This week’s session provides us with one such application that we don’t want to miss: how do we treat people who have hurt and wronged us?
Those Crafty Gibeonites
It didn’t take long for word of the Israelite victories over Jericho and Ai to spread through the Promised Land. The remaining city-states realized they were in trouble, so they came up with a plan: they would form an alliance against the invaders. Everyone that was, except for the Gibeonites. They had a different solution.
Pretending to be nomads, the Gibeonites made a treaty with Israel instead (see Josh 9). By the time Joshua and the Israelites learned the truth, it was too late. The treaty could not be broken, so the Israelites made the Gibeonites their servants instead.
But while the Gibeonites were protected from the Israelites, their craftiness left them exposed to the wrath of the other city-states, which chose to attack them out of retribution. When the Gibeonites sent word to the Israelites that they were under attack, Joshua and his people had a decision to make: would they honor the treaty or not?
We can imagine the thoughts that likely went through the minds of God’s people. The treaty was unjust, should they have been expected to honor it? Why should the Israelites demonstrate integrity to a people who had deceived them? But God encouraged Joshua not to fear; He had given the Israelites all of their enemies. So Joshua and the Israelites headed into battle in honor of their treaty.
Those Hurtful People
The rest of the account is the focus of our session; it is what leads us to the Christ Connection and the main take-away. But I want to pause here so we can be sure to see an important tree or two that make up this forest.
Each of the kids we lead has a Gibeonite or two in his or her life. And we do too. We have all been wronged by others. We have all been hurt by others. And just like Joshua and the Israelites, we have to answer the critical question: How will we respond?
- Our culture tells us how to respond: Get even.
- Our hearts tell us how to respond: Get vengeance.
- But the gospel tells us another way to respond, a better way: Give forgiveness.
-From Brian Dembowczyk at TGP website
Preschool Tip: You may not have the time and opportunity to explore this theme of forgiveness with your preschoolers, but if you do, keep it broad: God forgives us of our sin, no matter what, in Christ and He empowers us to forgive others too.
Kids Tip: We wish the kids we serve were protected from pain and heartache, but they are not. The reality is that some of our kids have already been deeply hurt by others. Prayerfully consider challenging and encouraging them to extend forgiveness. Also, if you do have a conversation about forgiving others, be sure to know your church’s policies and procedures for reporting what you might hear. It is good to know that in the first place, but conversations like this one make it vital.
#JesusJam Have fun worshiping together to some songs!
CLICK HERE for this weeks story summary
Christ Connection: Joshua's name means "The LORD is salvation." God fought for Joshua and the Israelites, saving them and giving them victory over their enemies. Sinners can look to God for victory over sin and death. God brought us salvation by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and rise again.
If you have a bible at your house, read the book of Joshua 10-11. If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.
A FREEZE DANCE! Sing a song or play some music/video from Youtube. Instruct the kids that they can dance and move to the music while it plays, but they must freeze in place when the music stops. Every so often, pause the music. Kids who keep dancing will sit down but may continue dancing in their seats when the music plays. The last kid dancing while standing up wins. Remind kids that There was a time when each of you had to stop dancing. Today in our story we heard about when God's people were fighting. When the sun was about to go down, they needed more time to finish the battle. So, God stopped the sun from going down so they could win the battle.
Make crowns CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR PRINTABLE Cut a zig-zag line length-wise through a sheet of yellow construction paper to make two crown shapes. Make enough crowns for each preschooler. Set out markers and adhesive-backed jewels for preschoolers to decorate their crowns. Staple or tape the ends of the crown together to rest on a preschooler’s head. For older preschoolers, you may need to add an additional strip of paper to make the crown large enough.
Remind kids that in today’s Bible story, the Israelites came to a place ruled by five kings. The kings did not love God. The kings made a plan to attack the people in the city of Gibeon because they were friends with Joshua and God’s people. Listen to what happened.
OUR BIG PICTURE QUESTION!
Our big picture question is, How can we glorify God? We can glorify God by loving Him and obeying Him. We show that we believe the truth about God by what we do and say.
God is holy and good. It is right for us to love and obey Him!