Sunday School Preview: May 17, 2015

God uses and blesses our faith. Therefore, we should act on what we believe.  Check out some thoughts on the upcoming Sunday School lesson from Joshua 2 in our video preview.

In our upcoming Sunday school lesson, we’re continuing our studies in the book of Joshua. The Israelites have entered the Promised Land, and God has tasked them with taking possession of the land. The first city that the Israelites come to is the city of Jericho, and Joshua—like a wise general—decides to send to spies to survey the city and to gather information about its inhabitants. But in the sovereign plan of God, the King of Jericho discovered that there were spies in the midst of the city, and he dispatched some of his men to take the spies from the house of Rahab, where they were hiding.

Now, Rahab had a choice to make. Would she turned over the spies to the king’s men, an act that would almost certainly result in their deaths?  Or would she choose to conceal the spies, an act that could possibly bring about the destruction of her city if the spies successfully made it back to their camp with the information they learned about Jericho?

It was a tough choice. No question.

Surprisingly, Rahab chose to conceal the whereabouts of the spies. She hid them under some stalks of flax on her roof, and she told the king’s men that the spies had been in her home but that they had sneaked out of the city before the gates had been shut. When the king’s men left to pursue the spies, the gates of the city were shut once more, and the spies were locked safely inside.

There’s no question that Rahab had saved the lives of these two spies; but the question is why did she do it? What motivated her to look out for the welfare of these Israelite men rather than her own people?

The answer is revealed in Joshua 2:8 When Rahab says, “I know that the Lord is giving you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us. And that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.”

She goes on to say that the inhabitants of Canaan had heard how God had delivered the Israelites from the hand of Pharaoh in the land of Egypt, parted the waters of the Red Sea before them, and given them victory over Og and Sihon, the Amorite kings to the east of the Jordan.  And she reveals that no one in the land of Canaan believe that they could defeat the Israelites because of the power of their God.

Then, she says something amazing that reveals to the spies how the Lord had turned her fear into faith.  She says, “For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. An incredible, incredible statement.

Not only did she evidence her faith in her words, but she also evidenced her faith in her deeds. She protected the representatives of God’s people and helped them to escape from the city. Because of her faith-filled actions, God used her and blessed her in a number of ways.

  1. God protected her and her household in the city of Jericho fell.
  2. God used the report Rahab gave to the spies to instill confidence in the Israelites that their campaign would succeed.
  3. Rahab is praised in the New Testament as one whose works evidenced her faith.
  4. Rahab is one of the few women recorded in Scripture that are part of the genealogy of Christ.

God uses and blesses our faith. Therefore, we should act on what we believe.

Now, before we discuss how to practically apply the principles of this passage, let me address one of the more sensitive aspects of this lesson.

To teachers first: In Joshua chapter 2, Rahab is described as a harlot.  If you’re teaching a toddler or a kindergarten class, I would expect that you’re not reading this passage of Scripture to them, but rather, I would expect that you’re trying to creatively hit the highlights of this story. So, you’re not going to come anywhere near the subject of harlotry.  After all, her profession really isn’t the point of this passage.

However, if you’re teaching a 1st – 5th grade class, you’re probably going to be reading this passage of Scripture to your students. And what do you do if one of the children in your class asks, “What’s a harlot?”

My recommendation would be that you say something like, “It means that Rahab had a job in which she interacted with a lot of men.” And if the kids want you to go into any more detail, please direct them to talk to their parents……

To parents: You’re going to have to decide whether your kids are ready for a discussion like that. If you’ve already had a conversation with your kids about God’s design for human sexuality, then a question like this gives you the opportunity to talk to them about the fact that people don’t always function according to God’s design or moral will. Often, people make sinful choices in that area of life.  But you can remind them of the beauty of God’s plan for the use of our bodies, and urge them to follow his plan in that important area of life.  At the same time, I think you can also tell them that people who sin in that area of life are still able to find redemption as Rahab did—through faith.

With that issue addressed, let’s consider some points of application.  What are the lessons for the kids were discipling—whether the kids in our homes or the kids in our Sunday school classes?

One of the first questions we need to ask our kids is this: Do you have faith in God? Rahab clearly believed, and it impacted her choices. We need to ask our kids if they believe in what Scripture reveals about our God. Do they believe that God loved us so much that he sent his son to die in our place? Do they believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and that they too can overcome the grave through faith in his death, burial, and resurrection? Have they trusted in Christ? If not, we need to urge them to do so right away.

But what about the kids that have already trusted Christ as Savior? What are the lessons for them? I think we need to ask them whether they’re seeing evidence of their faith in the choices they make. Are they seeking to please God on a daily basis?

When they’re faced with a tempting or trying situation, are they saying “no” to their own selfish desires, and are they seeking to please the Lord with their choices? Does their faith in God result in godly action?

Encourage them to really look at the pattern of their lives. If they were to think about the past week or even the past day, would they find that they chose to please God when it would’ve been easy for them to displease him?

If they can find evidence of their faith, then encourage them to praise God for his help. However, if they struggle to find evidence of their faith, this might be an appropriate time for them to evaluate whether their faith in Christ is genuine.

Maybe it is genuine, and maybe they need to spend some time putting off sinful habits and replacing them with righteous ones.  Encourage them to ask their parents for help in doing that. But if they conclude that their faith isn’t genuine, then we ought to encourage them to repent and embrace Jesus is Lord.

God uses and blesses our faith. Therefore, we should act on what we believe.

Trey Garner
Trey Garner is the Pastor of Children's Ministries at Faith Church. He has been married to his wife Deb since 2001. They have two children named Noah and Lauren. Originally from Texas, Trey appreciates barnwood, armadillos, and Blue Bell Ice Cream.