SMALL GROUP CURRICULUM (Download PDF)
Spend the week studying Joshua 2. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
Determine which discussion points and questions will work best with your group.
Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their receptivity to God’s Word.
Focus on the Main Point. Are there people in your family who need love and prayer? God can and will use you to minister to them.
Think back to when you were younger. What are some of the biggest changes in our culture you have noticed since that time?
More specifically, how have attitudes and beliefs about topics like marriage, family, sexuality, and gender changed since you were younger?
If you follow the news at all, you have likely seen many stories promoting a different idea of sexuality, marriage, and gender than the ones that existed when you were a little bit younger. The change in the moral landscape has been swift and pervasive. Over the holidays, you may even find some of these changes at your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. How are we as Christians to interact with and respond to our family and friends who may have drastically different views on these topics? Including Mary, there are five women mentioned in Jesus’ family tree. One of these women, Rahab, was a prostitute, and God used her to do incredible things. Today we will look at her story as a guide to help us process how to love our own family members who have struggled or continue to struggle with sexual sins.
Select 3-5 questions to discuss as a group.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ JOSHUA 2:1-24.
What do we learn about Rahab’s background in the opening verses of this chapter? What is God’s design for our sexuality? How is Rahab’s profession in conflict with God’s will?
What messages have you heard the church or individual Christians send to those whose sexual choices go against God’s plan? Why is it important to extend love instead of condemnation in these relationships?
In Genesis 1 and 2, God outlined the ultimate purpose and design for sexual expression. Sex is meant to be enjoyed exclusively within the bounds of a monogamous, life-long marriage between a man and a woman. Yet, for a variety of reasons, many people ignore God’s commands in this area of their lives. Rahab earned her living as a prostitute, which clearly falls outside of God’s design, but God redeemed and used Rahab to bring His Son into the world. Perhaps the thing you need to do this season to win common ground is show love and not condemnation. Love breaks down the walls and earns us the right to speak the truth.
How did Rahab help the spies and make a way for God’s people to enter the promised land?
What had Rahab heard about God (vv. 9-11)? How did what she heard about the grace of God lead her to risk her life for these men? What are some ways you can point your friends and family to God’s grace?
Joshua 2 came at a critical juncture in the history of Israel. After years of wandering in the wilderness, the people were about to take possession of the land that God had promised them. But in order to take the land, they had to first defeat the people who lived in the land. Rahab stepped in at this critical juncture to help the spies of Israel and ensure their success. She helped because she had heard about the grace and favor of the God of Israel. God’s power and grace led her to follow Him and respond to His calling in her life. What our sexually confused family members need more than anything is the grace of God. How will you show them grace when they need it?
Read Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25. How is Rahab remembered and how is she commended?
When you look at your friends and family dealing with these issues, do you see their plans for their lives, or can you see God’s bigger plan for their lives? How can you help them to see God’s best for them?
Every place Rahab is mentioned in Scripture she is referred to as “Rahab, the prostitute.” However, in every place she is mentioned, she is also commended for her faith. Once a prostitute, her incredible faith became her most memorable character trait. Stories like this are not limited to Rahab; God can take the most sinful among us and turn their lives around for His glory. Instead of focusing on the present this holiday, point the Rahabs in your family to God’s big story and bigger plan for their lives.
Select one question from this section to answer.
Before Rahab was a saved girl, she was a bad girl. How does God bring freedom to those of us who are “bad”?
Have you ever truly allowed God to rewrite your story? If not, what is holding you back? If so, what has God done since that time?
Select one question from this section to ask your group.
We tend to shrink back from people like Rahab because we don’t want to get involved in their messy lives. Is there a messy person or family member God is nudging you to reach out to? What is one tangible step you can take to engage this person?
Brainstorm together as a group, what are a few ways you can extend love to someone in your family who is wrestling with his/her sexual brokenness and following his/her own path? How can you point that person to God’s future instead of his/her own?
Thank God for working through the lives of broken people to bring about His ultimate plan and purpose. Spend some time praying for those relationships you have with sexually broken people. Ask God to give you ways to show them genuine love that breaks down walls and barriers, and ask God to use you to help lead them into His plan for their lives.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Who in your family needs your love and your prayers?
Memorize Joshua 2:12.
2:1. The term for spies comes from the same word as “foot.” These “footers” did not always work as spies. In 2 Sam 15:10 they announced Absalom as king. Thus they could disseminate information as well as gather it. Acacia Grove translates Hebrew Shittim, probably a site some miles east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho, and Israel’s camp since Num 25:1. The Hebrew root for Joshua’s command, Go, is identical to they left. Such a response indicates the spies’ obedience. Nevertheless, they did not look over the land but went directly to Jericho. Rahab was an innkeeper and prostitute—occupations that are recognized in ancient Near Eastern literature such as the Code of Hammurabi. The presence of an inn at Jericho (Lk 10:30-35) may be explained by its location on the north-south and east-west trade routes. Here the spies could learn about the land and also discover anyone who might be sympathetic.
2:2-3. The story is punctuated by repetitions that emphasize the key points. The first of these is the mission to investigate the land. This was told to the king of Jericho who sent his agents to Rahab’s house where they repeated the charge. Known at the highest levels, her actions were high treason in the eyes of the rulers of Jericho.
2:4-5. Rahab’s hiding of the spies is mentioned again in verse 6. Rahab denied knowledge about the origin and the destination of the spies. Thus she risked her life, but she also lied. Despite this, Heb 11:31 and James 2:25 admire her faith. The text does not condone her act, although there was no other way to save the spies from death. Forgiveness was available with God. The point here is that her words kept the king’s men from looking in the house. Repeating information about the gate (v. 7) is important because it explains how Rahab’s ruse could make sense (the gates were not yet shut when the spies left). Its second mention explains why the spies could no longer leave as they had entered. The shut gates represent the defiance of Jericho, resistant to the movement of God and His people.
2:6. Rahab’s hiding of the spies is repeated here from verse 4, delaying explanation of what the spies would actually do, and so heightening the tension.
2:7. The phrase the road to the fords of the Jordan informs the reader of how Rahab’s ruse worked.
2:9-11. Rahab’s I know contrasts with her “I didn’t know” in verses 4-5. There follows a true confession in place of the former deceit. The phrases terror of you has fallen on us and the land is panicking repeat the same expressions from Ex 15:15-16. Those predictions looked forward to reactions that Rahab describes having been fulfilled. Confessions of God’s gift and sovereignty over heaven and earth begin and end the confession (Jos 2:9a,11b). Situated within these confessions are statements about the fear that has come upon the Canaanites (vv. 9b,11a). All these expressions provide an “envelope” for the central confession of Rahab in verse 10. This confession is based upon the historic acts of God’s redemption of Israel at the Red Sea and against Sihon and Og. As with God’s historic act of redemption in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, so Rahab’s confession of His gracious work in redeeming Israel from Egypt and beyond forms the basis for the salvation faith that she speaks with her mouth and believes in her heart (Rm 10:9).
2:12. Now please introduces Rahab’s request with an identical form of words as in 1Sam 24:21 where Saul described God’s will for David and then, as here, requested David to spare his family. Show kindness is a key expression that also appears when Abraham’s servant requested from God direction to find a wife for Isaac (Gen 24:12). In the Decalogue God shows kindness to a thousand generations of those who are faithful to him (Ex 20:6). Here as well the concern is for the preservation of Rahab’s family and her descendants. The sure sign is the spies’ oath to protect Rahab’s family.
2:13. Rahab did not ask for her own salvation, but for that of her family.
2:14. The spies acted to guarantee their own protection and thereby ensure the success of their mission. The spies were vulnerable and dependent on Rahab.
2:15. The actions described did not occur immediately. How secret would a mission be with the spies on the ground below shouting up to Rahab the negotiations of verses 17-20? That she let them down by a rope through the window is a summary that introduces a more detailed description in verses 16-21—a common technique in OT accounts.
2:17-20. The scarlet cord at the opening of her house with the family gathered inside is clearly symbolic of the Passover and its placement of blood on the door frames of the house in which the family was preserved from death (Ex 12:3-13). At the same time that Israel celebrated the Passover in the new land (Jos 5:10- 11), Rahab would be joining them in similar actions that would bring about her salvation from Jericho’s destruction.
2:24. The spies’ report is a summary of what Rahab said, using her words (v. 9). This reiterates the fulfillment of prophecy (Ex 15:15) and the power of God to bring success to Israel. Contrast the majority report of the earlier generation of spies who focused on the obstacles of the land’s inhabitants (Num 13:26-33). The spies here emphasized what God had done. Rahab, though not a leader like Joshua, was able to contribute to the success of Israel. Christians can do the same wherever they are by confessing their faith and acting on it (Jms 2:25-26).