LESSON OVERVIEW/SCHEDULE

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1 TEACHER BIBLE STUDY Only one geographical barrier separated the Israelites from the promised land of Canaan: the Jordan River. When Joshua and the Israelites arrived, the Jordan River was flooded due to spring rains and snowmelt. Any other time, the river would have been manageable, but crossing the swollen river would have been as daunting as crossing the Red Sea. (See Joshua 4:23.) God gave Joshua a promise and a command. First, He promised to drive out from before them all the people of the land. Then God told him to tell the priests to carry the ark of the LORD (a symbol of God s powerful presence) into the waters of the Jordan. Then the waters of the river would be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above would stand in one heap. The priests did as Joshua commanded. The waters stopped, and all of the people passed over on dry ground. The LORD commanded Joshua to have 12 men each take a stone from the middle of the Jordan. When the priests came up out of the river, the water started to flow and was again flooded. Joshua set up the stones to be a memorial. The stones served as a reminder of God s faithfulness in bringing Israel safely across the Jordan into the promised land. The Israelites could do nothing apart from God. He was with them, and He was going to fight for them. In John 15:5, Jesus said, You can do nothing without Me. As you teach kids this week, emphasize that God was just getting started. He was going to do even bigger things for the Israelites saving them from their enemies and one day sending them a Savior. The cross is our reminder of what Jesus has done for us: a miraculous saving we could never do for ourselves. LESSON OVERVIEW/SCHEDULE Session Title: The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Bible Passage: Joshua 3 4 Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 Unit Christ Connection: Joshua was a representation of Christ, leading the Israelites to victory in overcoming Canaan as Jesus leads us to victory in overcoming the world. Transition Time Welcome time Activity sheet/table Centers Session starter (10 minutes) 1

2 Lesson Countdown Introduce the session (1 minute) Timeline Map (1 minute) Big picture question (1 minute) Sing (5 minutes) Key passage (4 minutes) Tell the Bible story (10 minutes) Discussion starter video (3 minutes) The Gospel: God s Plan for Me (optional) Prayer (5 minutes) Table Time Timeline map (1 minute) Bible story review (10 minutes) Large Group Review / Activities Key passage activity (5 minutes) Activity choice (10 minutes) Prayer (5 minutes) THE BIBLE STORY/OVERVIEW The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Joshua 3 4 Moses had died, and God told Joshua to be in charge of the Israelites. God said that it was time for them to enter the promised land. So Joshua got up early the next morning and the Israelites traveled toward the Jordan River, which separated them from the promised land, the land of Canaan (KAY nuhn). They camped next to the river for three days. Then the officers told everyone that it was almost time to cross the river. They gave the people instructions: Set out when you see the priests carrying the ark of the covenant. Make yourselves clean; God is going to do great things tomorrow. God said to Joshua, I am going to lift you up as the leader so the people will know that you are going to lead them like Moses did. God told Joshua to command the priests carrying the ark to stand in the water at the edge of the Jordan River. Joshua told all of the Israelites to come close and listen. God is here with us, Joshua said. He will defeat our enemies for us. When the priests carrying the ark of the covenant stand in the river, the water will stop. The priests moved into the river and the water stopped and stood up on one side. All of the people crossed the Jordan on dry ground. After everyone had crossed, God told Joshua to choose one man from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Each man was to take a stone from the middle of the river and set it down where the 2

3 Israelites would spend the night. Now the priests carrying the ark of the covenant crossed the river. The water started to flow again. The people camped at a city called Gilgal (GIL gal) on the east side of Jericho (JER ih koh). Joshua set up the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan and he said to the Israelites, In the future, when your children ask their fathers, What is the meaning of these stones? you should tell your children, Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea. This is so all the people of the earth may know that the LORD s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the LORD your God. Christ Connection: God told Joshua and the Israelites to set up memorial stones to remember what God had done to bring them into the promised land. On the night He died, Jesus told His disciples to remember the sacrifice He was going to make to save us from our sins. When Christians take the Lord s Supper, they remember God s plan to destroy sin through Jesus death and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 11:26) TRANSITION TIME Session Title: The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Bible Passage: Joshua 3 4 Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 Unit Christ Connection: Joshua was a representation of Christ, leading the Israelites to victory in overcoming Canaan as Jesus leads us to victory in overcoming the world. Welcome time Tip: As kids arrive this is a great time to collect the offering, fill out attendance sheets, and help new kids connect to your group. Arriving Activity: Remember It Ball 3 cups Set three cups upside down. Hide a small ball inside one of the cups. Allow the kids to see you put the ball under the cup. Move the cups around, and ask the kids if they can tell you where the ball is. Play a few times as more kids arrive. Finally, tell the kids to look away. Put the ball under one of the cups. Move them around again, and let the kids choose which cup it is under. Say Choosing which cup had the ball was much easier when you saw which cup it was hiding under. All you had to do was remember which one had the ball. In today s Bible story, God gave His people something they need to remember, too. 3

4 Activities/Table Centers (5 minutes) Table Centers (Miscellaneous Activities) Word Rocks activity sheet / Bible Story Coloring Sheet, 1 per kid markers, colored pencils, crayons Guide boys and girls to complete the activity page. Say Where did God lead His people? (promised land) God kept a promise in today s Bible story by leading His people into the promised land. Session Starter (10 minutes) Option 1: Went to the River Invite the kids to stand in a circle. Choose a volunteer to complete the sentence: I went to the river and saw a. The next kid in the circle must say the sentence and repeat what the first kid said, plus add another item. If the first kid said, turtle. The next kid would say something like, turtle and fish. The next kid must say the sentence and finish with turtle, fish, and. Continue playing to see how many items the kids can remember. Say God s people came to a river in today s Bible story, and what they saw was something worth remembering. Option 2: Twelve Stones 12 Stones or paper wads Choose one volunteer to stand in the middle of the room. Arrange 12 small stones or paper wads around her in a circle about a foot away from the volunteer. The volunteer may not move her feet. She will try to tag anyone who picks up a stone. A tagged player or anyone who doesn t get a stone is out. The kids who get away with a stone without getting tagged play another round. Choose one of the kids eliminated as the volunteer for the next round. Play until all kids are eliminated or until one kid remains untagged. Say In today s Bible story, we will see why God told the priests to stand firm in the river and why God told the Israelites to pile up 12 rocks. Transition to large group 4

5 LESSON Session Title: The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Bible Passage: Joshua 3 4 Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 Unit Christ Connection: Joshua was a representation of Christ, leading the Israelites to victory in overcoming Canaan as Jesus leads us to victory in overcoming the world. Suggested Theme Decorating Ideas: Create flags or banners similar in style to ones soldiers once carried into battle. Stack old building stones in small piles around the teaching area. You may wish to hang a gray backdrop to represent a stone fort wall, or hang brick, stone, or wood-patterned paper to form a fort wall. You may cut large cardboard or foam board pieces to resemble the top of a fort wall. You could also cut windows into the cardboard. Countdown countdown video (on provided DVD with lesson videos and worship) Show the countdown video as you clean-up table centers, set up classroom chairs for lesson and set it to end as large group time begins. Introduce the session (1 minute) blanket [Large Group Leader enters carrying a blanket. Hide behind it, peeking around it as you speak.] Leader How many of you have ever built a fort? Do you know what a fort is? A fort is basically a wall or building that protects and hides those behind it, especially soldiers. A fort can be a small area with a single wall or a large area surrounded by walls. It can protect soldiers, or even cities and nations. I bet you ve made a fort or two in your house. Have you ever hidden behind the couch or stacked up some pillows to get behind? How about hiding under your blanket when you get in bed at night? These are all pretend forts. One of the best ways to find out what is behind a fort is to send a spy. For the next several weeks, you and I are going to spy on probably the greatest army ever. Timeline Map (1 minute) Timeline Map (small group visual pack copies provided for Table Time Review) Leader God s chosen people, the Israelites, wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because they disobeyed when God told them to take the land He had promised them. Our timeline map tells us today s Bible story is called The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River. It looks like the Israelites made it back to the promised land. We ll have to see if they followed God s command this time. 5

6 Big picture question (1 minute) Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? - 11x17 poster provided Leader The Israelites had no fort to hide behind while in the wilderness. Sometimes water and food were hard to find, and the Israelites didn t always follow God s instructions. However, God took care of them. He gave them food and water when they needed it, and He forgave them many times for their sins. God gave them plenty of reminders that He is a loving and gracious God. He gives us plenty of reminders, too in the Bible. Who has a Bible today? Speaking of the Bible and reminders, let s see what question we will try to answer from the Bible. What should God s people remember? Sing (5 minutes) Worship Song: Our God (on provided DVD) Leader God had big plans for His people. A new leader took over after Moses. His name was Joshua. The first time the people came to the promised land, Joshua was one of only two leaders to encourage the people to go into the land. The people didn t listen. Now, he stood in front of a flooded river. To enter the land, the people would have to find a way across. It wouldn t be an easy task for them, but it would be easy for the one true God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and now Joshua had proven over and over that nothing is impossible for Him. Isn t it great that He s our God, too? Our theme song for the next few weeks reminds us of just what an awesome God He is. Sing together Our God. Key passage (4 minutes) Key Passage Poster: Joshua 24:15 (provided) Worship Song: Choose for Yourself (on provided DVD) Leader Joshua knew that God is big enough to do anything. He wanted the people to see how great God is, too. Check out what Joshua said to the Israelites in our key passage. Show the slide or poster of the unit s key passage, Joshua 24:15. Lead the boys and girls to read it together. Leader We will see over the next few weeks how Joshua remained obedient to God and how God used him to do amazing things. Sing together Choose for Yourself. Tell the Bible story (10 minutes) The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River video (on provided DVD) Bibles, 1 per kid Bible Story Picture Slide or Poster Leader Open your Bibles to Joshua 3. God s people were near the edge of the land God first promised to Abraham. Let s see if we can answer our big picture question. What should God s people remember? Choose to tell the Bible story in your own words using the script provided, or show the video The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River. 6

7 Leader Moses had died, so the people needed a new leader. God already had one picked. The people knew they must cross the Jordan River to reach the promised land. God told Joshua that He was going to show the people that He had chosen Joshua to be their new leader. God explained to Joshua how He was going to provide the Israelites a safe way across the Jordan. When the priests stepped into the river, the water stopped flowing. The priests stood in the middle of the river with the ark of the covenant, and all the people passed over. When the priests crossed, the river started flowing again. God wanted the people to remember what He had done for them. Israel had 12 different groups of people. They were called the 12 tribes. Joshua asked that a leader from each tribe take a stone. The stones were a special reminder of what God had done. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Sustain means to take care of. God saved and took care of His people even when they were wandering in the wilderness. Now, He was proving He would still take care of them. Jesus wants us to remember what He did to save and sustain us, too. He asks that Christians participate in what s called the Lord s Supper. This is a special time where those who believe in Jesus gather together and take some bread and juice to remind us how Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Ask the following review questions: Whom did God choose to lead His people after Moses died? (Joshua, Joshua 3:7) What did Joshua tell the priests to do so the water would stop flowing? (Stand in the middle of the river holding the ark of the covenant, Joshua 3:13) Why did the leaders of the tribes of Israel take rocks from the Jordan River? (to remember what God had done, Joshua 4:4-7) How many rocks did the people gather? (12, one for each tribe; Joshua 4:8) What event do Christians join in to remember what Jesus did for us? (the Lord s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:26) Discussion starter video (3 minutes) Unit 8, Session 1 - Discussion Starter Video (on provided DVD) Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? - 11x17 poster provided Leader Have you ever forgotten something that was very important? Watch this video. Show discussion starter video. Leader It s always great to remember when important things happen to you. Would anyone like to share a time when God has done something amazing for you? We have all been blessed by God. Those blessings may include family, food, friends, and a place to stay at night. That s just a few things we should remember of how God has blessed us. However, nothing comes close to comparing to what Jesus did for each of us. We always need to remember how Jesus took our punishment for sin. 7

8 The Gospel: God s Plan for Me (optional) Use Scripture and the guide provided with this session to explain to boys and girls how to become a Christian. Assign individuals to meet with kids who have more questions. If this is not possible, encourage boys and girls to ask their parents, small group leaders, and other Christian adults any questions they may have about becoming a Christian. God rules. God created and is in charge of everything. (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16-17) We sinned. Since Adam and Eve, everyone has chosen to disobey God. (Romans 3:23; 6:23) God provided. God sent His Son Jesus to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9) Jesus gives. Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again so we can be welcomed into God s family. (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18) We respond. Believe that Jesus alone saves you. Repent. Tell God that your faith is in Jesus. (Romans 10:9-10,13) Prayer (5 minutes) Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? - 11x17 poster provided Show the big picture question slide or poster. Leader Can you remember what we ve learned today? Here s the answer to our big picture question. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Lead the kids in repeating the big picture question and answer a few times. Tell them that everyone is going to repeat it again. Only this time, they must watch you closely and stop when you stop. They may only continue when you continue. Stop and start fast and slow, and invite the kids to try to keep up. Before transitioning to small group, make any necessary announcements. Lead the kids in prayer. Pray that your kids will always remember how Jesus came to save and sustain them. Dismiss to small groups for Table Time 8

9 TABLE TIME LEADER Session Title: The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Bible Passage: Joshua 3 4 Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 Unit Christ Connection: Joshua was a representation of Christ, leading the Israelites to victory in overcoming Canaan as Jesus leads us to victory in overcoming the world. Bible story review (10 minutes) Bibles, 1 per kid Timeline (small group visual pack extra copies provided for Table Time Review) Big Picture Question: What should God s people remember? (11x17 poster provided in classroom) masking tape Tip: Divide children into small groups for table time. Each group should include an adult leader at the table. Encourage the kids to find Joshua 3 in their Bibles. Help them as needed. Say Joshua is in the Old Testament. It s the first of what s called the books of History in the Old Testament. Joshua is after Deuteronomy and before Judges. Use the small group visual pack to show kids where today s Bible story is on the timeline. Review the Bible story provided or summarize the story in your own words. Create a path by taping two parallel lines across the middle of the room. Invite all the kids to go to one side of the room. Describe how the other side of the room is the promised land. The goal is to get all the kids across the Jordan through the path. Explain that when you ask a question, the first kid to go to the center of the path will get a chance to answer. If the answer is correct, he gets to lead all the kids to pass to the other side. If incorrect, another kid may run to the middle and answer. When kids have crossed, declare the other side of the room the promised land, and ask another question. Continue until all the questions are answered. Ask the following review questions: What was the name of the river the Israelites needed to cross? (Jordan River, Joshua 3:8) What happened to the water when the priests stepped into the river? (It stopped flowing, Joshua 3:15-16) What did the Israelites take from the middle of the river to remember what God had done? (12 stones, Joshua 4:3) When did the water start flowing again? (when the priests stepped out of the river, Joshua 4:18) What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Show the big picture question slide or poster. 9

10 Say If you were paying attention, you just heard the answer to the big picture question. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. LARGE GROUP REVIEW AND ACTIVITIES Key passage activity (5 minutes) Hidden Stones Game Instructions Key Passage Poster: Joshua 24:15 (provided) dry erase board and markers (optional) paper stones Make sure the key passage, Joshua 24:15, is visible for each child, either as the printed poster or written on a dry erase board. Read the verse together. Say Joshua wanted the Israelites to remember what God had done for them. He wanted them to always serve and worship God. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. In your Key Passage Activity bin, there are 12 pieces of paper (made into paper wad stones) with a small part of the key passage on each one, completing the verse on the 12 pages. The pages are also numbered in order since this is the first week with this key passage. You may hide the paper wad stones throughout the room. Invite the kids to find the paper wad stones. Once they are found, ask them to put the stones in order using the numbers. Repeat the key passage several times together. Activity choice (10 minutes) Option 1: Rock Pile Relay Masking Tape Stones or paper wads, 12 per group Form two or more groups. Tape a start line and finish line. Invite the kids in each group to line up single file, forming two lines beside each other behind the start line. Provide each group with 12 small stones or paper wads. When you give the signal to go, the first kid in each line will grab a stone, race past the finish line, and drop the stone. The kid then returns to tag the next player in line who does the same. The first group to pile their 12 stones on the other side of the finish line wins. Say As long as the priests stood firm in the middle of the river, the water couldn t touch the Israelites. The people piled 12 stones to remember this event. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. 10

11 Option 2: Stone Coaster decorative glass gemstones glue canning or other round lid Provide each kid with a wide-mouth canning lid or plastic lid of a similar size. Several food items offer lids that you could substitute. Make sure each kid gets 12 or more flat decorative glass gemstones, depending on the size of the lid used. Refer to the gemstones as stones. Demonstrate how to glue the stones onto the lid to create a coaster. Say Why did God ask the Israelites to collect 12 stones from the Jordan river? What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. Prayer and Clean-Up (5 minutes) Say Let s hear our big picture question one last time. What should God s people remember? God s people should remember how He has saved and sustained them. If time remains, take prayer requests. End the session with prayer, thanking God for saving and sustaining His people. Pray for each child by name, asking God to help each one learn to trust Him more. 11

12 Instructions: Discover where God s people headed in today s Bible story by finding the rocks in the Jordan River that have the same shape as those in the box below. Write the letters in the matching rocks. UNIT 8 Session 1 Younger Kids Activity Pages 2012 LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay Joshua

13 The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Joshua LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay

14 Family Journal Page Joshua Take a family trip to a local monument or museum, or search for one on the Internet. Talk about why it was important for the Israelites to remember what happened at the Jordan River. Share important family events (birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, salvation dates, and so forth) from the past and how you remember them below. The Israelites Crossed the Jordan River Joshua 3 4 Preschool Key Passage: Big Picture Question: Christ Connection: Joshua set up stones so the people would remember how God helped them move into the promised land. Jesus told His friends to remember that He died for them. At church, people celebrate the Lord s Supper. The Lord s Supper is a special time to remember that Jesus died to save people from sin and that Jesus is alive again. Kids Key Passage: Big Picture Question: Christ Connection: God told Joshua and the Israelites to set up memorial stones to remember what God had done to bring them into the promised land. On the night He died, Jesus told His disciples to remember the sacrifice He was going to make to save us from our sins. When Christians take the Lord s Supper, they remember God s plan to destroy sin through Jesus death and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 11:26) OK TO PRINT

15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15 OK TO PRINT Joshua

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