Joshua – More Than Just a Song about the Walls of Jericho
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the qualities associated with inspiring leadership.
Preparation and materials
- Write on a whiteboard or create an image and have the means to display it during the assembly of 'Joshua's tips on how to be a good leader'.
Follow God's Commandments.
Lead by example.
Bring people together.
- Create a central focus table with a copy of the Bible, open at the book of Joshua, and a candle, plus matches.
- Have available the song 'Joshua fit the battle of Jericho' and the means to play it at the beginning of the assembly.
- Play the song ‘Joshua fit the battle of Jericho’ as the children enter the room. If the song is known, sing it together.
Today we are going to find out about a great Bible hero called Joshua, who lived way back in time, around 1200 years BC – that's more than 3,000 years ago! In the Bible, in the section Christians call the Old Testament, there is a whole book named after him, telling the story of his life.
Show the children the title in the Bible on the focus table.
- Joshua is probably best known as a soldier. He led a famous attack on the ancient city of Jericho. We heard/sang a song about this as you came in today. Do you remember the story?
Encourage the children to retell the story or mention the following key points.
– Joshua made careful plans and sent spies in to Jericho to find out what was happening inside the city walls.
– For six days, he marched his soldiers around the walls of Jericho in silence. The people of Jericho were very confused and frightened and wondered what was happening.
– Then, on the seventh day, Joshua instructed his soldiers to make as much noise as they could. They played horns and shouted very loudly. Joshua and his army stormed in and took the city.
- Now, this is only one of the events in the Book of Joshua. The people who wrote Joshua's life story wanted to show that he was not just a successful warrior but also a very great leader. He had a long life – we are told that he lived to be a very old man – and, long after his death – at the grand old age of 110 – he would be remembered as one of the great leaders of his time.
- So, what was he like? What made him such an extraordinary person? What made people want to follow him?
Well, there are lots of clues in the Book of Joshua that can help us to find out more about him. Here are some of the qualities for which he became famous.
Draw the children's attention to the whiteboard or image of 'Joshua's tips on how to be a good leader'.
The first is, 'Trust God.' For many years in his early life, Joshua was a faithful servant to Moses and learned from him to trust God in everything.
The second is, 'Follow God's Commandments.' Joshua was chosen by Moses to take his place as the leader of the Hebrews because he followed God's Commandments faithfully. The writers of the Book of Joshua believed that he was a good leader because he was obedient to God.
The third is, 'Lead by example.' Joshua knew that his people could not be forced to follow God's Commandments. He found the best way was to live each day according to his values and beliefs and try to lead others by example.
The fourth is, 'Encourage others.' This works together with the fifth and final tip.
The fifth is, 'Bring people together.' Not everyone agreed with Joshua all the time, but he always encouraged people to work together to create a settled homeland for the Hebrew people.
Time for reflection
I wonder what you think of Joshua's tips on how to be a good leader. Are there other qualities that you would add to the list?
If there is time, offer the children an opportunity to respond to your question by having a bit of a discussion about it. If not or if there seems to be an interest in having a more in-depth discussion, this could be organized as a follow-up activity (see also below).
Light the candle on the focus table.
Think about how you could be a good leader today . . .
. . . and how you could also be a good follower.
'Joshua fit the battle of Jericho' (Junior Praise, 143)
'God told Joshua to take Jerico' (Junior Praise, 351)
Follow up ideas
- Ask the children, 'What do you think makes for a good leader?' Discuss examples of leaders within their experience, such as a leader in school or other communities they have contact with, in uniformed organizations, team games and so on. Compare the qualities they mention with those in Joshua's tips on how to be a good leader.
- The Hebrew people carried with them the Ark of the Covenant as a symbol of God's protection and presence. Find out what the Ark was like and what it contained. See Exodus 25 for a very detailed description. Some images of a reconstruction based on this description can be found at: www.bibleplaces.com/tabernaclemore.htm
- Did you know that Biblical scholars make links between Joshua and Jesus? That is because they share the same name – Joshua, in Hebrew, means 'Yahweh saves', which, in Aramaic is 'Jesus'.