Key Passage: 1 Samuel 2:35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind.”

Big Picture Question: Who is our Helper? Jesus is our Helper.

Christ Connection: Boaz helped his close relatives. Boaz was a family redeemer. He bought back what his relatives lost. Jesus is our Redeemer. He bought our salvation from sin by dying on the cross.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project for Kids our journey is taking us for a look at stories that hint of a coming Savior, Jesus Christ. Today’s story is about Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a woman from Bethlehem who had moved with her husband and sons to escape a famine in their town. After the husbands of both Naomi and Ruth died, the two women moved back to Bethlehem to Naomi’s family’s land.

Ruth went to gather grain in the fields of a man named Boaz, who turned out to be a family redeemer. The role of the redeemer was to take care of close family members when they were in trouble. Since Ruth and Naomi were both women, they would not be able to inherit the land previously owned by Naomi’s husband. As family redeemer, Boaz had the right to marry Ruth and claim the property and responsibility for himself. Boaz did just that and took care of Ruth and Naomi.

Ruth and Boaz soon had a son whom they named Obed. Obed was the grandfather of King David. Through David’s line, God sent the perfect Redeemer in the person of Jesus Christ. We need help because we sin; Jesus bought our salvation for us by taking our punishment when He died on the cross.

Family Activity: Draw names to assign each family member another family member to serve secretly during the week. At the end of the week, record the ways family members served one another. Discuss Boaz’s role as a family redeemer. Celebrate that Jesus redeems us from our sin.

Go further: Collect items for a homeless shelter or conduct a yard sale and donate the proceeds to one.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: What should I do when I sin? I should ask God to forgive me.

Christ Connection: God chose Samson to help save the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines. When he died, Samson killed many Philistines. God sent Jesus to save people from sin. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to rescue us from sin.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story is about Samson. Once again, the Israelites had turned away from worshiping God, so God gave them over to the Philistines. The beginning of Judges 13 states that not all Israelites worshiped false gods, though. Manoah and his wife worshiped the LORD.

The Angel of the LORD came to Manoah and his wife to tell them that the barren couple would have a son. The baby boy would be a Nazirite from birth. He could not eat raisins, grapes, or drink wine; he could not cut his hair. (See Num. 6:1-6.) God gave Samson incredible strength to deliver His people from the Philistines.

Special calling, check. Special strength, check. Samson appeared to have all the makings of an impressive leader. Samson had terrible taste in women, though, and he took his special calling for granted. Though Samson disobeyed God, God used Samson to accomplish His purpose of delivering the Israelites from the Philistines. Jesus came as the last Deliverer, saving through His life and His death those who would trust in him.

Family Activity: Samson was a strong man. God used Samson’s muscles against the enemies of Israel. Have a family strong man competition. Try arm wrestling, thumb wrestling, push-ups, or sit-ups. Modify the requirements for younger kids.

Go further: Take bottled water or sports drinks to a local park where people run or exercise and give them away for free.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: How does God help us obey Him? God is always with us.

Christ Connection: The people of Israel needed help. They asked God to help them. God used Gideon to help the people, and God fought for them. We need help too. We need God to save us from sin. We cannot save ourselves. God sent His Son Jesus to save us.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story, “Gideon,” starts out the same way the previous stories have started: The Israelites once again turned away from God. This time, God handed the Israelites over to the Midianites. The Bible says the Midianites would swarm the Israelites like locusts, devouring all of their livestock and crops. The Israelites hid in caves and were reduced to poverty.

The Angel of the LORD personally delivered a message to Gideon as he was threshing grain in a wine vat to hide it from the Midianites. God called Gideon to deliver His people from the Midianites. Gideon told the Angel that he was the youngest son of the weakest house in the tribe of Manasseh. God had a solution, though: “I will be with you,” He said. (Judg. 6:16)

Not only did God choose an unlikely hero for today’s Bible story, but God also reduced Gideon’s army to only 300 soldiers. People would know God defeated the Midianites, not the might of the Israelite army. In battle, God turned the Midianites’ swords against each other. Gideon and his army pursued the enemy troops. Gideon alone could not defeat the Midianites. In the same way, we aren’t able to save ourselves from sin. Jesus came to save us from our sin because He is enough. Only God, through Jesus Christ, can save us.

Family Activity: Gideon needed God’s help to trust God’s plan and obey Him. Gideon asked God to prove His plan. God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 soldiers to 300 soldiers. Read Joshua 7:2 and talk about why God did that. When Gideon did what God said, he showed that he trusted God. Share with your children at least one way God has proved that your family can trust him.

Go further: Research various phobias and what the Bible says about fear.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: How does God act? God does what is good for us.

Christ Connection: Everything God does is for His glory and our good. (Psalm 115:3; Romans 8:28) God used Deborah, Barak, and Jael to help the people of Israel win battles against Canaan. God also uses people to help us and teach us about Jesus. God sent His Son Jesus to do what is very good for us: to save us from sin.

Dear Parents,

This week’s story in The Gospel Project for Kids® was “Deborah and Barak.” After the death of the first judges, the Israelites fell into a continuous cycle: sin, bondage, deliverance, and peace. When the people of Israel were oppressed by the king of Canaan, Deborah was the judge of Israel. Deborah sent for Barak and encouraged him to gather an army and fight the Canaanite army and its commander, Sisera.

Deborah told Barak that God would hand Sisera and his troops to him. Barak agreed to go, but only if Deborah would go with him. Deborah went, but she told Barak that God
would use a woman to defeat Sisera. In battle, God confused Sisera and his 900 charioteers and all of his army. Barak and his men didn’t have to fight, they just chased down the Canaanite army as they fled! All of Sisera’s troops died, but Sisera escaped on foot.

Sisera fled to the tent of Jael, whose husband was an ally of the Canaanite king. Jael invited him inside, gave him a drink, and covered him as he slept. Then she killed him! God used Deborah, Barak, and Jael to free his people from bondage. God uses people and events to save us not only from our enemies, but to bring our ultimate good: salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Family Activity: Deborah and Barak sang a praise song to God. Choose a favorite family praise song. If you like a challenge, make up a song about things God has done for your family’s good and His glory.

Go further: Research how God used women in the Bible. Consider Ruth, Mary, Esther, Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and so forth.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: How does God make His plan happen? God uses people in His plan.

Christ Connection: After God’s people sinned, the judges helped God’s people obey God again. But the judges could not change the people’s hearts and make them love God. God had a plan. He sent His Son, Jesus, to change their hearts and save them from sin forever.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project for Kids®. Today’s Bible story takes place chronologically after the death of Joshua. The Israelites had God’s laws to help them live their everyday lives, but without a leader they fell into a cycle of sin. They turned away from God and worshiped idols, which led to bondage and oppression by foreign kings. Then they remembered God and cried out to Him. God raised up a judge to deliver them, and finally there was ease in the land.

Today’s Bible story, “The First Judges,” describes how God raised up Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar to deliver His people when they cried out to Him. As long as the judge was alive, the people followed God and experienced peace and prosperity. When the judge died, however, they would fall back into the cycle of sin.

The Israelites needed someone better than a judge; they needed a king who would save them not only from the consequences of their sin, but the sin itself. That was all part of God’s plan. God sent a true Deliverer; His Son, Jesus, died for our sin and delivered us forever from the oppression of sin and death.

Family Activity: Think of one or two believers at church or in the community whom you admire. Talk about why you admire them. Share that just as God works in their lives to accomplish His plan, and just as He did with the judges in ancient Israel, God works in the lives of your family members.

Go further: Write, decorate, and send thank you cards to leaders whom God has placed in your life. Consider including a gift card as well.

Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Big Picture Question: How can we show we love God? We can serve God and worship Him.

Christ Connection: Joshua was very old. He talked to God’s people and told them to obey God even after he, Joshua, died. After Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He talked to His friends. Jesus wanted them to tell other people about Him. Now Jesus lives in heaven, and He wants us to tell other people about Him too.

Dear Parents,
Today, your kids learned about “Joshua’s Final Encouragement.” Joshua was an old man—120 years old!—but his life was a testament of God’s faithfulness to His people.

God had promised when the Israelites began the conquest of Canaan that God would be with Joshua wherever he went. (Joshua 1:9) Joshua reminded the Israelites about the history of their nation, from the covenant first made to Abraham to the banks of the Jordan River when the Israelites crossed over on dry ground. Joshua also reminded the Israelites that God fought all of their battles. Not one of God’s promises to His people failed. Isn’t that a pretty awesome encouragement? We serve a God who keeps His promises!

Joshua reminded the Israelites that they still lived among people who worshiped false gods, false gods that could lead the people away from following the one true God. Joshua made it clear: the Israelites could not sit on the fence. They could not worship Yahweh one day and the Baals the next. Joshua drew the line in the sand and told them to choose. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The Israelites made a covenant to serve Yahweh. Joshua read the book of the Law, and made an altar to seal their commitment to God.

How can we show our commitment to God? We can serve, worship, and obey God. As you talk about Joshua’s legacy of faith with your kids, point to an even greater legacy of faith. After Christ’s resurrection, He sent His disciples out to tell the nations about Him. Jesus calls all people who trust in Him to tell others about Him.

Family Activity: Discover a way your family can serve others during the week. Consider making dinner for a neighbor, babysitting for a friend, visiting a nursing home, serving at a homeless shelter, picking up litter in the neighborhood, and so forth.

Go further: Send an email or letter of encouragement to an international missionary.

Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Big Picture Question: What does God do when we pray? God answers our prayers.

Christ Connection: Joshua’s name means “God saves.” God helped Joshua lead the people of Israel and saved them from their enemies. Jesus’ name also means “God saves.” God helped us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross. Jesus saves us from sin and death. If we trust in Jesus, we will live with Him in heaven.

Dear Parents,

Isn’t it great that God goes above and beyond what we think is possible to keep His promises to His people? Today’s Bible story, “The Day the Sun Stood Still” relates something that seems absolutely impossible. But nothing is impossible for God!

Joshua and the Israelites were tricked by the men of Gibeon into forming a peace treaty. As a result of the peace between Israel and Gibeon, five kings of Canaan attacked Gibeon. God reassured Joshua that He would be with the Israelites as they defended Gibeon. Not only was God with them, God fought for them! God sent the Canaanite armies into confusion, then He dropped hailstones on them.

Joshua and the Israelites were fighting, but Joshua noticed it wouldn’t be long before the sun began to go down. In front of everybody, Joshua cried out to God and asked Him to keep the sun standing still in its place until the battle was over. Guess what? That’s exactly what God did! God held the sun in place for almost a full day until the Israelites defeated their enemies.

What does God do when we pray? God answers the prayers of His people and saves them. This story points ahead to another time God saved His people in a greater way: God sent His Son, Jesus, to fight the battle against sin and death.

Family Activity: Share a sunrise or sunset together as a family. Talk about what you would do if the sun stopped and you had extra time that day. Share some things God would want you to do that day. Determine to do some of them this week.

Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Big Picture Question: What does God do when we obey Him? God blesses people who trust and obey Him.

Christ Connection: God made a promise to the Israelites. He said if the Israelites obeyed Him, He would be with them. God has made a promise to us, too. If we trust in Jesus, God will be with us no matter what.

Dear Parents,

Last week, your kids learned that God hates sin and punishes sin. Achan’s sin resulted in the Israelites’ defeat the first time they attacked the city of Ai. In today’s Bible story, God told Joshua not to be afraid. Achan’s sin had been dealt with. God graciously gave the Israelites a second chance to attack Ai. God promised to be with the Israelites this time.

God gave Joshua specific instructions to defeat Ai. Joshua followed God’s instructions completely, and God gave the Israelites complete victory! After the battle of Ai, God allowed the Israelites to plunder Ai, keeping whatever goods and livestock they wanted for themselves. Joshua built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Joshua read the book of the law to the people.

How does God respond to our obedience? God blesses obedience to His will. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, God is always with us, and we are victorious over our enemies of sin and death. Remind your kids we don’t have right standing with God because we obey. We obey because He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in our place so we may be forgiven.

Family Activity: Make an extra effort this week to reward obedience.

Go further: Write down things you appreciate about your children (how they obey, care for others, and so forth). Share these things with your children and talk about how God has blessed your family.

Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Big Picture Question: How does God feel about sin? God hates sin.

Christ Connection: Achan disobeyed God, and he died. We sin against God, and we deserve to die, too. But we don’t have to die because Jesus died instead. We can trust in Him. Our bodies may die, but we will live forever with God in heaven.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story, “Achan Sinned,” picks up where last week’s Bible story left off. Before battle, God told the Israelites to destroy everything in Jericho—except for Rahab and her family, and special items that were devoted to the treasury of the Lord. God warned that disobedience would lead to disaster for the Israelites.

Joshua prepared to attack the next city, Ai. It was a much smaller city. Joshua sent only 3,000 troops to attack it. The men of Ai defeated the Israelites and chased them away from the city. Thirty-six soldiers were killed. Joshua and the elders tore their clothes in sorrow. God told Joshua to get up, though. Someone in the camp had stolen items from Jericho!

How does God feel about sin? God hates sin and punishes sin. Achan sinned. Achan’s punishment was death. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23) Jesus died on the cross so that we could be saved from spiritual death.

Family Activity: Invite each family member to share a time he or she was caught not obeying a rule. What was the punishment? Encourage family members to share how they feel when someone doesn’t do what they ask.

Go further: Invite each person to write down ways he/she has sinned on paper. Destroy the papers, and thank God for His complete forgiveness through Jesus.

Key Passage: Joshua 24:15 “Choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Big Picture Question: Who fought the battle of Jericho? God fought for His people.

Christ Connection: God helped His people take the city of Jericho. God told them not to take anything from the city. God would give His people what they needed. Jesus said God gives people what they need. (Matthew 6:33). The greatest thing we need is to be rescued from sin. God sent Jesus to rescue us.

Dear Parents,

This week’s story in The Gospel Project for Kids® was “The Conquest of Jericho.” Last week, your kids learned that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. They were finally in the promised land! They only had one thing left to do: conquer the land and drive out the inhabitants. The people who lived in Canaan worshiped false gods.

Joshua sent two spies into the city of Jericho. While they were there, they stayed at Rahab’s house. The king of Jericho tracked them down to Rahab’s house, ready to kill them. Rahab, however, hid the spies on her roof. Why would Rahab save the spies? Rahab heard about God. She knew God was the one true God and that He would give the Israelites the city. She asked that her family be spared. Rahab and her family had to stay inside Rahab’s house and tie a red cord from her window. Rahab and her family were spared because of Rahab’s faith in God.

God gave Joshua specific instructions for battle. The Israelites obeyed. Who fought the battle of Jericho? God fought the battle and handed Jericho over to the Israelites. Joshua told the Israelites not to keep any of the spoil for themselves—the Lord would provide for their needs. Pray with your kids. Thank God for providing for all of your needs, including the need to be rescued from sins by Jesus Christ.

Family Activity: Make a “city wall” with pillows or boxes, march around it, and knock it down. Talk about how God knocked down Jericho’s walls.

Go further: Invite another family to walk laps around a track with you to exercise and build relationships.