In our last few sessions in Joshua we have talked about commitment: God’s commitment to us, our commitment to Him, our commitment to each other and our commitment to other areas in our lives.
1. When signing an agreement or agreeing to the terms of a website or phone app, do you read the full contents rarely, never, sometimes or usually always?
When we sign our name, we are putting our integrity on the line that we agree with what is in the contract or terms of usage. We also trust the integrity of the person or company to uphold their promises.
2. Why is integrity so important?
3. Is integrity more important today than it has been in the past?
4. What makes many people stop and take notice today when they see a person of integrity?
5. Are there rewards for integrity? Sometimes a person gets “burned” for sticking to his or her word, but in the long run, integrity wins out. God blesses our commitment to truth!
Having trusted guides or friends can help make operating in this world less difficult and burdensome. Today, we’re going to look at the settling of the tribes east of the Jordan River into the land they had been promised, how they helped each other settle in, and their rewards for doing such.
A Promise Kept! Read Joshua 22:1-3
1. How had God kept His commitment to the children of Israel? (He had brought them out of Egypt, sustained them throughout their 40 years of wondering in the wilderness and had given them victory over the inhabitants of the Promised Land.)
In Joshua 21:43-45, God’s covenant was reaffirmed with the people. His power was remembered, and His promises were held true. God had shown how He was committed to keeping His word by enabling the Israelite army to conquer the land. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh were promised by Moses the land east of the Jordan River in Deut. 3:8-20, in exchange for their promise to help secure the Promised Land with the remaining tribes west of the Jordan.
2. How did Joshua affirm their commitments? (He acknowledged their presence, recognized their obedience, and shared his appreciation.)
3. Why was it important that these two and a half tribes keep their promise?
4. Why is it important for believers to keep all of our promises?
5. Why is it important that we tell people when they have done a good job, kept their word and thank them for a task completed with excellence? (Everyone needs a word of encouragement from time to time. Those words of encouragement aren’t why we do a good job. We do a good job because we want to do our best because it reflects on God as well as on us.)
Joshua emphasized in verse 3 how the tribes did not desert them, even though it was a long battle. For us, we may encounter commitments that may last longer than we originally intended, but it’s important for us to recognize how our word maters and that we should not desert situations but stay committed to them.
An Ongoing Responsibility! Read Joshua 22:4-5
1. Notice Joshua used the word “rest” in verse 4. Why was it important for Joshua to affirm that the Lord had given them “rest”? (“Rest” is what the Lord had promised them. It also affirmed the victory and security of the people.)
2. How does our relationship with Christ affirm to us victory and security? (Because of what Jesus did for us we have been promised rest, which provides us victory and security.)
3. What instructions did Joshua leave them with in verse 5? (They were to follow God’s Word, given through Moses. But specifically, they were “to love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commands, remain faithful to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul”.)
4. The people had been given these same instructions in Deut. 6:5-6. Why do you think Joshua felt it necessary to repeat them here? (This demonstrates the lasting nature and value of God’s Word. As Christians, we need to be instructed continually in god’s Word, just as the tribes of Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh were.)
5. Why does obedience prove to be a better indication of genuine faith than mere words of affirmation?
6. Would you say that genuine faith normally should lead to action?
As children of God, we cannot compartmentalize our spiritual responsibilities to the times that we are only around other Christians. Our lives are to reflect obedience to the Lord at all times.
A Welcome Blessing! Read Joshua 22:6-8
1. Joshua pronounced a blessing on these two and a half tribes as they returned to their homes. Why is it important that we pronounce blessings on those close to us?
2. What did Joshua send with them? (Great wealth was a result of their spoils of way, including cattle, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and much clothing. He also sends them back with a blessing, and a command to share their wealth with those who we left back to protect their families and property.)
3. What importance is there in having the warriors of the eastern tribes share their new wealth? (In sharing their wealth with their relatives, they were actively following the example God gave to Moses in Numbers 31. This sharing is important as it was a demonstration of love for their brothers and a clear understanding of grace. As God had given this to the warriors, so would the warriors give freely to those in their tribes.)
4. How does sharing blessings fit into the Christian witness and lifestyle? (Christians understand that all we have is a result of God’s grace, including our salvation. Sharing what we have as a result of what God has done is a part of loving our neighbor.)
God provides for our needs through His mercy and grace. He also expects us to use what He has given us to meet the needs of others. This is an issue that requires much prayer and seeking God’s will. We can’t help everybody, but we can help somebody!
Summarize and Challenge!
1. What blessings has God provided to individuals in our Bible study group?
2. How can our group be spurred to greater love and generosity among our fellow Christians? (Consider our local church area, like benevolence funds, helping a needy group or church member with groceries, or donating furniture, and so on.)
3. What about our global responsibilities?
As we give through our local church the funds are distributed around the world to not only meet physical needs but to carry the Gospel to people who have never heard the name Jesus.
Our personal challenge: Examine how well you and your family are being good stewards of the blessings God has given you. Is there a blind spot where you are not sharing with God’s blessings of time, talent, or treasure?
This week, have a serious talk with your family or accountability partners about how you can grow in your stewardship so other believers can be blessed.