Taking the Land – Joshua 10, 11 & 24


With this lesson, we close out the life of Joshua, one of the most faithful servants of God In the Bible. These passages describe, in metaphorical terms, the struggles of Christian living. On the surface, it appears to be the story of a series of battles, a description of how the people of Israel took over the Promised Land. But dig deeper to see the underlying truths. 

  1. 1) Notice that the people actually had to fight. They had to pick up weapons and wield them. It couldn’t have been easy. In fact, it must have been gruesome work. In the same way, living the Christian life is hard work. We must be brutal in dealing with our sin; we must be willing to kill pride, selfishness, lust, etc.
  2. 2) Notice that God fought for the people, and the number of people killed by acts of God was more than the number killed by the people. (See 10:11 & 24:12). In the same way, God fights alongside us against our sin. We must do hard work, but God does more. We do not fight alone.
  3. 3) Notice how completely Joshua and the people obeyed God. Verse 11:15 says, “he left nothing undone that the Lord commanded Moses.” God honored obedience then, and He honors it now. How many of us can say we’ve left nothing undone that God has asked us to do? The people’s victory was assured if only they obeyed God. Sometimes what God asked them to do didn’t make sense, but when they obeyed, they won. We, too, have been promised victory. Our job is to simply walk with Jesus and to obey Him.
  4. 4) Notice that at the end of Joshua’s life in chapter 24, Joshua exhorts the people “to throw away the gods their forefathers worshiped … in Egypt.” What?? After all they had been through – all the battles – all the victories, some people still were clinging to worthless idols?? But the same is true for us. Ridding our lives of idols – anything that competes with our affection for God – is a lifelong struggle. What, in your life right now, is trying to steal your affection for God?
  5. 5) Finally, notice that Joshua’s final challenge to the people was to “choose … this day whom you will serve.” The people responded that they would serve the Lord. (Good answer!) But in 24:19, Joshua basically sums up the rest of the Old Testament by telling the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord.” Don’t miss this verse! For the rest of the Old Testament, God’s people would have to learn over and over again that no matter how many rules they had, no matter how hard they tried, they could never live up to the standard of perfection God required. They had to become desperate for a Savior, who could do it for them. But for now, the people naively think they can do it. What about us? Do we think we’re pretty good people, who can please God if only we try harder? Or have we learned the truth Joshua knew - that we can’t do it. We can never please God on our own; we’re failures at perfection; we are desperate for a Savior – for Jesus, who gave His own life to do for us what we could never do. Hallelujah! What a Savior!


Activities 


Thumb Wrestling / Arm Wrestling – let kids take a turn at arm wrestling or thumb wrestling. You’ll have to limit the time to just a few minutes, or this could get out of hand! If you want an alternative, let them compete in broad jumping or penny sliding (who can slide a penny the furthest without it falling off the table). Follow up by asking kids:

  • How does it feel to be in a struggle?
  • In our story today, who was in a struggle? (Joshua and the Israelites vs. the Canaanites)
  • Are you surprised that when the people of Israel FINALLY got to the Promised Land, they had to fight one battle after another after another? Sometimes people are surprised that they have troubles when they become Christians. Discuss what it means to become a Christian. Jesus promised us in John 6:33 –“In this world, you will have trouble, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
  • Why do you think God let the Israelites experience so many battles? Why didn’t he just let them walk into the Promised Land without experiencing battles? The battles were to teach the Israelites that they could trust God; they could depend on Him.
  • Why does God let us experience trouble? James 1:3 & 4 tells us, “Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Troubles help us to grow up in Jesus.


Water Color Painting – let kids paint a picture of the battle where God allowed the sun to stand still! As they paint, discuss:


What did you like about this story?


What didn’t you like?


What did you learn about God?

  • God fights alongside us; He fights for us.
  • God does miracles on our behalf.
  • God wants us to love Him with all our hearts.
  • God hates sin and evil.


What did you learn about people?

  • Sometimes people love evil; then, they may be horribly punished.
  • All our sin deserves destruction.
  • On this earth, people will have to struggle against evil and against sin.
  • When people obey God, He blesses them.
  • People think they are better than they really are.


What did you learn about yourself?

  • I often think I can be good enough, but I can’t.
  • I need a Savior. I need Jesus!
  • I don’t like trouble, but when it comes, I need to listen to Jesus and trust Him to bring me through it.