Bible Study: April 3, 2016
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passages: Joshua 6:1-5, 15-25
Discussion Questions: What is the significance of Jesus having a woman in His ancestry who was once a prostitute? How is God's grace to the undeserving on display in this story? It is easy for Christians to adopt an "us versus them" mentality with the world. How does God's promise to save people -- even among His enemies -- change our mind-set?
Food for Thought:
The story of Jericho's fall is a spectacular example of God's power exercised on behalf of His people and His judgment of His enemies. But it also contains a thread of mercy. As the conquest of Jericho began, Joshua remembered the oath that the two spies had made with Rahab, who had given them shelter (see Joshua 2:8-21). He sent the spies to rescue her and the family members gathered in her house. Joshua 6:22-25 reads:
22Joshua said to the two men who had scouted the land, "Go to the prostitute's house and bring the woman out of there, and all who are with her, just as you promised her." 23So the young men who had scouted went in and brought out Rahab and her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and settled them outside the camp of Israel.
24They burned up the city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the LORD's house. 25However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father's household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.
When Rahab is mentioned in Scripture, she often receives an infamous designation. She is called Rahab "the prostitute" (Joshua 2:1; 6:17; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25). Interestingly enough, it is only when Rahab is associated with Jesus in His genealogy in Matthew 1:5 that this dubious designation is dropped. There the text says, "Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab" (not Rahab the prostitute). Boaz would marry Ruth, and they had a son named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David, and Jesus is the Son of David, which makes Rahab a great, great, great (you get the idea) grandmother of the Messiah.
Despite her sordid past, Rahab was an effective witness. She brought her father, mother, brothers and all her extended family members into her house. Because they were in the house with the scarlet cord in the window, they were spared (Joshua 2:18). What an amazing example of God's mercy!
Like Rahab, believers are called to share the Good News with unbelievers. We are to call people "into the house," letting them know they can be spared from the judgment of God through the blood of Jesus if they come inside.
Make no mistake. Just as God kept His promise to the Israelites in the conquest of Jericho, God will keep His promise in preserving a remnant. For this reason, we trust God and obey Him by loving the enemies of God and praying for them to become disciples of Christ. We reach out and teach through prayer, through the Word of God, and through our testimony.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered curriculum that examines the grand narrative of Scripture and how the Gospel transforms the lives of those it touches. Through a three-year study plan, participants are immersed in the Gospel through stories, theological concepts, and calls to missions from Genesis to Revelation. Separate study plans for kids and students/adults ensure the proper focus and depth. The Gospel Project is designed to unify an entire church under a single Christ-centered curriculum. More information, free samples, and The Gospel Project blog can be found at gospelproject.com.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.