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Biblical Topics: 

1. Joshua and the Israelites Enter the Promised Land (Joshua 1-5)



Main Point: There is nothing to fear when we trust and obey God.


Key Verse:

Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go. - Joshua 1:9

Props: 2 towels or cloths. 1 staff or stick, 12 large stones (small enough for students to carry)


Teacher: Before you begin to teach, choose two volunteers to add interest to the story of the “changing of the guard” of the leadership of Israel. Choose an older child or adult to be Moses. Chose a smaller child to be Joshua. Put a towel or cloth on each of their heads, and give Moses a staff or stick. Start with your Moses up in front of the group.

Say: We have studied all about Moses, the leader of the Israelites. Now we will learn that it was time for God to bring in a NEW leader for His people. God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God had promised to lead His people through the wilderness into a wonderful land. God said the land was good and spacious, and it would be flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8). Teacher: SHOW MAP. The Israelites were now east of the Jordan River. God was going to give the Israelites the land that was west of the Jordan. Teacher: REFER to MAP. The land was not a land without people, though. The land was already home to the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jesusites. Teacher: Point to cities on map. These people had homes, cities, and armies.

Ask: Do you think all of these people would just give up their home land when the Israelites came? No.

Say: We will see that the Israelites will have to participate in many battles to conquer this land. God told the Israelites that they would conquer all of these people, and they must destroy* them totally (Deuteronomy 7:1).

Note to Teacher: The Israelite’s disobedience on this point * will be a very important point when we study the book of Judges.

The “Changing Of The Guard” (Numbers 27:12-23)

Teacher: Call up your Moses.

Say: Moses had led God’s people for many years. Because the Israelites did not obey God while they were in the wilderness, God did not lead them straight into the land He had promised them. The trip from Egypt to their new home should have taken the Israelites only DAYS, but instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 YEARS. All of that time, God PROVIDED everything the Israelites needed (Deuteronomy 29:5-6). The very people who had been delivered out of Egypt by mighty miracles soon mumbled and grumbled about God and His provision for them! God said none of those grumblers would enter the Promised Land. Only Joshua and his good friend Caleb would enter (Numbers 14:21-24, 30), because Joshua and Caleb followed God whole-heartedly (Numbers 32:12). After forty years of wandering, the entire generation of Israelites who were delivered from slavery had died, except Joshua and Caleb. It was the children who had been born during the wilderness years who were left now. By this time, Moses was over 100 years old.

Call up your Joshua to act this out with your Moses:

Joshua had been Moses’ helper since Joshua was a young boy (Numbers 11:28). God told Moses that Moses would die soon. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because on one occasion he had disobeyed God in front of all the Israelites (Numbers 20:8-12). Moses asked God to appoint another man to lead the Israelites (Numbers 27:15-17). Have kids act out: God told Moses to lay his hands on Joshua, and Joshua received the spirit of wisdom (Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9). God told Joshua that he would be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:23). God warned that after the Israelites were in the Promised Land and their lives were going very well, they would turn from God and begin to worship other gods. God said He would burn with anger and many disasters would come upon the people (Deuteronomy 31:16-18).

Use a chair for Moses to step up on. (Be careful!) Then God instructed Moses to climb a mountain. There he could see the land of Canaan, the Promised Land. Point into the distance for the “Promised Land.” On top of the Mountain, Moses died at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:1-4, 7). Dismiss your volunteers.

Ask: Do you remember what God told Moses, way back when Moses was afraid to go talk to Pharaoh in Egypt?

God said, “I will be with you. - Exodus 3:12a

Say: God always keeps His promises! He was always with Moses. Now Joshua was in charge of all the Israelites. Listen to what God told him:

I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will never leave you. I will never desert you.


Be strong and brave. You will lead these people, and they will take the land as their very own. It is the land I promised with an oath to give their people long ago.

Be strong and very brave. Make sure you obey the whole law my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn away from it to the right or the left. Then you will have success everywhere you go. Never stop reading this Scroll of the Law. Day and night you must think about what it says. Make sure you do everything that is written in it. Then things will go well with you. And you will have great success.

“Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” - Joshua 1:5b-9

Say: Notice how many times God told Joshua to be strong and brave.

Ask: Why do you think God repeated phrase this so many times? It was important, God wanted Joshua to remember it. Hard times were coming. They would have to fight many battles.

Ask: Do you have to be strong and brave when everything is easy? No.

The Israelites would have to cross a big river, called the Jordan River. Joshua told the people to get ready. They would cross the Jordan River in three days.

Rahab & The Spies (Joshua 2)

Ask: What is a spy? Someone who goes in secret to find out information.

Ask: What would a military spy do? Go to the enemy’s side to find out how strong the enemy is, and find out the enemy’s plans.

Say: Joshua sent two spies to check out the new land, especially the city of Jericho. The two men crossed the Jordan River to get to the Promised Land. They went to the home of a woman named Rahab. The king of Jericho heard there were Israelite spies in his city. The king sent an urgent message to Rahab. He demanded that she turn the men in to him.

Rahab hid the men under large bundles of flax plants on her roof. She told the king’s men that the spies had already left the city. Rahab went up to talk to the men. She told them that she and her neighbors had heard terrifying stories about the Israelites. She knew that God was going to give the land to them. Rahab had heard about the mighty works God had done for the Israelites. They had all heard about God parting the Red Sea, and the times God made the Israelites able to conquer other people.

When we heard about it, our hearts melted away in fear. Because of you, we aren't brave anymore. The Lord your God is the God who rules over heaven above and earth below. - Joshua 2:11

Say: Rahab begged Joshua’s spies to spare her life when the Israelites came to take the land, because she had protected them from the king. The spies promised never to harm her or anyone in her house as long as she did not tell anyone what they were doing.

Ask: Do you think the spies will keep their promise? We will find out next week!

Rahab’s house was built into the wall that went around the city, so she let the men down out of her window with a rope. The men ran into the hills and waited until it was safe to return to Joshua. God protected the spies by sending them to the home of Rahab - a woman who feared and respected God’s power. When the men crossed back over the river to report back, they told Joshua everything that had happened.

They said, “We're sure the Lord has given the whole land over to us. All of the people there are weak with fear because of us.” - Joshua 2:24

Note to teacher: The question may come up - “Didn’t Rahab lie?” Indeed, she did. God hates a lying tongue (Proverbs 6:16-17). But in this case, Rahab lied to spare the lives of two of God’s chosen people. Rahab feared God (and His people) more than she feared men (the king and his men). This is a principle found in Luke 12:4-5. She took a great risk, lying for these men. Hebrews 11:31 tells us Rahab’s life was spared because of her faith. James 2:25 says she was considered righteous for hiding the spies and sending their pursuers in a different direction. Her actions gave proof of her faith and fear of God. Notice, James specifically names Rahab as a prostitute. Clearly, prostitution is wrong, just as lying is wrong. We are all sinners. We are only considered righteous by our faith.

Crossing The Jordan (Joshua 3)

Teacher: Before you begin, place 12 large stones on the floor (in your “river bed”).

Say: Joshua and the Israelites camped next to the Jordan River for three days. The officers told the people that the priests would come by carrying the Ark of the Covenant. This was the golden box that was placed inside the Holy of Holies (or Most Holy Place), in the heart of the Tabernacle (Exodus 26:34). When the priests passed by with the ark, the people were to follow them.

The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to honor you in the eyes of all of the people of Israel. Then they will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. Speak to the priests who carry the ark of the covenant. Tell them, ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan River, go into the water and stand there.’ ” - Joshua 3:7

The Bible tells us that the river was at flooding stage. The water was extra high. But as soon as the priests who were carrying the ark touched their feet into the water, the water from upstream stopped flowing! The priests stood in the middle of the river bed, on dry ground!

The water piled up in a big heap and the Israelites crossed to the other side.

Ask: What does this remind you of? The time God parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21; Joshua 4:23).

Say: God instructed Joshua to have one man from each of the 12 tribes to take a stone from the middle of the Jordan River bed. The men were to put them together to make a memorial. A memorial is something that helps us remember something important. For example, there are memorials that are statues to remember important people, such as a president or king. This memorial of stones was made to remind the people of what God did for them that day. Teacher: Call on twelve students to each move one stone and make one big pile out of the “river bed.” All the people who witnessed the water parting were to tell their children and their grandchildren about the amazing thing God did that day. After everyone had crossed over, God told Joshua to call the priests who were carrying the ark to come out of the river bed. The minute they stepped out of the Jordan, the great waters began to flow again!

Remember, God began that day by telling Joshua that God would honor him. God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

That day the Lord honored Joshua in the eyes of all of the people of Israel. They had respect for Joshua as long as he lived. They respected him just as much as they had respected Moses. - Joshua 4:14

Joshua told the Israelites why God had parted the waters for them:

He did it so that all of the nations on earth would know that He is powerful. He did it so that you would always have respect for the Lord your God." - Joshua 4:24

God told Joshua many times to be brave and not to fear. It took bravery to lead millions of people to cross a river that was at flood stage. And, in the weeks ahead, we will see many more times when Joshua will need to be brave. He will face many battles in order to follow God’s instructions. God didn’t tell Joshua to be brave because he was so young and strong. God told Joshua to be brave because GOD WAS WITH HIM!


Application: When you are following God and obeying His word, be brave. Remember that you have nothing to fear. God will always be with you! God instructed Joshua’s men to build a memorial to remember what He had done. This would help Joshua and the others to be brave, because we draw strength from remembering God’s power and the times God has worked on our behalf.

Ask: What can you do to remember the times you have seen God at work? Keep a journal where I write or draw pictures of what God has done, Keep a scrapbook or treasure box with reminders, Tell others about what God has done.


Main Point: There is nothing to fear when we trust and obey God.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Promised Land.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE Enter Prom Land.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Enter Promised Land.pdf

2. Achan’s Sin and Battling Ai (Joshua 7-8)



Main Point: God will not bless us when we are disobedient.


Key Verse:

He told them, “God says, ‘Why do you refuse to obey my commands? You will not have success. You have deserted me. So I have deserted you.’ ”- 2 Chronicles 24:20b

Props: Silver cups, Gold plates (items that look like treasures); Fishing hook and worm or lure; sword


Say: Last week we learned about God causing the walls of Jericho to tumble down. Jericho had lots of people, and people have lots of “stuff.” God commanded that all of the people in Jericho, except Rahab and her family, were to be destroyed. Earlier in the Bible, when the Israelites were in the desert, God told them not to have pity on the people who lived in Canaan. The people were very wicked and worshipped other gods (Deuteronomy 7:25; 9:4). God warned the Israelites not to have anything to do with the people’s false gods (Deuteronomy 7:16).

Ask: Who can remember what God commanded the Israelites to do with all of the people’s “stuff”? Joshua gave a command to the Israelites about this right before the wall crumbled down. Let’s read this verse to see what it was:


“The city and everything that is in it must be set apart to the Lord in a special way to be destroyed.” - Joshua 6:17a

Say: Everything was supposed to be destroyed. Joshua had a VERY strong warning about these things. Don’t miss this!

“Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel. Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into his treasury.” - Joshua 6:17-19

Say: Everything was supposed to be destroyed, except the things made of silver, gold, bronze, and iron. Teacher: Show your gold and silver treasures. Those things were to be brought into God’s treasury.

Ask: Was Joshua clear in his warning? Was there any way to mistake what he was saying? No. He said if you take any of their “stuff,” you’ll be destroyed.

Say: Sometimes we get warnings. We have street signs that warn us if a curve is coming. We might hear a warning on the radio that a tornado is coming. You might getting a warning from a teacher on your progress report that your grade is not doing so well. I’m sure your parents warn you to be careful when you go off to school or go out to play.

Ask: Why do people warn other people about something this about to happen? Because the person doing the warning cares about the other person. Ask: Why would God warn His people? Because He loves His people.

Say: It might seem wasteful to us to just burn up lots of valuable things. Let’s see if we can take a look at why this “stuff” was so bad. Nearly forty years before, God had this to say about their “stuff”:

Burn the statues of their gods in the fire. Don’t long for the silver and gold that is on those statues. Don’t take it for yourselves. If you do, it will be a trap for you. The Lord your God hates it. Don’t bring anything He hates into your house. If you do, you will be completely destroyed along with it. So hate it with all your heart. It is set apart to be destroyed. - Deuteronomy 7:25-26

Say: God knew that His people would be trapped by these things. The word used for trap here means “to be caught by a bait.” If any of you have been fishing, you know about catching with bait. Teacher: Hold up your fishing hook and worm or pretty lure. To a fish, this worm (lure) looks pretty good. It looks like a good snack to him. But it is a trap! Just under this worm (lure) there is danger! There is a hook inside, and it will send the fish to it’s death. In the same way, these shiny, golden statues were like bait to the people. Their greed for these valuable items would make them hold on to these statues. Soon they would be caught up in them and even worshipping them just like the people of Canaan did. Just like the fish hook, worshipping idols leads people to destruction (Hosea 8:4). The first and second Commandments are:

1.) Do not put any other gods in place of Me.

2.) Do not make statues of gods that look like anything in the sky or on the earth or in the waters. Do not bow down to them or worship them. - Exodus 20:3-5a

We can only have life when we are following the one, true God. God, alone, DESERVES our worship. Worshipping these false gods can never bring peace and joy to the one worshipping (Jeremiah 16:19). God was very clear. He HATES these things. He wanted His people to hate them too.

Achan’s Sin (Joshua 7)

Immediately after God’s victory in Jericho, we read these tragic words:

But the people of Israel weren’t faithful to the Lord. They didn’t do what they were told to do with the things that had been set apart to Him in a special way to be destroyed. Achan had taken some of those things. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. - Joshua 7:1a

Say: One of the Israelites, a man named Achan, had taken some of the forbidden treasures and hid them. Joshua did not know about this. Joshua was concerned with the Israelite’s next battle. Again, Joshua sent spies out to check out the land and the people. They went to a city named Ai. When the spies returned, they told Joshua that he would not need to send all of the Israelite men to fight, because there were not very many people in Ai.

So only about 3,000 men went up. But the men of Ai drove them away. They chased the men of Israel from the city gate all the way to Shebarim. They killed about 36 of them on the way down. So the hearts of the people of Israel melted away in fear. - Joshua 7:4-5

The few men of Ai easily defeated the 3,000 Israelite men. The men of Ai chased the Israelites and even killed several of them. The Israelites became very afraid. Joshua and the leaders fell face down in prayer for hours. Joshua asked God why this happened. Joshua wished they had never even crossed the Jordan River. He feared that the people of Canaan, who had been afraid of the Israelites, would hear about this battle and come to attack them.

God told Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying there face down?” God told Joshua that Israel had sinned. Someone had taken some of the forbidden items. God said they had stolen and lied. So, God had removed His hand of protection from them. Then God said these chilling words:

I will no longer be with you, unless you destroy what has contaminated you. - Joshua 7:12b

Say: God told Joshua to tell the Israelites to get ready, because the next day, God wanted Joshua to call all of the tribes together. God would choose a tribe. From that tribe, God would choose a clan. From that clan, God would choose a family. And from that family, each family member would come before God. God would reveal who had disobeyed Him. God commanded that this person must be killed because he disobeyed God’s command.

Early the next morning. Joshua did as God had instructed. God chose the tribe of Judah, the clan of Zerahite, and the family of Zimri. Out of that family, God chose Achan. Joshua told Achan to confess what he had done.

Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound. I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.” - Joshua 7:20-21

Joshua sent men to check Achan’s tent. They found the stolen items hidden, just as Achan had said. The men brought the items out and laid them in front of everyone. Joshua took Achan, his family, the things he had stolen, and everything he owned to a valley. There, the Israelites obeyed God and stoned Achan and his family. Everything he owned was set on fire. Then God was no longer angry.

Ai Destroyed (Joshua 8)


Say: God told Joshua not to be afraid or discouraged. God instructed Joshua to take the whole army and attack Ai again. God promised, “I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.” Notice, God was doing the delivering. God said this time the Israelites could keep the livestock and everything else they took from the people. Just as He did with Jericho, God gave the plan of attack. God said to have some of the fighting men hide behind the city and take them by surprise.

Joshua took the whole army with him. At night time, he chose 30,000 of his best fighting men and told them to go around behind the city. Joshua and the rest of the army approached the city from the front. When the king of Ai saw Joshua and his men coming, the king and all the men of Ai came out to fight them. Joshua and his men pretended to be afraid and turned to run away. Every single man in Ai and the neighboring town Bethel went after them. They left the city completely unguarded. God told Joshua to hold out his sword, or javelin, toward Ai. Teacher: Hold out your sword while reading the following verse and the next paragraph.

As soon as he did, the men who were hiding behind the city got up quickly. They came out of their hiding places and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it. They quickly set it on fire. The men of Ai looked back. They saw smoke rising up from the city into the sky. But they couldn’t escape in any direction. - Joshua 8:19-20a

The king and his men couldn’t escape. The Israelites were around them on all sides. Joshua held out his sword until all of the people of Ai were killed. Only the king was taken alive, and he was hanged a short time later. The Israelites carried off the livestock and the goods of the city, and Joshua burned the city to the ground. God had promised to deliver the king, people, city and land of Ai into Joshua’s hand (Joshua 8:1). Again, we see that God ALWAYS keeps His promises! Teacher: Put your sword away.

Then Joshua built an altar to God on Mount Ebal (Deuteronomy 27:2-8). The Israelites offered burnt sacrifices to God on this altar. Then, with every man, woman, and child gathered around him, Joshua read all of the words of the law that God had given to Moses. He read every word of it to the people! No doubt, Joshua did not want anyone to sin against God again. The people crowded around to hear. No doubt, they did not want to sin like Achan had.

Application: Today’s lesson was about obeying God. God’s Word is clear. There is nothing we can do to EARN salvation - eternal life in heaven. We cannot “obey our way” into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9). Eternal life comes ONLY when we trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (Romans 4:23-24). However, obeying IS very important. God’s Word says that when we obey, God is delighted (1 Samuel 15:22). When we obey, God will be near to us (John 14:23) and we will be blessed (Luke 11:28). And, God’s Word is clear about when we do not obey. When we disobey, we are headed for trouble. We take ourselves out from under God’s protection when we chose to disobey Him (Joshua 7:12; Nehemiah 9:30). And, God will not bless those who are living in disobedience (2 Chronicles 24:20).


Main Point: God will not bless us when we are disobedient.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Achan.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE Achan & Ai.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Achan' Sin & Ai.pdf

3. The Gibeonite Treaty (Joshua 9-10)



Main Point: We must not trust our own judgment, but follow God in everything.


Key Verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3:5-6

Props: Coins; Tattered, dirty jacket or cloak to put on, a small amount of loose dirt or brown make-up, bread with spots of blue or green food coloring so it looks moldy;


Say: Last week we learned about Achan and the city of Ai. Achan was an Israelite who chose to disobey God’s very clear instructions. He kept valuable things from Jericho even though he was told not to go near these things. Teacher: Hold up a handful of coins. Because of Achan’s sin, the Israelites lost a big battle with the city of Ai. We learned that when we choose to disobey God, we remove ourselves from God’s protection and His blessings. In the end, Achan’s sin caused his death and the destruction of his family. When Joshua chose to OBEY God, God was no longer angry with His people, and once again, God blessed them. The next time the Israelites fought the men of Ai, God was with the Israelites, and they won the battle. The city of Ai was completely destroyed.

The Gibeonites (Joshua 9)

Say: The Bible tells us that when the kings of the other cities in Canaan heard how the Israelites destroyed Ai and Jericho, they came together to make war against Joshua and the Israelites. However, there was one city that did not want to go to war with them. It was the city of Gibeon. It was not far from Ai. Teacher: point to Gibeon, Jericho, and Ai on the map. Gibeon was a large city - larger than Ai, and the men of Gibeon were great fighters (Joshua 10:2). Still, the Gibeonites were afraid of the Israelites, because they had heard that God had instructed His people to destroy all the people in the land (Joshua 9:24).

Listen to the instructions God had given to His people about going to war.

As far as all the cities INSIDE the land of Canaan, God said:

Kill everything in those cities that breathes. Completely destroy them. Wipe out the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. That’s what the Lord your God commanded you to do. If you don’t destroy them, they’ll teach you to follow all of the things the Lord hates. He hates the way they worship their gods. If you do those things, you will sin against the Lord your God. - Deuteronomy 20:16b-18

As for the cities OUTSIDE the land of Canaan, God said:

Suppose you march up to attack a city. Before you attack it, offer peace to its people. Suppose they accept your offer and open their gates. Then force all of the people in the city to be your slaves. They will have to work for you...That’s how you must

treat all of the cities that are far away from you. Those cities don’t belong to the nations that are nearby. - Deuteronomy 20:11, 12, 15

Ask: So, what was God’s rule for war for all the cities inside the land of Canaan? Destroy all of the people in the land. Why? Because they worship false gods, and they would teach the Israelites to follow false gods.

Note to teacher: This will be a MAJOR point in the following weeks. We will see that the Israelites did follow false gods because of the influence of the Canaanites who remained in the land, bringing about spiritual decline and judgment, found in the book of Judges.

Ask: What was God’s rule for war for cities that were far away? Offer them peace. If they accepted, they would be slaves.

Ask: Why would any city accept this offer and choose to be slaves? Because if they didn’t, they would be killed like Jericho and Ai (Deuteronomy 20:12).

Teacher: Point to Gibeon on the map again.

Ask: Is the city of Gibeon INSIDE the land of Canaan? Yes!

Say: The Gibeonites had heard these rules. They knew that if the Israelites obeyed God, they were doomed. They believed God was powerful enough to do what He said He would do! So they came up with a plan to trick Joshua and the Israelites. They sent a group of men to Joshua. But, first, they put on worn out clothes. Teacher: Put on your tattered jacket or cloak. They wore worn out sandals. They put worn-out sacks on their donkeys. They even brought dried-out, moldy bread with them! Show “moldy” bread. Get the picture, here. Teacher: Mess up your hair and smear some “dirt” on your face. Slump over and try to look weary. The Gibeonites made it look like they had been traveling for a REALLY long time, from a VERY far away place. Actually, the trip was only two or three days, downhill.

Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” - Joshua 9:6

The Israelites were at Gilgal, right above Jericho. The Gibeonites had only traveled this distance. Teacher: Point to Gilgal, right above Jericho. Show the distance from Gibeon to Gilgal. The men of Israel weren’t sure if they should believe the men. Again, Joshua asked them where they were from. The Gibeonites said they had come from “a very distant city.” They said they came because they had heard reports of the mighty hand of God. They heard what He did for the Israelites in Egypt and in the land of Canaan. Then they really poured on the deception. They showed the moldy bread and said it was still warm when they left for their trip! They said their clothes and sandals were all worn out because their trip was so long.

Let’s think about this. Joshua couldn’t call the FBI to see if these people were whom they said they were. He couldn’t sit down at his computer and do a “Google” search on distant lands, or how long it takes fresh bread to turn moldy.

Ask: So, what should Joshua have done? Ask God!

Say: Read this important verse with me:


The men of Israel looked over the supplies those men had brought. But they didn’t ask the Lord what they should do. - Joshua 9:14

Say: Uh oh, we can see it coming! Joshua made a peace treaty with the men. He made an oath that they could live. All of the Israelite leaders agreed and made an oath, in the name of the Lord, that all of their people could live. Three days later, the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites lived near them. The Israelites were very angry with their own leaders for making the peace treaty with them. They did not want to make God angry by going back on their oath, so they did not go to war with the Gibeonites. Instead, they made the Gibeonites to be their slaves. This may seem like a good solution, but it was not what God had commanded. God told the Israelites to destroy all of the people in the land of Canaan, because if they lived, the Israelites would eventually follow their false gods and sin against God. We will see in later lessons that this is exactly what happened (Judges 2:11-13).

Application: Today, we live in what is called the “Information Age.” We can find information on any subject in the whole world in just a matter of minutes. There are literally millions of books on the market. There are thousands of different magazines, on every subject from knitting to space travel. Then there is television and the computer. It is very easy to think we have all the answers. Or at least, we think there are other really smart people who have all the answers. But the Bible warns us about thinking we have all the answers.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. - Proverbs 3:5-6

When we do what we think is right without seeking God FIRST, it is called “being wise in our own eyes.” The Bible says:

Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a foolish person than for him. - Proverbs 26:12

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. - Proverbs 3:7

It is like a small child trying to do something without their parent’s help. Say a two year old wants to walk through her neighborhood to play with her friend. The child has a very limited amount of knowledge and limited amount of experience.

Ask: What dangers could there be for this child? She could get lost, she might run out in front of a car, a big dog might come after her.

Say: The parent, however, has lived 20 or 30 years longer than that child has. The parent knows the safest way to get there. And the parent can see all of the consequences that lie ahead for the toddler. That little child may be sure she knows how to get to her friend’s house, but she really does not. There are dangers she cannot see. The parent knows MUCH more than the child, and only wants what is best for the child.


Likewise, God is INFINITELY smarter than we are (Isaiah 55:9). He has always been (Genesis 1:1) and He can see everything in our lives (Psalm 33:13-14). And God only wants what is BEST for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Isn’t it wise to let Him instruct us and guide us? The Bible says God will reward those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The Sun Stands Still (Joshua 10)

Teacher: Before teaching, choose two students. One will hold the moon; one will hold the sun.

Today, when we hear the name “Jerusalem,” we automatically think of an important city for the Israelites in Jesus’ day, and even for the Jewish people today. However, way back when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, there were other people living in Jerusalem. The king of Jerusalem had heard about how Joshua and the Israelites had destroyed Jericho and Ai. This king also heard about the Gibeonites making a treaty with the Israelites. The king and his people were very alarmed because Gibeon was a great city with a great army.

Ask: Why would the Gibeonite treaty make the king nervous? The Israelites already had a very big army and God was on their side; now the Gibeonites would help Israel; the Gibeonites would not help the people in Jerusalem.

The king of Jerusalem asked five other kings to join him and attack Gibeon. So the armies of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon all joined together and attacked Gibeon.

The men of Gibeon quickly sent messengers to Joshua at his camp in Gilgal. “Don’t abandon your servants now!” they pleaded. “Come at once! Save us! Help us! For all the Amorite kings who live in the hill country have joined forces to attack us.”

So Joshua and his entire army, including his best warriors, left Gilgal and set out for Gibeon. “Do not be afraid of them,” the Lord said to Joshua, “for I have given you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you.” - Joshua 10:6-8

Teacher: Have a student hold up moon picture and walk across stage area while you talk about marching at night. Joshua and his army marched uphill all night long. It was a 25-mile march in the cover of night. Have the moon go down, and have a student hold up sun picture up high, and walk slowly across the stage area (child should not stop moving until the sun stops in the story). They arrived early in the morning and took the kings by surprise. God gave the Israelites great victory in fighting by confusing the enemy armies. Then, as the armies tried to run, God hurled large hailstones down at them. This killed even more of the enemy soldiers than those who died while battling.

Then Joshua asked for something VERY unusual. He asked for the sun to stand still in the sky!

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky. [Sun stop!] It didn’t go down for about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since. It was a day when the Lord listened to a mere man. You can be sure that the Lord was fighting for Israel! - Joshua 10:13b-14

Therefore, darkness did not fall until Joshua and the Israelites destroyed all of their enemies. God had promised victory. God ALWAYS keeps His promises!

Application: God confused the armies, sent hail, and even stopped the sun in the sky to keep His promise to deliver the enemy into Joshua’s hand! Surely, God will go to amazing lengths to keep His promises and glorify His name (John 12:28). The Bible is FULL of God’s promises.

Ask: If God would stop the sun in its tracks to keep His promise, is there anything that could stop Him from keeping His promises to you? No!


Main Point: We must not trust our own judgment, but follow God in everything.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Gibeon.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE Gibeonite Treaty.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Treaty with Gibeon.pdf

4. Israel’s Downfall (Joshua 23 - Judges 3)



Main Point: We must each have a relationship with God.


Key Verse:

After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. - Judges 2:10, 12 NLT

Props: Big, hand-made pink construction paper Mother’s Day card


Teacher: Prior to teaching, choose a child that you know to have a caring mother. Arrange for him or her to stand up and discuss all of the things his or her mother does to care for her family.

Say: For the past four weeks, we have learned about the Israelites while they were under the leadership of a faithful man named Joshua. This period of time was a great time for God’s people. They were faithful to God, they obeyed God, and they took care of any sin right away. God blessed the people during this time.

Ask: Can anyone remember how God blessed the people while Joshua was leading them? God stopped the Jordan River so they could cross, Rahab hid the spies, God made the walls of Jericho fall down, He won many battles for them, He stopped the sun from moving across the sky.

Say: God gave Joshua and the Israelites many military victories. Listen to what the Bible says about Joshua:

The Lord had commanded his servant Moses to do all of those things. Moses had passed that command on to Joshua. And Joshua carried it out. He did everything the Lord had commanded Moses. - Joshua 11:15

Say: Over many years, God gave Joshua victory over all of the people he fought in the land. The Bible lists 31 kings that Joshua killed (Joshua 12:9-24) along with multiple towns and regions that he conquered (Joshua 11:15-18). After the Israelites took all of that territory, Joshua divided the land as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel, as God had instructed (Joshua 11:23). However, there were still some people to overcome. It was left up to each tribe of Israel to conquer the people in the land they were given (Judges 1). The Bible gives us two reasons that God left some people remaining in the land.

One reason was that if all the people of the entire land of Canaan were wiped out right away, the wild animals that lived there would be too great in number, compared to the number of Israelites. These wild animals would make it unsafe for the Israelites to live in the land. God knew that the number of Israelites would increase as more and more children were born and grew up. Eventually, there would be enough Israelites to outnumber the wild animals (Deuteronomy 7:22).

The other reason God allowed some of the people to remain was to teach and to test the Israelites (Judges 3:1). New generations of Israelites had been born and raised in the Promised Land. These new generations had not fought in wars. God wanted those who had no experience in battle to learn how to fight, just as their parents and grandparents had (Judges 3:2). And God wanted to see if these new generations of Israelites would obey Him by destroying the strangers and staying far away from their false gods (Judges 3:4).

Say: Under Joshua’s leadership, the Israelites were sure to completely destroy all of the people that they fought, just as God had commanded (Joshua 10:40). This may sound very harsh to us. Ask: Does anyone remember why God insisted that all of the Canaanites must be destroyed? Listen for answers. Ask someone to read Deuteronomy 20:18 from the powerpoint, or look it up and read it aloud.

This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God. - Deuteronomy 20:18 NLT

Say: God commanded the Israelites to destroy all of the people in Canaan, because if the Israelites lived among these people, the Israelites would begin to worship false gods just like the Canaanites.This is VERY important! It will be the key to what we will study for the next several weeks.

Many years before Joshua’s time, God had made several promises to Abraham. Let’s look at those important promises:

“I will bless you and make your descendants into a great nation. You will become famous and be a blessing to others. I will bless anyone who blesses you, but I will put a curse on anyone who puts a curse on you. Everyone on earth will be blessed because of you.” - Genesis 12:2-3 CEV

Descendants means children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on. Abraham’s descendants were the Israelites. Did God keep the promises He made to Abraham to bless his descendants? Let’s think about the blessings God gave the Israelites. God chose the Israelites to be His own special people. God rescued them from slavery. He delivered them through the wilderness. He fought many battles for them. He gave them the Promised Land. When God promised that everyone on earth would be blessed through Abraham, He meant that one day He would send the Savior of the world through the Israelites. One day God would send the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to be born to a young Israelite woman named Mary (Galatians 3:8).

Ask: Is there any doubt that God kept His promises? No.

Say: And after all that, God simply wanted the Israelites to worship Him alone.

Call child up, with whom you have pre-arranged to discuss his or her mother. Ask: What things does your mother do for you? Ask lots of questions and draw answers out of the child if needed. Well, first of all she gave birth to you, right? Does she wake you up for school in the morning? Does she feed you breakfast, do the laundry, cook supper? What else does she do for you? Does she drive you to sports practice or music rehearsal? If the child is not expressive, ask the group to raise their hands and list things moms do for their families. Now, imagine it’s the day before Mother’s Day.

Your mom walks by your room and sees you working hard on something. Hold up your hand-made card. She tries not to be nosey, but the pink construction paper catches her eye, and she can’t help but notice you are going all out on a Mother’s Day card. She smiles to herself and walks away, thinking, “Motherhood is hard work, but at times like this, it is all worth it.” So, the next day, your Mom is all excited about receiving your card. She is sitting in the kitchen sipping coffee when you come down the stairs with your card. Mom is all warm inside. You walk toward her...and right past her! Bewildered, Mom watches as you walk out the door and go to the new neighbor’s house. She sees you ring the doorbell, and hand your beautiful card to the neighbor! That neighbor has never done anything for you! Ask the child: How would your Mom feel about that? Let him or her respond. Ask for answers from the group. Make a point of the word jealous. Ask: Would his/her Mom be wrong to be jealous? No.

Say: It would be only natural for his/her Mom to be jealous. She would be jealous because of the overwhelming love she has for her child and their relationship.

Say: This might be a small taste of how God feels about his people choosing to worship a false God. Actually, this isn’t even a fair comparison. Don’t get me wrong. Mom’s are great. But they are not the Creator of the universe (Genesis 1:1). They didn’t create life out of nothing and they are not all-powerful (Genesis 2:7; 18:14). God is perfect and He alone deserves our worship and praise. Did you know that the Bible says that God is a jealous God? In fact, the Bible even says that one of God’s names is Jealous!


Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. - Exodus 34:14

The Hebrew word for Jealous is qanna’ (pronounced kan-naw’). It means God will not stand for any rival. This is not the same word used for envy - like when someone has a new toy that you really want. That is a greedy type of jealous. The word Jealous that is used to describe God is a righteous jealousy. Just like the Mother’s jealousy, it is because of His love for His children and His relationship with them. God desires worship because He deserves it, and because it is the absolute best thing for His children. If we are worshipping anything else, we are on the path to destruction (2 Peter 2:1; Jeremiah 13:15-25).

Joshua’s Final Words

The Lord let Israel live in peace with its neighbors for a long time, and Joshua lived to a ripe old age. One day he called a meeting of the leaders of the tribes of Israel, including the old men, the judges, and the officials. I am now very old. You have seen how the Lord your God fought for you and helped you defeat the nations who lived in this land. There are still some nations left, but the Lord has promised you their land. So when you attack them, He will make them run away. - Joshua 23:1-4 CEV

Joshua knew he was about to die. He had some very, very important things to tell the Israelite leaders. Usually, a person’s last words are extremely important. No one has ever talked about the weather, or the score of a sports game on their death bed. With just a short time left to live, a dying person will give their most important advice to the people they care about. Ask: If someone that you respected very much was about to die, would you want to listen to their final words? Yes!


Say: Joshua instructed the Israelites:

Be sure that you carefully obey everything written in The Book of the Law of Moses and do exactly what it says. Don’t have anything to do with the nations that live around you. Don’t worship their gods or pray to their idols or make promises in the names of their gods. Be as faithful to the LORD as you have always been. - Joshua 23:6-8

Joshua continued by telling the people that God had kept every promise He had made (Joshua 23:14). Joshua reminded them that God defeated all their enemies and gave them the good land He had promised them. Joshua also reminded them that God demanded that they worship Him only. Joshua had a very stern warning for the Israelites.

The Lord is our God. He gave us this wonderful land and made an agreement with us that we would worship only Him. But if you worship other gods, it will make the Lord furious. He will start getting rid of you, and soon not one of you will be left in this good land that He has given you. - Joshua 23:15b-16 CEV

In fact, Joshua told the people that they would not remain faithful to God (Joshua 24:19).

But the people spoke to Joshua. They said, “No! We will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:21

Ask: Ask for a show of hands. Who thinks the Israelites will obey God? Who thinks the Israelites will disobey God?

Say: We will see very soon. Joshua died at the age of 110.

The New Generation


Israel served the Lord as long as Joshua lived. They also served Him as long as the elders lived. Those were the elders who lived longer than Joshua did. They had seen for themselves everything the Lord had done for Israel. - Joshua 24:31

Say: Okay, the Israelites were faithful to God as long as Joshua and the leaders lived. So far, so good. But if we turn in our Bibles just a couple of pages, look what we find. Judges 1 tells of many battles that were fought by the tribes of Israel after Joshua’s death. But the Israelites did not kill the enemy, or even drive them out of the land. One tribe after another made slaves out of the people. In Judges 3, we read:

So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods. - Judges 3:5-6 NLT

The Israelites did not obey God. They did not destroy the people around them. They didn’t even stay away from the people. Instead, they lived among them, they married them, and worst of all, they started to serve their false gods! This is exactly what Joshua warned the people about, and it was even the very first commandment that God had given to Moses. The first of the Ten Commandments is, “Do not put any other gods in place of Me.” (Exodus 20:3) This disobedience is tragic. As we study the book of Judges, we will learn that this is the beginning of years and years of terrible trouble for the Israelites.

Application: There are two major lessons we can take away from this page in history.

Say: First, we must look at the reason the younger Israelites did not choose to obey God. The Bible gives us the exact reason:


All of the people of Joshua’s time joined the members of their families who had already died. Then those who were born after them grew up. They didn’t know the Lord. They didn’t know what he had done for Israel. They deserted the Lord, the God of their people. He had brought them out of Egypt. But now the people of Israel followed other gods and worshiped them. They served the gods of the nations that were around them. They made the Lord angry because they deserted him. - Judges 2:10, 12-13a

Please do not miss this important point. The new generation did not know the Lord. It was not enough that their parents were faithful to God. It was not enough that their parents obeyed the Lord. None of the people in the new generation KNEW God. (This generation included millions of people by that point.) The Bible even tells us that they didn’t know what God had done for their ancestors. We don’t know if that is because their parents and grandparents did not tell them, or if this generation simply would not listen when the stories were told to them. Either way, in just one generation, the Israelites went from living in blessings to living under a curse. Because they did not KNOW God, they did not worship Him and their lives would soon be in ruins.

The same is true of us. It is not enough for your parents to know God! It is not enough for your parents to obey God! It is not enough for your big brother or big sister to follow God! Each one of you must have a personal relationship with God. Seek to know Him (Psalm 105:4). Pray and ask God to show Himself to you (Matthew 11:25-27). Read God’s Word, the Bible (Psalm 119:11-16). The Bible promises that if you look for God with all your heart and soul, you will find Him (Deuteronomy 4:29). Then you will worship Him and give Him the praise He deserves, and you will be on the path of blessing.

Secondly, we see that the Israelites allowed the people around them to influence them in their evil ways. Now, there is a difference between our lives and the lives of the Israelites. God commanded the Israelites to get rid of all the people around them, but we certainly are not commanded to do that. In fact, we are commanded to go to all the people of the world so we can tell them about Jesus (Acts 1:8). We have something the Israelites did not have. We, as God’s people today, have been given the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22). All Christians have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of them (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Israelites did not have the Holy Spirit. Because of the Holy Spirit inside of us, we are empowered just like the believers in Acts. We are able to be in the world, but not be like the world. But, even the strongest Christian struggles with the temptations in the world. Don’t ever think you are too strong to fall into sin! Be on guard every day! Ask God to keep you far from sin (Matthew 6:13). It is only through the power of God and the Holy Spirit that we remain pure in a sinful world (1 John 4:4).

So be careful. When you think you are standing firm, you might fall. You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it. - 1 Corinthians 10:12-14

Next week we will see the terribly sad consequences of the Israelites’ unfaithfulness to the Lord. We will also see that God, in His mercy, sent Judges, or “deliverers,” to help His people when they turned back to Him.


Main Point: We must each have a relationship with God.

© 2007 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

/assets/powerpoint/PPT Israel's Downfall.ppt
/assets/worddocs/HUDDLE - Israel's Downfall.doc
/assets/pdf/FIT - Israel's Downfall.pdf