Summary of Lesson Activities:
Uses Legos to recreate scenes from the story.
I hereby command you: be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
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.
By the end of this workshop, 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
- 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.
- Review Bible Background notes
- familiarize yourself with the full story of Joshua.
- Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
- Set up materials.
*** Each child or group will create a unique project. This is not a craft where all should look the same.
- Bibles (supplied in room)
- Legos or other building toys
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, Abingdon Press
Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
Open with a prayer.
Introduction & Bible Story:
(For the first part of the rotation, go ahead and read the story from the Bible. For the latter part of the rotation—when the children should be familiar with the story—have them tell you the story)
Since the story covers a variety of 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?
Divide children into groups. Each group will be creating a scene from any part of the Bible story—using the Legos 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 rely on a specific way to build one. You can show the picture examples if they feel they need some ideas.
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 ask questions such as:
- What part of the story does your scene 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?
When you look at the scene 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.
This majority of this lesson material (except for minimal adaptations) is from: St. John Lutheran Church's Joshua and Caleb and the Twelve Spies Art Workshop, St. John Lutheran Church, Forest Park, IL, posted January 19, 2006 found here https://www.rotation.org/topic...0#295011598215974340
Lego pictures from: http://www.bricktestament.com
lesson from Fishers UMC Church
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.