The Battle of Jericho – Joshua 2 & 6
This Bible story must be one of the top ten favorites of children! But don’t let its familiarity blind you to the real battles contained in this story –the battles between faith and unbelief. There are at least 5 crises of faith - instances where the characters in the story had a choice to make – to either place their faith in God or to rely on “the safer path,” the one that might have seemed more reasonable, considering the circumstances.
First, Joshua appoints 2 spies to enter the land and collect information. Remember that 40 years before, Joshua had been one of 12 spies, who entered the land, but only he and Caleb returned with a favorable, faith-filled report; the other ten convinced the people that they couldn’t win any battles in this land, filled with giants. Do you think Joshua had any anxiety as he placed into the hands of these 2 nameless men the responsibility for collecting vital, essential information? Joshua had to have faith that God would cause these men to see and act with eyes of faith. I imagine that Joshua chose these men carefully and that he was praying for them continuously until they returned with their excellent report.
Next, Rahab appears as a giant of faith (and even gets a mention in the Hall of Faith - Heb. 11:31). How in the world did this young woman, enmeshed in the soul-deadening work of prostitution, develop faith enough to become convinced that God “is the supreme God of heaven above and the earth beneath?” It’s a miraculous story! Her faith was strong enough that she put her own life on the line to save the lives of the spies and to obey all their instructions for her.
The people of God had to exercise faith, too. Can you imagine how silly they must have been tempted to feel, marching around the city – quietly – for six days? Certainly they could have heard any threats or teasing the people of Jericho shouted at them as they marched. It would have been tempting to think, “What kind of cockamamie plan is this? I’ve had it! I’m not making myself look like a fool for one more day!” We don’t know if anyone had those thoughts or not, but we do know that ultimately, the people followed God’s instructions, and they experienced victory!
Also, the people had to exercise faith in God as they followed His instructions to take NOTHING for themselves from Jericho. How tempting it must have been (after living away from civilization for 40 years) to ignore all the beautiful things at their fingertips and trust that God alone would care for all their needs! (Keep reading to discover that not ALL the Israelites were able to resist the temptation...).
What about the spies? They were hidden by Rahab, let down through her window by a rope, hid in the hills for 3 days, and then, had the responsibility to rescue Rahab and her family when the wall began to fall! Miraculously, the part of the wall Rahab lived in was not destroyed, so the spies were able to keep their promise and lead her family to safety! What a great picture of God’s faithfulness to see and care for individual people in the midst of chaos and confusion!
All these instances highlight the way faith and our deeds work together. In every instance, people did something to show that they believed – they obeyed; they hid; they rescued; they sent. We also prove our faith by what we do. We do NOT earn anything by what we do, but we prove our faith is real when we obey, when we reach out, when we listen to God and follow His leading. This story presents great opportunities to ask kids what they can do to show that they believe in God? Pray? Obey? Be kind? Stand up for others? Praise God?
REVIEW THE STORY
Activity – Coloring Sheet
- • Give each child a coloring sheet of the city of Jericho, showing the walls collapsing.
- • As they color, ask them, “Do you see part of the wall that ISN’T falling down? Why isn’t that part falling?” That’s Rahab’s window.
- • What instructions did the spies give Rahab? To keep the scarlet cord tied in her window
- • Why do you suppose they told her that? So they could find her house in the midst of the confusion of the battle
- • The scarlet cord can represent many important things. Give kids “a scarlet cord” (red ribbon or yarn) to glue into Rahab’s window. See if you can help me name some of the things this scarlet cord could represent. It saved the spies from death just as Jesus’ death saves us from destruction and punishment. It marked Rahab’s house and saved her and everyone in her house just as Jesus’ blood marks us as belonging to God. It helped the spies find Rahab in the middle of the battle just as Jesus finds us and rescues us. The scarlet cord was something Rahab could look at each day to remind her of the spies’ promises.
- • Discuss that Jesus offers all of us a way to be saved from the death we deserve for our sins. Rahab had to obey the spies’ instructions to be saved. What must we do to be saved? Believe that Jesus died for our sins; repent (be sorrowful, turn from) our sins; accept Jesus’ gift of salvation; trust in God; abide (stay close to, listen to) Jesus
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
- • What did this story teach you about God?
- • God wants each of us to KNOW Him.
- • God gives us opportunities to grow our faith.
- • God wants us to obey Him because that shows that we trust Him.
- • What did this story teach you about people?
- • People can experience God by having faith and proving their faith through obedience.
- • Sometimes it might feel scary to do what God has asked, but our faith grows when we obey.
- • People should remember what God has promised.
- • People should teach their children about God.
- • What did you learn about yourself?
- • God wants me to experience Him.
- • God will take care of me as I try to obey Him.
- • I want to be willing to appear silly for God’s sake if that’s what He asks of me.