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11. The Bible's Big Story

25 lesson plans for children, young people and their teachers.

Lesson 11 Entering the Promised Land – Joshua Bible reference – Numbers 13 verse 1 to 14 verse 10; Joshua chapters 1-6. God’s chosen people left the land of Egypt but did not go straight into the land God promised. God told Moses to send spies in front of the people. Moses obeyed. The twelve men, one from each tribe, were to bring back information about the land. ‘How good and fruitful is the land’? and ‘How well are the people defending it from attack’? Numbers 13 verses 19-20. After 40 days the spies returned bringing some fruit from Canaan to show how good the land was. But they reported that the people were very strong and powerful, living in well defended cities, verses 25-29. God’s people had to choose. Would they attack the land and people, or would they not? The people were divided over what to do. Two of the spies said: “We should attack now. We will conquer them easily”, 13 verse 30 and 14 verse 9.

But the other ten spies said, “No, we are not strong enough to attack them”, verse 31.

Stop and discuss (1) In the story, Numbers 13 verse1 to 14 verse 10: 1. Can you find the names of the two spies who wanted the people to attack now? 2. Can you find the reason these two men thought in a different way to all of the

others? 3. From 14 verse 9, find these five words: “t L i_ w u_”. Whenever we face big problems we must remember that our God is bigger than the difficulty! Joshua – who was going to be the next leader of the people of Israel – reminded the people of this. As long as the people pleased God in their lives, obeying everything He told them to do, God would be with them. This would give them victory. At this time the Israelites were about 11 days journey from the promised land. Because the people chose wrongly, it took them almost 40 years before they entered the land God had promised them. At the beginning of the book of ‘Joshua’ God speaks to Joshua. Moses is dead, Joshua is to lead the people into the Promised Land. God would keep His promise. God will go with Joshua and the people. They must make sure they obey all of the Law given to Moses years before, Joshua 1 verses 1-9.

Stop and discuss (2) In Joshua 1 verses 1-9. 1. How many times does God promise to be “with you”? 2. What does God say – in three different ways - about the land across the River

Jordan, the land between the Egyptian desert, the Lebanese Mountains, (south to

north), and the Euphrates River, the Mediterranean Sea, (east to west)? verses 2-4,

and verse 6.


3. What four things must Joshua and the people do with the book of the Law God

gave them? See in verses 7-9. Ask the class, ‘Can anyone remember the promise God gave to Abraham, in Genesis 12 verses 1-3’? (When students have answered, have a good reader read the verses to the class). God promised many descendants, in a new land, becoming a great nation. And “through you (that nation of Abraham’s descendants) I will bless all the nations”, verse 3. Later in the Bible we see God blesses all the nations from one of Abraham’s family, but at this place in the Bible God takes them into the land He promised. Let’s see how it happened. Moses – although he was a great leader – was not allowed into the Promised Land. Moses had dishonoured God by hitting the rock with his stick at Kadesh, in the desert. God had told him to speak to the rock and provide water from it, Deuteronomy 32 verses 51-52; Numbers 20 verses 2 to 13. The Bible makes it clear that we must obey exactly what God tells us to do. ‘Near enough’ is not ‘good enough’! So Joshua finishes what Moses started.

Ask a good reader to read Joshua 1 verse 7 to the class:“Just be determined, be confident; and make sure that you obey the whole Law that My servant Moses gave you. Do not neglect any part of it and you will succeed wherever you go”. Ask the class to read the verse aloud, altogether. And when they have done it once, ask them to read it, altogether again, but louder! The leaders of Israel said to Joshua:“We will do everything you have told us and will go wherever you send us”, 1 verse16. Joshua sends two spies into the city of Jericho, the first city they plan to attack. One important thing the spies find out is that the people in Canaan believe that God is helping Israel, 2 verses 8-11. This makes the people of Jericho afraid. And it makes the spies very happy,

2 verse 24. Because they kept God at the top of their minds, they bring a report much better than their ancestors had done back in Numbers 13 verses 28-33. If we are obedient to God we can trust Him to be with us however great the opposition.

Stop and act. Ask the students to quickly set themselves up as a camp of Israelites (as they did in Lesson 10). Use the tribal name cards or flags you made. Have the Levites in the middle of the camp, around the chair with some Bibles on it. Ask the class to pretend the River Jordan is at the front of the class, (perhaps you can mark both sides of the river on the floor, so students can pretend where the water is). Put twenty-four big stones (or some boxes as pretend stones) in the river. Get the Levites to pick up the chair with the Bibles (representing the Covenant Box, Joshua 3 verse 6). They are to slowly walk across the River Jordan, with all the tribes of Israel slowly following them, one by one. They must keep a space around the


‘Covenant Box’ (chair) because it represents the Holy presence of God. When they have crossed the river, they can set up camp again, pretending to be on the other side of the river. The Levites must stay in the river holding the Covenant Box.

Have one person from each tribe go back into the river and each collect one stone,

4 verse 3. They should carry the stone on their shoulders, 4 verse 5. They put them down in their camp before everyone goes to sleep. (You could ask all the students – except the Levites – to lie down and pretend to sleep!). Silence!

Ask everyone to wake up. It is now the next day. Ask one person, representing Joshua, to go into the river and set up the twelve remaining stones in the middle of the river. Say to the class: ‘This is to remind the people of

a miracle God did for them on that day’.

Ask, ‘Can anyone find out what the miracle was? Look in Joshua 3 verse 9 to 4 verse 10’. (The answer is that the water stopped flowing when the Covenant Box was taken into the river, and 40,000 men crossed over on dry ground, 3 verse 17 and 4 verse 13). Have Joshua set up a second pile of stones somewhere in the camp. So there are two reminders – one in the river and another in the camp – that God stopped the Jordan flowing while His people entered into the Promised Land, 4 verse 7. God was clearly with the people of Israel.The Covenant Box was the symbol of His presence. His promise was that He was with them as long as they obeyed Him. He promised to meet their every need. Joshua followed God’s plan for the battle against Jericho. The story is in Joshua chapter 6. Nothing like it has ever happened before or since! A small group of soldiers led seven priests who were blowing their trumpets. Behind them came the Levites carrying the Covenant Box. The soldiers marched behind. They went around the walls of Jericho in a circle, one time, every day for six days. Each night they were back in camp. On the seventh day, early in the morning they started to do the same thing again. But they marched around Jericho seven times. As the priests were about to sound the trumpets at the end of the seventh time, Joshua commanded all the people to give a loud shout. As they did so, Jericho’s walls collapsed. Now without any defence, Israel easily defeated the people of Jericho. All the people and all the animals were destroyed and the city was burned. Only Rahab and her family were saved. She had helped the two spies and it was agreed she could live, 6 verse 25.

Matthew 1 verse 5 tells us that Rahab was to become an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Saviour from God Who would eventually come from Abraham’s family line and bless the whole world. (That’s later on in our Bible overview). So God’s people, with God’s rules for living, begin to live in the land God appointed for them and is now giving to them.

Stop and discuss (3) From Joshua chapter 6 verse 27 fill in the missing words:

“So t L w w J , and his fame spread through the w c .”


Answers to ‘Stop and discuss’

1. 1. Caleb, 13 verse 30, and Joshua, 14 verse 6.

2. They remembered God was going to take them there, 14 verse 8.

3. “the Lord is with us”.

2. 1. three times, verse 5 and verse 9.

2. God says He is giving them the land He promised.

“the land that I am giving them” (the people of Israel), verse 2 “I have given

you and all My people the entire land”, verse 3.

“as they occupy this land which I promised to their ancestors”, verse 6.

3. 1. obey it all, verses 7,8

2. do not neglect any part of it, verse 7

3. read it in public worship, verse 8

4. study it regularly, verse 8

3. “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread through the whole country”.


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