Summary of Lesson Activities:
Construct Jericho’s double wall out of crackers and frosting.
Before class starts on the first day, you will need to do the following:
- Create a “city of Jericho” on a large piece of brown or green craft paper. The “city” is made of squares and rectangles that you’ve traced onto the paper. Try starting with a “city” one foot in diameter. With the older classes it might be possible for them to trace box tops, etc., to make the city, but it will be necessary for you to set a time limit of less than five minutes to get it done, and to draw a circle for the size of the city.
- Obtain a large box of Graham crackers, a pound of powdered sugar, a package of sandwich baggies, a rolling pin, and some plastic knives and spoons. These are materials for creating the wall around Jericho. You will also need a map of ancient Israel.
- Break the crackers into the small strips (they’re usually perforated) that equal ¼ of a cracker each, and distribute ten or more crackers in a paper cup or on a napkin for each child.
- Right before class, mix some quantities of powdered sugar and water to make the frosting “glue” that will hold the wall and its foundation together. It takes 4 parts of powdered sugar to less than 1 part of water. Just add a little water, stir, and keep adding until the frosting has a gooey consistency. This mixture does get hard after while, so it should be mixed shortly before being used.
- If you want a well-anchored wall, have a few kids be “foundation builders”. For each foundation brick, they need 2 quarters of a cracker crushed in the plastic baggie (use the rolling pin), 2 spoons full of powdered sugar in the bag, and less than 1 spoon full of water. They should knead the cracker and powdered sugar together, then add just enough water to make the stuff stick together in a lump inside the bag. They can arrange their “bricks” in a circle around “Jericho” as they make them.
- The other members of the class will be making “wall blocks” while the foundation is being prepared. Each child will need a cup with a little of the frosting “glue” in it, a plastic knife, and 2 quarter crackers per block. They spread some frosting on one cracker and stick it evenly together with the other quarter to make a double wall that is strong and can stand up. The children will enjoy building the wall; let them see how high they can build it too. It might be possible to simply stand the wall blocks in some frosting for the base of the wall (so it will fall over more easily), but the foundation bricks provide a sturdier wall.
- Green craft paper
- Graham Crackers
- Powdered Sugar
- Plastic Knives
- Map of ancient Israel.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction
Introduce yourself to the children as they come into the room with their guide. They will be wearing nametags, and in September, when you are new to them, you can also wear a nametag.
Review the memory verse with them, “Be strong and courageous, …for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 Also review the bonus verse, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Explain that our lesson today comes from the book of Joshua, the sixth book of the Bible. For grades 3 – 6, have them take their Bible (or a Bible supplied to them) and look at the table of contents. They can count down to the sixth book, Joshua, and find the page to turn to. You can also tell them, “Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua…”. This might be an opportunity to find their memory verse again, too, in Joshua 1:9. Explain that Bible books are divided into chapters and verses to make if easier to find the words we want to read. Since our lesson covers chapters 1 – 6, they won’t be reading it aloud today, but you will be telling parts of the story to them as they work.
Variations: Omit the foundation “bricks” for a wall that’s easy to topple, use a single thickness of cracker, or use a can of purchased frosting that tastes better, is thicker, but probably won’t harden like the powdered sugar and water mixture. Flavors, colors, and purchased sandwich-type cookies are other possibilities.
Teaching: The first six chapters of the book of Joshua tell about God’s people entering the land of Canaan and conquering a walled city named “Jericho”. You need to know a little about Joshua first, however.
Joshua became the leader of God’s people (we will call them “the Israelites") after Moses died. Moses was the man God chose to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt into the land where their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had lived many years before. They didn’t get to go right into Canaan; they had to wander for 40 years in the desert while God made them strong and taught them many lessons about believing and obeying Him. Canaan was a rich land where it was possible to grow good food, and the Israelites knew it as the “Promised Land” because God had promised it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God also promised Moses that the people would return to the Promised Land, and He chose Joshua to lead them into the land.
The people who lived in Canaan, the Canaanites, did not worship God. They worshipped idols and did many dreadful things, so God did not want His people to live with them. He told them to drive out the Canaanites, and He promised to be with them and help them occupy the Promised Land.
Joshua knew he would need God’s help; the Canaanites were fierce and tall warriors. Our memory verse tells of God’s promise to help Joshua. (Repeat it here.) First, Joshua had to lead the people across the Jordan River. (Show on the map.) The river was at “flood stage”, very full of deep water, because it was springtime. God told Joshua that if the priests would carry the Ark of the Covenant (a golden box with golden angels mounted on top that signified God’s presence with His people) into the river, the river would stop flowing. They did this, and all the people were astonished! They were able to cross over on dry ground. Then Joshua chose one person from each of the twelve tribes represented among the people to get a stone from the middle of the riverbed while the water was stopped. They did this, and then the priests left the river with the Ark, and the river came back to flood stage, full of water. The people made a special memorial pile out of the stones they took from the riverbed. This was to remind them of the great miracle God did in stopping the river from flowing. It was also to remind them of the time 40 years before when God made a way for them to cross through the Red Sea on dry land and saved them from the Egyptians.
Question: Do we have any memorial types of things at church, or do you have any at home?(ANS: How about taking communion, which reminds us of how Jesus died for our sins, or how about celebrating your birthday each year?)
Joshua sent out two spies to look at Jericho. They needed to report back to him so he could make a plan for conquering the city. The spies went to the house of a woman named “Rahab” who lived in a house on the wall of the city. She told them that everyone was hiding in the city, and that the people of Jericho were very much afraid of the Israelites. The king of Jericho sent soldiers to kill the spies, but Rahab hid them and let them leave safely to return to Joshua. She made them promise, however, that they would not kill her or her brothers or her mother and father when they conquered the city. The spies said, “You will be safe if you all stay in this house, and if you hang a red cord down from the window.” They also made her promise to be sure they got away safely, which they did, and the spies told Joshua that everyone in Jericho was very afraid of the Israelites and of their God. Some people say that the red cord reminds us of how Jesus’ death on the cross, when he also bled red blood, saves us from the punishment for sin, the wrong things we do.
The people got ready to attack Jericho, but it looked like a difficult task. The walls were double, and they were very thick. The outer wall was 12 feet thick, and the inner wall was 6 feet thick, and the walls were 30 feet high (higher than our church). There were houses built across the top of the double wall. God had a plan that would surprise Joshua and his soldiers. Remember, they did not have bombs or bulldozers!
Joshua was standing outside Jericho when he saw a man standing in front of him holding a sword in his hand. Joshua asked whose side the man was on, for Jericho or for Israel, but the man said, “Neither.” He told Joshua he was “the commander of the army of the LORD.” In other words, he was an angel, and he was sent to tell Joshua God’s plan. The plan may have sounded a little silly to some of Joshua’s soldiers, but this was the plan: Every day for six days the priests had to carry the Ark of the Covenant around Jericho’s walls. There were to be seven priests blowing trumpets made of ram’s horns marching just in front of the Ark, and all the armed men were to march silently in front of them. More people would march behind the Ark. On the seventh day, they were to march around Jericho seven times, and the seventh time, when the priests blew a signal on the trumpets, they were all to SHOUT as loud as possible. The Bible says that at that time there were about 40,000 armed men in the Israelite camp.
The people had faith in God, and they obeyed God’s plan. There was a very large number of people in that march each day, and the people of Jericho stayed locked up and afraid inside the walls. Finally, they marched around seven times on the seventh day, and gave a mighty SHOUT at the sound of the trumpets. The walls fell down flat! They had not pushed the walls; God made them fall outward from the city. Archaeologists have found the remains of the walls and of the city of Jericho. As God had commanded, the people did not take anything from the city except items of silver, gold and bronze which they dedicated to God. They left the food and clothes and everything else, and they burned the city. These things have also been seen by archaeologists.
Rahab and her family joined the Israelites in their camp, and Rahab married an Israelite man named Salmon. Because she had faith in God and joined His people, she became the great, great, great, great, great…grandmother of Jesus.
All these great things were done because Joshua and the people believed and trustedand obeyed God. When you believe and obey God, God is ruling inside you. That is called “being in the Kingdom of God”. God wants you to believe that He knows and loves you just as you are, that He can forgive you because Jesus died on the cross for your sins (the wrong things we all do), and that He is with you all the time.
Questions for discussion: (feel free to insert these as needed during the teaching time)
- Who was Joshua? (ANS: He was the man God chose to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.)
- What was the Promised Land? (ANS: It was the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and it was called Canaan.)
- Tell how Joshua showed faith in God in this story. (ANS: He lead the people across the Jordan River in the way God commanded, and he lead the people in God’s plan to conquer Jericho, although each of these appeared to be impossible.)
- What is one example of obedience in this story? (ANS: Joshua and the people obeyed God’s plan for crossing the river on dry land, and they also obeyed God’s plan to conquer Jericho by marching. They also did not take riches for themselves out of Jericho when they conquered the city.)
- Why do you think Joshua needed God’s plan for conquering Jericho? (ANS: It was a heavily armed city with walls 30 feet high and twenty feet thick in some places. They didn’t have bulldozers or bombs to break down the walls, and if they tried to break down the gate, the soldiers in Jericho would have attacked them.)
Journal question: What is one way you can show faith and obedience to God at home or at school? Maybe there’s something God is preparing you to do, just as He prepared Joshua and the Israelites. Draw or write about showing your faith and obedience to God.
End with a circle of prayer, and invite children to return next time for a different workshop with their Bible and a friend. Be sure to shake the table so the walls of Jericho fall down before you dismiss the children! Then they can shout loudly.
A lesson written by rotation.org member "learner" from: Silverdale UMC
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.