of Israel sent to overthrow the Philistines (13:24–16:31)

Delilah —Samson’s lover who betrayed him to the Philistines for money (16:4–21)

5 Reasons Behind Israel’s Decline

  1. Disobedience in failing to drive out the Canaanites from the land (1:19,21,35)

  2. Idolatry in adopting local gods and religious practices (2:12)

  3. Intermarriage with wicked Canaanites against God’s instructions (3:1–6)

  4. Minimal cooperation with the judges (2:17)

  5. Turning away from God after the death of each judge (2:19)

God’s Intervention in Israel’s Lives

Israel departs from following God’s ways. God faithfully corrects by allowing military defeat and foreign domination. Israel cries out for deliverance. God raises up judges who serve as civil or military champions and lead the people to victories over the oppressors.

Key Doctrines in Judges

God’s mercy in delivering Israel (2:16,18–19; Deuteronomy 30:3; Joshua 1:5; Psalm 106:43–45; Luke 1:50; Romans 11:30–32; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 2:4)

Israel’s apostasy (3:7; 4:1; 6:1; 8:33; 10:6; 13:1; 21:25; Numbers 31:1–3; Deuteronomy 32:18; 1 Samuel 12:9; 1 Kings 11:33; Isaiah 1:4; Ezekiel 6:11–14; John 3:18–21; Romans 7:5–6; Colossians 3:25; Titus 3:3)

God’s Character in Judges

God is righteous —5:11

God is wrathful —9:56

Christ in Judges

The Book of Judges traces the people of Israel through seven periods of rebellion and apostasy. During each period, specific judges are brought forth as deliverers and saviors for the fallen people. These judges illustrate Christ as the final Savior and King of His people (Luke 2:11; John 4:42;

Mark 15:2).

Key Words in Judges

Judge: Hebrew shaphat —2:16,18; 10:2; 11:27; 12:9,11; 15:20; 16:31—this Hebrew word for judge means “to deliver” or “to rule.” The judges of Israel had a wide range of responsibilities. Like their modern counterparts, Old Testament judges could decide controversies and hand down verdicts (Exodus 18:16). These judges were also involved in the execution of their judgment in both vindicating the righteous (Psalm 26:1) and destroying the wicked (Exodus 7:3). Many judges were God’s appointed military leaders who, empowered by God’s Spirit (6:34; 15:14), fought Israel’s oppressors and thereby delivered the people. Later, Israel’s king functioned as the national judge (1 Samuel 8:5). Ultimately, Israel’s perfect Judge is God. He alone is capable of flawlessly judging the wicked and delivering the righteous (Isaiah 11:4).

Riddle: Hebrew chidah —14:12–19—meaning “an enigmatic saying.” In Samson’s story, the riddle is used in a contest of wits. Proverbs attributes enigmatic sayings to the wise (Proverbs 1:6). When the Queen of Sheba tested Solomon’s wisdom, her questions are described by this same Hebrew word (1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chronicles 9:1). In the Lord’s confrontation with Miriam and Aaron, God describes Himself as speaking in “dark sayings” (the same Hebrew word) to the prophets, but to Moses face-to-face (Numbers 12:6–8). Perhaps Paul had this last concept in mind when he admonished the Corinthians that even someone with the ability to understand all mysteries would not amount to anything if that person did not possess the love of God (1 Corinthians 13:2).

Tribute—The word is derived from a similar word meaning “burden” and carries the sense of forced labor (Josh. 17:13; 1 Kin. 9:21; 2 Chr. 8:8; Prov. 12:24) more than a monetary tax, though the latter meaning is possible (e.g., 2 Kin. 5:22—“revenue”). The word can also refer to the group of people upon whom labor is forced (1 Kin. 5:13—“labor force”). The word is used in the same sense in Lamentations 1:1 but in the singular, rendered “slave.”

Teaching Structure

Life in the Promised Land after Joshua

1:1-36 Military successes and failures

2:1-5 Israel have disobeyed God by failing to complete the conquest of the land

2:6-10 The death of Joshua and the forgetfulness of Israel

2:11-23 The recurring cycle of disobedience and deliverance in the period of the judges

3:1-6 A list of the other nations who remained in the land

The stories of twelve judges

3:7-11 Othniel and the king of Aram

3:12-30 Ehud and the king of Moab

3:31 Shamgar and the Philistines

4:1-5:31 Deborah and Jabin, the Canaanite king

6:1-8:32 Gideon and the Midianites

8:33-9:57 Apostasy and Abimelech’s evil

10:1-2 Tola the judge of Israel

10:3-5 Jair the judge of Israel

10:6-12:7 Jephthah and the Ammonites

12:8-10 Ibzan the judge of Israel

12:11-12 Elon the judge of Israel

12:13-15 Abdon the judge of Israel

13:1-16:31 Samson and the Philistines

The religious and moral decline of Israel

17:1-13 The idolatry of Micah

18:1-31 The tribe of Dan worship Micah’s idol

19:1-30 The rape and death of a Levite’s concubine

20:1-11 Israel gather an army to avenge the concubine’s death

20:12-25 The Israelite army is defeated twice by the tribe of Benjamin

20:26-48 Benjamin is defeated by the Israelites

21:1-25 The defeated Benjamites take wives for themselves

Summary of What Joshua Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

Summary of What Joshua Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

What Joshua Teaches Us:

•  Life’s battles are not won because we are strong but because God is faithful and we obey him.

•  Land, a political and tribal issue in Africa, belongs to God. It is God’s way of providing sustenance to his people. When people are obedient, God blesses the land; however, he brings disaster to those who are disobedient. Obedience to the Lord is critical for success. For example, God warned against land grabbing by telling his people not to move boundary stones (Deuteronomy 19:14). Each tribe was to be content to live within its local boundaries.

•  Moses, Joshua, and the people all acted in a unified spirit of submission to God when they agreed on the choice of the successor of Moses to lead Israel. The people were responsible for obeying the Book of the Law. When someone disobeyed God, the guilty person was promptly disciplined. If the spiritual leadership in our churches had a unified spirit of submission to God, we could solve many of the problems in our churches (1 Timothy 5:19-20).

•  Joshua gave his last speech to confirm God’s faithfulness and to encourage the Israelites to serve God and only God. God himself gave the land to Israel. God had a specific place for each tribe and clan to help form their culture and identity.

Summary of What Deuteronomy Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

Summary of What Deuteronomy Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

What Deuteronomy Teaches Us:

•  God, our Sovereign Lord, has promised to be our Provider and Protector if we obey his commands. He takes delight in blessing us if we obey him. But he will punish us if we disobey him (Deuteronomy 28:63). Both obedience and disobedience have consequences

•  As God’s people, we should live intentionally in response to his love and mercy. God is building a holy community that is united. This community is to actively demonstrate love and justice.

•  Remembering what God has done for us in the past is powerful. It gives us joy and encourages us for the future. Writing down God’s instructions and blessings insures that future generations will continue to benefit from them.

•  Every individual must make his or her own commitment to God (Deuteronomy 5:1-3). No one inherits a relationship with God from parents or grandparents. This also means that no one is bound by the sinfulness or rebellion in their family history. Each individual starts fresh with God.

Summary of Numnbers (ASB Excerpt)

Summary of Numnbers (ASB Excerpt)

What Numbers Teaches Us:

•  Experiencing miracles does not necessarily bring faith. The children of Israel witnessed one miracle after another. The Red Sea swallowed the Egyptian soldiers; God gave them manna and quail to eat; God gave them water from a rock. Their journey was led by God himself in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Yet these miracles did not lead to faith and obedience. Many of our churches have an emphasis on miracles and power ministries. Unfortunately, these signs and miracles will not by themselves bring people to faith in Jesus and obedience to him.

•  “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). In 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, Paul remembers the story of Israel in the book of Numbers and says, “These things happened as a warning for us.”

•  Disobedience has consequences. God did not overlook the disobedience of Israel like a permissive parent. An entire generation of Israelites died in the wilderness. They experienced fire, snakebites, and plagues and did not get to enter the Promised Land. When we rebel against God, we deny ourselves the amazing experiences God intends for us.

•  God’s grace and faithfulness are stronger than those who would hurt us. Balak, king of Moab, called upon Balaam to curse Israel. Not only did Balaam fail to place a curse on Israel, but God, through the mouth of Balaam, reaffirmed his love and commitment to his chosen people. Many Christians live in fear of what others might do to them through sorcerers and diviners. Some even run to diviners to help protect them. But there is no greater power than the one we have in Jesus. If your life is hidden in Christ, you have no reason to fear any curse from anyone because God has all power (Numbers 23:23).

Leviticus Summary (ASB Excerpt)

Leviticus Summary (ASB Excerpt)

Applying the teaching of Leviticus to our lives may seem difficult because we no longer live according to the Old Testament law. On the other hand, some may use the practice of animal sacrifice in Leviticus as a reason for continuing animal sacrifices from African traditional religions. However, this is a misunderstanding of what Leviticus teaches us because those Old Testament sacrifices were just a shadow, not the real thing. The reality is Christ (see Hebrews 10:1-18). We now depend on his sacrifice, not on animal sacrifices. We can learn from Leviticus that—

•  God is holy. “Holy” means “set apart” or “different.” God is separate, different and distinct from us (Leviticus 11:44-45).

•  God expects his people to be holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). Being holy implies moral purity. When God says we are to be holy, he means that we are to be set apart. We should be different from the people around us. We should live in such a way that we show to others God’s love, grace, faithfulness, and mercy. Holiness does not come from obeying the rules in Leviticus. Instead, the way we live expresses our special relationship with God.

•  God desires to live among his people. To do so, he expects us to be obedient to him and worship him. Leviticus 26:1-2 explains what God expected of the Israelites. Leviticus 26:3-10 explains the blessings that God will pour out on them. The best part is the relationship between God and his people as described in Leviticus 26:11-12. God repeatedly says he wants to live among his people.

Summary of Exodus’ Teaching (ASB)

Summary of Exodus’ Teaching (ASB)

•  God fulfils his promises. The population growth in Egypt of the children of Israel was the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s promise to make Abraham into a great nation (Genesis 12:2). God promised Abraham “so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!” (Genesis 13:16).

•  Even an evil sovereign ruler cannot defeat God’s plans. Pharaoh had tried to insure that no Jewish baby boy would survive. But with a clear indication that God’s plans will not fail, Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses and raised him in Pharaoh’s court. God provided Moses the best education and the best preparation for the task of leading Israel out of Egypt. This is a powerful reminder that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).

•  God is a deliverer from suffering, discrimination, oppression, and bitterness. He guides, cares for, protects, and leads his people in their journey of faith. He desires to live with his people and asks for their consecration in worship and life.

•  The places we go for refuge can quickly turn into places of bondage. The children of Israel went to Egypt for relief from famine and wound up as slaves. Many people seek a refuge from trouble through the occult and places that promise a “direct connection” to God. They soon realise that evil has enslaved them.

Sumary of What Genesis Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

Sumary of What Genesis Teaches (ASB Excerpt)

•  Genesis answers many of the profound questions people ask, such as: Where did I come from? (God created us; 1:1) and What is my purpose? (to have a relationship with God; 15:6)

•  The impact of the Fall is deep and far reaching. We are unable to resolve the problem of sin by ourselves. All creation and human society fell into disorder when the relationship with God was fractured. No amount of war and conquest, power and privilege, riches and fame, or any other human accomplishment can resolve this problem. The solution is to restore relationship with God as the giver of life and order.

•  No human being is perfect. If we sin and ask for forgiveness, God will surely reconcile with and redeem us. God is not waiting for perfect people to do his work, but people who are willing to trust and obey him at all times. Adam failed. Noah failed. If you and I were to start again, we would fail.

•  We can trust God who created the universe and every living being to handle the concerns of our lives. Over and over again we see God intervening in a hopeless situation—childlessness, famine, war, imprisonment—and transforming those situations. We just need to trust and obey him. Only God writes the final story.

•  The genealogies in Genesis remind us of the value God places on families in his divine plan. Families are under attack. As part of God’s family, we must take seriously the task of building godly families through which God works for his own glory.

Joshua Essentials Lesson Notes

Joshua Essentials Lesson Notes

Joshua is the first book in Nevi’im Ithe Prophets) and is classified as one of the Early Prophets…

Storyline

The name “Joshua” means “the LORD is salvation,” and in Greek, it translates as “Jesus,” as in Hebrews 4:8, where it appears in the same form as it does (in the original Greek) later in that chapter (Hebrews 4:14) when referring to the Son of God. Clearly, the Old Testament Joshua anticipates the New Testament Jesus, in that both lead their people into the promised land. But, as Hebrews 4:8–9 teaches, the Israelites’ rest from captivity, wandering, and war after taking Canaan was just a shadow of the rest that Jesus Christ gives to those who turn to and trust in Him as Lord.

 

5 C’s: Call, Crossing, Circumcision, Conquest, Covenant

 

Call

With Moses dead, God called Joshua to his new task (1:1-2), promising him success (1:3-5) and challenging him to be courageous and obedient (1:6-9). Joshua then prepared the Israelites (1:10-18) and sent spies to reconnoitre Jericho (2:1-24).

 

Crossing

The spies had forded the river the previous day (2:23), but it was now in flood (3:15), which the Canaanites probably interpreted as Baal (their weather god) protecting them. God told the priests to carry the ark into the river, and as they did, the water stopped so people could cross (3:14-17). Stones were erected to remember what God had done (4:1-24).

 

Circumcision

Before fighting, the men needed circumcising (something neglected in the wilderness) to remind them they were God’s people (5:2-9). Once the Passover was celebrated (5:10-12) they were ready for battle. Joshua was reminded that this was God’s battle (5:13-15).

 

Conquest

Joshua began by capturing cities along the road that cut Canaan into two. Jericho was taken, not by fighting but through a noisy religious procession (6:1-27). Moving west, they found themselves unexpectedly defeated at Ai (7:1-9). The reason was sin: Achan had taken plunder from Jericho designated for God alone. With his sin exposed (7:10-26), Ai was taken (8:1-35).

In phase two, Joshua turned south. The Gibeonites tricked Israel into becoming allies (9:1-27) and five Amorite kings marched against them (10:1-6). God miraculously defeated them (10:7-15), allowing Joshua to conquer the rest of the south (10:16-43).

In phase three, Joshua turned north, defeating the King of Hazor and his allies (11:1-23). The conquest was now over, some 30 years after it began, and God allocated land to each tribe (13:8-21:45), but pockets of resistance remained for many years (13:1-7).

 

Covenant

The conquest over, Joshua made his farewell speech (23:1-16) and led the people in an act of covenant renewal (24:1-27), reminding Israel of all God had done and urging wholehearted obedience. His work complete, he died, aged 110 (24:28-33).

 

 

Key Verses: Joshua 1:8; 11:23—“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (1:8).

“So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war” (11:23).

 

Key Doctrines in Joshua

God’s faithfulness in giving the Promised Land to Abraham’s descend-ants (5:14–6:2; 11:23; 21:45; 22:4; Genesis 12:7; 15:18–21; 17:8; Exodus 33:2; Numbers 34:2–15; Deuteronomy 12:9–10; 25:19; Hebrews 4:8)

 

God’s Character in Joshua

God is holy —24:19

God is jealous —24:19

God is a promise keeper —22:4; 23:14

God is provident —7:14; 21:45

God is wrathful —10:25; 23:16

 

Christ in Joshua

Although the Book of Joshua lacks explicit messianic prophecy, Joshua represents a type of Christ in name and in deed. The name Yeshua represents Joshua’s Hebrew name. This name, meaning “Yahweh is Salvation,” is also translated as “Jesus.” At one point Joshua received a vision of a “Commander of the army of the LORD” (5:13–14). This Commander represents the preincarnate Christ who led Joshua, the commander of Israel’s army, to victory over the Canaanites.

 

Key Words in Joshua

Stone: Hebrew ‘eben —4:3,5,9,20; 7:25; 8:31; 10:11,18. The stones that littered the landscape of the ancient Middle East were used in numerous ways. They were the building material for houses, city walls, and fortifications (1 Kings 5:17; 2 Kings 12:12). Stones were used for religious purposes, to build sacred pillars (Genesis 35:14) and altars (Deuteronomy 27:5). Stones were also piled up as memorials marking the sites of divine revelation (Genesis 28:18,22) or a significant event in the life of an individual (Genesis 31:46) or a nation (4:6). Because a stone was commonly used as a foundation for a structure, God Himself was called the “Stone of Israel” (Genesis 49:24). But Isaiah also described the Lord as a “stone of stumbling” for those Israelites who rejected Him (Isaiah 8:14). These same images were applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:4–8).

 

Trumpet: Hebrew shophar —6:5,8–9,13,16,20—an animal horn (typically from a ram or a goat) used as a trumpet (6:6; Judges 7:8). The word can also refer to a metal trumpet (Numbers 10:2–10; 1 Chronicles 15:28; 2 Chronicles 15:14). The shophar was a signaling instrument, used in warfare (Judges 3:27) and for assembling the people together at religious festivals, such as the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 25:8; 2 Samuel 6:5; Joel 2:1). A trumpet blast announced God’s descent to Mount Sinai to reveal His law (Exodus 19:20). Both the Old Testament and the New Testament mention a trumpet announcing the Day of the Lord, the day when the Lord will come in judgment (Zephaniah 1:16; Matthew 24:31).

 

Inheritance: Hebrew nachalah —13:14,33; 14:3; 17:4; 19:1,9,49: 21:3; 24:32—meaning “possession” or “property,” is linked to the promises of God, particularly those involving the Promised Land (Genesis 13:14–17). When this word is used of the Promised Land, it does not merely refer to what a person wills to his children. Rather God, Creator of the world, granted His people a specific parcel of ground. He fixed its boundaries and promised to deliver it to them. However, the concept of Israel’s inheritance transcends a simple association with the land. David and Jeremiah both affirm that God Himself is the real inheritance of His people (Psalm 16:5; Jeremiah 10:16). God’s people can find joy and fulfillment in their relationship with God. Nothing this world can offer as an inheritance compares with God Himself (1 Peter 1:4).

 

Rest: Hebrew shaqat —1:13; 3:13; 10:20; 13:27; 17:2; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1— means “to be at peace.” Rest implies freedom from anxiety and conflict. God promised the Israelites rest in the Promised Land (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 3:1–20; 12:9–10). In the Book of Joshua, the idea of rest is related specifically to the conflicts and hostilities Israel had with their neighbors. God promised His people a peaceful place to settle. Obtaining this rest depended on Israel’s complete obedience to God’s command to drive out the Canaanites (11:23; 14:15). The New Testament writers also speak of the concept of rest. Christians are told that heaven will bring them rest from death, pain, sin, and all other earthly struggles (Hebrews 4:1; Revelation 21:4).

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Structure

Entering the Promised Land

1:1-18 Joshua takes charge of the Israelites

2:1-24 Joshua sends two spies into Canaan to report on the land

3:1-5:1 The Israelites cross the river Jordan on dry land

5:2-12 The circumcision of male Israelites and the celebration of the Passover

 

The conquest of the Promised Land

5:13-6:27 The destruction of Jericho

7:1-8:29 Achan’s sin and the battle for Ai

8:30-35 The covenant with God is declared at Mount Ebal

9:1-27 The Israelites are deceived by the Gibeonites

10:1-43 The conquests of southern Canaan

11:1-15 The conquest of northern Canaan

11:16-23 A summary of Joshua’s conquests

12:1-24 A list of the kings defeated by the Israelites

 

The allocation of the Promised Land

13:1-7 Land still to be conquered

13:8-19:51 The division of the land among the tribes of Israel

20:1-9 Instructions for establishing cities of refuge

21:1-45 Towns and land given to the Levites

 

Life after the conquest

22:1-34 Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh return home

23:1-16 Joshua urges the Israelites to obey God who has kept his promises

24:1-27 Joshua leads the Israelites in renewing their covenant with God

24:28-33 Joshua and Eleazar die and are buried in the land