828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christian education for Sunday November 6, 2011; 21 Pentecost; Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

Background: The book of Joshua is typically considered to be a portion of the Deuteronomistic History; those books between Deuteronomy and 2 Kings. The authors Joshua may have reinterpreted older material through the lens of the downfall of the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel; the people’s unfaithfulness to the covenant; and the divine judgment of both kingdoms.

Theme: Today’s lesson falls at the end of the book of Joshua, following his final speech to the Israelites. Joshua gathers all Israel one last time to have them answer the question “Who do you choose to serve?” The exchange between Joshua and Israel helps set the stage for Israel’s future including their exile and subjugation to Babylon and Assyria.
Questions to Ponder:
* Briefly, what has taken place since Israel crossed the Jordan and today’s reading?
* Why might Joshua call the tribes of Israel to Shechem to ask them these questions from God?
* What might the distinction be regarding the different “groups” of people called by Joshua; e.g. elders, heads, judges, and officers?
* This passage can describe a covenant ceremony that happen sporadically in the preceding 5 books; if this ceremony was simply another in a line of annual covenant renewal ceremonies, why might this ceremony have been chosen to be recorded for posterity?
* Why might Joshua have recounted the history of Israel from Abraham, especially in light of the setting of this passage?
* What, if anything, would the significance be of the three choices of the god/God Israel had to choose from?
* What might the significance be of God’s demand for Israel to choose one god/God to worship?
* What may be significant about the gathering of all the tribes of Israel at Shechem to renew their covenant with God?
* It can be argued Israel’s response in verses 17 and 18 is simply a rhetorical response to Joshua’s questions at the beginning of this section; would the identification as a rhetorical response make a difference in the history of Israel?
* Why might Joshua tell Israel “you cannot serve the Lord…” in verse 19?
* How might one reconcile the “jealous God” identified in verse 19 as well as the God that “will not forgive” later in the same verse when compared to the forgiving and loving God come among us in Jesus?
* How might Israel be witnesses against themselves as stated in verse 22? Why would their self-affirmation as witnesses be important?
* What might the significance of this passage be for us today?

No comments:

Post a Comment