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BIBLE PASSAGE: Joshua 3-4
BACKGROUND: God holds back the water in this passage so that his people can cross the river on dry land. Not only did they need this miracle to get to their destination, but it would also have reminded them of the time when God parted the Red Sea to rescue the Israelites from Egypt.
Here we see God instruct his people to build a memorial to help them and their ancestors remember the amazing way he had guided them. It’s as if he knew how quickly they would forget his goodness! We so easily forget the ways God has provided for us, looked after us and answered our prayers. Today’s session provides the opportunity to think about how important it is to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness.
Gather the children together for a time to catch up, build relationships and reflect on the week just gone. Have people share exciting news such as birthdays, trips or events. You might like to use the following question to start the conversation as a light-hearted way into today’s theme: “If there was one thing you never wanted to forget, what would it be?”
You will need: masking tape or chalk; paper Use chalk or tape to mark two ‘sides of the river’ with a large distance between them on the floor. Split the children into teams and position them on one side of the ‘river’. Provide the groups with pieces of paper to act as ‘stones’ and challenge them to get their whole team across the river as quickly as possible without touching the floor.
Make sure you give them fewer pieces of paper than the number of people in their team so they have to work together and problem-solve to get across the gap. Note that the fewer pieces of paper you give them the harder it will be. If anyone’s feet touch the ‘river’ while crossing that person must go back to the riverbank and start again.
You will need: Bibles; large sheets of paper; collage materials
Split the children into smaller groups and allocate each one a passage from the list below. The children should use their Bibles to look up and read the passage in order to find out what is happening in their part of the story. Provide the groups with large sheets of paper and collage materials, then ask them to create a picture that depicts their passage.
If you have a small number of children you could allocate multiple passages per individual group, and conversely if you have a large number you could assign each passage to more than one group.
- Joshua 3:1-5: Camping by the river
- Joshua 1:6-16: The Ark of the Covenant in the river; the water stops flowing (not including the part where the people cross)
- Joshua 3:16-17: The people cross on dry land
- Joshua 4:1-9: Twelve rocks are collected
- Joshua 4:10-19: The river starts flowing again
- Joshua 4:20-24: The rocks are set up at Gilgal
Gather everyone back together in a large group. They should show their picture to the rest of the children in the correct order and explain what is happening in their part of the story. In doing this you will be able to cover the whole passage with the group in an interactive way.
Use the following questions as prompts for discussion. Encourage the children to think about what the passage might be saying to them and how it could be applied to their everyday lives. Try to encourage wondering, reminding them that there isn’t necessarily a single right answer.
- How do you think the Israelites felt crossing the river?
- Are there other stories in the Bible this reminds you of?
- What might God be teaching us through this story?
- Which kinds of things would you like to remember about what God has done for you?
You will need: rocks (or printed templates); marker pens or paints; worship music and the means to play it
Explain to the group that crossing the river in this way would probably have reminded the people of the time when God used Moses to part the Red Sea and helped the Israelites escape Egypt. In today’s passage God asked the Israelites to build a memorial of rocks from the river to remind themselves and future generations of the wonderful thing God had done.
Provide the children with rocks to decorate using paints or marker pens. Encourage them to reflect on ways that God has been faithful to them in the past and to use this rock as a reminder of that whenever they find themselves facing something difficult. You might like to play worship music that speaks of God’s faithfulness in the background, for example ‘Do it again’ by Elevation Worship. As you work, think more about the last question in ‘Chatting together’.
You will need: a large sheet of paper (lining paper is ideal); Post-it notes; pens
Before the session, write the word ‘Faithful’ on a large piece of paper or a length of lining paper. Give the children Post-it notes and encourage them to draw or write prayers thanking God for his faithfulness. They might like to think about times when they have felt God close, seen him answer prayer or keep a promise he makes in the Bible. If they cannot think of an example from their own lives, they can choose to draw a story they know from the Bible in which God did something wonderful. Ask the children to stick their Post-it notes to the large sheet of paper as a way of saying thank you to God for these things.
For the rest of this month’s sessions go to youthandchildrens.work/together.
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