This lesson is “refrigerator worthy” and something Eli should have put into practice. As High Priest, he was also “boss” to his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who were extremely corrupt and did not know the LORD. Eli warned them of judgement but was unable to restrain them. Samuel, however, ministered before the LORD even as a child. He was quick to obey, and got up three times when he thought Eli was calling him in the middle of the night. Eli discerned that it was the LORD speaking to his young charge, so he instructed Samuel in how to answer. In 1 Samuel 3 we read the judgement that was revealed to the future prophet of God.
What was only an eleven day’s journey from Mt. Horeb to the border of the promised land, took forty years. Joshua is now leading the people and God has covenanted to be with him and give him success and great victories if he remains confident and very courageous. They are to cross the Jordan at flood stage and I am sure it is “chilly and deep”… But as soon as the priests carrying the ark touch that first toe in the water, the river stood in a heap and all of Israel passed over on dry ground. A man from each tribe was to take up a large stone on his shoulder to set as a memorial in Gilgal, and likewise, Joshua took 12 stones and set them in the midst of the Jordan River. Then the priests were called to come up out of the water, and the Jordan River resumed its flow. The promised land is a picture of the spirit-filled life…one that has victory over the “flesh”. I heard a good illustration today that might be helpful in explaining this concept to children. A Christian has two natures that battle each other. Picture the spiritual nature as a white dog (the one that comes alive when Jesus has covered your sin though faith) and the “fleshly” nature as a black dog(the one that still likes to sin). The one you feed is the stronger. For Joshua to be strong and have much courage, God tells him to meditate on the Book of the Law day and night and to observe and do all that was written in it ! That is how he feeds his spirit which will enable him to be fearless in the land of giants.
To assemble this lesson you will need a separate piece of white card stock. Fold as shown in sample below.The top portion that you fold will measure 2 5/8 inches. On this flap you will “magic tape” the priests and draw the banks of the Jordan. Before you glue down the top flap, place your Joshua 3:11 verse and lightly pencil in the 12 stones of memorial. This page should be a “sandy color”. ( If you want to save on paper and coloring, have the kids write out the verse and draw in the stones themselves in the middle section…use alternate worksheet) Only glue the top 3/4 inch of the flap… you will want the “Jordan River” to be able to slide back and forth. Use blue cardstock or color the water blue, add waves to indicate water ! Glue small tabs on sides to separate water. Cut “water” in half. On bottom flap write the Hebrews verse. Since you have added magic tape to the figures of the priests with the ark, they are moveable….as they approach the water, the water separates (pull tabs). To keep bottom portion from flapping about, you may add a paper clip 🙂