Joshua and the Walls of Jericho: Sunday School Lesson

Joshua wasn’t battling with swords; he was using a strange plan involving just walking around big walls of Jericho. People might have thought it was funny, but Joshua believed in a powerful secret: faith in God. Walk with Joshua, meet a surprising heavenly leader, and see what happens when you put your complete trust in Almighty God. And for some fun, there’s a “Keep Walking” video from Veggie Tales! Teach your students about the real power of believing in what you can’t see.”

Group Worship

You Make Me Brave

In this song, kids learn how God gives them the courage to face tough times and helps them be brave.

 

Lyric Video  |  Motions Video

Nothing is Impossible

In this song, kids learn that with God’s strength they can do anything, because nothing is impossible with Him, highlighting belief over sight and feelings.

Lyric Video  |  Motions Video

Song 2
Song 1

Group Worship

You Make Me Brave

In this song, kids learn how God gives them the courage to face tough times and helps them be brave.

 

Lyric Video  |  Motions Video

Song 2

Nothing is Impossible

In this song, kids learn that with God’s strength they can do anything, because nothing is impossible with Him, highlighting belief over sight and feelings.

Lyric Video  |  Motions Video

Song 1

Opening Activity | Knock Down

Walls and Waves - Opening Activity

Gather a bunch of items that you can stack on top of each other. For example: a bunch of cups, a bunch of empty toilet paper rolls, or a bunch of Legos. The idea here is just to find stuff that can be stacked, but isn’t so heavy that it can’t be knocked over.

Have the kids stack the cups, or whatever you use, onto a table. Then see how easy it is to knock over. First, start by jumping up and down on the floor and see if you can make enough vibration on the ground to shake the table and knock the cups over. Then, try something like running around the table and see if the wind you create from running will knock over the cups. Continue this until you find something that works. You can try blowing on the cups, fanning a piece of paper or something in front of the cups, or, if it comes to it, using your hand to knock them over.

Walls and Waves - Opening Activity

Object Lesson | Floating Paperclip

Objects Needed: Clear bowl of water, paperclips

Ask your kids if they think a paperclip, which is made of metal, can float on water.

Place the paperclip in the water, and it should sink.

Pro Tip: Try your object lessons before class to avoid any issues!

Take the paper clip out of the water.

Open up another paper clip to form an “L” shape.

Use the “L” shaped paperclip to place a regular paperclip gently on the surface of the water. This will allow it to float!

At first glance, a metal paperclip should sink in water. In our lives, there are situations that might seem too difficult or impossible to deal with. But, by placing our trust in God through faith, we can know that God is bigger and stronger than any challenge we face. Just as the paperclip floats even though it seems like it shouldn’t, we can trust God in seemingly impossible situations – knowing that He is strong enough to do anything, even the “impossible”. We can trust in God’s power and plan, even when we don’t understand the how or why behind it.

Video: Here’s how it’s done

Lesson Script

JOSHUA 5-6

When I say the word “trust,” what comes to mind?

What if I told you something absolutely ridiculous, would you believe me?

For instance, what if I told you that if you jumped up and down 10 times right now you would turn into a leprechaun? Would you believe me?

Or, what if I told you that you could say any amount of money right now and you would get that much money to spend at your favorite store? Would you believe that?

These kinds of silly ideas might make us laugh. But today, I want to tell you about some directions that a man named Joshua got that must have sounded pretty unbelievable to him.

Many of you might know this story, but let’s all listen together today and see if we can discover something maybe we never knew before.

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River they were just a few short yards from the city of Jericho. God told them that He had given them the city, and they were about to receive instructions on how they would take this city to be their own.

As Joshua is walking around preparing the people, one of the coolest things happens to him.

Listen to this:

Joshua 5:13a

“When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand.”

 

Did you catch that? As Joshua is walking around he looks up and sees a man standing in front of him, holding a sword. How crazy would that have been?

We find out how Joshua reacts:

Joshua 5:13b

“And Joshua went to him and said to Him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 

 

You can already tell Joshua is preparing for battle. He looks at this man who has just appeared in front of him and wants to know what we all want to know. Is he a good guy or a bad guy?

And in the next verse, we find out who this man with the sword is:

Joshua 5:14

So he said, “No, but as Commander of the Army of the LORD I have now come.” 

 

Wow! Joshua is face-to-face with the Commander of the armies of heaven. Joshua discovers that he has another whole army fighting with him. The armies of heaven!

Before we hear God’s battle plan for Joshua, we get a sneak peek of the way the people in the city of Jericho were feeling.

Joshua 6:1

Says “Jericho was “securely shut up” because of the children of Israel.” 

 

In other words, Jericho had heard stories about the children of Israel and they were nervous! They had probably heard about how the Red Sea had parted and all the people had walked through on the dry ground. They may have heard about some of the miracles in the desert. And they probably heard, or maybe even saw, the Israelites cross the Jordan River as they were marching towards Jericho. The people of Jericho are terrified of Israel!

At this point, God gives Joshua his battle plan. God tells Joshua to march around the city one time for six days, and then on the seventh day to march around the city seven times. Once that is done, they are to blow the ram’s horns and shout. When they shout, the walls of the city will come crashing down.

 

Now to many of us, we remember this story and we know that this is exactly what happened.

 

But think about these instructions. Joshua likely had some sort of military training and was skilled enough to be able to lead hundreds of thousands of people. When God tells him his military strategy for defeating Jericho is to walk silently around the city that must have sounded very, very strange.

Imagine Joshua telling the people of Israel that the way they are going to defeat Jericho is not by some clever battle plan, not by a sneak attack, and not by fighting a war. No, the way they are going to defeat Jericho is by walking, silently, in circles.

It’s hard for us to put ourselves in their shoes because we know what happened in the story. But when the people first heard these instructions they must have been hard to believe.

What if someone told you to walk around your city for seven days in a row, and promised that once you were done the whole city would be yours? That would sound pretty impossible, right?

Even though the Israelites could not see God and they could not see proof that this plan would work, they had faith anyway and obeyed God’s directions.

On the first day, the Israelites wake up, get ready, and walk toward the city of Jericho. As they approached the city, the people of Jericho must have started to get worried. Remember, a lot of them knew about the miracles God had already done for them so they were probably worried about what was going to happen to their city.

 

…they simply started marching around it.

 

The Israelites got right up to the wall, but they didn’t try to go over it, and they didn’t try to go under it – they simply started marching around it.

Maybe the first day the people of Jericho did not understand what was going on. But by the second or third day, it must have started to be a little funny to them. I mean, a bunch of people would walk around the wall once, not make any noise, and then quietly leave and go back to their tents.

In fact, better than me talking about the way they must have felt, how about we watch a little video that many of you may have heard or might even know the song from?

“Keep Walking” Video from Veggie Tales:

Get the picture? I bet many of the people of Jericho never thought that all this walking would knock their walls down.

Now, was it the walking around that made the walls fall down? No, God was the one that knocked the walls down. But the Israelites had to have faith in this very very strange battle plan.

Because of the Israelites faith in God, and because of Joshua’s faith in God, God did what only he can do. Hebrews 11:30 says:

Hebrews 11:30

“by faith the walls of Jericho fell down.”

 

It was only because of their faith in God that any of this happened. They believed in God’s instructions even though they could not see how it even made sense. Joshua and the Israelites trusted a God they could not see because they knew that God can see everything, even how to knock huge walls down.

That is what faith is. Faith is not being able to see how something is going to work out, faith is not being able to see the future, and faith is not being able to see how it all is going to happen. Faith is not being able to see, but trusting the One who can.

Faith says, “God I know you are in control and I know you can see things that I cannot see, so I’m going to trust and obey you even when it all doesn’t make sense to me.”

So the question is will you trust God? Will you put your faith in Him? Will you say, “God I can’t see everything, but I’m trusting you because I know you can.” I encourage you to do that today.

What does it mean to FOLLOW Jesus?
Free 6-week curriculum:

Play games, laugh together and teach your elementary class what it means to be a "disciple" - to follow Jesus with their whole heart.

Followers-Series

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Walls and Waves - Group Charades-min

Group Game | Act It Out

Walls and Waves - Group Charades-min

Objects Needed: None

  1. Split the class into small groups. Try to keep each group under 10 kids.
  2. Give each group a Bible scene from the list.
  3. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  4. In that time, groups plan how to act their scene without speaking or making sounds.
  5. When time’s up, one group acts while the others watch and guess the scene.
  6. Take turns so all groups get to act and guess.
  7. If there’s more time, you can play again with new scenes.

Remember: It’s like charades! Only acting, no talking.

Bible scenarios:

• Noah’s flood
• David and Goliath
• Joseph being thrown into a pit and sold by his brothers
• Creation of the world
• Crossing the Red Sea
• Samson
• Zacchaeus
• Jonah
• The handwriting on the wall
• Naaman
• The Tower of Babel
• The 10 Commandments
• The Nativity

I would suggest ending this game with the scenario in today’s story, the walls of Jericho coming down.

Memory Verse

Faith is all about trusting God to do what we think is impossible. When we can’t see how life is going to work out, we have to trust him. Here is a great verse about faith that I want us all to remember the next time we face a situation that seems impossible. It will help us all remember that nothing is impossible with our great God.

Mark 10:27

"Jesus said, with people it is impossible, but not with God; For all things are possible with God. (NASB)"

Small Group Questions

What is the topic of today’s lesson?
Today’s lesson is about trust and faith in God.

What did Joshua see when he was near Jericho?
Joshua saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword.

What did Joshua ask the man he saw near Jericho?
Joshua asked if the man was on their side or on their enemy’s side.

Who was the man with the sword really?
The man with the sword was an angel, the Commander of the Army of the LORD.

How did the people of Jericho feel when they heard about the Israelites?
The people of Jericho were terrified of the Israelites because they had heard about the miracles God had performed for them.

What was God’s battle plan for Joshua and the Israelites to conquer Jericho?
God’s plan was for them to march silently around the city for six days and then seven times on the seventh day, and then blow the ram’s horns and shout to make the walls fall down.

What is faith?
Faith is trusting in God even when you cannot see how things will work out or understand the plan.

Did the walking of the Israelites make the walls of Jericho fall down?
No, it was God who caused the walls to fall down; the walking was an act of faith.

What does Hebrews 11:30 say about the walls of Jericho?
Hebrews 11:30 says that the walls of Jericho fell down because of faith.

How can you apply the lesson of faith and trust in your own life?
Answers will vary

Small Group Activity | Memory Verse Wall

Walls and Waves - Small Group Activity

Objects Needed: Sticky notes with one word from the memory verse

Gather a bunch of sticky notes and write one word from the memory verse on each sticky note. If you have younger kids in your group you may just want to use the last phrase of the verse, “For all things are possible with God.”

Then go put the sticky notes on a wall and stack them in a way that looks like bricks of a wall.

The object of the activity is to tear down the wall in the correct order. Depending on how hard do you want to make this game, the correct order can be the verse one word at a time. Or you can even have kids see if they can do it backward by selecting the last word of the verse first and then the second to last word next, etc.

Walls and Waves - Small Group Activity

Words For This Week

This is included with every lesson I create, and is designed as a printout for you to give to parents after class.

Today’s Scripture: Joshua 5-6

Memory Verse: “Jesus said, with people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27b (NASB Version)

——————

Today, we talked about one of the more famous Bible stories….Joshua and the people of Israel walked around the walls of Jericho and God brought down the walls on the seventh day.

It’s very easy for us to hear this story and instantly think, “Oh yeah, I remember that really cool Bible story.” It’s very easy for us to think of this story as something that happened in the Bible and not something that makes a difference in our 21st-century lives.

But it would be a huge mistake to not let this story impact how we live today. When God told Joshua to march around the walls of Jericho, it was a battle plan no one had ever heard of before. Joshua didn’t think to himself, “Oh, I am going to be in the Bible so this must be a cool story!” No, Joshua had to have tremendous faith in God that even though he did not understand God’s battle plan for defeating Jericho he was going to trust God anyway.

Joshua’s faith was not dependent on Joshua’s understanding of what God was up to. Joshua did not need to have all the answers, and he certainly did not have proof that this would work before he carried out what God told him to do.

It should be the same way in our lives. We need to ask God for the kind of “mountain-moving” faith that Joshua had. Our God is capable of doing the impossible, or what seems impossible to us. So the next time you are in a jam, or the next time you don’t know what to do, look to God and believe in faith that what He says is best, no matter if it makes total sense to you or not.

Key Thought:

Faith is not being able to see, but trusting the One who can.

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