In the Desert for Forty Years.

Can you imagine being stuck in a desert for 40 years? That is exactly what happened to the Israelites. Their journey through the desert was filled with difficult times, in today’s lesson we will find out why the Israelites ended up being in the desert for so long:

The Israelites were on their way to Canaan. When they could see the edge of the village they chose 12 brave men to stay and spy on the land and its people in order to get more information about them. 40 days later these 12 spies returned, and with them they carried big baskets of fruits and other wonderful food items that the Israelites hadn’t seen before and guess what? The Israelites wanted to take over the land as quickly as possible. They wanted to eat these amazing fruits and other food items every day and they also wanted to sleep in a warm bed, and live as these people did – comfortably without being hungry, tired, hot and thirsty ever again!

The 12 spies told the rest of the Israelites of the amazing village called Canaan but when they heard the people talking about taking it over, they told them how well defended the place was. “There is no way we can take over Canaan, if we tried we’d be defeated quickly,” said one of the spies.

Once again the people moaned: “We should have stayed in Egypt. We’re all going to end up dead in the desert.” Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb did not like the way the others were complaining. We should trust in God and be patient” they said, but nobody would listen to them. God was angry with the people in the desert and He said to them: “because you still will not be patient and you still do not trust in me, only Joshua and Cayleb will enter Canaan, the rest of you will stay in the desert for 40 years.

The Israelites were angry and did not like the thought of spending another 40 years in the desert so they decided to attack Canaan and take it over by themselves. They were tired of waiting. The Israelites attached Canaan and were badly defeated. In their anger, the people turned on Moses again. They were tired of having Moses and Aaron as their leaders. To give the people a choice, Moses told them to each choose a leader from the 12 tribes and each leader had to put his name on an almond branch, the branch that flowered and had almonds on it would be the new leader of the Israelites. They all did so and finally, God decided Aaron would be the leader of His people. Everyone was happy and for years they were calm until Aaron died.

On Aaron’s death, the people complained again. They hated living in the dry desert with so little food and water and all wanted to go back to Egypt again. God could not let the undisciplined and ungrateful Israelites carry on with their complaints and threats so he sent poisonous snakes into their camp.

The snake bites killed many of these ungrateful people and finally, the Israelites begged Moses to ask God for help. They realized they were wrong to be such a rush and to be disrespectful to God. Moses prayed to God and He answered:” You need to make a brass snake and tie it to a pole, whoever looks at the snake on the pole will be healed.”

The Israelites who were bitten all came to look at the metal snake, but only those who really believed and trusted in God were healed.

Moral of the Story.

In today’s lesson, we are once again reminded of God’s patience and love for all his children. He cares about our faith and our trust in Him. God requires this above all.

We may want a nice bicycle, or a better life or even just to make friends, but at the end of the day, all we need to do is to ask. Once we ask God, it is in His hands. He knows exactly what we need and what is best for us, because He loves us so much and He wants us to be happy, He wants to grant our every wish; unfortunately we don’t always want to wait. We want everything immediately. This makes God unhappy and quite sad. If we cannot be patient and trust in Him, how can we expect Him to listen to our prayers?

The great news is that even after we’ve made God unhappy, He will still forgive us if we apologize for doing wrong. Those who continue to test God and be impatient and ungrateful will be punished. We will be taught a lesson. God wants to see that we deserve a second chance, he wants to give us a second chance and we must be grateful for his mercy and blessings. Not only when things are going well and we are happy, but also when we are going through a difficult time and things are not going our way – remember; God wants us to have faith in Him and he wants us to Trust him at all times.

If you can do this, and keep trying your best to be thankful to Him and have faith in Him, then God, in turn, will reward you with so much more than you could ever have prayed for. He will make sure you have everything you need in life to be happy and healthy.

I ask you now to have faith in God’s promises. Be patient when you need His help and keep trying to do better every day.

Questions and Answers.

Q: How many men were sent to spy on Canaan?

A: 12.

Q: How long were the spies watching Canaan?

A: 40 days.

Q: Who were the only two people allowed to enter Canaan?

A: Joshua and Caleb.

Q: How many years did the rest of the Israelites stay in the desert?

A: 40 years.

Q: What type of branch did the 12 leaders have to carve their names on?

A: An almond branch.

Q: Who was the new chosen leader of the Israelites?

A: Aaron.

Q: What did God send to punish the people who disobeyed and distrusted Him?

A: Snakes.

Q: What kind of snake did Moses have to make?

A: A brass snake.

Meaning of words.

Defended – to be well protected.

Disrespectful – to not have respect.

Threat – telling someone you will hurt them or leave them if they don’t do what you want them to do.

Healed – not sick or hurt anymore.

Verses of the day:

Numbers 13: 23

Then they came to the valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.

Numbers 13: 28

Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.

Numbers 13: 30

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up ate once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Numbers 14: 11

Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?

Numbers 14: 19

Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

Numbers 14: 33

And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.

Numbers 14: 42

Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you.

Numbers 21: 7

Therefore the people came to Moses and said: “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Numbers 21: 9

So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent (he believed God would heal him), he lived.


With each Sunday school lesson, I try to give the kids special verses, activities and pictures to color in. Below you will find the download links for the special verse of the day and more. Please feel free to use them as you like for personal use in your own Sunday school classes. The wording and any images on this website are not to be sold or reproduced in any publications online or offline. I drew these pictures so that you could add your own verses to them for the day. Color the edgings with marker pens and a little bit of glitter. You can hand them out to the children to take home as bible verses for the day, even better if each child has a separate book, they can paste it into their own book.  How to Apply Wording in White Space of Picture.1) On adobe reader, select sign.

2Select add text. 

3) Type in verse or wording.

4) Select file and save as.

You will need Adobe Reader (the latest version is recommended) installed on your computer in order to open this pdf image.

 You can download Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page).

If you want to open the file in your browser window, just click on the link (not all browsers have this feature). However, if you want to download the file to view later, then right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save File As." Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive.

Once you have saved the file, locate where you saved it, and double click to open it.

In order to print, open the downloaded file, and select the "Print" option from the e-book menu.

Coloring pages in the desert for forty years.

israelites in the wilderness timeline, 
israelites in the desert for 40 years, 
40 years in the wilderness summary
Right-click to download coloring page on looking towards the promised land. .
giant grapes in israel, largest cluster of grapes, giant grapes in the bible
Right-click to download coloring page on bunches of grapes. .
giants in Canaan, israelites go into promised land, bible coloring in pictures
Right-click to download coloring page on Israelites being heavily defeated. .
aaron's budding rod craft, aaron's rod that budded, aaron's rod blossoming
Right-click to download coloring page on holding branch of almonds. .
why did god sent fiery serpents, why did god sent poisonous snakes among the israelites, bronze serpent meaning
Right-click to download coloring page on area surrounded with snakes. .
bronze serpent destroyed, brazen serpent story, bronze serpent sunday school lesson
Right-click to download coloring page on brass snake fitted to a pole. .

About Our Lessons

Dear Sunday school partners, all around the world. Please refer to your Bible and compare to see if you agree with our children Sunday school lessons. 

The stories are not word for word out of the Bible, they are created from my own thoughts. I am only human, so please check the stories out first before using them. 

These stories are based on easy words for children to understand, and my own thoughts. You are welcome to use your Bible to add or take away. At the bottom, there is space for you to give input and comments on the subjects. You are all welcome. We are there to make a difference in a child’s life so please come and let us work together for God’s kingdom.

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