Wednesday, January 1, 2014

God Is With Us: When We Are Obedient - 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.)

Theme: God Is with Us: When We Are Obedient
Scripture Reference: Exodus 11-12:30 
Memory Verse: John 14:15
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Today, we will conclude our theme, God Is with Us. This week, children will learn how they can trust God to take care of them when they are obedient to him. 

For eight weeks, we have been talking about the theme, “God Is with Us.” Today will be our eighth story from the Old Testament that proves God is with us. Jesus promises never to leave or forsake his children, and these stories have taught us how God didn’t with men and women who lived a long time ago. Today’s story is about God protecting his children from a terrible plague he sent on Israel’s enemies because they wouldn’t release his people from slavery.

(Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15 NLT

Icebreaker Questions: 
How important is it for you to listen to and obey your parents and teachers? Why do you think so? 

Who can tell me some of the Ten Commandments that God wants us to obey? (The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus chapter 20. Take time to read them to the children.)

Is it sometimes difficult for you to obey your parents and teachers? Why do you think it is? (Our sinful nature makes it difficult for us to obey God.)

Activity Time:

Write the following header at the top of a large piece of poster paper: “To Love Means to Obey.” (Reference the week’s memory verse.) Have each child place one foot on the poster board and trace the outline of their foot. Teachers may have to assist them. Make sure footprints go across the paper.

Explain to the children that the footprints represent someone doing exactly as they are asked. Remind them the Bible says if they love God, they will obey His commandments. Explain that when they obey God, their parents, and their teachers, it shows they love them.

Remind your kids of one or two recent incidents when they obeyed you. Add one or two heart stickers (or draw heart shapes on the paper) to reward these examples of obedience. Hang the poster in a prominent location where future hearts can be added.

Bible Story Time: 
Reflection: Name one thing your parents or a teacher might ask you to do that would be difficult for you to obey.

We have already learned some things about Moses. First, God saved him from being put to death when he was just a baby. The mean king had given an order that all male babies were to be killed. The Israelites were slaves of the Egyptians, and the king was afraid if they kept multiplying they might join with their enemies and run away. Then we learned how God later appeared to Moses in a burning bush. God gave him a command he wasn’t excited about obeying. He told him to go the Egyptian king and tell him to let his people go. Moses was afraid, but God assured him he would be with him as he went and that he would use him to lead his people out of slavery. 

Moses obeyed God and went to the king, but the king wouldn’t listen. The slaves did all types of work for him. He wasn’t about to let them go. He didn’t believe in Moses’ God, and he wasn’t going to listen to Moses or his God. Since the king wouldn’t listen, God sent a series of plagues to make him change his mind. The plagues were turning the Nile River to blood; sending frogs, gnats, and flies; destroying their livestock; and sending boils, hail, locusts, and darkness. Every time God sent a plague, the king would call Moses and say he would let the people go, but as soon as God took the plague away, he would change his mind. God planned to send one more plague—a plague much worse than the others, a plague that would force the evil king to let his people go. 

Reflection: How do you think God feels when we promise to obey him and then don’t? Is God always willing to forgive us when we disobey?

God’s last plague involved death of the firstborn children and animals. If God’s people were going to avoid death in their families, they had to obey what God told them to do. Otherwise, the same thing would happen to them. Each family was to kill a lamb, gather some of its blood, and then smear it above and on the sides of the doorframes going into their homes. When the angel of death passed through the land, he would pass over those homes where he saw blood. But the oldest child and animal would die in the homes where no blood was seen. Those who obeyed were spared, but those who disobeyed had children and animals die. 

God’s people obeyed. Sure enough, many others didn’t and died. When the Egyptians awoke the next morning, there were dead children and animals all over the place. They cried like they had never cried before. The king called in Moses. He was furious and afraid. He told Moses to get his people and leave his land. God didn’t want to do what he did, but he had no choice. The people wouldn’t listen to him when he spoke, so he had to send punishment. 

Reflection: What are some things that might happen if we don’t listen to our parents or teachers?

God wanted his people to remember how important it was to obey him. He told his people they were to observe a festival each year to remember how he had saved them from death. The feast was called Passover because the death angel passed over their homes when he saw the blood.

God told his people to use blood for a very important reason. The blood of that animal—and the blood from many others that would be killed over the years, looked forward to the blood Jesus was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. The blood of the animals could never take away sin, but Jesus’ blood did. Jesus shed his blood to forgive our sins. When we obey by believing in him, all of our sins are forgiven, and we can go to heaven after we die to live with him forever. Whatever God tells us to do, we need to obey. Even if what he tells us to do is difficult, God will be with us and help us to obey. 

God helped the people to obey what he commanded them to do. He’ll do the same for you. 


Activity Time:
Let children color the picture of Pharaoh and the Plagues and the Exodus Word Search. 

Wrap Up:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Moses, Pharaoh, and the plagues about how God is with us when we obey.   


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