Saturday, June 28, 2014

Joshua and the Walls of Jericho Sunday School Lesson

Use this Joshua and the Walls of Jericho Sunday School lesson to teach kids the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho.

Needed: two ropes or jump-ropes

Game: Crossing the Jordan: Place two ropes parallel to each other on the floor. Explain to the students that the space between the ropes is a raging river. If they touch it, they’ll be swept away and drowned. Now have students jump across the “river” one at a time or in a group. Continue to widen the ropes apart until it is impossible to cross. Ask, how are we going to get across the river if we can’t jump over it? I guess we’ll have to find out in our Bible story how the Israelites crossed a big river like this.

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Summarize Joshua 1-6, asking questions as you go.

The Israelites had been living in the desert for a long time, ever since Moses freed them from slavery in Egypt. But now Moses was dead and the time had come for the Israelites to go into their new home, the country of Canaan that God had promised to give them. Their new leader, the man who Moses had picked to be the next leader, was named Joshua.

“Joshua,” God said to him, “I will be with you and will help you just like I was with Moses and helped him. Now be strong and brave because you are the leader who will bring the Israelites into their new home.”

What do you think Joshua will have to do to bring the Israelites into their new home? He will have to fight the people who are already living in Canaan and make them move out so that the Israelites can have their country.

Why do you think God would let Joshua and the Israelites take over someone else’s country? The people who were living in Canaan were bad and didn’t believe in God, so God was punishing them and giving their country to the Israelites instead.

So Joshua told the Israelites, “Get ready and get all your stuff packed up. In three days, we will cross the Jordan River and start taking over the land of Canaan.”

That night, Joshua sent two men to go spy on the city of Jericho, in the country of Canaan. They found a prostitute named Rahab in Jericho and went to sleep in her house for the night.

But someone went and told the king of Jericho, “Two men from the Israelites came into the city tonight to spy on us.”

So the king of Jericho sent his soldiers to Rahab’s house and the soldiers said, “Rahab, send those two spies out to us so we can kill them.”

But Rahab helped the two Israelite spies hide under a pile of hay she had and she told the soldiers, “Those two men came here, but they left. They’re not here anymore.” Then, when the soldiers left, Rahab went and told the two Israelite spies, “I know God is going to give you our country. We’ve heard about how God brought you out of slavery in Egypt and made the water of the Red Sea divide in two so that you could walk across on dry ground. Now, look, I have been nice to you and didn’t tell the soldiers you were here. So please be nice to me and do not kill me or my family when you come in to take over our country.”

“We won’t kill you or your family,” the two spies answered, “just as long as you don’t tell anyone that we’re here.” Then Rahab helped the two men escape the city and they returned to Joshua.

A couple of days later, Joshua led the people out of their camp and up to the Jordan River. The Jordan River was a big river and it was flooding over the sides when the Israelites got there. The people all wondered, “How are we going to get across such a big river?”

How do you think the people will get across the river?

God told Joshua, “Tell the priests to walk into the river first, carrying the Ark of the Covenant with them.” So Joshua told the priests to walk into the river and as soon as the toes of the priests’ feet touched the water, the water of the river stopped flowing! The people could still see the water a few miles away, but it wasn’t moving toward them anymore. It was just standing still! So all the Israelites walked on the bottom of the dry river and crossed into the country of Canaan. As soon as all the Israelites were across, God made the water of the river start flowing again.

Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and marched toward the city of Jericho. When they got close to the city, a man came and suddenly stood in front of Joshua. The man had his sword out, so Joshua asked him, “Whose side are you on? Are you on our side or are you on our enemy’s side?”

Whose side do you think the man is on?

“I’m on no one’s side,” the man said. “But I am the commander of the Lord’s army, so I have come to you.”

“Does God have a message for me?” Joshua asked.

“Take off your sandals,” the man said, “because you are standing on holy ground.” So Joshua took off his sandals.

Then God said to Joshua, “Joshua, I will help you defeat Jericho and its king and its army. Here’s what you have to do: Take your whole army and do a full march around the city for six days. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times and then have seven priests blow on their trumpets. When the seven priests blow on their trumpets, all of the soldiers in your army should yell as loud as they can and then I will make the walls of Jericho fall down and your army can run in and attack the city.”

So that’s what Joshua and the Israelites did. They marched around the city one time for six days and then on the seventh day, they marched around it seven times. Then the priests blew their trumpets, the army yelled as loud as it could, and God made the walls of Jericho fall down! The whole Israelite army ran in and attacked the city, but they did not hurt Rahab or her family because she was the one who had helped the spies get away when they came to spend the night in her house.

This is the first battle that the Israelites fought to take over their new home. God helped them to defeat the people of Jericho and God helped them to defeat their other enemies as well, and eventually the Israelites conquered the whole country of Canaan and they renamed it the country of Israel.

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