The story of Rahab begins in this lesson and will finish in two weeks, during the lesson on Jericho. The next three lessons are intertwined (Rahab, Joshua and the crossing of the Jordan, and Jericho).
After being in the desert for 40 years, it was time for the Israelites to enter the land of Canaan. Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. He was disobedient to God when he struck the rock multiple times, out of anger (see Numbers 20:9-13). At this point in the story, Moses had died (Deut 34:5). Before he died, he commissioned Joshua as the leader of the Israelites.
Joshua was preparing the Israelites to enter the promised land, so he sent out 2 spies to go ahead of them and do a reconnaissance mission. He told them to pay special attention to Jericho - presumably because it was such a well-fortified city. They stayed at Rahab's house, who was a prostitute (you don't need to emphasize this point in your class). The king of Jericho got wind that these 2 spies were in his city and at Rahab's house (apparently they weren't all that good at being spies...). He sent for Rahab to give over the spies to him. Rahab had hidden them on her roof under some flax and told the messenger that these two strange men came to her, but they left, and she didn't know which way they went. Go get them! (Apparently, she was better at the whole spy thing than the two Israelite spies).
Jericho was heavily fortified with big walls. Rahab's house made up part of the city walls. After the messengers left, she went up to the roof to let the spies go. Rahab told the spies that everyone in Jericho was terrified of the Israelites. So she made a pact with them, that if the Israelites did in fact come back to conquer Jericho, they would spare her household. The spies agreed and told her that in order for the Israelite army to recognize who they should save, she should lower a scarlet cord down from her window. She agreed and lowered a rope to let the spies out of the city wall where she lived.
The spies had gotten all the information they needed to go back to Joshua and tell him with confidence that the Lord would in fact deliver Jericho to them and that they would win the battle.
get your kids talking and engaged
Have you ever had to hide something from someone (like a present)? Who were you trying to hide it from and what did you do? Did they find it?
In today's story, we're going to learn about a woman who helped hide 2 Israelite spies in the city of Jericho.
teach a holistic story
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
Older students can listen directly out of a verse-by-verse Bible, since the story is not long (just be careful when you come across the word "prostitute"...)
give them basic Bible skills
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Joshua 2:8-12, 15-18
make sure they understand the story
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
hide God's Word in their heartI can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)