COMPLETE LESSON SET: Joshua & Caleb/12 Spies from St John Lutheran, Forest Park, IL

Here is a complete set of three lessons for…

 

JOSHUA AND CALEB AND THE TWELVE SPIES

 

 

A lesson set written by folks from
St. John Lutheran Church
Forest Park, IL. 2006.
For their Rotation program called "Salvation Stations—A Journey of Faith"

 

 

Summary of all workshops in this Rotation:

  • Drama: The children will go “spying” on 2 scavenger hunts to find props that will help them to tell the Bible Story.
  • Art: Create dioramas depicting various scenes from the story.
  • Science: Perform several experiments that reinforce the story. (Note: Requires using the book Amazing Science Devotions for Children's Ministry.)
  • Games: Some active games to reinforce the content and a “Zonk” game to test their knowledge of the Bible story.

 

 


 

Bible Passage: Numbers 13 and 14

Key Verse/Memory Verse: “…the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” ---Numbers 14: 9b

 

Main Idea:
Joshua and Caleb put their faith and trust in God and His strength and power, while the 10 other spies worried about the superior size and strength of the enemy and the comparative weakness of the people of Israel.

 


Goals — by the end of this Rotation, the students will:

  • Find the story in the book of Numbers.
  • Understand that God’s way is the right way and that we should trust Him
  • Realize that since God is with us, we have nothing to fear.
  • Understand that our fears can paralyze us if we rely on ourselves and not God
  • Relate the story to scary or upsetting situations in their own lives.

 


 

Bible Background

The people of Israel have left Mt. Sinai, where they received the 10 commandments. After some further travels, they camp in the desert of Paran. The Lord tells Moses to send some spies to explore the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to Israel. Moses sends one representative from each of the 12 tribes, including Caleb (tribe of Judah) and Hoshea/Joshua (tribe of Ephraim). Moses gives them explicit directives on what they are to find out: numbers and strength of the current inhabitants, towns, fertility of the soil, types of plants and produce. After 40 days, the spies return to give their report.

The group of spies agrees about the goodness of the land and its produce, but then the reports begin to differ. The majority of the spies go on to say that the inhabitants of the Promised Land are powerful and of such great size that “we seemed like grasshoppers”. They spread these bad reports among the people. Caleb has a different opinion—to take possession of the land “for we can certainly do it”. The people of Israel believe the negative reports and complain and rebel against Moses and the Lord. They lacked trust in God and forget about all the miracles that God has already performed on their behalf in the recent past (the plagues, crossing the Red Sea, manna and quail, etc). They said they would rather die in Egypt or in this desert than to go into the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb remind the people that “the Lord will give it [the land] to us” and “the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid.” These words have no effect on the people. In fact, they were ready to stone Joshua and Caleb, but this did not happen due to the appearance of the “glory of the Lord”.

The Lord is angry at the way the people are treating Him with contempt. He considers striking them all down with a plague, and starting over with Moses to create a faithful nation. Moses appeals to God and His gracious nature not to carry out this threat. The Lord forgives His people, but there are consequences. The people had said that they would rather die in the desert than to be led into Canaan to die by the sword, and this is what happened to them. Everyone who was age 20 or over would die in the desert—the only exceptions were faithful Joshua and Caleb. The people would wander in the desert for 40 years: one year for each day of the spies’ travels, giving enough time for that generation of people to die. The 10 spies who spread the bad report were struck down right away by a plague.

The people go against God’s judgment and try to enter the land of Canaan right away. God is not with them in this venture, and the attempted invasion fails.

There are some points to consider based on this story.
• Joshua and Caleb and the 10 spies saw the same evidence, but had very differing interpretations. Joshua and Caleb were yielded to the Spirit of God, so their interpretation of the problem and their approach to the problem differed from that of the 10 spies.
• The 10 spies were thinking about the superior size and strength of the enemy and the comparative weakness of the people of Israel. Joshua and Caleb put their faith and trust in God and His strength and power.

 


Reference:

 

The Interpreter's Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 1984. Print.

 

 

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Rotation.org Moderator reformatted this post to improve readability and to add a picture.

 

 

Photo depicting this story is by Providence Lithograph Company. This image is in the  Public domain, accessed via Wikimedia Commons, originally from http://thebiblerevival.com/.

 

 

 
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JOSHUA AND CALEB AND THE TWELVE SPIES

DRAMA WORKSHOP

 

SUMMARY OF LESSON ACTIVITY: The children will go “spying” on two scavenger hunts to find props that will help them to tell the Bible Story.

 

A lesson written by folks from:
St. John Lutheran Church - Salvation Stations: A Journey of Faith
Forest Park, IL. 2006.

 

 

Scripture References, Memory Verse, Theme and Objectives:

 

Refer to the first post in this lesson set.

 

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Find the Bible story in the book of Numbers.
  • Decide where you will put your trust—in God’s power or your own abilities.
  • Relate the story to upsetting or scary situations in your own lives.

 

 


 

Preparation:

 

  • Review Bible Background notes.
  • Gather Materials:
  • Bibles (supplied in teaching box)
  • Journaling pages
  • Spy Costume (Optional) for teacher: trench coat, spy glass or magnifying glass, etc.
  • Checklist 1 (described at end of lesson)—one for each student
  • Checklist 2 (described at end of lesson)—one for each student
  • Pencils
  • Bunch of artificial grapes with attached card saying: “ Here are some grapes so big that it took 2 men to carry just one bunch of grapes”
  • Milk jug and honey container, each with an attached card saying: “The land is flowing with milk and honey—it is full of good things”
  • Three Lego buildings, each with an attached card saying either: “The people who live there are powerful!” or “The cities are large and fortified!” or “We even saw descendents of Anak—they are giants!”
  • Blue triangle with the following words written on it: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
  • Several grasshoppers, each with an attached card saying: “All the people we saw are of great size. They were so big that we seemed as small as grasshoppers to them.”
  • Three orange circles, each with statements written on them saying either: “If only we had died in Egypt—or in this desert” or “Why is the Lord taking us to this new land where we will be killed by the sword” or “We should choose a new leader and go back to Egypt”
  • Purple shield with number 1 on one side and these words on the other side: “The land is good. The Lord will lead us into that land and give it to us.”
  • Purple shield with number 2 on one side and these words on the other side: “Don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. We will swallow them up. The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
  • Several stones (made out of stuffed paper bags painted gray), each with an attached card saying: “Stone them! Stone them!”
  • White square with the following words written on it: “How long will these people refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miracles I’ve done for them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them.”
  • White heart with the following words written on it: “ I forgive them. But there will still be consequences for their rebellion.”
  • Black diamond with the following words written on it: “They were struck down right away and died of a plague.”

 

Advance Preparation:

 

  • Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
  • Check to see which room your class is in (items from Checklist 2 can be hidden here) and which room you can hide the items for Checklist 1. The room for Checklist 1 should be a little distance away and go past a room with an adult Bible study.
  • Check with the Adult Bible study leader to make sure it is OK that your students “spy” on them (count how many adults are in the room).
  • Hide the various items for the scavenger hunt before class begins.

 



 


Presentation:

 

(Teacher lesson begins after "guide time" — the guides will review/ask questions about what happened last week)

 

  1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
  2. Open with a prayer .
  3. Introduction & Bible Story:

(The telling of the Bible story will unfold as the students read from the articles found in the scavenger hunt --described below. )

Our story this month is from the Old Testament—the book of Numbers.

 

Have the students find Numbers 13 in their Bibles.

 

Moses and the people of Israel have recently left Mt. Sinai. Do you remember what happened at Mt. Sinai? (giving of the 10 commandments)

 

Read Numbers 12:16 through 13: 1-3. Our lesson today is about these 12 spies and what they discovered in the land of Canaan and how they reacted in different ways to what they found in the land of Canaan. In fact, you are going to act the parts of these spies.

 

 

Activities:

Scavenger Hunt 1:

Moses asked these 12 spies to find out certain things in the land of Canaan.

 

Read Numbers 13: 17-20.

 

I’m giving each of you a pencil and a checklist (checklist 1)— all the sheets I am handing out are the same. The top part requires you to find out certain facts and write them here on the checklist. The bottom part lists some things that you are supposed to find and bring back here. Go over the checklist.

 

Remind them to let everyone have a chance to find things. You or the guide (or both) should go with the children on their search. Keep things going in a timely fashion. When they return to the classroom, make sure each student has at least one item.

Bible Story, Part 1:

(You will be calling on students with various items from the scavenger list to help tell the story. Their “lines” should be written on cards attached to their prop items)

 

Ask the students for their answers to the questions from the top part of the scavenger hunt list.

  • How many people were in the land (Adult Bible class)?
  • How many rooms (towns) did you pass?
  • What was the soil like (the color of the floor)?
  • How many trees/large potted plants did you see? If there are conflicting answers, mention that the spies in the Bible story didn’t agree about everything either.

Now, to get back to our Bible story. After the 12 spies received their instructions from Moses, they spent 40 days traveling and spying out the land. They returned to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community and gave their report.

 

What did they bring back to show as evidence. Call on the student holding the bunch of grapes to read their card.

 

What good news did all of the spies have about the land—call on the students carrying the milk jug and the honey container—they can read their answer together.

 

It sounds like this is an amazing place that God wants the people of Israel to move to. But then the spies start to have differing opinions. Call on the spies holding the Lego buildings and have them read the report attached to their cards.

Call on the student holding the blue triangle and say—“Caleb, can you give us your report?”

But the 10 spies kept giving a bad report about the land to the people of Israel. Call on the students with the grasshopper and ask “What did you tell the people?”

Scavenger Hunt 2:

The spies did not go out on a second trip, but I want you all to go on a second scavenger hunt to find the rest of the story.

 

Hand out copies of Checklist 2. These items are hidden in this room. Remind them to let everyone have a chance to find things. When they are done, make sure each student has at least one item.

Bible Story, Part 2:

Well, after the people of Israel heard the report of the spies, they started talking and complaining. Let’s hear what they have to say.

 

Call on the students with the orange circles to give their complaints. Moses and Aaron were upset with the people because they were rebelling against God and forgetting all the miracles that God had done for them. They were so upset they fell facedown on the ground.

But wait. Joshua and Caleb have something to say—call on the students holding purple shield #1 and then purple shield #2.

 

That sounds like good advice. Let’s hear what the people thought about that. Call on the students holding the stones to read their part.

 

Things aren’t looking too good for Joshua and Caleb. Help comes when the glory of the Lord appeared, in all His majesty and anger. This is what the Lord had to say—call on the student holding the white square.

 

Now things aren’t looking so good for the people of Israel. Moses pleads with God to spare the people and to forgive them. Let’s hear what the Lord’s response is—call on the student with the white heart.

These are the consequences that ALL the adults would suffer. The people had said that they would rather die in the desert than to be led into Canaan to die by the sword, and this is what happened to them. Everyone who was age 20 or over would die in the desert—the only exceptions were faithful Joshua and Caleb. The people would wander in the desert for 40 years: one year for each day of the spies’ travels, giving enough time for that generation of people to die.

The 10 spies who spread the bad report and helped lead the people of Israel into rebellion had a different fate. What happened to them—call on the student holding the black diamond.


Reflect/Closure:


The 12 spies visited the same area and saw the same things. Why did the 10 spies say that the people of Israel should not go into the Promised Land? (were afraid, didn’t think they could defeat the people living in the land, relying on themselves and not God) Why did Joshua and Caleb say that the people of Israel should go ahead and enter the Promised Land? (God was with them and would give them the land) Who did Joshua and Caleb trust? (God)

What are some scary things or upsetting things in the life of you or your family? How can you show your trust in God in this situation.

Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):


Help the guide to hand out pencils/pens and the student folders. Hand out the journaling pages. The children should find a place to sit quietly and think and write in their journals. You and the guide may need to help the younger children with their writing. Another option for younger children is to draw a picture about the topic.


Grade 1-2: Draw a picture of God (and His power) protecting you.

Grade 3-5: Pretend that you are Joshua or Caleb. Write a short speech trying to convince the people of Israel to trust God and go into the Promised Land.


Close with Prayer

 



Additional Suggestions

Age Adaptations

  • Younger students: Teacher or guide may need to help them with the reading.


Guide Information (Editor notes: Many churches call these "Shepherds")
Detailed Summary of Activities: The students will go on 2 different scavenger hunts. The items that they find will help tell the Bible story.

How the guide might help (this might be changed by the teacher): Go with the students on the scavenger hunt—the first hunt will be held in an area some distance from the classroom. Help them go through the halls quietly and to complete the scavenger hunt in a timely fashion. You may need to help the younger students read the statements attached to their props.

 



 

Scavenger Hunt List #1

 

 

Find out this information:

  • How many people are in the land (in the Adult Bible class)? _________________
  • How many rooms (towns) did you pass? __________________
  • What was the color of the floor (kind of like asking what the “soil” is like)?

    ________________________________________________________________
  • How many trees or large potted plants did you see? ______________________

 

 


The group should find these items and bring them back to class:

  • A bunch of grapes
  • A milk jug
  • A honey container
  • Small buildings made of Legos (there are more than 1)
  • A blue paper triangle
  • Grasshoppers (there are more than 1)





 

 

Scavenger Hunt List #2

 

The group should find these items and bring them back to class:

  • 3 orange paper circles
  • 2 purple paper shields
  • Paper bag “stones” (there are more than 1)
  • White paper square
  • White paper heart
  • Black Paper Diamond

 

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JOSHUA AND CALEB AND THE TWELVE SPIES

ART WORKSHOP

 

SUMMARY OF LESSON ACTIVITY: The children will create dioramas depicting various scenes from the story.

 

A lesson written by folks from:
St. John Lutheran Church - Salvation Stations: A Journey of Faith
Forest Park, IL. 2006.

 

 

Scripture References, Memory Verse, Theme and Objectives:

 

Refer to the first post in this lesson set.

 

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Understand Joshua and Caleb were yielded to the Spirit of God, so their interpretation of the problem and their approach to the problem differed from that of the 10 spies.
  • Realize that Joshua and Caleb put their faith and trust in God and His strength and power.
  • Draw the conclusion that we should put our faith and trust in God. Remembering that he is always with us.

 

 


 

Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes.
  • Gather Materials:
  • Bibles
  • Journaling pages
  • Boxes/cardboard for bases of scenes
  • Sandpaper or fabric for desert
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Fabric scraps
  • Wire
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Markers and crayons
  • Scrap paper—construction paper and tissue paper
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Cuttings from bushes
  • Glue guns

 

***(a good project for using up any other odds and ends in the art room!)

 

 

Advance Preparation:

  • Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
  • Set up of materials:
  • Boxes/cardboard and scissors should be placed around the table (one per child).
  • Next to each child should be a piece of sandpaper to used for the desert.
  • The other materials can be placed on plates around the table for children to take as they need/want them. *** Each child will create a unique project. This is not a craft where all should look the same.

 



 
Presentation:

 

(Teacher lesson begins after "guide time" — the guides will review/ask questions about what happened last week)

 

  1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
  2. Open with a prayer .
  3. Introduction & Bible Story:

(For the first part of the month, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the month—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)

Since the story covers 2 entire chapters from the book of Numbers, it isn’t realistic to read the entire story verse by verse. Either read the story from a Children’s storybook or use a combination of Bible passages and summarizing the story in your own words.

 

Some questions that could be asked for reviewing the story are:

  • Why did the spies go into the land of Canaan?
  • How did the report of Caleb and Joshua differ from that of the other spies?
  • How did the people react?
  • Who else put their trust in God?
  • What was the punishment for not putting their trust in God?
  • What does this tell us we should do when faced with challenging situations?

 

Activities: Diorama

 

Each of you will be creating a diorama—a scene from the Bible story—using any of the materials on the tables. You do not need to pick the same scenes. Allow children to choose their own materials and way to depict the story in this project. Students should be encouraged to create their own unique scene rather than a “standard craft” project.

Lead the students to create a scene reflecting the Bible story. Students should consider the background and people of the story. Offer ideas and suggestions only if needed.

As students are working on the dioramas ask questions such as:

  • What part of the story does your diorama reflect?
  • What did God want the people to do?
  • What stories did the spies come back and tell?
  • How did Caleb and Joshua’s report differ from that of the other spies?
  • Did they have trust in God?
  • How did God punish those who didn’t trust him?
  • What does God want us to remember?


Reflect/Closure:

 

When you look at the diorama you made I hope it will remind you of Joshua, Caleb and God. It should help to remind you that we should always trust God. God is always with us, just as He was with Joshua and Caleb.

 

Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):

 

Help the guide to hand out pencils/pens and the student folders. Hand out the journaling pages. The children should find a place to sit quietly and think and write in their journals. You and the guide may need to help the younger children with their writing. Another option for younger children is to draw a picture about the topic.

Grade 1-2: Think of a time when something was really difficult. Do you think God was with you? How do you know?

Grade 3-5:  Ask students: “Have you ever encountered something you thought you would never be able to do?” “What things did you do or could you have done to help you overcome this?” “How did you put your trust in God” “Is it possible God was with you and helped?” “How do you know?”

 

Close with Prayer.

 


Age Adaptations

  • Younger students:

Sandpaper could be glued onto the boards ahead of time.
Teachers may need to help students create ‘people’ for the scene
Help with the glue gun is a MUST.
Students should not use the glue gun. Adults should do any gluing for the students.
Additional help may be needed with cutting

  • Older students:

Help with the glue gun is a MUST.

 

 


Guide Information (Editor notes: Many churches call these "Shepherds")
Detailed Summary of Activities:

Opening prayer
Reading or reviewing of Bible story with discussion
Diorama creation
Journaling
Closing prayer

How the guide might help (this might be changed by the teacher):

Set-up of materials
Assisting children while working on their project
Opening or closing prayer

 

 

Resources/Bibliography

The Interpreter's Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 1984. Print.

Tresner, Linda. "Moses - Wandering in the Wilderness: Art Workshop." Rotation.org. 2004. Web.

<http://www.rotation.org/topic/art-workshop-lessons-ideas-and-resources-for-sinai-stories?reply=295011598215986424#295011598215986424>.

 

 

 

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JOSHUA AND CALEB AND THE TWELVE SPIES

SCIENCE WORKSHOP

 

SUMMARY OF LESSON ACTIVITY: The children will perform several experiments that reinforce the story including:

  1. An optical illusion showing us that sometimes the choices we make in our lives seem like they are right, but things are not always what they seem to be!
  2. A reminder to trust in God when we find ourselves in scary situations.
  3. A demonstration that shows that sometimes other people might try and pull us away from God’s plan.

 

A lesson written by folks from:
St. John Lutheran Church - Salvation Stations: A Journey of Faith
Forest Park, IL. 2006.

 

 

Scripture References, Memory Verse, Theme and Objectives:

 

Refer to the first post in this lesson set.

 

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Know that the Lord is always with us.
  • Understand that God’s way is the right way and that we should put our trust in Him.
  • Realize that since God is with us, we have nothing to fear.

 

 


 

Preparation:

 

  • Review Bible Background notes and Bible Passages, Numbers 13-14, Deut. 31:1-8, Joshua 3-4.
  • Gather Materials:
  • The book: Amazing Science Devotions for Children’s Ministry (Note: to avoid copyright violation I’ve given enough information so that you get the general idea of the lesson, however this book is needed to be able to use this lesson.)
  • Bibles
  • Children’s Story Bible
  • Journaling pages
  • Two stacks of books (stacks should be different heights—one should be about 6 inches higher than the other)
  • Two yardsticks shaped into a “v”
  • Two funnels (the same size)
  • Masking tape
  • Several flashlights – enough for one per 2-3 kids
  • One or two large mirrors – big enough that several kids can look into each one at the same time or several hand held mirrors
  • Balloons
  • Twist Ties
  • Empty thread spool with a hollow center
  • Dark Marker

 

Advance Preparation:

  • Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
  • Do the experiments prior to teaching, to see what adaptations might be necessary.
FIRST EXPERIMENT: Use 2 rulers and 2 stacks of books (different heights) to create a racetrack for a car made of 2 funnels. The “car” moving on the track creates an optical illusion—it looks like it is moving up, but is really moving down.

SECOND EXPERIMENT: The students will use flashlights and mirrors to look at the pupils (black part of the eye) of themselves and other students—in the dark and shining the light into the eyes.

THIRD EXPERIMENT: 2 balloons—blown up to different sizes—are attached to a thread spool and then twist-tied shut. When the ties are removed, the air will move from the smaller to the bigger balloon.

 



 

Presentation:

 

(Teacher lesson begins after "guide time" — the guides will review/ask questions about what happened last week)

  1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
  2. Open with a prayer .
  3. Introduction & Bible Story:

(For the first part of the month, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the month—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)

 

Ask: Who knows the story of Joshua and Caleb?

Say: We’re going to take a look at this story in the Bible today.

 

Read the story from a Children’s Bible or summarize the story, reading selected verses from the Bible passage.

 

Numbers 13 Summary

 

The people of Israel have left Mt. Sinai, where they received the 10 commandments. After some further travels, they camp in the desert of Paran. The Lord tells Moses to send some spies to explore the land of Canaan, which the Lord was giving to Israel. Moses sends one representative from each of the 12 tribes, including Caleb (tribe of Judah) and Hoshea/Joshua (tribe of Ephraim). Moses gives them explicit directives on what they are to find out: numbers and strength of the current inhabitants, towns, fertility of the soil, types of plants and produce. After 40 days, the spies return to give their report.

The group of spies agrees about the goodness of the land and its produce, but then the reports begin to differ. The majority of the spies go on to say that the inhabitants of the Promised Land are powerful and of such great size that “we seemed like grasshoppers”. They spread these bad reports among the people. Caleb has a different opinion – to take possession of the land “for we can certainly do it”. The people of Israel believe the negative reports and complain and rebel against Moses and the Lord. They lacked trust in God and forgot about all the miracles that God has already performed on their behalf in the recent past (the plagues, crossing the Red Sea, manna and quail etc). They said they would rather die in Egypt or in this desert than to go into the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb reminded the people that “the Lord will give it [the land] to us” and “the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid”. These words have no effect on the people. In fact, they were ready to stone Joshua and Caleb, but this did not happen due to the appearance of the “glory of the Lord”.

 

Numbers 14 Summary


The Lord is angry at the way the people are treating Him with contempt. He considers striking them all down with a plague, and starting over with Moses to create a faithful nation. Moses appeals to God and His gracious nature not to carry out this threat. The Lord forgives His people, but there are consequences. The people had said that they would rather die in the desert than to be led into Canaan to die by the sword, and this is what happened to them. Everyone who was age 20 or over would die in the desert- the only exceptions were faithful Joshua and Caleb. The people would wander in the desert for 40 years: one year for each day of the spies’ travels, giving enough time for that generation of people to die. The 10 spies who spread the bad report were struck down right away by a plague.

The people go against God’s judgment and try to enter the land of Canaan right away. God is not with them in this venture, and the attempted invasion fails.

 

Ask: For any questions that the students may have.

Ask: The students what they think the main points of this story are (or for younger kids, discuss the main points with them).


Answers:

  • Joshua and Caleb and the 10 other spies saw the same evidence but had very differing opinions on taking over Canaan. Joshua and Caleb were yielded to the Spirit of God, so their interpretation of the problem and their approach to the problem differed from that of the 10 other spies.
  • The 10 spies were thinking about the size and the strength of the other army, but Joshua and Caleb put their faith and trust in God and His strength and power.
  • The Lord is with us, even with the circumstances seem unfavorable
  • God’s way is the right way and He will help us
  • Because of the above, we don’t need to fear if we are doing God’s will and trusting Him


Say: Today’s memory verse is Numbers 14:9 “The Lord is with us, Do not be afraid of them.”

Ask: What that verse means.

Say: We’re going to do some experiments today that remind us to trust in God rather than ourselves and to remember that we don’t have to be afraid if we put our faith in God.


Activities:

Experiment 1:

See the experiment in the book chapter called “Rolling uphill?”. Use their instructions and questions through the explanation of gravity. Then say:

Say: Sometimes the choices we make in our lives seem like the right ones but things are not always what they seem to be – just like in this experiment. Unless we are doing what God wants us to do, we probably aren’t doing the right thing, even if it seems like the right thing.

 

In our Bible story, what did the 10 spies think was the “right” thing to do? (stay away from the giants in the Promised Land)

Why did they think this was the best thing to do (impossible to defeat the giants of the land)

If the people would have trusted God to defeat these enemies—like Joshua and Caleb encouraged them to do—then what would have happened? (would have entered Promised Land instead of wandering in desert for 40 years)

 

We must put our trust in God’s abilities, not our own. As long as we do what God wants, God will help us, even when things seem impossible.

Ask: For any questions from the students.

Experiment 2:
Say: Let’s try our second experiment.

Say: There may be times in our lives when we are afraid, just like the spies were afraid. But God’s Word reminds us that God is always with us. God will guide us through our lives and we have nothing to fear. Remember our memory verse, “ The Lord is with us, Do not be afraid of them”.

Have the kids form pairs or groups of 3. Perform the experiment according to the chapter in the book called “Look!” (don’t start off with the reading from Psalms, though).

Joshua and Caleb did just that – despite what the other spies said, they knew in their hearts that God was with them and that they were doing God’s will. Because of that they were not afraid to try and enter the Promised Land. We can remember Joshua and Caleb and this experiment to remind ourselves to trust in God when we find ourselves in scary situations. We can remind ourselves that we have nothing to fear when God is with us.

Ask: For any questions that the students have.

Experiment 3:
If you haven’t already done so, have someone (you or students) blow the 2 balloons up
(one is large—almost to capacity; one is small—size of grapefruit). Write “10” on the big balloon and “2” on the smaller one. Tie them off with the twist ties. Stretch the end of each balloon over an end of the spool. Take the twist tie off the small balloon.

Follow the experiment outlined in the chapter: “The Battle of the balloons” until the book tells you to read from Matthew. Instead of doing this, say...

Say: In our story, the people of Israel had a choice. They could follow the advice of the 10 spies or the advice of the 2 spies (Joshua and Caleb).

 

Whose advice did they follow? (the 10 spies)

They let the wrong ideas influence them and got pulled away from God’s plan for them. Kind of like the way the air got sucked out of the small balloon into the bigger balloon. Sometimes other people might try and pull us away from God’s plan—they might ask us to do things that are wrong or even make fun of you for doing the right thing.

Has this ever happened to you?

Say: God wants you to follow His way, even when it isn’t easy. He will help you and give you strength. Don’t follow the example of the people of Israel—they went away from God’s plan and didn’t trust Him and look where it got them. They all wandered and died in the desert. Except Joshua and Caleb—God rewarded their trust and obedience by allowing them to enter the Promised Land.

 

Reflect/Closure:

Say: In the Bible story that we studied today, Joshua and Caleb were able to put aside their fear. Despite what the other spies said, they knew in their hearts that God was with them and that they were doing God’s will. Because of that they were not afraid to try and enter the Promised Land. We can remember Joshua and Caleb and these experiments to remind ourselves to trust in God when we find ourselves in scary situations. We can remind ourselves that we have nothing to fear when God is with us.

Ask: For any questions that the students have.


Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):

 

Help the guide to hand out pencils/pens and the student folders. Hand out the journaling pages. The children should find a place to sit quietly and think and write in their journals. You and the guide may need to help the younger children with their writing. Another option for younger children is to draw a picture about the topic.

Grade 1-2:
Think about a time when you felt afraid and your faith in God helped you get through it. Write or draw a picture about that time.

Grade 3-5:
Think about a time when you felt afraid and your faith in God helped you get through it. Write about that time.

 

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, please help us to remember that you are with us and that you will help us through any situation, even when things seem impossible. Help us to not feel afraid and to remember to put our trust and faith in you and your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Additional Suggestions

Age Adaptations

  • Younger students: Read to them. Read some of the Bible verses and summarize the remainder of the story.


Guide Information (Editor notes: Many churches call these "Shepherds")
Detailed Summary of Activities: The students will read and discuss the Bible passage and then will conduct several experiments.

 

How the guide might help:

Help gather the children for the first experiment.
Help the children as they conduct the second experiment.
Help with the journaling question.

 

 

Resources/Bibliography

Halasz, Sheila. Amazing Science Devotions for Children's Ministry. Loveland, CO: Group Pub.,

1999. Print.

The Interpreter's Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 1984. Print.

 

 

 

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JOSHUA AND CALEB AND THE TWELVE SPIES

GAMES WORKSHOP

 

SUMMARY OF LESSON ACTIVITY: The children will

 

A lesson written by folks from:
St. John Lutheran Church - Salvation Stations: A Journey of Faith
Forest Park, IL. 2006.

 

 

Scripture References, Memory Verse, Theme and Objectives:

 

Refer to the first post in this lesson set.

 

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Twelve spies went to Canaan but each had different interpretations of what they saw.
  • Our fears can paralyze us if we rely on ourselves and not God.
  • God expects us to trust him in all situations
  • The Lord is with us, even when circumstances seem unfavorable.

 

 


 

Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes.
  • Gather Materials:
  • Bibles
  • Journaling Pages
  • Balloons
  • Black Magic Markers
  • Supplies for “Zonk”: Rolling felt board, felt circle pieces for Zonk, horn noisemaker, copy of “rules”
  • Need a room with tables, chairs, boxes, throw pillows

 

Advance Preparation:

  • Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
  • Blow up balloons.
  • Set up the game board for "Zonk"— the circles should be placed on the game board so that their point values do NOT show.

 



 

Presentation:

 

(Teacher lesson begins after "guide time" — the guides will review/ask questions about what happened last week). (Editor notes: In some churches "Guides" are called "Shepherds.")

  1. Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
  2. Open with a prayer .
  3. Introduction & Bible Story:

(For the first part of the month, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the month—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)

 

How many of you have ever been afraid? What were you afraid of? (Discuss answers.)

 

Today we will hear a story about 12 spies that Moses sent into Canaan.

 

Tell story—use a Children’s Bible or summarize the story in your own words, using selected Bible passages as you see fit. Make sure that your telling of the story includes the facts that they need to know to answer the questions! Remind them to listen carefully because there will be a game testing their knowledge of the facts later.

 

 

Activities

 

Balloon Activity

Get out the balloons.

 

Say, “We are going to talk about our fears now.”

 

Have one child mention a fear and then write the fear on a balloon.

 

Have them hold onto their balloon for later. Give each child a turn. Depending on time and number of children, you might give them more than one turn.

Let’s look at our memory verse from Numbers 14: 9b: “…the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Talk about the verse and how God can help us with our fears.

We shouldn’t let our fears run our lives. God can help us deal with our fears. Now I want you to stamp this fear out by stamping on your balloon. (Make sure to pick up all the little balloon pieces as they can be a choking hazard).



Zonk Game: (see additional details at end of this post)
Divide the students into 2 teams. Explain the rules:

  • After you read the question, you will make a noise with the noisemaker. After the noise, students may raise their hands to answer. You won’t call on people until after the noise is made (This is to give all the kids a chance to think about the question and the answer instead of favoring the quickest thinker; which means all the kids are learning)
  • The person giving the correct answer may come to the board and choose a circle and their team will get the points on the back of the circle. If they so choose, they can choose more than 1 circle and get those points. There is a risk though—some of the circles are blank, which means you lose all the points from that turn.
  • Then you will ask another question… (See the end of the lesson for the list of questions.)

With the younger students, you may want to make some of the questions True/False or multiple-choice. If you notice that one or two students seem to be dominating you could place some restrictions, for example: (for this question, only students wearing red can answer or only boys can answer, etc.)

 

Obstacle Course: (if there is time)
Have the students set up an obstacle course using tables, chairs, boxes, throw pillows. Give each student a chance to complete the obstacle course. Then have the entire class cover the same “distance” but without the obstacles.

Ask which course was quicker and easier—the one with or without obstacles. God wants us to trust Him in everything that we do, but sometimes we let “obstacles” get between us and God. Or maybe we get scared and forget that we can trust God. What obstacles got in the way between God and the people of Israel? (afraid of the giant people, didn’t trust God to give them the land that He had already promised to them) What are some obstacles in your life and in your walk with God? Why can you trust God?

 


Reflect/Closure:


We have talked about a lot of fears. God wants us to trust in him and know that he is always with us. When we truly trust in him, we know that he is stronger than any fear we have and can help us overcome it.

 

Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):

 

Help the guide to hand out pencils/pens and the student folders. Hand out the journaling pages.

The children should find a place to sit quietly and think and write in their journals. You and the guide may need to help the younger children with their writing. Another option for younger children is to draw a picture about the topic.


Grade 1-2: What is one problem that you can trust God with?

Grade 3-5: What is one problem or fear that you can entrust to God?

 

Closing Prayer:

 

Dear Lord, help us to bring all of our fears to you and know that you have the power to help us overcome them. Help us to always trust in you to be with us in all situations. In Jesus’ Name we pray. AMEN


Guide Information (Editor notes: Many churches call these "Shepherds")


Detailed Summary of Activities: The students will do a balloon-stomping activity as they stomp out their fears. They will also play a game testing their knowledge of the facts.

 

How the guide might help (this might be changed by the teacher): Help write the student’s fears on the balloons. Help to pick up all the little balloon pieces as they can be a choking hazard. Help keep score for the Zonk game.

 

 

Resources/Bibliography

 

Dunlop, Ed. Teaching with Bible Games: Twenty "kid-tested" Contest to Make Christian Education

Fun. Colorado: Meriwether, 1993. Print.

Lennartson, Susan. Games, Kids, and Christian Education. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress,

2001. Print.

 

 



Question for “Zonk” Game (answers in parenthesis)

  1. How many spies did Moses send to explore the land of Canaan? (12 spies)
  2. How long were the spies gone? (40 days)
  3. List two things that the spies were to look for? (what the land is like, what the people are like, what kind of towns they live in, how is the soil, are there trees, bring back some produce)
  4. What was a good thing that the spies reported? (land flowing with milk & honey; brought back huge bunch of grapes)
  5. The spies also reported that the people of the land were so huge that we seemed as small as __________________?  (grasshoppers)
  6. How did the people of Israel feel about this report?  (grumble & complain, want to go back to Egypt because they don’t want to be killed by these giant enemies)
  7. True or False? None of the spies wanted the people of Israel to go and take possession of the Promised Land.  (False—Joshua & Caleb did)
  8. Were the people of Israel trusting in God or trusting in their own strength?  (their own strength)
  9. What is a positive way that YOU can react when faced with problems?  (pray to God and ask for help)
  10. Say the memory verse.  (“…but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them”.—Numbers 14: 9b)
  11. Joshua and Caleb told the people to trust in God—He would help them take over the land. They responded by talking about stoning Joshua and Caleb. True or False? (The answer is True)
  12. How did God feel about the people’s refusal to trust Him? (angry - to the point of wanting to strike them down with a plague)
  13. How do you think God feels when YOU don’t trust Him?  (sad)
  14. What was the people’s punishment for not trusting Him and refusing to go into the Promised Land?  (had to wander in the desert for 40 years until all who were adults at that time had died)
  15. Who were the only two people from that time who were allowed to enter the Promised land 40 years later?  (Joshua and Caleb)
  16. Does God expect us to do everything ourselves?  (No)
  17. How can God help you when you are afraid?

 



Here is an explanation of the Zonk game

Materials: Large felt board, 30 or so felt circles with numbers (for scoring) written on one side (leave several circles blank), noisemaker, pencil and paper to keep track of the score

Set-Up: Place all the circles on the felt board so that the numbers don't show

How to Play: Divide the group into 2 teams. Read a question--players may raise their hands after you make a noise with your noise-maker. If the person is right, they may come to the board and pick a circle. Their team gets as many points as indicated. If they choose, they may pick more circle(s) and add to their score. However, if they pick a blank circle, they lose all the points for their turn and their turn is over.

 

 

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For the ZONK game, I painted the point values on the felt circles with Glow-in-the-Dark paint so that the numbers did not show though the lighter colors of felt. The children held the circles up to a black light to see what they had won. Great game.
 
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I like this lesson but have the following suggestions:

The DRAMA WORKSHOP scavenger hunt is great, but could EASILY be inspired interactive Storytelling Workshop.

The GAME workshop is a good example of a classic Rotation Game Workshop. I like the way the GAME reflects the "obstacles" content.

The SCIENCE WORKSHOP is one of the FEW I've read and liked.
A good example of having more than one demonstration, and making them relate to the actual central point in the story!!! Nice going Cathy.

The ART WORKSHOP is the one I'd beef up a bit with more specifics. I could see younger kids struggling without specific "scene" ideas. Might substitute it with a "spyglass making" project.
 
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