Family Resources - November 15
We wanted to share with you some highlights from our curriculum, so that your child will be able to follow along with the lessons they are being taught in Children’s Ministry. This blog post contains information about this week’s lesson from our Gospel Story curriculum, which is being taught to 3 & 4 year olds, up through 3rd grade, as well as this week’s lesson from our New City Catechism that is being taught to 4th-5th graders. May it brighten your week and bless you!
The lesson for this week from the Gospel Story Curriculum is about when Jericho Falls. The biblical account of this story can be found in Joshua 5:13 - 6:27 (end of the chapter). Although, the lesson recommends reading chapters 3 and 4 as well, to see how God brings His people across the Jordan River in a similar way to how He brought them out of Egypt. If you would like to read the child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. There is also a preschool version of this story from the Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible, which you can read by clicking here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
Build a tower of blocks, either on the floor or on a table. Ask your child to go ahead and knock it over. Now rebuild it together, then have your child march around it in a circle 7 times, being careful not to bump the table, and shout at it. Did it fall down? How did the walls fall down in our story from the people marching and shouting, when we couldn't even knock down this little tower with our marching and shouting? Because it wasn't the marching or the shouting that knocked down Jericho's walls in the first place. It was God.
A variation on this game that you could play is to build your tower out of foam cups. You will also need one hard plastic cup (I don't mean a Solo cup, but a hard plastic cup out of your cabinet). Make a circle with the foam cups and the hard plastic cup, then use foam cups to build a second layer, bridging from cup to cup. Depending on your construction, supplies, and patience, keep building up the walls until you are satisfied with the size of it. Have your child march around it 7 times, being careful not to bump the table, then shout and blow an imaginary trumpet. Have them help you shake the table to bring the walls down. They may then crush all the cups, to show that the walls didn't just fall down, but were destroyed. They'll find that the hard plastic cup can't be crushed like the foam cups. This cup represents the house of Rahab and her family, who God saved before the destruction of the city.
This lesson includes some trivia questions and answers. If you have multiple children, they can play against each other. Or they can play cooperatively against you (this would also be a good route with one child). Every correct answer they get is 5 points, if they get it on their second guess, it's 2 points, if they miss it, you get 3 points. Here are the questions and answers from the lesson:
1 - How many spies did Joshua send into Jericho? A: 2
2 - What was the name of the woman who helped the spies in Jericho? A: Rahab
3 - What was the name of the river that God dried up for the Israelites to cross? A: The Jordan River
4 - Who met Joshua prior to the battle of Jericho? A: The Commander of the army of the Lord (many believe this to be the preincarnate Jesus)
5 - What was Joshua asked to do by the Commander before he received instructions regarding the battle of Jericho? A: Take off his sandals
6 - How many days did Israel march around Jericho? A: 7
7 - How many times did Israel march around Jericho on the last day? A: 7
8 - What were the trumpets made of? A: Ram's horns
9 - How many priests were to march around the city? A: 7
10 - What was the signal for Israel to shout? A: When the priests blew a long blast on the ram's horns
11 - What caused the walls of Jericho to come crashing down? A: God brought down the walls of Jericho at the shout of the people
12 - Besides the people and the priests, what else did Israel bring with them to march around Jericho? A: The ark of the covenant
13 - What are the four metals the people were to save for the Lord? A: Gold, silver, bronze, and iron
14 - How was Jericho completely destroyed? A: Israel burned the city
There are a couple of teaching points that are really good to draw out to your kids as you go through this lesson. First of all, Jericho falls under the power of God. The people were called to be obedient, and it must have been hard to spend day after day just marching around the city without trying to start a battle, just trusting the Lord that He would take care of this massive city with its strong walls. But ultimately, the people's obedience and faith, while important, were not what brought these walls down. God's power did that. Why do you think God may have chosen this way of defeating the city, instead of a regular battle? God knows our nature, how easy it is for us as humans to begin to see ourselves as powerful and good and to take credit for the things He has done. There's no way the Israelites could take credit for knocking down those walls, even with their marching and shouting. God chose this way to show His glory and might, so the people may praise Him. Another interesting thing is when the Commander of the army of the Lord appears to Joshua. Many people believe that this is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. Pre-incarnate, to explain to kids, simply means before He came as a little baby. We know that Jesus existed before He came as a baby. When He appears to Joshua, He tells Joshua to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground, just like God's Spirit tells Moses when Moses meets God in the burning bush. And in Revelation 19:11-16 we meet Jesus as a rider on a white horse, leading forth the army of the Lord. Pretty awesome!
Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for November comes from Psalm 18. For preschoolers, they are learning Psalm 18:30. For K-2nd grade, they are learning Psalm 18:30-32. And in 3rd grade, they are working on learning Psalm 18:30-35. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #11.
The New City Catechism question for this week is question #16 - “What is sin?” Answer - “Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world He created, not being or doing what He requires in His law.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from 1 John 3:4-10. The weekly memory verse for this age group is 1 John 3:4.
This week actually has a couple of activities that are specific to the memory verse. First of all, there’s the idea of “lawlessness”. Talk with your child about what that means, and go through a newspaper together, looking for examples of what your child would consider lawlessness. Tie it back to our sins against God. The other activity is to take that same newspaper and have your child go through it, cutting out the words from the memory verse and putting it together on the table. If they can’t find a word they need, they can piece letters or words together. Once you have the whole memory verse cut out and put together, go over it a couple of times together.
To help bring home the idea that lawlessness and sin is our own burden, not just that of criminals in a newspaper, you will need to make 2 parallel lines on the floor with masking tape (or you could use lines of yarn). Make sure the lines are just out of the range of your child’s ability to jump. Have your child stand on one line and attempt to jump to the other line. You can also try this, to show solidarity. Neither of you should be able to make it. Write Romans 3:23 on the far line of masking tape, or put a card down on the yarn that says Romans 3:23. We all fall short of God’s glory. We all have sinned.
But there is One who hasn’t, who lived a perfect life in obedience to the Father. It is through the blood of Jesus that we can spend time focusing on our sin, yet not despair. He offers us His forgiveness, and what a tremendously overwhelming blessing that is! Have your child spend time in meditation on what it means to have their sins forgiven, on the enormity of it. Then play a statue game, where your child must pose as a statue that portrays first, someone in need of forgiveness, second, someone receiving forgiveness, and thirdly, someone extending forgiveness to others, as we are called to cheerfully do, in light of our own freedom and forgiveness.
If you’re looking for other resources for ideas and activities you can do with your children to help them use their time to invest in God’s kingdom, here are some we recommend:
https://homeschoolon.com/joshua-battle-jericho/ (A fun activity for letting your kids build the walls of Jericho)
https://youtu.be/MdQy2l8BegA (A version of the classic kid’s song, “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho”)
https://www.futureflyingsaucers.com/chocolate-sauce-lesson/ (An object lesson for teaching children about sin)
https://churchleaders.com/children/childrens-ministry-articles/160571-teaching-kids-about-sin.html (Some more object lessons for teaching kids about sin)