Choices That Determine Destiny - Lesson 7

By Dudley Chancey

Choosing For You and Your Family

Text: Joshua 1:6-11; 6:1-27; 24:11-18

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will determine to be "strong and courageous" based on God's promise
  2. The student will see the advantages of choosing good friends(like Caleb)
  3. The student will learn to take a stand ("As for me and my house?..")

Preparation: (Some items are for extra work if time allows)

  1. Bible for every student (NIV is used for quotes and handouts in this series)
  2. Copies of student handout
  3. Bible concordances or Bible computer program
  4. Chalk or markers for board work


The story of Joshua and Caleb is taught widely in Sunday school. Most of us know they were the two faithful spies- in fact, they were the only ones their age that got to enter the promise land. We know a lot about Joshua and sketchy things about Caleb. Our focus in this study will be on Joshua and his leadership of God's people (see More Background at the end for some neat stuff about Caleb-a lesson in itself). God works through Joshua to deliver his people to the land he had promised their grandfathers many years before.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5 minutes)

  1. Prayer time (ask for requests, ask for answered prayers)
  2. Check calendar of events coming up
  3. Connect any students visiting, to individual students and the youth group

Review from Lesson #6: (5 minutes)

  1. Go over the answers to the handouts. Take these up if you are using them for some type of reward (mission trip credit).
  2. Give a one-minute summary of Samson's choices in last week's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (20 minutes)

  1. Remember the two general points that provide a background for our story (see Lesson #1 for a more detailed description).
    1. First, we will be studying a method of making godly choices in our everyday living
      1. The 4 C's. Consider the choice. Compare our attitudes and actions to God. Commit to God's ways. Count on God's protections and provision.
      2. We are studying principles rather than rules.
    2. Second, we will see how much the people we hangout with influence our lives.
  2. The Bible study today comes from the book of Joshua. It is interesting that the first time we meet Joshua in the Bible (Exodus 17) the word "choose" is by his name. He is making a choice to carry out orders from his leader Moses. He started out early in life making good choices. This process continues throughout his life. He is connected with one of the most preached about passages in the Old Testament (Joshua24:15). He not only made good choices, but he called on others to follow his example. Joshua also hangs around people that make good choices. This began while he was young. Joshua's story may have been a lot different if he had not of had a friend like Caleb (see More Background). Choosing wisely-including friends-pays off in the short and long run. Following are a few of the good choices Joshua makes during his life.
    1. Choosing to obey and learn the commands of God
      1. We all have free will. To an extent, we can do anything we choose. There is something about human nature that makes many of us rebel. We don't like authority. We don't like someone telling us what to do. God commands Joshua to"be strong and courageous" several times in the book of Joshua (1:6; 1:7; 1:9; 1:18;10:25). He also instructs him to be careful to obey all the law that he received from Moses. God further tells Joshua to meditate on the law day and night, and to do everything written in the law. There is a reason for learning,knowing, and obeying this law. Look three or four pages back in your Bible to Deuteronomy 32:44-47. It says, "Moses came with Joshua son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people. When Moses finished reciting all these words to all Israel, he said to them, Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.'”
    2. Choosing to do exactly what God says
      1. God has always been pretty clear in telling us exactly what to do when exactness matters. In chapter six of Joshua, God gives instructions about the siege of Jericho: "March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.”
      2. Joshua obeyed this somewhat strange set of orders. The end speaks for itself. The city fell and was taken by the Israelites.
    3. Choosing for your family to be a good example
      1. In chapter 24 Joshua assembles the leaders ofIsrael and tells them what God has done for them. He reminds them of things all the way back to Abraham. He reminds them of all they have in the present-food and cities that they did not plant or build. He reminds them of the battles that they have won because of God. He then poses a challenge to each of them-Serve God and no other! In essence, he poses a choice for all the people. Serve foreign gods, or serve the one, true God. He firmly states that they can do whatever they want to do, but as for him and his family, they will serve the Lord. God's providence and power are seen working throughout the life of Joshua. Joshua has seen this power and providence since his very early days working under the great leader Moses. God comes through on his promise to Joshua that he will never leave him. He doesn't!

Applications: (10 minutes)

The point here is that you not only want them to know about the Bible text, but you want them to take action on it. If there is a military leader in your church, it might be good to let him/her come visit the class and share some of the duties that they perform. Have them speak about the importance of obeying commands.

1. Doing exactly what God asks us to do. Think about the story of Noah and the ark (Genesis 6). Was he building a boat or afloat? Imagine the response of some famous sea captain today if told to build Noah's ark. What suggestions about building a boat do you think he/she might give God about sea-going vessels? Another example from the Bible in doing exactly what God asks is found in 2 Kings 5:8-14. Naaman thought it was crazy to go dip in the dirty Jordan river seven times. Why seven? Nothing had changed after the sixth dip. As soon as he came up from seven, the Bible says his skin was restored and like that of a little boy. Very similar to marching around a wall six or seven times. It just doesn't make sense to us. Many things that God does doesn't make sense to us-the cross for example. God's ways are not man's ways. As the Nike deal says, "Just Do It!" What about you and your life? God has given us instructions to live our lives to the fullest. He tells us in the Bible what to add to our lives (2 Peter 1:5-8; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 4:8), and what to get rid of (Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 4:31; 5: 3). How are you doing? This would be a good time to be specific. Ask how they are doing with the good lists and the bad lists..

2. Using the concordances, look up several Bible verses on some of today's discussion. For example, students could lookup the following: Noah, the construction of Noah's Ark, Jericho, Caleb, Promise Land, etc. Ask students to discuss the definitions and descriptions of these different words and names and give some of the Bible contexts in which they are used.

3. Have students make lists of people that were/are great friends. You might use Geoff Moore's song "A Friend Like You" to introduce this time. You could list Jonathan and David, Joshua and Caleb, Paul and Barnabas, Scoobie and Shaggy, Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, etc. Have students bring videos of their favorite movies or TV shows showing good, positive relationships among friends.

4. Restate the objectives for this week, tying them to the story of Joshua. How are you doing in the "strong and courageous "category? How are you doing in your friend selection? Do you have a close, Christian friend like a "Caleb?" Are you a good,Christian friend? Finally, don't be afraid to take a stand with your family for God and his church.

Assignment: (2 minutes)

  1. Pass out the handouts to take home. Encourage the students to fill in the answers to the questions about Joshua sometime during the next week and bring these back to class with them. The "fill in the blanks" section is straight out of the text for today's lesson. This assignment will give students time to "be in the Word." The following may help you next week as you go over the thought questions:
    1. You should be very clear here that God does keep all of his promises. However, they require action on our part also. If you want to live long and have things, "seek ye first the kingdom," "take up your cross," "love one another," etc. Also, be clear that there are bad things that happen to good people. Christians get cancer. Christians get killed in car wrecks. Be clear to the students that the ultimate promise is the life after this one -if you have been found faithful.
    2. 4C's. This is not a perfect process, but it is better than nothing, and that is what most students are using to make choices. Take advantage of this and share with students how they can walk through this process for every important decision in their lives.
    3. Matthew 16:24-26 and 9:23-25 are fairly straight-forward about following Christ. Have students struggle with things that they need to "give up" for Christ. Tell them something that you have given up before to see the cause of Christ moved forward.
  2. Read 2 Kings 22-23:30. Story of Josiah next week.

Evaluation: (5 minutes)

  1. Ask students to explain the providence of God in Joshua's life.
  2. Ask students to name one principle from the lesson today.
  3. (After class) Have an intern or another adult evaluate your teaching. Occasionally, ask some students to blind review the class. Ask questions like, "What was the main goal of the class tonight?" "What really made an impression on you tonight about the lesson?"

Further Resources: (You do not have to have these to make these lessons work)

More Background CALEB — son of Jephunneh (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:6-15;Joshua 15:13-15; Joshua 21:10-12; 1 Samuel 25:2-3; 1 Samuel30:14). He is called a "Kenezite" in Joshua 14:6, 14. This may simply mean "son of Kenez" (Numbers 32:12). He was one of the twelve spies sent by Moses to spy on the territory of Canaan (Numbers 13:6). He was one of only two who brought back a positive report (Numbers13:30).

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