Crossing the Jordan
“The Lord… will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Thank you for choosing to use the Gospel Project for Kids. You and your children have been learning about the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness. Forty years later, it was time for the next generation to enter the land. Only one geographical barrier separated the Israelites from the promised land of Canaan: the Jordan River. When the Israelites arrived, the Jordan River was flooded due to spring rains and snowmelt. Any other time, the river would have been manageable, but crossing the swollen river would have been as daunting as crossing the Red Sea. (See Josh. 4:23.)
The Israelites had mourned Moses’ death for 30 days (Deut. 34:8), but now this new generation looked to Joshua to lead them into the promised land. God had chosen Joshua and promised to be with him. Joshua prepared the people to cross the Jordan River, and they agreed to obey him as they obeyed Moses.
God gave Joshua a promise and a command. First, He promised to go before them and drive out all the people of the land. Then God commanded him to tell the priests to carry the ark of the LORD (a symbol of God’s powerful presence) into the waters of the Jordan. Then the waters of the river would be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above would stand in one heap. When this happened, all of Israel would know that God was with Joshua.
All of the people passed over on dry ground. Joshua set up 12 memorial stones as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in bringing Israel safely across the Jordan into the promised land.
The Israelites could do nothing apart from God. He was with them, and He was going to fight for them. In John 15:5, Jesus said, “You can do nothing without me.”
As you go through this week, emphasize with your kids that God was still at work with His people. God went ahead of Joshua and the Israelites into the promised land. He showed His power to them so they would trust in Him. When Jesus came to earth, He showed His power so people would trust in Him and be saved from sin. The cross is our reminder of what Jesus has done for us: a miraculous saving we could never do for ourselves.
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
BIBLE STORY SUMMARY:
- God stopped the Jordan River so His people could cross.
- God led His people through the Jordan River on dry ground.
- The Israelites made a memorial from 12 stones found in the river.
KEY PASSAGE: Deuteronomy 31:8
BIG PICTURE QUESTION:
- How can we glorify God? We can glorify God by loving Him and obeying Him.
FAMILY DISCUSSION STARTERS:
- How do you think the priests felt stepping into the rushing water?
- Why is remembering what God has done for us important?
- How did Jesus show God’s power?
- Invite a few other families to join your family for a picnic by a river or lake. Talk about what it must have been like for the Israelites to cross the Jordan on dry ground.
- Make a family memorial to God. Choose objects that represent
times God has brought your family through. Display the items together in your home.