MEETING AIM: To explore what it means to have confidence in God’s promises, from the example of Caleb.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Numbers 13:27-33;14:5-8, 24, 38
BACKGROUND: The Israelites did not have an easy time travelling from Egypt to the Promised Land. Time and time again, they doubted whether God would take them there. Against this backdrop step forward two men: Joshua and Caleb. Caleb had total confidence in the promises God had made to his people that he would lead them to this new land. This session explores how we can follow Caleb’s example and how, like the relationship between the two men, we can encourage one another in that.
As you begin the session, gather the children together in a circle and ask them about their friends. Who is a good friend to them? Who is a good role model? Who do they admire in their friendship group? What does it mean to be a faithful friend?
You will need: pictures of famous ‘pairs’
Before the session, print out a selection of pictures of well-known pairs, such as salt and pepper or shoes and socks. Hide these around the room. Challenge the group to find all the cards and pair them up as quickly as they can. (You could run this game as a race with teams or pairs competing against one another). Gather the pairs together
and ask the children to take a look at one pair of pictures. Ask the children: “Can you have one of these without the other? Is one more important than the other? If you could only have one of these two, what would you go for?”
You will need: dressing-up costumes (optional); words to be said by main characters below printed out
Get two volunteers to play the parts of Caleb and Joshua. Explain that the rest of the group will be the Israelites (choose some to be the spies and the
rest to stand in the crowd). They should improvise as appropriate to the story. As the storyteller, take on the part of Moses:
Moses: Right everyone, here we are, now we need to take a look into the land that God has promised to us. I’m going to be choosing some of you to take a good look and see what’s what. So I’ll have you Joshua, and you Caleb, and you, and you…
Point out a few of the children to take on the part of the spies. If you have enough children overall, choose 12 in total, otherwise, just a few to represent them, and send them out before sitting and waiting for their return.
Group of spies: We went into the land. It is beautiful and there’s food enough for us all! Milk and honey, and exotic fruits! But the people living there are very powerful; we even saw giants!
Caleb: Let’s go and take the land! We can certainly conquer it!
Spies: There’s no way we can take it!
The land is full of giants!
Israelites: We should have died in Egypt! Let’s choose a new leader to take us back there.
Caleb and Joshua: This is the land God wants to give us. Don’t be afraid of the people in the land; God is on our side!
Moses: I had led the people out of Egypt but I could not show the same confidence in God as Caleb and Joshua. I would not be able to lead our people into the promised land. Caleb’s loyalty to God meant that he would take the people in, together with Joshua.
Perform the short sketch again, with different children playing the different parts. If you like you could practise this and show it to others in your church.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- How do you feel about this story?
- Who can you relate most easily to?
- Why do you think the Israelites felt this way?
- Why was Caleb so confident?
- Where do you think you might be in the story?
You will need: a selection of coloured cards and envelopes; print outs of encouraging Bible verses or access to a searchable Bible and printer; a selection of craft materials
Invite the children to think of someone who has been like a Caleb to them, encouraging them in their faith, or someone they can be a Caleb to, who they can encourage when they are struggling. Use the craft materials to create an encouragement card which they can send to them. Invite them to print out an appropriate verse to include in their card.
Ask the children to think about what they write in the card before taking the card away to pass to that person. Ask the group to come back next time to tell you how their card was received.
Gather the children together and invite them, if they are comfortable to do so, to stand in the centre of the group so that you can pray for them. Pray for the children, that they would be a ‘Caleb’, having confidence in who God is and what he has done for them, and that they would take a stand when needed.
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