VERSES: Numbers 14:1-45
MEMORY VERSE: Numbers 14:8 "If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land which floweth with milk and honey."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Acts. Write "Acts" on slips of paper and hand out to students at the end of class.
PRAYER: Let us be courageous and trusting like Joshua and Caleb. If God is on our side, nothing can stop us.
SPECIAL SONG: Read, Read, Every Day (see Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog).
VISUAL AID: Whiteboard or Chalkboard Drawing of 12 Spies Portraits. (See Activity below.
- The children of Israel still did not understand. They were standing just outside the Promised Land, ready to go in, yet they were afraid and they cried all night! They did not understand that if God was on their side, there was no need to be afraid and worry and fret. God had taken care of them all through the desert, and now He was ready to protect them when they went in to take the land. Instead, they complained! They complained that they should have stayed in Egypt and should have died there. They also complained that they should have died in the wilderness. They complained that they were all going to die fighting by the sword. Do you know what they wanted to do? They wanted to go back to Egypt!! They were going to select a captain and head for Egypt!
- But the people forgot one thing, didn't they? Who was on their side? That's right! God was on their side and, with God on your side, you can do ANYTHING! Only Caleb and Joshua said they that the land was a very good land and that, if they pleased the LORD, then He would give them the land that flowed with milk and honey. Do you know how Moses and Aaron and Caleb and Joshua felt about all of this? They were sad, but only sad because the people were fainthearted or weak and not brave. The people did not believe that God would help them. Let's turn and read Numbers 14:5 and 6 in our Bibles. (Read verse.) Let's put our bookmarks right here. What did Moses and Aaron do? They fell on their faces in front of all the children of Israel. What did Joshua and Caleb do? They tore their clothes because they were so sad about the people not trusting God.
- Joshua and Caleb told the people not to rebel or go against the LORD. They said not to fear the people in the land, but all the children of Israel intended to throw stones at Joshua and Caleb when suddenly the glory of God appeared in the tabernacle. God was angry at the people. He asked Moses, "How long will these people disrespect me? Of all the signs that I have shown them, and they still will not believe! I will strike them down with a plague and raise a great nation out of you, Moses." God was willing to destroy all of those more than 600, 000 people, but Moses said to God, "The Egyptians will hear and tell all the people around them that they have heard that you are the LORD of these people, that You go before them in a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night, and that You protect them. But if You kill all these people at one time, then the nations will say that You were not able to bring them into the land that You promised." Moses pleaded with God on behalf of the people. He told God that He was patient and full of great mercy and forgiveness. He asked to God to forgive them just like He had all along the way through the wilderness, walking from Egypt.
- Finally, the LORD told Moses of the consequences of the people's sin. He said that the people would not see the Promised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb believed God, but no one else did. God told the people that next morning that they should turn and get into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea. He said anyone over the age of twenty years old who had complained against God would die in the wilderness and never, ever see the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb would see the land because they had believed God. The people would wander around in the wilderness for forty years until they all died, all but Joshua, Caleb, and the young ones. God said that for every day they were searching out the land of Canaan, that is how many years they would wander in the wilderness. How many days were they spying out the land? That's right! 40 days! How many years would they wander in the wilderness? Yes! Forty years! One year for one day in Canaan. That's another 'forty', isn't it?
- Not Joshua and Caleb, but every one of the other ten men who made the children of Israel afraid of the land and complained against God had died by a plague. The people were greatly saddened. The next morning, the people got up early and said that they had sinned and that they would go up and take the land like God had wanted them to do in the first place. But it was too late! Moses said NOT to go because the LORD was not with them. They would not be protected from their enemies, so they had better not go and fight them. But the people went anyway, and the Amalekites and the Canaanites killed many of the children of Israel because God did not go with the children of Israel. Again, they did not listen to God or to Moses. They did what they thought was best.
- How very, very sad. This story could have ended with a happy ending if the people had only trusted God and had done what He told them to do. Just because there were more people saying one thing did not make it right. There were ten men saying "NO!" they could not take the land and only two men saying "YES!" they could take the land. Who was right? The ten men or the two men? Of course, the two men, Joshua and Caleb. They were the minority, but they were right in God's sight. They believed God and His Words. The other ten men were the majority, but they were wrong. Numbers are and never were important to God.
"Older Student" Tips:
- Define "presume" for the students. The children of Israel "presumed" that God would be with them when they changed their minds and wanted to fight the Canaanites for the land. We should never presume that God will do something for us when we have sinned. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:12 that the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. We should always do what God wants, not what we want.
- Define "minority" and "majority." Discuss "The majority is not always right." Read Exodus 23:2.
ACTIVITY: The Minority Was Right!
Materials needed: 12" x 18" dark green construction paper, 10" x 16" bright green construction paper, 9" x 15" tan construction paper, crayons, scissors, marker, glue. Optional: two stars.
- Hand out the dark green paper. This is the background.
- Hand out the bright green paper.
- Fold bright green paper into twelve equal parts.
- Unfold paper and glue to dark green paper, touching the bottom of the dark green paper.
- Fold tan paper into twelve equal parts.
- Cut twelve men's upper bodies out of tan paper, making sure each man fits into his own bright green square.
- Draw a face on each man, 10 angry with their mouths open and two happy and hopeful with smiles on their faces.
- Write "Joshua" and "Caleb" on the happy men's shirts.
- Color all the men. It is nice when they all look a little different.
- Glue men in their bright green square. It doesn't matter what order they are in.
- Write "Majority or Minority. WHO WAS RIGHT? Numbers 14" at the top of the paper.
- Find Joshua and Caleb on the paper. Write "YES!" in their boxes and, for older students, write something positive that they would have said about taking the Promised Land from the Canaanites and Amalekites.
- On all the other men's squares, write "NO!" in the boxes and, for older students, write something negative that they would have said about taking the Promised Land from the Canaanites and Amalekites..
- Extra: Put a star sticker in Joshua and Caleb's boxes.