A Departure from the Norm
I. One of these THINGS is not like the OTHERS. (Joshua 8-22)
A. Listing the BATTLES and the defeated KINGS. (Joshua 8-12)
B. DIVIDING up the TERRITORY. (Joshua 13-22)
C. One SHORT section is very DIFFERENT. (8:30-35)
Last week we saw the start of the battles needed for the Jews to take over the Promised Land. For the next 15 chapters all that we see is the record of the battles and the distribution of the territory to the tribes of Israel. Yet there is one section, six short verses, that is different from all the rest. That is what we turn our attention to today.
1. Kid’s Question: When has someone made an important promise to you? Did they keep it?
2. How is reading the book of Joshua impacting you? What is standing out? What questions do you have? Concerns? Points of learning?
II. The RENEWAL of the COVENANT. (8:30-35)
A. A QUESTIONABLE change of LOCATION. (v.30; Deut. 27)
B. A COMPLIANCE to the DIRECTION of Moses. (v.31,33)
C. A POWERFUL day of CEREMONY. (v.31-34)
D. Shechem: A city ENFOLDED instead of DESTROYED. (Deut. 20:10,11;v.33,35)
Joshua makes what, from a military perspective, is an unusual decision. Instead of launching into the next battle, he leads the people north to the area of Shechem, sitting between two mountains, and leads them in a renewal of their covenant with God.
3. How important are corporate ceremonies in shaping us as a people? Is church in the building together better than church from home online? Why or why not?
4. Do you think Joshua might have had reasons to short circuit the advice of Mosesfrom Deut. 27? When do we think that maybe what God is asking is tooinconvenient or not practical?
5. How does what happened as Shechem temper what we see happening in all theother towns of the land of Canaan? What do you think motivated their desire to join the Jews rather than fight them?
III. God’s Covenant, THEN and NOW. (Jer. 31:31-34)
A. The LARGER story of SCRIPTURE. (Lk. 24:27)
B. The old – PROTECTING and TRAINING. (Ex. 19:5-6; Deut. 27-28)
C. The new – RESTORING and TRANSFORMING. (Lk. 22:20; Heb. 10:15-18;Gal. 3:23-25)
D. God “COVENANTS” in order to CONNECT. (Jer. 31:33-34; Heb 12:22-24)
If you’re familiar with the Bible, you have heard the word “covenant” before. But it’s not a term that we use too often today. It’s usually seen as an old word for a contract. While that is true, covenant is a much deeper word, and carries with it a connotation of relationship. And in the whole scope of the Bible, that needs to be understood.
6. How has this helped you understand the larger story of the Bible? Especially in regards to the idea of covenant? Is this new thinking/understanding for you?
7. Jeff compares the difference between the Old and the New Covenant to ways of parenting small children as opposed to older children. What are your thoughts about that? Do you view what Jesus has done for you more in the old or the new aspect?
8. “God forms covenants less to control and more to connect.” Do you agree or disagree? If this is true, how does that shape the way we view God and communicate Him to the world around us?