When the twelve spies returned from Canaan, they told the Israelites that the land was filled with good soil for farming enormous crops, but that it was also filled with fierce warriors who did evil things. Both of these things were true. But unlike the other ten leaders, Joshua and Caleb insisted that if God had told them to enter the Promised Land and claim it, He would give them victory over the people there.
“I am not giving you this land because you have done anything to earn it,” God told the Israelites. “I am sending you to take this land because of the horrible crimes that the people here have committed. They have done the worst possible things you could imagine and need to be punished.”*
Forty years later, the new generation of Israelites, who had been small children when they left Egypt, were now ready to enter Canaan.
One day Joshua was walking near the city of Jericho and saw a man in the distance, holding a sword. Thinking it might be one of the warriors of the land, Joshua came closer and asked, “Whose side are you on? Ours or theirs?”
“I’m not on either side,” the man replied. “I’m the commander of the Lord’s army.”
Joshua was overcome by these words and bowed down. “What do you want me to do?” he asked.
“First, you need to take off your sandals,” the man told him. “The ground you stand on is holy.”
Knowing that the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River and were getting closer to them, the people of Jericho were staying inside the walls of their city. Meanwhile, God told Joshua how to defeat Jericho.
Joshua led the Israelites around the city walls. They walked with the Ark of the Covenant and the priests carried trumpets. Every day for a week they did this. The people of Jericho watched curiously, wondering what strange plan the Israelites had.
On the seventh day, everyone woke up before sunrise. Just like they had done for the last seven days, the people marched around the walls of the city. Only this time, they circled the walls seven times. As they finished the final lap, the priests blew their trumpets, and everyone shouted.
The bricks of the wall began to shake. The Israelites backed away and watched as the mighty wall of Jericho, which had caused so much fear before, suddenly crumbled before their very eyes, collapsing into a pile of rubble.
The Israelites cheered and praised God. They could now walk right into the city, without having to find a way over the walls. Their parents had not trusted the Lord when He told them this was the land He had planned for them. But even when they were given instructions that sounded crazy, the new generation of Israelites chose to trust in God and follow His plan. And God did not disappoint them in showing how incredibly powerful He is.
*See note to parents & teachers at top of activity pages.