Joshua served as a faithful assistant to Moses for many years. When Moses died, God gave Joshua the special task of leading Israel into the Promised Land! God’s constant reminder to Joshua was to be strong and courageous because God was with him. Whatever God calls us to, we know that we also have God’s presence because of Jesus’ work on the cross.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Josh 1.9 (ESV)
Welcome the kids and remind them how special it is to have each one of them there! Remind them that through the summer we worked through the Fruit of the Spirit, which is a list of ways that the Holy Spirit helps us to be more like Jesus.
Explain that we’re starting a series of lessons about the nation of Israel when they went into and lived in the Promised Land. Here are some questions you can pose to help establish background (especially for the older kids):
- Who did God first promise the land to? [Abraham]
- What else did God promise to Abraham [Many descendants, blessing to all nations]
- Where were Abraham’s descendants enslaved? [Egypt]
- Who led Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness? [Moses]
- Who was Moses’s special assistant? [Joshua!]
Joshua’s brief bio up to Joshua 1: Joshua was one of the Israelites who fled from Egypt, he was a brave warrior who fought against the Amalekites in the wilderness (Ex 17:9-13), Joshua became Moses’s assistant (Ex. 24:13), he was one of the 12 men sent to spy out the land of Canaan (Numbers 13–14), only Joshua and Caleb trusted that God could lead Israel to victory in the promised land.
Supplies: whiteboard, markers
Tell the kids that we’re going to learn more about Joshua, and a very important message that God gave him. Before we go into that though, how many of you started school this week? How many of you started at a new school? Starting something new is often very exciting but there are also some things about it that can be difficult.
Draw a line down the middle of the whiteboard. On the top of the left side write exciting and on the top of the right side write scary. Make a list of things that are exciting about starting school and things that are scary about starting school.
Going to school is an example of something that is good for us but isn’t always easy.
God’s Message to Joshua
Feel free to use the flannel board for the 4-5s for this part.
So, today’s story is about Joshua and he was about to start something new! In fact, it was the whole nation of Israel that was going to enter the promised land. It was exciting because they weren’t going to have to wander around the wilderness anymore. They had been waiting for this moment for forty years! They would now be able to build their houses and plant gardens and do all sorts of good things, but it would also be difficult because there were battles that they were going to have to fight. God knew this, so he had a special message for Joshua.
Read Joshua 1:1-9, pausing to emphasize the following:
- vs. 2 – God gave Joshua the special responsibility of leading his people.
- vs. 5 – God promised never to fail or abandon his people!
- vs. 6-9 – It was very important that Joshua followed God’s word carefully and remembered that God was with him. That is the basis of God’s reminder to him to be strong and courageous.
There are things in our lives that require us to be strong and courageous. We’ve already spoken about starting something new like school but it could also be doing the right thing when you know it’s going to be difficult. Something else that requires strength and courage is asking for forgiveness when we’ve done something wrong.
Jesus promised to be with us and that he would never leave us. After Jesus rose from the dead he gave us his Holy Spirit. Did you know that when you give your life to Jesus that he comes to be with you through the filling of the Spirit? No matter how difficult life gets you can remember that God is with you.
Prayer: Thank God for sending his Son Jesus to pay a price for us to be close to him. Thank him that we can always trust his promises. Pray for wisdom and courage for the children as they seek to follow God.
- Why do you think God chose Joshua?
- Do you think Joshua was afraid to be the leader?
- What did God say to him?
- How can we study God’s word?
- Are there ever times when you are afraid?
Image Credit: The Glory of Byzantium: art and culture of the Middle Byzantine era, A.D. 843–1261. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.