Small Group Guide:
Open with prayer.
Go around and give everyone a chance to share about how the past week has been. What’s one highlight? What’s one lowlight?
If your small group has talked about it before, feel free to use this time to hold people accountable to what they’ve asked to be held accountable for previously, and go through the “missional” part of this discussion guide.
In this portion of God’s Word, the Israelites are preparing to go into the promised land. They come up to the Jordan River and wait for 3 days. Then, God calls them to consecrate themselves, and He gives Joshua instructions on they will be able to go past the Jordan River, and into the promised land. By taking a look at this passage of God’s Word, we can see how we are able to be fearless when God calls us to do something intimidating.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
- 1. Be willing to take the first step
At the end of three days the officers went through the camp 3 and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. 4 Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits[a] in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” 5 Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” 6 And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
- 2. Consecrate yourself to God
The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” 9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth[b] is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”
- 3. Realize God’s calling in your life may be different than what He calls others to do
So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
- 4. Stand firm on God’s promises
- Read Joshua 3:1. It would have been quite an ordeal to bring the entire Israelite nation to the Jordan River, and yet Joshua did it. Have you ever done something that you were afraid to do? What was it and how did it go? How did you take that first step?
- Read Joshua 3:2-6. Joshua tells the Israelites to consecrate themselves to the Lord. What are some practical steps you could take to better dedicate each moment of everyday to the Lord?
- Read Joshua 3:7-13. God commands Joshua to do something very different than He commanded Moses to do, even though they are in very similar situations. In the same way, He may call you to do different things than He’s called others to do. Write down (or share with your small group) what you believe God has called you to, at least for this season of your life.
- Read Joshua 3:14-17. Here, the nation of Israel passes over the Jordan River, all while the priests hold the Ark of the Covenant and stand firm on the dry riverbed. It would have been easy for the priests to give up early, but they didn’t. They stood there the entire time. What do you need encouragement for, in order to keep on standing firm on what God has called you to do?
- What is your biggest take away about how this passage affects your life? How can your small group keep you accountable to accomplishing this?
Pray for each other in your small group to be faithful take the step(s) that you shared above. Pray for each other and the interactions that they have with those who don’t know Jesus. Pray that God would soften the people’s hearts to what He has for them. Pray that God would give everyone opportunities to share the Gospel.
Share spiritual/missional conversations you’ve had where you live, work, and play:
Who did you have a conversation with that took a spiritual/missional turn this week?
What questions did you ask to discover where God is at work in their life, even if they are not aware?
How were you able to share your story of life change or how you have experienced Jesus?
How can you be intentional this week with people where you live, work, and play to have spiritual/missional conversations if the opportunity arises?
Who in your life do you think could be discipleable or open to spiritual/missional conversations?
Discuss the next step for your small group. When will we gather again and what purpose will it fulfill?