The children’s lesson skips from Ai to the defeat of Adoni-Bezek and his coalition in Joshua 10. There is no examination of the Gibeonite Deception narrative in Joshua 9, which makes sense for a kid-level lesson.
There are a couple of points in the discussion of this deception worth noting. One is this: decision-makers who are in a hurry to make a decision and not worried about getting it right will get it wrong. Another is this: bad leadership leads to angry followers. Keep that in mind when you are ‘in charge:’ there is a responsibility to get it right.
Another aspect here is that we should pay attention to what God says and look beyond basic appearances. If you don’t get that yet, you really haven’t read the Bible at all, have you? God looks deeper. So should we. When we cannot, we have to trust God, not our own ideas.
What I do want to highlight here, though, is an interesting note:
Joshua 9:17 tells us that the Israelites are a three day journey from the Gibeonites. That is the time it takes to cover the distance and investigate the situation.
Now, take a look at Joshua 10:9. Marching through the night, the Israelites make it to Gibeon in one day. They show up in a hurry.
So that comes to this question: how much of a hurry to help your friends do you get into?
Because here, Joshua demonstrates that God’s people are quicker to help than they are to judge. Judgment does come—wrong is punished, but help is at hand far quicker.
Think about that next time you are in the mood to pounce on someone’s errors. Are you willing to help thrice as fast?
Then, we cover the sun standing still in the sky. Please, first of all, stop forwarding the email that NASA has proven that this happened. NASA has never done such a thing—and when we forward emails that sound cool but are false, then we look stupid and not faithful.
There is no viable naturalistic explanation for Joshua 10:13. Either God did exactly as the text said or not, but we cannot explain how it happened. There are some efforts to make this about weather or enthusiasm, but I just don’t get it.
Last comment: I really, really want to find a copy of the Book of Jashar. Seriously, how great of an archaeological find would that be?