22: "Be Strong and of a Good Courage" (Joshua 1–8; 23–24)
Think of a time you were on the verge of starting a new chapter in your life. Were you nervous? Excited? Afraid? Maybe a combination of all three? Now imagine how the children of Israel felt as they finally crossed over the Jordan River into the promised land. Their emotions had to be off the charts with each step they took toward their new lives. And as we study Joshua chapters 1–8 and 23–24, we’ll see how they followed God’s counsel to be “strong and of a good courage” in the face of the unknown.
Background of the Book of Joshua:
- “The book of Joshua recounts the Israelites’ entrance into the promised land under the leadership of the prophet Joshua” (“Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy,” Old Testament and Seminary Teacher Manual, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
- “We do not know for certain who wrote the book of Joshua. The book is named for Joshua—its principal figure and Moses’s successor as the Lord’s prophet to Israel (see Numbers 27:18–23)” (“Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy,” Old Testament and Seminary Teacher Manual, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
- “There are varying opinions on when the book of Joshua was written. Some details within the book of Joshua suggest the book may have been written during or shortly after Joshua’s lifetime (which some scholars date to sometime between the 15th and 13th centuries B.C.)” (“Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy,” Old Testament and Seminary Teacher Manual, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
- “The book of Joshua is a continuation of the five books of Moses (Genesis–Deuteronomy) and describes how the Lord helped the Israelites obtain the promised land” (“Introduction to the Book of Deuteronomy,” Old Testament and Seminary Teacher Manual, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Outline for the Book of Joshua
Joshua 1–6: Joshua leading the children of Israel into the promised
Joshua 7–12: Battle with the Canaanites
Joshua 13–21: The dividing of the lands of inheritance (see Bible Map 3)
Joshua 22–24: Joshua’s final words to the children of Israel
The number 40 = Period of testing or trial
Hosea = Salvation
Joshua = God is Salvation
Book of the Law = The five books of Moses, Genesis–Deuteronomy
Me’od = Total capacity, with all the amount of strength
Hessed = Loving kindness
Tiqvah = Cord, rope or hope
“And we heard, and our heart failed, and no spirit arose in any man before you, for the Lord your God” (Robert Alter, Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: A Translation with Commentary).
“It’s OK if you are at the end of your rope, my friend. The hope in Christ remains tied tightly around you, not in spite of your sufferings but because of them” (Lisa Jo Baker).
2,000 cubits = Half a mile
“We study our history to learn who we are” (Sister Julie B. Beck, “‘Daughters in My Kingdom’”: The History and Work of the Relief Society, October 2010 general conference).
Joshua 6:10–13, 15, 17–25
Matthew 1 (Rahab in the Savior’s genealogy)
“I think that sometimes, we don't teach our children that part of Christ, we teach the warm, fuzzy part. And we don't teach that part. And then it's difficult for them to have faith in someone that can deliver them from anxiety, or depression, or addiction, or anything else. It's hard to have faith in being delivered when you haven't been taught that Christ is a deliverer, because He's a conqueror. You can't have faith in Him conquering that for you, if you've ignored that part” (Kerry Muhlestein, “Lesson 7: ‘To Be a Greater Follower of Righteousness’ (Genesis 12–17; Abraham 1–2,” Sunday on Monday podcast, Deseret Book).
Links: Shofar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ht0ailWQf8
Think of a time that you were about to travel somewhere, and you were so excited to go, like butterflies and goosebumps. Now for me, I already know. Just the ride to the airport is probably my favorite part of any trip because everything after that is just gravy. Knowing I'm going somewhere makes me so happy. In today's study of Joshua chapters 1-8, and chapters 23-24, I think it might sum up how the children of Israel and others in the storyline may be feeling; just so excited to hit the road and leave.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. So if you're new to our study group, welcome. We're so glad you're here and we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link for our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me lesson, just like my friends Barney and Brent Hilton from Daybreak in Utah. Hi friends and thank you for stopping by to hear me speak.
Now here's my favorite thing about this study group: is each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's a little different. But today it's not because we have two people back who I just love having together. We have Tamu Smith and Janiece Johnson. Hi.
Hey. Thanks for having us.
Oh, I love you two. Like, a lot, because I love what you bring to the table, but remind everybody - how do you know each other?
I can tell you my, one of my best memories with Janiece is we went to lunch once and I had my granddaughter with me. And I was sneaking her some of the juice. And I totally forgot like she's, she was months old. I totally forgot that I put jalapenos in it. (laughter)
I didn't tell her mom. I didn't tell her mom so don't snitch me out, y'all. (laughter) Really, her mouth got really red. And I was like what is? Oh my gosh!
I bet that made for a fun clean-up in the diaper.
I actually couldn't tell you. That was on her mother.
I know, cuz you handed her off as all good grandmothers do; you just handed her off, hoped for the best.
I did not say a word. (laughter) She survived it, she's fine.
Oh, that is so funny. Well, for those of you listening, you might remember this pair because they were with me last year when we talked about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. And that was such a good discussion. I can't believe how many people reached out to me about that episode, Janiece, and how much they loved learning about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Like, it was such a good episode. And we're so excited because Janiece, your book about the Mountain Meadows Massacre is about to be published. We're so excited. Are you so excited?
Yeah, I'm very excited. And I've been working on Mountain Meadows for a long time, and it will be nice to move on to other, happier things.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I'm just I'm so proud of you. It's a huge accomplishment. So well done. It's a labor of love, it's the only way I can explain it. So, good job. Well, if you want to know more about my guests and read their bios, and see some fun pictures, you can find them in our show notes which are found at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. Okay, so here's what we need to know real quick going in today's lesson. We are entering the historical books of the Old Testament. Those are known as Joshua all the way through Esther. So kind of keep that in your mind right now. And the main purpose of these books - and how much do I love this main purpose - it's to show God's hand in the history of the people of Israel.
Now the books known as The Prophets, which come after Esther until the end, until Malachi. Those fit within the timeline of Joshua-Esther. So just kind of keep thinking that; I just want you to know that structure of the Bible of the Old Testament so far. So having known that friends, grab your scriptures, your journals, and something to mark your scriptures with, and let's dig into the history of the children of Israel in the Promised Land.
All right, you two. Have you ever waited a long time for something to happen and thought this has been a long time comin'?
How long did you wait?
Tell me what it is. Maybe you're still waiting. Give me an example.
Any time that is a long time coming. And I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes it gets dark again. And so you think you're there and you get to the top and you're just like, another mountain? I'm gonna rest up here for a little while.
I'm going to base camp it here, (laughter) for a couple years.
Just I gotta get my strength back because then I gotta go down to the valley. I'm gonna hit some flowers on the way, it's gonna be beautiful. Then I gotta walk back up another one. So, yeah.
You're almost like, no one told me this. No one told me there'd be another mountain. I wouldn't have started this dang path.
Totally. That's so good.
I remember a number of years ago, I was - it was actually when I was finishing my Ph.D. - but President Eyring gave this talk, "There Are Mountains to Climb." And I was like, nope, I don't need anymore. Like, it kind of threw me into a moment because I was like, I cannot deal. Like, where I am right now is steep enough, I can't handle anymore. And it was very, it was a really, like, it drew emotions out of me that I hadn't realized that I had been feeling for a long time.
And I think sometimes when we're in the middle of that, we need that: we need a valley, we need a break. But we also need that consistent promise from the Lord.
Yeah. Well, Janiece in going along with that, is there a time in your life where you thought this is a long time coming? And I actually know you're kind of in a phase where you're thinking it's a long time coming. Will you tell us about that?
I'm only waiting right now. I think I'm in one of those periods of lots of waiting. Where I feel like perhaps at some later date this might make a really great Sacrament Meeting talk. But right now it's kind of excruciating. And, and I think as I read through, as I reread through Joshua, in preparation for today, I thought about this, you know, a) we start out in Joshua, and transitions are hard. And transitions are hard for all of us and this transition from Moses to Joshua is hard. But this promise is of the Lord, 'I'm with Joshua, as I was with Moses, and I will not fail thee, I will not forsake thee.' And they have the repetition of this. And I personally in my life right now have felt this cloud of witnesses reminded me that, though, there's lots of waiting going on, that God will not forsake me.
Janiece, that is beautiful. In fact, let's go right into Joshua chapter 1 and mark that verse that you just said, verse 5. I'm so glad you brought that up. And I really appreciate that you use the word transition. That is exactly what's happening. And for anyone listening right now, who is in a transition period, who's about to start something new and they're feeling unsettled or unsure or doubtful, or any of those feelings. I am so grateful for what you shared, Janiece, that the Lord will not forsake us, and He will not fail us.
Okay, so let's pause there for a minute, in our storyline, because here's what we've got going on. I am confident that the children of Israel were thinking and feeling everything that the two of you shared. We have been in the wilderness for 40 years. I do love 40 though. Because in Hebrew, we have learned this year that the number 40 means 'a period of testing or trial.' And many of us are sitting there thinking: Boy, I've been in '40' for a long time. And even though we're older than 40, I always laugh that I'm like, I've been 'in my 40s' for a while. (laughter) And we just have these experiences of testing and trial and testing and trial.
So last week, we looked at map #2 and I encourage you to go there again, just to remind us of where we're at. We are standing on the border of the Jordan River. We also mentioned that it really only should have taken the children of Israel 11 days to get from point A to point B, but they wandered for 40 years. Because that's how long it took to get rid of the older generation who wouldn't believe and create this new generation of covenant believers. So, in the book of Joshua, here's a couple of facts that I just want to share with you. And I'm grateful that Janiece already taught us this; that Joshua is now the leader. Go to Joshua 1:1. And Janiece, will you read that for us?
Sure. 1:1 "Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,"
Pause there because we'll go into that, but now Joshua is in charge. Now, this is interesting. Joshua's original name was Hosea. You can find that in Numbers 13:8 and in verse 16, and Moses actually changes his name to Joshua. Hosea means "salvation," but the name Joshua means "God is salvation" or "the LORD Saves." So that's really cool how he then changes his name to that and is a reminder that God will save us, God will save his people. Joshua was about in his 80s, and the book of Joshua is all about the Israelites' inheritance and entrance into the promised land. We don't know for certain who wrote the book of Joshua. There are varying opinions about when the book of Joshua was written. And you can find more information in our show notes. I highly recommend if you're teaching a lesson, you'll want to know this cool information.
Now, here's a rough outline or sketch of the book of Joshua. And you'll want to know this because we don't get to cover all of Joshua today. We only get to cover 1-8 and 23-24. And I know sometimes I like to go rogue and hit other chapters, but we just don't have time today because I cannot cut out anything because what we're going to talk about is so good. So just know this: Chapters 1-5 is Joshua leading Israel into the promised land. Chapters 7-12 are battles with the Canaanites. Chapters 13-22 are about the dividing of the lands of inheritance. And you'll want to see map #3 that will help explain it. And then chapters 23-24 are Joshua's final words to the children of Israel before he passes away.
All right, you guys, this has been a long time coming. And I really love how Janiece talked about the word transition; we are about to have a major transition here in the Old Testament. So just imagine you're standing at that place, you're ready to cross, you're ready to enter into this land of milk and honey that's been promised to you. And it's been promised for many years. So, are you ready to do this? Because we're gonna do it. And then there's a pause. And just like last week, when we talked about how Moses had to say a few words before we could cross, we're here again; we're ready to go and Joshua's like, 'but I have a few things to say.' I got so mad at him like, can't you send it in an email? Is there a pamphlet we can read? Let's get over this Jordan River, already? (laughter)
Can we go? Like he's going to give the parent talk though: 'When we get in these people's house, don't go in here asking for no food. And we're not gonna ask 'em for nothin, we're not just gonna be taken up their stuff. We're gonna go in there like we guests. And then we gonna take over.' (laughter)
It's so true. It's like being at stake conference when you feel the spirit, and you're like: 'Yep, I'm ready to go,' but then you gotta hear more people speak.
Like, nope, the spirit went to sleep on this one, gotta go bye. (laughter)
Or when you go into overtime. (laughter) That's the other one; when you're at church and you felt the Spirit and gospel doctrine, but they're going overtime. You're like, I'm done. Let's just go. Yeah, that's exactly. I feel for the children of Israel right here. So, hold tight kids because we're not crossing yet, but we got to hear a few things from Joshua. So we're going to talk about those in the next segment.
Segment 2 11:37
Has there ever been a time in your life, and I'm sure there has, where you felt unsure or doubtful about something, but someone gave you good advice? Do you remember what the advice was?
So before I got married, a really good friend of mine, she is a mother figure, Carol Hinckley. She said, 'I just want you to know,' she said, 'If you want to see the end, look at the beginning because it doesn't get better.' And she said, 'The thing that you love the most about him, will also be the thing that gets on your nerves, so make sure that this is who you love and that's what you love, and continually remind yourself of that. You loved it at first.' And so, and that was great advice because it was true. Like, it was true.
That's a beautiful piece of advice. I like that.
I know. Like, if you want to see the end, you look at the beginning. That's a weird thing to say, but it was true.
Oh, that's good. Good advice. Okay, what about you, Janiece?
I was reading this woman's journal, early church member. And the editor in the introduction said, 'This woman keeps trying to guess the end from the beginning [and] in her life.' And I had this realization that 'Oh, I do that.' And I think we all do that to some degree. But in, as I've thought about that, as I read her journal, I thought about both the positive things, and I think like Tamu's pointed out a positive thing here, but also, that sometimes we get so wrapped up because we think this is where something is headed. And then if it doesn't head up, end up there, we have a hard time letting go of that, of that idea. And for me, that has really stuck with me for a long time. Trying to be faithful enough to be able to let go when it doesn't go the way that I expected it to.
Wow. I love you both so much right now. Janiece, you are so good when you're vulnerable. Holy moly, you speak truth. That is one of your gifts right there. I felt the Spirit when you both talked. Wow, that was good. I'll tell you mine when I was in the middle of a transition of becoming a first-time mom - did not know what I was doing because I insta married into two kids - and I had a baby super-fast and I was drowning. And I just remember I was talking to a woman about that, and just saying 'AH it's so hard, and I don't know how to be a mom,' blah blah, 'I just don't.' And I was really drowning.
And she looked at me and she said, 'Listen to me. The mother you are today is not the mother you will always be. So just embrace it. If you need to let your kids watch TV all day right now in your life, let them watch TV all day. You might not be that way in five years, and it's okay. You are constantly evolving. Just embrace the mom you are right now.' And I just sobbed. I was like, TV's my friend, like, (laughter) that's all I want to let my kids do. And I was feeling so much guilt for letting 'em be in front of the, you know, iPad or watch TV. But it was the only way I could cope at that phase of my life. And she was right. I'm not that same mom today and I've evolved and changed and so I was grateful for that advice. So good advice.
So thank you; all three of us shared great advice. And what I love about it is, it was unique to us. Now, let's go into Joshua 1 because Joshua is in a period of transition; he is now the new prophet. He's leading over probably a million people. There has to be a feeling of like, 'What am I doing? How am I going to do it?' And the Lord tells him. Let's go into Joshua 1. And Tamu, will you please read verses 6 & 7, and then Janiece verses 8 & 9. And let's mark in our scriptures the advice that the Lord gave to Joshua and us, incidentally. Tamu, I want revival voice because these two verses, you can't just do a normal scripture read on this.
Okay.1:6 "Be strong and of good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto the fathers to give them."
7 "Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest."
Speak. That is so awesome. I mean, from the Lord. What did you mark? What did the Lord tell Joshua to do?
Told him be strong. Be of good courage.
Yeah. And how do you do that? What's He talking about? Like, you might want to work out, do some weights?
No, that's the emotional; that's mental.
How do we do that? How do we become strong and of good courage?
Step by step, wait by wait.
It's about the transition.
Ooo. I like how you said, 'wait by wait.' Like W A I T. Oh, that's good, Janiece. 'Wait by wait.' Absolutely.
And trials, like you, you know, you don't develop the mental capacity, the emotional capacity, by not going through some, some hard things, some experiences, some waits.
Some waits, for sure.
And there are things in mortality that we have to go through. We can't just learn about it in the abstract. We can't just skirt around on the outside; we have to go through the middle.
I don't want to.
It's painful and dirty. I don't want to go through the messy middle.
I love your answers. I think you are both right on, spot on. And I love how the Lord allows us to think like, what does that mean for you to be strong and very, in fact, in verse 7, we've talked about the word 'very.' Last week, we talked about it in Hebrew, which is 'ME' OD.' And you guys will love this because the word Me'Od in Hebrew is, 'total capacity,' 'With all the amount of strength you can muster.' 'Very courageous,' not a little courageous, but Me'Od courageous. In fact, last week, our guests said 'superduper,' that's how they defined Me'Od. Superduper courageous, just you can do this. And if anyone's out there thinking, 'But I don't know where to start.' And I like how you said just step by step, little by little. I appreciate that the Lord includes in verse 8 and 9, 'Okay, well maybe try this. This is a guaranteed failsafe way to be strong and courageous.' So Janiece, will you read verses 8 and 9.
1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
9 "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
I am just struck with awe that in verse 8, the Lord tells this Prophet Joshua, 'Well, first thing, look at the book of the law, that "the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; that thou shalt meditate therein day and night." That book of the law is the first 5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. It's The Law. It's everything they've been taught, everything that they've been told that they have to believe, and command, commanded to believe. And I love this verse because I actually, for those of you who want to do something fun, these words fit perfectly into the song, "Search, Ponder and Pray." I taught this to my students, listen to this: (sings) 'This Book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shall meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written, for then, thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shall have good success. Joshua chapter 1 verse 8.' (laughter)
That was amazing.
Thank you. I know. So I taught.
I love it.
It's scripture mastery, I had to teach my students how to remember. Listen, if you don't know where to start, read your scriptures. Dive in, meditate on them, think about them. And I asked you to, to tell me: Is there a time where scriptures have made a difference? Is there a time where you did meditate, and then you were able to be strong and have good courage, and it helped you through situations?
I, for me the scriptures, the word comes, it just comes alive. It is, and I see it. And when I'm really focused on the scriptures, when I'm focused on the words, and I'm really going through that trial, those trials, for me, it's so much comfort. There's so much comfort because I know that somebody else went through this. Like I, you know, Tammy knows this, that I felt like 2020 - not just because of the pandemic - the pandemic actually was somewhat of a relief because I could just stay inside and focus on myself. It was, it was, I felt like it was my 'Job year.' I went through hell.
And turning to the scriptures, like I was like, well; I mean, it could be like, I kept reminding myself, and that was my running joke. I would read something and be like, well, it could be worse. And then you know, in my prayers, I'm like, 'Satan, God bet on me, bet on me. I am with You, bet on me because I know when I get through this, You are going to give me beauty for ashes. Satan is not going to win this time.' And so that's the thing that I had to continually play in my mind. But then reading the other, like reading other stories, and they just, the scriptures took on a whole new meaning for me in 2020.
That's, that's really beautiful.
I was, was thinking of, so when I went, I did my Ph.D. in England. So I lived in England for several years. And I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew it was the right place for me to be. But I had moved away from my friends and my family, and I made new friends and had great friends there. But writing a dissertation is a very solitary endeavor. And it was hard spending so much time alone.
I still believe that was the only way I would have gotten my dissertation done. (laughter) That's the only option for me; I needed that just complete focus. But it was really difficult. And at one point, something had happened that, really, I'd gotten a crappy email that really frustrated me about funding, about a scholarship that I was expecting, that I was going to receive. And it kind of threw all of that into question.
And I was reading that day in 1 Nephi and in chapter 17. And the Lord says, 'Look, I sent you to this wilderness, and I'm going to nurture you, and I'm going to take care of you.' And it was just this very clear, like, this is what God - 'I want you to do. And so you need to let go and be okay if the way I fulfill this, is not the way you expect it.' And, you know, out of wildernesses, England's a pretty good one. It was really, I loved my time there. But it was not, it was also really difficult for me to be that isolated. But the Lord nurtured me and took care of me both financially, but also spiritually and emotionally. And for me, the scriptures do that on a regular basis.
When I am tethered to the scriptures, I can deal and I get the answers that I need. And it changes how I understand my life. When I take the time to read scripture carefully, I realize that nobody has a life where just they snap their fingers and the things that they want to happen. Everybody has difficulty.
Amen. Thank you. Thank you so much. I think it's so cool. I don't know what my guests are going to say. I threw that question out to them two weeks ago and I love what you came prepared with. It is so spot on with what we're gonna be talking about today. And it's beautiful. So thank you, ladies. Gosh, thank you.
Um, can I say one more thing here?
I think that, you know, if we're reading casually, we think Joshua is already this strong and courageous person. But look at the number of times in this text that God repeats, 'Be strong and of good courage.' This is not someone who automatically has this; he needs this constant reminder from the Lord: 'You can do this. You can be strong. You can have courage.' The people are going to need that, but Joshua himself needs that. He needs that consistent reminder from the Lord: He can be strong, he can have courage. They will make it through.
I'm so glad you said that because I thought of our Prophet today when he learned, "Let God prevail." That was a personal message for him that the Lord needed him to learn. He wasn't like, I think he was studying for himself; we know he was, he was trying to study what gathering meant. He gets this aha. And then he's like, 'I gotta tell everybody about this.' And look what it's done. It's just energized all of us. And so you're right. And never did the Lord say, 'Joshua, honestly, I've already told you to be strong and of good courage. Do we have to do this again?' And the Lord, no. He'll just keep telling you. Oh, my gosh, that was an awesome discussion.
So wherever you're at in your life, if you're in a place of transition or unsure or doubt, just read these verses again and again, and meditate therein. And you will be prosperous. You will have good success, which doesn't mean you're gonna be super-duper rich. I mean, that's what I always think, prosperous and good success and be fancy. No, it's what you need at the time. And the Lord is setting up Joshua and the children of Israel perfectly to have success and be prosperous. And we're going to find out about that in the next segment.
Segment 3 25:57
Okay, so I just have to tell everybody. A year ago, when I was talking to Janiece, I asked her, 'Okay, where do you want to join me for Old Testament?' Because Janiece is a master teacher, she knows her stuff. And I said, 'if you could pick anywhere in the Old Testament, what would it be?' And without hesitation, she said, 'Rahab. I want to be there for Joshua and Rahab.' And I was like, 'okay.' And when we got to assigning what I'm going to have, the guests who I'm going to have, the spirit reminded me, Janiece. So, I have asked Janiece to teach us all of segment 3 about this woman because it's her, it's her woman. Oh, I'm so excited. So everyone just grab something to mark your scriptures with and take it away, Janiece.
Okay, so chapter 2, as we begin, we move away from Joshua. Joshua sends some spies to Jericho. And so, we have changed our geographical location. But Jericho is the entranceway into the promised land, into the land of Canaan, which is to be flowing with milk and honey. This is where they're supposed to go and Jericho stands in the way. And we have echoes of Numbers 13 when Caleb and Joshua were spies, and they were successful spies, they were really good. They saw, they prepared the children of Israel, they saw the real vision of what could be accomplished. And very quickly, we learned that these spies are not Caleb and Joshua. So, they go to Jericho. They viewed the land, they looked at everything.
JOS 2:1 "...they went, and came [to] an harlot's house," (This is in verse 1 ) "named Rahab, and they lodged there."
And then, in verse 2, the King of Jericho finds them out. So these are not good spies. (laughter) These are, these are bumbling spies.
They are kind of the antithesis of Caleb and Joshua. But we are introduced to the main character of chapter 2: Rahab. She's a harlot. The Hebrew is 'zonah.' It means illicit sexual relations. Some people have tried to like, skirt that. But I think that that is an important thing because the story and the power of this story, hinges on its unpredictability.
So grateful you taught that.
This is not the hero or the heroine that you would expect. This woman is a harlot. She is a foreigner. And yet, she is key to Joshua and the children of Israel entering into the promised land. In verse 4, she hides the men from the King. The King or the King's guard comes and asks where they are, and she lies. She says, 'Oh, maybe I knew them. Maybe they were here. They were customers, I don't know. But they're gone now. They've gone without the gate,' and she tells the King's guard where to go to find them.
They leave, and the gate shuts, in verse 7. They, while they were trying to pursue these men, while Rahab sends them on a wild goose chase, the city gate shuts. And the King's guard can't get back in. The two spies are in Rahab's house; she has directed them to go up on the roof, as verse 8 says, where she was drying flax. This may have been the flax with which she created, she spun this crimson rope, which will be critical to this the story, but they're hiding in the sheaves of flax on the top of the roof. And she goes up, and we get an insight into her motivation in verses, so 9, 10, and 11 are critical here. We see this glimpse into why she would take this risk, why her allegiance would not be to the King of Jericho but to these bumbling spies. In verse 9, Tammy, you want to read that for us?
Yeah. I'm so glad you pointed out though, that she had allegiance to them and not the king, because she had everything to gain by turning them in. She could have been given gold or silver. I'm so glad you pointed that out. And here's why.
1:9 "And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you."
10 "For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed."
Okay, we're just beginning to see. She knows something of the Israelites, she knows what they've been through. And this miraculous thing, "we know the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you"; she knows of these miracles. And then Tamu will you read 11 for us.
11 "And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath."
Okay, some modern translations take out the imagery of the heart there. But I think that imagery of the heart is really important, "our hearts did melt." And then she reveals to us that she, in this process of her heart melting, she recognizes the Lord God of Israel. Robert Alter who is a really important Hebrew Bible scholar, translated this verse: "And we heard and our heart failed, and no spirit arose in any man before you, for the Lord your God." Anciently, the heart is the cosmic center of oneself; where our heart is, is where we are, where we are focused. And her, this melting, or maybe this breaking of her heart, enables her to recognize God, and the God of Israel as the true God.
Think about the psalmist who asks us and then we also get this repetition in Third Nephi to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Sometimes we use an analogy of a horse, for, to talk about that and 'breaking' a horse. But I actually think a broken heart, like when your boyfriend breaks up with you is a better analogy here. Because the breaking, it's feeling that pain at a loss of relationship, that contrition is wanting to do anything to get that relationship back. But recognizing that breaking open, that melting of her heart is necessary for her to recognize who the God of Israel is, and for her to want that relationship. And that is essential.
Now, I love how this chapter continues, because so she testifies of the God of Israel. But then she, there is this realization of how precarious her situation is. In this conversion - and we might guess that this is not a real conversion - that she's just being pragmatic and seeing that the children of Israel are going to win. But in chapter 7, it says Rahab and her family are with the children of Israel even until this day. This was not a momentary shift of allegiance. Pragmatically, this was a real conversion. But now she has to, she has made herself vulnerable, and she has to rely on these bumbling spies to return that kindness that she showed to them, to her and her family.
Janiece, tell us quickly in verse 18 and 21 - I liked this so much - the significance of the scarlet thread. Why did it, why was it scarlet? What is that teaching us about that they said, 'hang this thread out of your window, we know what house to come back to.' Why wasn't it a blue thread or a green thread or a white piece? Or if it was flax, it would have been white. It had to be dyed red.
So I mean, I think we can, we could answer pragmatically that they needed to be able to see it. Many of the early church fathers' origin Tertullian - I'm trying to think who else - but there're like four or five, that see this as an analogy for Christ's atoning blood. That the red, the scarlet rope was there to link us to Christ. She is the Christ figure in this narrative. Yeah, the woman that you would not expect, as she's a woman, but she's not Sara or Rachel. She is a woman who is on the margins, who I mean, geographically, her home sits on the wall. She is geographically on the margins, but also in the society. She's on the margins, yet she is the Savior in this element. She is the one that opens the way for the children of Israel to enter into the promised land. We ignore Rahab at our peril.
Yeah. Well, I have to tell you what I was struck with as I studied this, is the word, in verse 15: "she let them down by a chord." And in Hebrew, it really is a rope. In verse 18, it says, Thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread, and the word 'line', and then again in verse 21, "and she bound the scarlet line in the window" is a different word. In Hebrew, that word is TIQVAH. And that word in Hebrew, actually, it can mean line or chord, but it also is a feminine root for the word HOPE. Now that blew my mind when I thought about how we have this woman who, I mean, how many of us have had those moments when we're quite literally 'at the end of our rope'? Like you felt you had nothing left to hang on to?
And here is this Rahab. And she is praying that her family will be saved, that she will be saved, she's had this change of heart, she wants the Savior, she wants to go with the children of Israel. And I almost believe in my mind that many of us, I felt that where we felt our rope was frayed, and we are just hanging on with our fingertips to that line with all we can, all we can muster. And then we want to reimagine that whatever you're holding on to and praying for is this beautiful, red colored rope. And that the color is a symbol of Christ. And it is so powerful in her frayed moment that she could rely on Christ.
And as you beautifully pointed out, Janiece, be a symbol of him. Our friend Emily Freeman - we all know and love her - and on her Instagram page she shared a comment by a friend of hers who is a Christian author, Lisa Jo Baker. And here's what Lisa Jo had to say about the connection between the word rope and hope. She said, "It's okay if you're at the end of your rope with my friend. The hope in Christ remains tied tightly around you, not in spite of your sufferings, but because of them." And I just think there is beauty in this Rahab, who took this red rope, this TIQVAH. And it was a symbol of her hope, like, please come and get me, don't forget me. Tamu,
I just want to point out too, that in verse 12 that she says to them, she reminds them I have showed you kindness, you will also show kindness unto my father's house. So she's reminding them and that to me is symbolic of, I think that sometimes in our faith and in the Christian faith, we're told, you know, you don't remind God of what you've done for Him because He's done so much for you. And to me, that is, we do sometimes need to say, 'God, this is why I did it. I did it because you said to do it, and I'm being obedient. And I'm being obedient because this is the blessing that I need. And so but I'm open to You giving me something bigger. I'm open to You not giving me this blessing. But I want you to know that I am stating my intention. And I'm stating what I want. And I think that those things are okay to ask for. And we see that here. She says, she bears her testimony. I helped you because... and this is what I need in return, you can show me kindness.
Yeah, I think that that's really beautiful. And it also reminds me that there is an important Early American - African American tradition that Rahab is a black woman. And that another element here is that we should listen to black women. But that this, this woman on the margins, who could very easily be maligned. Many of us are uncomfortable with anyone who might be a harlot. Brigham Young actually wasn't, interestingly. He compared her to this woman who, this widow who took care of the missionaries. And he saw a parallel to Rahab in this woman who took care of him when he was a missionary in England. But paying attention, listening to women on the margins, listening to people that you wouldn't necessarily expect. I talked with missionaries about this this week. And not everyone whose heart is ready to hear the gospel looks like you would expect a Latter-Day Saints to look. Those who are ready are ready, and we need to be ready to listen to anyone who is ready, and their heart is in the right place.
Yes. Excellent job, Janiece. Thank you. That was so good. And thank you. Wow. I mean, the fact that she just taught that in 15 minutes is amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, thank you, both of you for your comments. Beautiful.
Let's end with verses 23 and 24. The man returned, they tell Joshua, everything that has happened. And in 24 "They said into Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us." They're quoting Rahab's witness here.
Beautiful. Thank you. Okay. Then in the next segment, we're going to see if those words are fulfilled.
Segment 4 42:24
Okay, you guys, here we go. Gather your family, grab your belongings. In fact, in Joshua 1:11, the Lord is prepping and Joshua says to the people, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; (like prepare your food) for within three days we're going to pass over into the land of Jordan. Like we, it's happening, it's here. And I just want us to imagine this moment what it might be like for you, or whoever you're crossing with. And for some reason, Tamu, I just imagined your family in real time. And you're the boss lady over all your family, like what's happening at this moment for you guys. You're at the water, you're ready to go. Three days have passed, you've got your food. Tell me about it.
This is so embarrassing, honestly. It's so embarrassing, because I know that, I know what I'm supposed to say. But because we're all family here, I'm gonna tell y'all the truth. My family is in a full-on fight right now. We're in an argument. And I just, I, I know this because I know my family. Every holiday and I don't know what it is about the anticipation, the stress, whatever, a fight is gonna break out right before because somebody didn't pack something or somebody has somebody else's stuff. And I'm just like, like, at my wit's end and get your crap together and gather it up. We're leaving now. And whatever gets left is getting left. New territory for us, like we're going into this, we're going into the city. We've dwelled long enough, it's like, get in. So that would be my family.
Okay, I wanted you to say, that is exactly how I saw it, because not only is your family, all families
It's so sad that you know my family's like that.
Because I know my family like that; we would be fighting who, you know, here's what the fight would be. I'm first. No, I'm first. No, I get to be first. I'm the first person to cross. Like, there'll be a fight who's first. There'll be a fight about who has to carry what. This is too heavy, I don't want to carry. I want us to be real about this moment because I don't want us to think that this is sort of like a movie moment where everyone's singing hallelujah. I mean, it, it may have been a beautiful moment, but there's a lot of people who have to cross. It's kind of like at the beginning of a race before they say "GO" and you have hundreds of people pushing up against each other, pushing, shoving. Can we just start already? Let's cross. So we've got all this anticipation building up because they finally get to do it.
Let's go into Joshua 3. They've been waiting, they're about to cross, the Lord gives instruction. I think this is really important. In verse 3 He says, He commands the people saying,
3:3 "....When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests and the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it."
So first, the Ark is going to go ahead, and then you're going to follow behind it.
3:4 "Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about 2,000 cubits"
Mark that, it's about half a mile. 'I want there to be a space between. Like the Lord's giving very specific instructions, don't run, this is not a free-for-all. Don't tailgate, let there be a space and then you're gonna follow. We're going to slowly do this together, be patient. Don't run, everybody breathe. Here we go. And then we have this experience. So Tamu, will you please read for us.
Can I say something about 4, please.?
Well, I, I just really liked the end of verse 4. So "come not near unto it," so we've got specific instructions. "that ye may know the way by which you must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore." Don't assume you know where I'm leading you. Be patient. And this is new, I'm leading you to this new place. So follow the instructions that I give you as I give them to you. But don't rush. Be patient. We're going somewhere new.
I'm so glad you shared that; every one of us knows that the minute you get the 'go', everyone running and it will be a mayhem. Oh, I'm so glad you shared that. So good. Tamu, read verse 5 for us then.
5 "And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."
Boy, I mean, I just think that's awesome. We're here, it's gonna happen and you're gonna see amazing things. And then we have to read verses 7 and 10. So I think verse 6 is interesting. I've always said this, I wish there was like a timestamp between verses so we knew how much time passed. Was it a couple of minutes, was it the next morning? Anyway, Joshua, in verse 6.
6 "...Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people."
So they lifted it up. They went in front of this huge crowd. And then Janiece, will you please read for us Verse 7, and then verse 10.
7 "And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day I will begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. and
10 "And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, in the Hivites, and the Perizzites, [Not saying that right parasites] and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites."
And I'm sorry, those are really horrific pronunciations. But
I purposefully gave you the worst verse,
'he will drive without fail from before you, everybody.'
Thank you. Why is it important for Joshua to hear "I will magnify thee in the sight,' and then for Joshua to say, 'you will know there's a living God among you'. Tell me about those verses.
I think that with verse 5, "Sanctify yourselves," (prepare yourselves, make yourselves holy.) "for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." a) start out from a place where you're expecting miracles. President Nelson pled with us in conference, this this most recent conference: seek out miracles. Expect that God will work miracles. And I think that we have to have that anticipation, that belief that that is possible, that God can work miracles. And for me, that's, that's the first part. You've got to start from a place where that is a possible thing that God will work miracles, and you expect miracles. Now, that doesn't mean the miracles always come in the form that you expect. But that God is a God of miracles, and we need to expect that. We need to have that expectation.
Well and it goes back to Rahab: lean into your miracle. Tell the Lord, that this is like, lean into that and stand in that. And I, yes, I love it.
Yeah, and if we have, if we've built a relationship with the Lord, if we're just demanding things of the Lord and we don't have a relationship there, nothing's gonna happen. But when, in a relationship with the Lord, like any good relationship, it only works when it's reciprocal. It never works if it's just one-sided, but having that expectation, 'I'm open to how You, what the best way is to, for this to happen. I know You can do this, but I'm open for all sorts of possibilities. But I need this miracle.' And we should expect miracles.
Absolutely. And when you have no relationship, and the miracle happens, you think you did it. You don't, You don't attribute that back to the Lord, that you did something. And you really didn't.
Gosh, that's awesome. This is such a great miracle. Okay, let's do this. Let's read about the miracle. Go to Joshua, chapter 3, we're going to read verses 13-17. It's a lot of verses, but we have to read these verses. So we'll each take a turn reading a verse; we'll start with Janiece, then we'll do Tamu, then me, and then we'll go back to Janiece. Here we go.
This is 13. "And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap."
I really like that imagery of a heap of water. It seems so contrary to how water works, this immediately, the miraculous is immediately evident here that, this is not how water works. Yeah, here we go.
14 "And it came to pass, when the people removed their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;
15 "And as they that bear the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)
So this is springtime, it's flood season. It's not just a little tiny river you could jump over, there's a lot of water we're talking about right here. Go on, Janiece.
16 "That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.
17 "And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan."
Tell me about these verses. What strikes you, what are you thinking right now?
That they have leaned into the miracle.
And it begins. And I think that they have, they have face, you know, they may be begin to believe that the Lord has appointed Joshua to lead them. And they get this very explicit demonstration. Just like Moses in the Red Sea, Joshua is going to, to be able to split the River Jordan, and you're going to be able to pass by on dry ground, that we get this replication. This is the same power that Moses had; Joshua has that now.
And I'm always struck with that phrase 'stood firm on dry ground', because in my world, like it shouldn't be dry. In fact, if God were really just going to do a miracle, sure, He would have parted the sea, but He would have made it a little bit hard, maybe still kind of muddy, but He doesn't. He's like, you know, I'm not only going to show you a miracle, I'm gonna do you better. He made the river dry, and it shouldn't be dry. I think it's kind of cool in verse 16, where it says the city Adam. There are scholars who believe that's actually a play on words, the city - a dam. And I thought that was interesting that that there became this dam that stopped the water. So very cool. Awesome. Thank you ladies great discussion.
So after they all cross, then they do this really cool thing. They make a marker. In Joshua 4:5,6,7 - we have to read these verses. And we'll finish up this segment with this thought. And so Tamu can you please read for us Joshua 4:5,6,7. And let's see what they did once they crossed that river.
4:5 "And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
6 "That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
7 "Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever."
Thank you. I love the symbolism of these piles of stones. And it just made me kind of think of my own life like, do I do this? Do I have my own proverbial piles of stones that serve as a memorial for my children to ask, like, tell me that story again? What was that miracle in your life? How did you know God was a living God? And I just kind of think, how, how has that been for our lives? Do either of you have something like that in your family, in your family line? Or do you have your own little pile of stones that people can ask about?
We have a family Bible. And typically it's the older person and they keep whatever notes in there. So it's always interesting to visit and to see, you know, whatever trials or whatever person they want us to remember. And the thing that they want us to remember about that person, that individual. And for me, it's always very uplifting, because it is the positive things, it is the miraculous things that happened in that individual's life, that then I guess better encourage the next generation.
Great example, love that. For me, I thought of all my journals, which I pray no one ever reads. However, should any of my descendants or family members read them, it will be story after story. I did, I was really good about writing about miracles that happened in my life. And also a lot of stories about guys that I dated who I didn't like, that didn't like me back, obviously. That's really, really pretty much the majority of my journal writing is the boys who never liked me back. But I think if I were to stack all those journals, it would be a pile of stones, witnessing that I did believe that the living God was among me, that I could lean into miracles, that miracles happened. And so I think it's important for us; I love how that's what the Lord wanted the people to do. Not only do you get to have this miracle but share it. Make sure we remember it, don't forget it, talk about it.
I think we've kind of there was this shift in our, our culture where we didn't talk about spiritual experiences. And I feel like we're kind of moving a little bit away from that, where it's okay to talk about those moments. Because if we don't, they won't be remembered. And they build up faith. And I feel like we need to be a little bit better sharing those stories with people that we love. And it's okay. It's, that is a sacred setting, if there's a moment to share those stories. So kind of think about that.
Julie Beck said that we study our history to learn who we are. And I think that my family doesn't have a lot of kind of material reminders. My mom has been working on a lot of family history and trying to piece together lots of pieces of her family history, which had been unknown to her for a long time. And these stories stick, you know, thinking about that what has happened in these generations. I had kind of a conflicted relationship with my grandmother, with my mother's mom. And she moved into our house when I was 12. And I wanted to be like everybody else, not have this weird grandma. And it has taken a long time for me. I think that about the time she died, I really just began to appreciate her and began to value her and her experience and the really hard life that she had lived.
And as my mom has been piecing together these stories not only from her life, but of from her ancestors, it is a really beautiful reminder to me. And I think that these stories, this history stands as that witness that reminder, even though it be not as a physical thing, as material a thing of that history, and what that means to us and how that's shaped us.
Wow, thank you. So I encourage those of you listening if you haven't already, create a "pile of stones". And you know, it's kind of cool, because last year for our Easter episode, we studied Lectures on Faith. And one of our guests was John Hilton III. And I love that he taught us that we all need a Book of Greatest Hits, meaning a book of your spiritual experiences to remind yourself and others that God lives and is alive in your life. So if you haven't done that, start that book, pile up those stones, and let's be reminders that God is a living God.
Okay, so after this happens, the pile of stones - there are they are, everyone will know. And then we move into Joshua 5, and here's what you need to know about 5: Circumcision was reinstated as a symbol of the covenant for those who are born in the wilderness. That's good to know. They celebrate the Passover, manna ceases, and they were they were told to live off the land. And the children of Israel are ready to conquer and take their lands of inheritance, the land that was promised to them through the Abrahamic covenant. We're going to begin with the first conquest in the next segment.
Segment 5 59:53
All right, I'm going to play a sound for us now. We heard this last year in one of the episodes of Michael Wilcox, but this is an actual live recording. My cousin plays the French Horn for the military. Shout out to Preston Baxter, you're the best! And he's the only person I knew who would have the skill set to play a SHOFAR. And a shofar is a ram's horn, and it is so hard to play. So I'm going to play you, here's his actual playing of it. It's so loud.
Another reason I wanted us to hear that sound is because it plays a very important role in the Battle of Jericho. So turn to Joshua 6; at the top of the page, write "Battle of Jericho". This is the battle of all battles and the instructions may have seemed a little bit odd. I wonder if Joshua was like, 'Really, that's how we're going to take over the place?' I think it's so interesting, because they're not armed to go in and all of a sudden take over. He's very specific in what they're supposed to do. I asked my guests to kind of help us tell the story. And Janiece said, she's not good at telling the story. She's good at questioning story. Tell me what you mean by that?
Well, just the larger, the larger question, I mean, of the violence, right? I can't, like I've read this story since I was child and heard this story and seen animated versions of the story, but they're all rather sanitized. They're not actually talking about is God commanding genocide here? There's something really much more serious going on here that I think we do need to talk about. So I guess my, I immediately go to that, rather than kind of the choreography of what it takes to have these walls fall down.
Okay, we're going to circle back to your, your thoughts, Janiece, I think they're so valid. We're going to go into Joshua 6. And we're going to skip the instructions the Lord gave to Joshua and go straight to, and I love how you used this word, Janiece, the choreography of what it took for the walls to come down. Let's start in verse 10, because I think it's important that Joshua commands the people don't shout, don't make any noise with your voice or your mouth until I tell you to. So you're gonna be real, real quiet. Shhhh. I can imagine how hard that might have been for some of the people, but they have to be quiet. Then we have in verse 11, Janiece, read that for us.
6:11 "So the ark of the Lord compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp."
That's the first thing they're doing. They're gonna march around Jericho one time. Then we have the next day, verses 12 and 13. Tamu, can you read that for us?
12 "And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.
13 "And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets."
Perfect. And then they came back to camp after they did that. And they will do this for six days; they'll go around, they';; blow the ram's horns just like we heard at the beginning, so loud, seven of them really, really loud. But again, the people are not saying anything. Then we have the seventh day, in verse 15.
15 "And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times; only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
16 "And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.
And they did and they got so loud. And then here's your verse Janiece, verse 17, your girl Rahab. Go ahead and read that for us.
17 "And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent."
And then bracket off verses 18-19. He gives important instruction, He's like, Oh, and by the way, when you go in, don't loot, you don't get to take anything. That's what it means by the accursed thing. He's like, 'Don't take anything for yourself, you do not get to keep it.' You're gonna want to know that when you read the story that's found in Joshua chapter 8, right? No, sorry, Joshua, chapter 7, if you can do it, we're not going to do that today. But if you read 7, you'll understand where that comes from. Just a little cross reference. So the people shout, here we go, verse 20. Tamu, read it for us.
20 "So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard out of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
21 "And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."
I mean, just destroyed everyone. And this is uncomfortable, right? This is what Janiece was talking about, how is this a thing? And we experienced this idea of genocide and what's going on here, and before we answer that question, you're going to want to bracket off verses 22-25, because Rahab gets saved. Is there anything specific about those verses you love, Janiece?
Um, well, I just think 25: "she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day". It's, it's telling- this wasn't just transactional for her. This wasn't just trying to save her and her family, but she was actually committed, she stayed with the children of Israel. This was a change of heart.
Yes. And definitely, you're gonna want to put next to verse 25: Matthew chapter one, she's one of the women mentioned in the Savior's genealogy, so that it's through her line that we get Jesus Christ, again, alluding to 'she is the Savior of the story'. So I love that you taught us that Janiece. Okay. Now, let's go back to that question, is this genocide? Why would the Lord command that all these people be killed? Why can't they just live in peace and harmony and enjoy each other's company? What's really going on here? What is the Lord teaching the people, teaching the children of Israel, I should say?
So I think that this, you know, in these, so 2-12, we get this sweeping conquest going on that they are wiping out everything, according to the text that's been there. And this would fall in the category of a conquest narrative. It is how they are, you know, how they're, they're winning over the land. But within the Bible itself, we have a record that competes with this tale that is being told. Now anciently, there are many different civilizations that have similar kind of conquest narratives. We battled this other people, and we won. There's actually one that is similar from 1207 BC, which is similar time period. It's Egyptian, it's the Merpentan Stele. And it talks about that Egypt completely wiped out its foe, Israel. And the quote from that stele is "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not." Now we know that Israel was not wiped out in 1207 BC.
But this perhaps gives us some context to think about what's going on here. And so I think that this is Israel coming to the Canaan was probably a much more gradual process than the narrative depicts, it was perhaps not something completely sudden. When we get to Judges, we're gonna learn that there are all sorts of cities that were, that are said, they're wiped out in Joshua and that are still around and are still full of Canaanites.
And so there's something else going on here. And it is this narrative of whose god do you believe? Often in these ancient conquests, it is my God is more important, my deity is more worthy of faith than yours is. I mean, think about Elijah and the prophets of Baal. That was, that's a very specific kind of my god is better than your God; my God listens, you know, but all of these battles are, which God is worthy, which God will prevail. And here it is that the God of Israel is worth our faith - is worthy of our faith - will help us prevail.
Now, the story is, it's told, perhaps takes on this kind of military conquest. And that is probably not an accurate history. We know where Jericho was anciently. Battles leave, everything is left in battles. There, it is clear archaeologically to be able to see where a battle has been. And they're just not, it's just not there. But there's purpose in this story. And I think if we focus on why the story is being told, it is that the God of Israel is worthy of our faith, that God will help us prevail.
I love that take on this story, Janiece. Nice. I think that is beautiful - whose god will prevail? The God of Israel will always prevail. Wow. So good. It reminds me, we had Kerry Muhlestein on at the beginning of the year. And he his big tangent is, he is frustrated with people who don't believe that God - or that the Lord - is as much a Warrior as He is a Redeemer. Like we have to believe that He is both because he says Christ can't be our Redeemer if He's not capable of conquering. And so when we read these narratives and stories about how the Lord does conquer, how the Lord does prevail, it's not just in these little cities, it's in the city within us. It's that struggle within us that we have good versus evil and this specific part of our discussion - I cut and pasted it, I wanted to reread it - because I really appreciated his words.
He said, "I think that sometimes we don't teach our children that part of Christ. We teach the warm, fuzzy part, and we don't teach that part. And then it's difficult for them to have faith in someone that can deliver them from anxiety, or depression, or addiction, or anything else. It's hard to have faith in being delivered when you haven't been taught that Christ is a Deliverer, because he's a Conqueror. You can't have faith in Him conquering that for you, if you've ignored that part." And I just, I thought it was so profound when he shared that with us, because which God will prevail? The God of Israel will prevail.
And it's everything we've talked about leaning into the miracle. It's Rahab, who, she, her heart has melted, she has joined with the forces, she believes in this God of Israel. She's seen the miracles, and she's accepting that and she is saved, it worked. The God of Israel conquered for her and helped her overcome the city that she was living in, that actual city and the city within her, that yuck.
So I just think these are great comments. So thank you. Thank you, Denise. Awesome, awesome. Okay. So as we continue on with this story, the Old Testament, it's such a great opportunity to teach this and have discussions. So I encourage you to do that around the kitchen table tonight. Or at any time, driving around, just teach your children that and share your own personal story about how God prevailed in your life. What did that look like for you as a mom or a dad or an aunt, or a grandmother? I mean, we all have influence. When you're teaching young women's and young men's this Sunday, teach how God has prevailed in your life. And that is what the children need to hear. So in the next segment, we're going to embrace this portrayal of Jehovah. We're going to keep it in mind as we study Joshua's final words to his people.
Segment 6 1:11:43
Okay, let's turn to Joshua chapter 23 and 24. Yes, we are skipping that much. Now. I highly recommend you read though, because 8 is so great, 9 is so great. I mean, honestly, Joshua 10. It killed me that we didn't get to tell that story about how God made it, the sun and the moon, stay in the sky. You gotta go read that story. Then we have all of the victories in Joshua Chapter 12, Israel's victory, so many good things, but just everyone skip. Here we go, Joshua 23 and 24. Joshua was about to leave, he's about to die. And we have his parting words. And I just asked Tamu and Janiece to tell me what it was, what stood out to you, and what did you like that Joshua had to say to the people?
There's a lot of things in here that I do, like, but it really does, this chapter is a hard chapter for me, because I feel like this is a chapter that people have used to other people to marginalize people, and especially black people. And so
Tell us how? I want to know that.
Well, you know, you have the, when he's talking about the remnants of the Canaanites who remain in the land, and black people have been seen as Canaanites and have been treated poorly because of the color of our skin. And it goes back to the very beginning when Cain slew Abel. And you know, just with Noah and Ham and all these curses.
Even though there is nothing that actually connects Canaanites with Cain, like, I mean, besides the fact that that's all nonsense, but there's nothing. But yeah, this that
We did a whole priesthood episode on that, you need to go listen to it. Because just for the record, it was a priest who connected it on his own, in complete support of the slave trade. That's when it got introduced. There is no scriptural foundation, oh, it makes me so mad.
Well, and if you're looking at the scriptures, and you're trying to attribute Cain and black skin, then you actually have to attribute the, you should be looking at the protection that was placed on people, and not a curse that was placed on all of us. That we would, that the Earth would not yield up, you know, food freely for us. And so we would have to become hunters and gatherers. And so just that whole thing, but you have this introduction of another introduction of isms. This introduction of better ism, 'we're better than them because, we're the chosen people because, and so. And I just want to, when Joshua is speaking in the beginning, and the Lord is speaking, if you go back to 1, or even in 3:7, Joshua says, "And the Lord said, And the Lord said, when God is speaking, the Lord said," so you get to 23, Joshua exhorts.
So he suggests, he recommends Israel to be courageous and he, and that they should keep the commandments. So this is just him giving advice and in his advice, you know, he's saying all these things, and yes, God is with them. We know that God was with them, which is how they ended up prevailing in this land. But to then go, it's some of the things that he says. I just feel like it beats, it beats the thing in people that is antichrist. And, and so this for me, chapters like this are somewhat problematic because it pushes people into the margins more when you have Christians, followers of Christ that want to push people into the margins instead of bring people out. Because we know that Christ went into the margins to get people. And the very people that he's saying, Don't mix with, you know, the seed of Canaan. Jesus came through that line, because Rahab was a Canaanite.
And so I think that, that we have to use our better judgment here. And we just have to use our better judgment and really, really search ourselves to see what the message that we get out of this. What is our takeaway? What do we want to take away from this? And for me, I take my takeaway from Joshua 23 is, is that he wanted his people to continue to worship the God of Israel, and to continue to be blessed and to pass that those messages on to their children, not to be - I don't want to say racist because that just for that day and age is just those crazy, because they look so much alike, what I mean to each other, so it wasn't a racism -but to not have isms. I don't think that that was the message that he wanted to pass on. He wanted to pass on for them to stay faithful, because faithful people, even in their trials, they're blessed.
Well, and I think that one of the one of the things I love that, Tamu, because one of the things that we skipped over in the chapters we skipped over, there's this consistent don't intermarry, right? And it's not about interracial marriage. It's not about marrying someone of a different culture. It's about remaining faithful to the covenant.
And that that needs to be the primary thing. It's these other, people who have made it about these other things are focused on something that doesn't reflect the spirit. The spirit is remaining faithful to the covenant. Be courageous, Joshua repeats that plea. Be courageous, that thing that the Lord kept assuring him you can do this, you can be courageous. But the whole point, the whole why behind this is remain faithful to the covenant. It's not ostracize people, it's not push more people to the margins, it's be faithful to the covenant. And the covenant actually wants us to bring people in.
Absolutely. And I just think that sometimes people get into this part of it, and they will have you believe that God participated. And this and the sin of isms, like he put in and but in reality that was that that was them. And this is just advice that Joshua is giving, leaving his people to remain faithful to the covenant. Yes,
Yeah. I loved your perspective.
We can read this as a cautionary tale to not make God a respecter of persons. This is this, should, the way we read this shouldn't change the character of God. You know, President Nelson has encouraged us to read Scripture to understand the character of God. But if we suddenly take this out and read it to say, Oh, God is a respecter of persons. There's a problem with that. Right.
Right. I read a quote, not too long ago, that said something like 'when people institutionalize something, they create a structure that keeps the practice going long after the founders of the practice leave the scene.' So I think that this was said here, and out of context and unaware that that everybody in this region, they favored each other so. So they looked alike, and so you have this practice that was that that he sees, states. And for them it didn't mean what it means to us, but we attribute it as if it did. And then we say that it came from God, who has told us in every book of Scripture, 'I am no respecter of persons. You might win today, but if you flip up, you might not be winning tomorrow.'
So true, your perspectives were spot on, they were so good.
You know, we think about the children of Israel, they, I mean, and we all struggle. Everybody in mortality struggles with forgetfulness; we pass through a veil of forgetfulness on our way into mortality, and we are struggling to remember. But this is one of the things the Lord keeps pleading with the children of Israel. 'Remember this, the whole point of the stones is to remember this covenant. Remember this, don't create this, you know, have historical amnesia. Don't forget these experiences, or don't morph them into something else to justify your prejudice. Remember, remember how I deal with you, remember that covenant, remember that I've got your back, that I want to bring you all in.'
Well, and as you read chapters 23 and 24, you could mark it up with so many things that Joshua has to say to the people. I mean, marking after marking I have and then I went back and read it again this morning and I found one verse that I hadn't marked that for me summed all of it up, and it sums up everything the both of you have just said. It's Joshua 23:11. And this is it.
23:11 "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.:
Like if that's the only thing we could share from today, that's it, that you would love the Lord your God. And I think that is powerful. And I think that's what the Prophet's been trying to teach us. And I'm so grateful for this advice and these words, and for Joshua's example, and how we've seen him evolve. I just think it's been, it's been in great discussion. Gosh, it's been great.
It always is with these guys. I mean, and then, you know, Janiece just comes in and with her, her knowledge and her insights, and wow,
it's incredible. So thank you, ladies. Thank you. Okay, well, that's the end of our episode.
Fun! It's so fun to be with you guys. And
I love talking scripture with friends. Okay, so just take a minute, think of all the stuff we talked about today and choose one takeaway.
My, my two things are going to be the verses in 3: I want to expect miracles. So 3:5. This, this has been sticking with me. "Sanctify yourselves for t.morrow, the Lord will do wonders among you." I want to be someone like President Nelson encouraged, I want to be someone who expects miracles, and who seeks out miracles. And the second thing is, I don't want to be a person who ignores the miraculous because it comes through someone I don't expect, like Rahab.
That is. One of the things that really just kind of keeps coming back to me is that with Rahab, that they didn't offer to save her, she had to state her intentions. And she helped them because she was helping them because of God, because she believed in God. And because she had a testimony, but also, to let God know that I know that You have promises for me, and I'm gonna stand in this promise, I'm gonna wait right here. And I expect this miracle, and to be open to whatever that miracle is, because you've asked for it, to recognize it when it comes. And to be the one that turns around and says, Thank you.
So good. Wow,
That is. My takeaways were the same as both of yours. I love Tamu, when you taught us to lean into the miracle. It just kind of feels like a thing that we all need right now. Everyone needs and wants miracles. And I, the way you both framed that was, it's okay to expect them when you're in a place where you can, and Rahab did. She, she laid it out before the Lord, here's what I've done, here's why I think we deserve it, and let's hope for the best. And she put all of her hope into that request. And so leaning into the miracle. And then Janiece, I loved it when you taught that it's a battle of the gods; which God will prevail? And to remember that the God of Israel will prevail. I like how you framed all of these war chapters, because we're gonna talk a lot about wars. And that is the message. So thank you ladies. Gosh, I love you both. Today was beautiful discussion. So thank you.
Oh, I love you both
You guys. I loved this so much. Thank you.
It makes me happy. Well, we want to know what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or follow us on Instagram, you should. It's a great place to ask questions. And as you study throughout the week, you can point things out and ask things and share; it is so cool. And then at the end of the week, usually on a Saturday, we do a call asking for your big takeaways. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. And I read them all, it's my favorite part of Sunday.
You can get both our Facebook and Instagram by going into the show notes for this episode at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday and go there anyway because it's where we have all of the links to the references we use, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion. So go check it out. The Sunday and Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today, our beautiful study group participants were Janiece Johnson and Tamu Smith. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday.
Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is edited by Hailey Higham. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At Six Studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember: He will bring you out because you are His favorite.
I just have to tell you guys: on class last Thursday, it hit the end of class. And this is a two-hour class, so I understand. It's time, and this kid just stands up and he's like, "This was a great class. Thank you."
Oh my gosh! He's my spirit animal. I have wanted to do that so many times. "Hey, this has been a great Sacrament Meeting. Thank you. You have to give him an A, Janiece, just for the hutzpah of saying that. I don't care.
I did let them out 20 minutes early last night.
Ohhh, that's so brilliant.