Monday, June 2, 2014

God Keeps His Promises by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

God Keeps His Promises
Scripture Reference: Genesis 45:5-8
Related Scripture References: Genesis 37-50; Deuteronomy 7:9; Matthew 6:31-33; 28:20; Philippians 4:19
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To teach children that God always keeps his promises even though others might not. 

Say: Today we will continue our study on “Great Stories from the Bible” by looking at what the Bible has to say about a man named Joseph. You may have heard a part of the story, especially the part where it says Joseph’s father made him a coat of many colors, but you might not be aware of how God kept his promise to Joseph. 

Say: (Teacher needs to have this verse written on paper and displayed where children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. The LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant (promises) for a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9 NLT)

Ask: (Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes on this section prior to telling the story of Joseph.) Children need to think about trusting God to keep his promises to them. Ask the children to share some promises they think God makes to his children. Be prepared to respond to suggested promises that aren’t actually found in Scripture and to explain why these aren’t promises God makes. Then discuss the following promises God does make to his children:

God promises to give us food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, and a place to stay. Read Matthew 6:31-33. 
God promises to give us everything we need but not necessarily the things we want. (Philippians 4:19) This is a good opportunity to explain the difference between needs and wants. Let children give examples of what they think are needs and wants. Be prepared to explain why some things they suggest are needs really aren’t. 
God will give us the talents and gifts to accomplish anything he asks us to do. 
God promises that he will always be with us…that he will never leave us. (Matthew 28:20)
God promises that he will be the best friend you’ll ever have. What are some ways a friend could break a promise to you? 

Bible Story Time: 
Be prepared to tell the children the story of Joseph.

Joseph was one of the twelve sons of a man named Jacob. Joseph was almost like the baby of the family because his father was an older man when Joseph was born. Joseph did have a younger brother named Benjamin. 

Joseph’s older brothers didn’t like him because their father treated him differently. Jacob gave Joseph a special gift. Most shepherds’ robes were short sleeved, knee length, and plain. Joseph’s robe was long sleeved, long in length, and probably made of various colors. It was the kind worn by someone in charge, someone who was very important. 

Another thing Joseph’s brothers didn’t like were the dreams Joseph had. Not only did he have the dreams but he also bragged about their meaning to them and their father. Joseph’s dreams weren’t just ordinary dreams. They were dreams that meant he would one day rule over his family. Joseph believed these dreams were God’s promise to him that he would one day be a ruler. Because of their father’s special treatment and because of Joseph’s dreams, his brothers hated him and decided they would kill him. 

One day Joseph’s father sent him to a neighboring area to check on his brothers who were pasturing their sheep. When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they said, “This is our chance. Our father isn’t around. We’ll kill him, dip his robe in blood, and then tell our father a wild animal killed him.” One of Joseph’s brothers spoke up and said, “Let’s not kill him. Let’s just throw him into a pit and leave him to die.” Another brother said, “Let’s sell him to some traveling traders.” 

And that’s what they did. The traders in turn took Joseph down to Egypt and sold him again. To a man named Potiphar. An officer in the king’s service. Joseph had a difficult time in Egypt. Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to hurt her, and Potiphar threw Joseph in jail. 

God had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams. He interpreted the dreams of two men while he was in jail, but when they were released they forgot to tell the king about Joseph. Then the king himself had two dreams that no one could interpret. It was then that one of those men remembered how Joseph had helped him. He told the king, and the king immediately sent for Joseph. Joseph told the king what his dreams meant, and the king made Joseph ruler of the land. 

Then a seven year famine struck the land of Egypt and all the surrounding lands including the place where Joseph’s family lived. Joseph’s brothers had to come to Egypt to get food, and Joseph was the one who distributed the food. As his brothers bowed before him and asked for help, Joseph knew God had kept his promise. He was now ruling over his family. 

God also used Joseph to save his family from death. Without that food, they would have starved. When Joseph finally told his brothers who he was, they were afraid. They thought Joseph would take revenge on them for selling him and lying to his father. But he didn’t. Joseph told them not to be afraid. God had used all these events to help him save his family. All this was involved in how God kept his promise. 

Ask: What does this story teach about God keeping his promises? What are some promises your friends, parents, or teachers have made to you? What is the difference between God’s promises and the promises others make to us? 

Transition
Let’s sing a song that reminds us God is in control of the whole world, and he is strong enough to keep his promises to us too.

Song:
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole world
In His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands

He's got the little bitty babies
In His hands
He's got the little bitty babies
In His hands
He's got the little bitty babies
In His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands

He's got the mommies and the daddies
In his hands
He's got the mommies and the daddies
In his hands
He's got the mommies and the daddies
In his hands
He's got the whole world in His hands

He's got the brothers and the sisters
In His hands
He's got the brothers and the sisters
In His hands
He's got the brothers and the sisters
In His hands
He's got the whole world in His hands

He's got [insert child's name]
In His hands
He's got [insert child's name]
He's got [insert child's name]
He's got the whole world in His hands.


Activity Break: (15 minutes)
Game: 

templates

Take Away:
Go around the room and let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Joseph. Let them tell how they might have felt if they had been in Joseph’s shoes?