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Great Heroes from the Bible: Joshua

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools

Aims

To consider the importance of trusting in God, our friends and ourselves.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and three readers, who will need time to practise prior to the assembly.

  • You may wish to play the African-American spiritual ‘Joshua fought the battle of Jericho’, in which case you will also need the means to do so. A version dating from 1957 is available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPZuWzZvoYQ (The video is 2.07 minutes long, but start it at 0.23 minutes.)

Assembly

Leader: Its really amazing! Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. He took them away from slavery and into freedom. But they had to spend 40 years in the desert. FORTY years! In that time, they had many adventures. They had ups and downs. But they came to realize that they had to trust in God and in Moses, their leader. If they did that, all would be well.

Reader 1: But God decided that not all those who left Egypt would be able to enter the Promised Land. God had told Moses that the people - his people, the people of Israel - would settle in a rich land, a land flowing with milk and honey. However, the Israelites were not always obedient, so God said that only their descendants would enjoy this wonderful new land. Not even Moses, their great leader and the person with the deepest faith in God, would be allowed into the land flowing with milk and honey.

Reader 2: This meant that there had to be a new leader, a strong man who could take over from Moses. This man would also need to be a good general because there would be wars and battles ahead. With Gods guidance, Moses chose Joshua.

Reader 3: Joshua may have been a servant of God, but he was a hard, tough character. He knew that he was going to have to fight many battles and be a firm leader. He also knew that he was going to have to trust in God and in the people.

Leader: Joshua’s first test was to get the people across the River Jordan. Only then would they be in the Promised Land. The problem was, the river was in full flood and impossible to cross. Just across the river was the city of Jericho. It had strong walls protecting it and would be difficult to capture. Joshua had to get thousands of people safely over the river and then capture the walled city. This was a big task for a new leader, a huge test for him. How would he get on? Would he be up to the task?

Reader 1: Joshua told the people to get ready. In three days, led by the army, they would go across the River Jordan. Joshua sent spies to Jericho to find someone on the inside who would help him and his people. When the day came, the priests carried the Ark, the symbol of Gods presence, to the river and started to walk across. Immediately, the water stopped flowing, and the people all crossed over on dry land. It was just like their escape from Egypt all those years ago. When everyone was across, the priests came out of the river and the water flowed again. Joshua had met his first challenge.

Reader 2: But now for the city of Jericho. Joshua told the priests that they were to carry the Ark around the walls every day for seven days, blowing trumpets as they went. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched seven times round the city in the same way - this was the only day they marched round it seven times. On their seventh time round, Joshua ordered his men to shout as loudly as they could.

Reader 3: So on the seventh day, the priests blew their trumpets. As soon as the men heard the noise, they gave an almighty shout, the walls collapsed and the army went straight into the city and captured it.

Leader: What a start for Joshua! Now he really was the leader and could start conquering the rest of the country. There was to be a long period of wars and battles before the people of Israel really settled in the Promised Land. Much was to happen to them over the centuries.

Time for reflection

Reader 1: Christians sometimes see the story of Joshua as symbolizing something of the life of Jesus. First, Jesus name would probably have been Joshua or Jeshua. Joshua is the proper Hebrew name for Jesus. Jesus is how the name has been translated into Greek, and then Latin and other languages. Second, Joshua brought new life and new hope to the people of Israel. Third, Joshua was chosen to do Gods will.

Reader 2: However, whatever people believe about Joshua, there are certain lessons that all of us can learn from his life. Joshua had faith and trusted God. Joshua was willing to lead, but had faith and trust in the people around him. Joshua had faith in himself - he knew that what he was doing was right.

Reader 3: Joshuas story gives us all something to think about and learn from. Who do we put our faith in?

Pause for thought.

Song/music

You may wish to play the African-American spiritual ‘Joshua fought the battle of Jericho’.

A version dating from 1957 is available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPZuWzZvoYQ (The video is 2.07 minutes long, but start it at 0.23 minutes.)

Alternatively, you could read the lyrics of the song, as follows. 

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho
And the walls came tumbling down.

You may talk about your king of Gideon,
You may talk about your man of Saul,
But theres none like good old Joshua
At the battle of Jericho.

Up to the walls of Jericho
He marched with spear in hand.
Go blow them ram-horns, Joshua cried,
Cause the battle is in my hand.

Them ram-horns they began to blow,
Trumpets began to sound.
Joshua commanded the children to shout
And the walls came tumbling down
That morning.

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho
Joshua fought the battle of Jericho
And the walls came tumbling down.

Publication date: January 2017   (Vol.19 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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