Monday, June 2, 2014

God is Powerful by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

God is Powerful
Scripture Reference: Joshua 1:9
Related Scripture References: Joshua 1-6; II Timothy 1:7; Isaiah 45:7 
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To teach children that God is powerful. He can do whatever he wants, and he can help us do whatever he asks of us. 

Say: This month we will continue our study on “Great Stories from the Bible” by looking at what the Bible teaches about Joshua. Joshua was Moses’ successor, and the man who eventually led God’s people into the Promised Land. Remember God had told Moses to lead them out of Egyptian slavery. During the people’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, Moses had disobeyed God. As a result, God told him he could see the Promised Land from a mountaintop, but he could not enter it. Joshua was the man God selected to take the people across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. 

Say: (Write the following verse on paper and display it where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

Reflection: Children need to think about the fact that God is more powerful than anyone else or anything else. Since this is true, he can give them the power to accomplish anything they are asked to do—by him or others. Then talk about the following scenarios:

If I asked you to pick up one of these small chairs by yourself, could you do it? But what if I asked you to pick up the desk? Would you need help?
If I asked you to pick up a basketball by yourself, could you do it? But what if I asked you to pick up the basketball rim, net, and entire backboard? You would need help.
If Mom or Dad asked you to lift one drawer from their chest of drawers could you do it? But what if they asked you to pick the entire piece of furniture up? (Some of the children may have moved before. You could use this as part of the illustration.)

Then discuss the following with the children:

God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. He promised he would be with him and make him successful in everything he did. Remember Joshua had to lead over a million people across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. 
God will provide the talents and gifts we need to accomplish anything he asks of us. 
God told Joshua not to be afraid or get discouraged. He would go with him as he led the people. This army of people had many people they had to defeat if the land was going to belong to them. There were giants living in the land, and the cities had high walls around them. 
God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Though God is powerful enough to do anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean he will. You have the power to touch something hot but you don’t because you know it will burn you. (Help the children understand that God knows what’s best for us, so even though he has the power to do anything, he sometimes won’t. Also help them understand that God won’t do anything that contradicts his holy nature.)

Activity Break: (15 minutes)
Game:  Giants And Grasshoppers (Remember there were giants in the land, and the people said they looked like grasshoppers when compared to them. Use this game to lead into the Bible story time.)

Form two groups, the "grasshoppers" and the "giants." The grasshoppers must squat low and hop around the room. Their job is to tag the giants. The giants must walk around the room taking giant steps. When a grasshopper tags a giant, the grasshopper turns into a giant, and the giant turns into a grasshopper.

Have the children play for several minutes. If your grasshoppers get tired of hopping, stop the game and have the grasshoppers and giants trade places.

Bible Story Time: 
Be prepared to tell the children the story of Joshua and Jericho.

Moses had died, and now God had charged Joshua with the huge task of leading more than a million people across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. It was where their ancestors had lived before they spent 400 years as slaves in Egypt. 

Before Joshua led the people across, he sent two men across the Jordan to spy out the land. He especially wanted them to look at the area around Jericho. This was going to be the first city they conquered. A city dweller named Rahab let them stay at her house, and she even hid them when some people from the town came looking for them. They would have either killed them or had them arrested. The two spies promised Rahab they wouldn’t kill her or her family when they attacked Jericho since she had helped them. 

Joshua didn’t know how he was going to get all these people across the Jordan. It was the harvest season, and a lot of rain had fallen. The river was swollen and overflowing its banks. But when the feet of the priests who went before the people entered the water, suddenly the water dammed up farther upstream, and the people were able to cross over. God parted the waters of the Jordan River just as he had the Red Sea after the people left Egypt.

The gates leading into the city of Jericho were shut tightly. The people had heard about the Israelites coming, and they were afraid. The way God told them to conquer the city was strange indeed. You may have even sung a song about it before. God told the people to march around the city once a day for six days. As they marched, some of the priests would blow ram horns, but none of the people would say a word. They did this once a day for six days. Imagine how afraid the people inside the city were. 

On the seventh day, the people marched around the city seven times. The first six trips around, they did the same as before. They said nothing. Only the priests continued to blow their horns. But the seventh time around, they did something different. After the priests blew the horns, the people shouted. Imagine how loud it must have sounded as thousands of people shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly the walls of the city collapsed. The only part that didn’t fall was the section where Rahab’s house was. Remember, God had promised to protect her because she helped the spies. 

God is so powerful that he can make rivers stop flowing and walls crumble into tiny pieces. That shouldn’t surprise us. He created the heavens and the earth simply by speaking. 

Ask: What are some things this story teaches you about God’s power?   

Transition
Let’s sing a song to remind ourselves how powerful God is.

Song:
Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

You may talk about your men of Gideon,
You may talk about your men of Saul,
But there's none like good old Joshua
And the battle of Jericho!

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

Right up to the walls of Jericho
They marched with spear in hand;
"Go blow them ram horns," Joshua cried,
"Cause the battle is in my hand."

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!

Then the lamb, ram,
Sheep horns began to blow,
And the trumpets began to sound,
Joshua told the children to shout that morning
And the walls came tumbling down!

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
Jericho, Jericho,
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,
And the walls came tumbling down!
And the walls came tumbling down!
And the walls came tumbling down!


Wrap Up: 
Let children draw their rendition of Joshua and the people fighting the battle of Jericho. 

Take Away:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Joshua and Jericho.