River Community Church
Joshua and the City of Jericho
- Movie Workshop: the children will watch the Veggie Tale video Josh and the Big Wall and will consider that God's ways are motivated by His love for His people.
- Drama Workshop: the children will hear the story of Joshua's obedience to God and the people's trust in God as they cross the River Jordan and knock down the walls of Jericho. The children will then have an opportunity to retell the story by creating their own dramas.
- Games Workshop: the children will play several games to explore not only the story of Joshua's leading the people into the Promised Land but also the qualities of a Godly leader.
- Art Workshop: the children will make a map which will help them understand where the important events we learned about during the last few rotations and the events of this rotation took place.
Scripture Reference: Joshua 1-6
Memory Verse: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)
Lesson Objectives for the rotation
At the end of the rotation, the students will
- connect this story of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness to the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
- know who Joshua is and that he was chosen by God to be the leader of the Israelites after Moses.
- relate the story of the fall of Jericho.
- know that God fights our battles for us.
- know that God asks us to be obedient servants and to do what is right (even when people make fun of us).
- be able to repeat the memory verse.
Teacher's Background Comments:
compiled by Amy Crane
- After forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites finally reach the Promised Land (Canaan — approximately present-day Israel). The time in the wilderness is bookended by miraculous crossings of bodies of water on dry ground — out of Egypt across/through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land across/through the River Jordan. Leaving Egypt was preceded by a Passover Feast (the first) and the arrival in the Promised Land was followed by a celebration of the Passover Festival.
- Joshua and Caleb are the only two who left Egypt to enter the Promised Land. See Numbers 14: 26-38 for the explanation. (Moses did not get to the Promised Land, but God did allow him to see it. See Numbers 20:1-13 and Deuteronomy 34:1-5.)
- The story emphasizes that the Israelites’ success in crossing the river and taking the city are entirely God’s doing (signified by the Ark’s presence). Military strategy is not important (but Joshua is a great general). Obedience is important. The land is a gift from God, as promised first to Abraham.
- Read Numbers 27: 12-23 for background on the selection of Joshua. See Numbers 13 for another spying expedition across the Jordan.
- The celebration of the Passover (5:10) as well as the memorial set up in Gilgal underline the importance of telling the children the stories of God’s mighty acts (4: 21-24). (Part of the Passover tradition is the youngest child asking, “Why is this night special?") See also Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
- Note that God provided exactly as much manna as was needed. As soon as the Israelites began to eat the food grown in Canaan, the manna stopped (Joshua 5:11-12; see also Exodus 16: 15-18).
- An interesting and important fact: Rahab (who helped the spies and was saved when Jericho was destroyed) was an ancestor of Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1).
- The Ark of the Covenant served as a physical reminder of God’s presence with the people. You can find a description of it in Exodus 25. Priests carrying the Ark lead the way into the River Jordan, which was a reminder that God was leading them into the Promised Land and God was the one stopping the flow of the river.
- Why seven days and seven times around Jericho? The number seven is associated with divine perfection and completeness. For example, see Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:8-10; and Revelation 1:12-13, 16.
- Archaeologists and historians have dated the events in the book of Joshua to the late thirteenth century, BC.
Books for Sharing During Shepherd Time:
- Chaikin, Miriam. Joshua in the Promised Land. New York: Clarion, 1982.
- Also look for illustrated children’s story Bibles that include this story, such as
- Hartman, Bob. The Lion Storyteller Bible. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Lion Publishing, 1995.
- Turner, Philip. The Bible Story. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.
Other Resources for Shepherds (just in case you have some extra time to fill)
Coloring Sheets: do a Google search for Fall of Jericho Coloring Picture.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Crossing the Jordan: a Story to Read with Your Children
Moses writes in Deuteronomy: “Israel, remember this! The LORD — and the LORD alone — is our God. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.”
Friends, remember the stories of the LORD’s love. Remember, how with God’s help, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, and into the wilderness. For forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Moses grew old, and Joshua, son of Nun, was chosen to be Moses’ successor.
Remember how the Lord spoke to Joshua after Moses died? “Get ready now, you and the people of Israel, to cross the River Jordan into the land that I am giving you. Joshua, no one will be able to defeat you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will always be with you. I will never abandon you.”
So Joshua ordered the leaders of the twelve tribes to go through the camp to tell the people: “Get ready, for soon we are going to cross the River Jordan to occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
You can imagine what the people were saying. While the River Jordan is nothing like the mighty Mississippi, it was the flood season, and the River Jordan is deep and wide. They had no bridge, no boats. But the people trusted Joshua, the leader the Lord had chosen for them, so they packed and prepared to cross the river.
Friends, remember how, a few days later, Joshua called to the Israelites: “You will know that the living God is among you when the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the Earth crosses the River Jordan ahead of you. When the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant put their feet in the water, the River Jordan will stop flowing, and the water will pile up in one place.”
So the Israelites gathered their children and their herds. And the priests went ahead of them, carrying the Ark of the Covenant. The priests stepped into the cold water of the River Jordan.
Remember how the Israelite nation, gathered on the bank of the River Jordan, watched as the water stopped! There was no water coming down the River Jordan. It began to pile up; some say it was piled three hundred miles high that day! The people were in awe. Now they knew for certain that God was with Joshua as He had been with Moses. And so the people walked across the River Jordan on dry ground. No mud!
Remember how the Lord told Joshua: “Call twelve men, one from each tribe. Command them to take twelve stones out of the River Jordan, from the very place where the priests are standing with the Ark of the Covenant. Tell them to carry the stones with them and to put them down where you camp tonight.”
The twelve men did as Joshua ordered. Each took up a stone from the riverbed. Those stones were carried to the camping place, and arranged there. That place was named Gilgal, which means “circle of stones.”
Joshua gathered the people at the circle of twelve stones that had been taken from the River Jordan. He told the people, “In the future, when your children ask ‘What do these stones mean?’, tell them about the time Israel crossed the River Jordan on dry ground. Tell them the Lord your God dried up the river just as he dried up the Red Sea for us. Tell them the stories of Moses and Aaron, of Miriam and thanksgiving. Tell them how God led us through the wilderness for forty years and fed us when we were hungry and gave us water when we were thirsty and loved us even when we grumbled. Tell your children and your children’s children these stories. Then, all the people of the earth shall know how great the Lord your God’s power is, and you will honor and love the Lord your God forever.”
-- retelling adapted from Joshua 1, 3-4 and Deuteronomy 6: 4-7 Today’s English Version; Copyright 2003 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.
Scripture quotations marked NIV taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Other Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today's English Version-Second Edition, Copyright 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.
River Community Church Elementary RiverKidz News
JOSHUA AND THE CITY OF JERICHO
Scripture: Joshua 1-6
Objectives for the rotation
(see listing above)
(see summaries above)
FAMILY TIME WITH GOD
To extend this rotation at home: Talk about being obedient, even when we don’t understand why. Make a list of family rules and Bible rules and school rules with your children. Talk about the reasons for each. Your children will understand some explanations, and there will probably be some that you will have to explain as “Because I said so” rules. Discuss how children and adults sometimes do not understand why God says “Yes” or “No” or tells us to do something, but that sometimes we must be like the Israelites at Jericho and obey Him even things don’t make sense.
[adapted from Talkable Bible Stories by Larry Richards, Revell, 1995.]
Parents, Tell your children the stories of our faith. Teach them God’s commands. If you do not feel comfortable telling the stories, read them. You can read from the Bible; many of the stories (such as this rotation’s stories about Joshua) are interesting enough for even the youngest listener to hear directly from the Bible — and children are never too old to be read to.
We use the New Living Translation on Sunday mornings. The Tyndale “NLT Kid’s Life Application Bible” has great background notes and life application questions. Visit a bookstore to pick out a Bible that you and your child like. Or buy an illustrated children’s Bible. A good choice is The Lion Storyteller Bible: a New Retelling Especially for Reading Aloud by Bob Hartman (Lion, 1995).
Thank you to our Joshua Rotation Team:
Curriculum Writers: Amy Crane, Jamie Senyard and Michelle Slatton
Sunday School Coordinator: