Monday, June 2, 2014

God Is Always With Us 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 Is Always With Us
Scripture Reference: Genesis 12:1
Related Scripture References: Genesis 12-25; Matthew 28:19-20
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To teach children that God is always with us no matter what he asks us to do. 

Say: Today we continue our theme “Great Stories from the Bible.” Today we are going to study about how God asked a man named Abraham to leave his home and travel to a land he had never seen before. God promised him if he obeyed he would make his descendents as numerous as the stars in the heavens and the sand on the seashore.

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…said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1 NLT)

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

Abraham lived in a land where his friends and neighbors didn’t worship the one true God. Rather they worshipped pagan gods and many of them. But Abraham didn’t. He worshipped the one true God.

One day, God spoke to Abraham and told him to leave his friends, his family, and his neighbors—the people he had known all his life, and go to a place he had never been before. The land God asked him to go to was between 800 and 900 miles away. Remember in this time they didn’t have cars, buses, planes, or trains that would get them where they wanted to go in a hurry. They walked, rode a camel, or rode in a cart pulled by an animal. Now you could get in your car and travel that far in less than a day, but it would have taken Abraham over a month. And Abraham wasn’t a young man either. He was 75 years old. 

Even though he had never seen this land—and even though it would take him more than a month to get there, he went as soon as God told him to. God promised Abraham he would be with him and would make him into a great nation, giving him descendents as numerous as the stars in the heavens and the sand on the seashore. 

Abraham didn’t go alone. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, a number of animals, and other people who would work for him. God wanted to develop a nation of people who would love and serve him as well as tell others about the one true God. Abraham became the father of the Hebrew people or the Jews. 

Things weren’t always easy for Abraham and his family when they got to this new place. There was a famine in the land, and they had to travel to Egypt until it was over. Then the people who worked for him and the people who worked for his nephew, Lot, got into an argument which ended with Abraham and Lot going their separate ways. Abraham and Sarai also had to trust God to give them a son in their old age so all these descendants God promised could be born. 

Finally when Abraham was 100 years old, God gave him a son. They named him Isaac. Now God could begin to give him all those children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren he promised him. What God asked Abraham to do was very difficult, but Abraham believed God would be with him so he obeyed. 

Ask: What does this story teach about God being with us even though what he asks us to do might be difficult?  

Ask: (Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes on this section.) Children need to think about trusting God to be with them when he asks them to do simple things but also when he asks them to do difficult things. Not only do children need to understand God will be with them, but they also need to know how God speaks so they can hear him. Take a few moments to share how God speaks. He speaks primarily through his Word (Emphasize how important it is to read the Bible every day.). God also speaks through our teachers at church, the preacher, and through his Spirit who lives in every Christian. God’s Spirit is that little voice we hear in our heads but not with our ears. He lets us know the right things we should do and the wrong things we should avoid. We call it listening to our conscience, but it is actually God speaking through our conscience. The conscience is that God created part of us that lets us know when we have done or thought something that God wouldn’t want us to. 

What are some things people might be afraid to do unless they knew God was with them? Let the children respond, but also be prepared to give some examples. Examples might include: go to college, be a preacher, be a missionary, talk with their friends about Jesus, play a sport, speak in front of their friends, walk into a dark room, get up in front of the church and sing either alone or with a group, start a part-time job when they become a teenager, start a new job after they graduate from high school or college, stay overnight at a friend’s house. 

How do we know God will be with us? He promises to be with his children all the time and never to leave them. When Jesus told his followers to go into the entire world and tell people about him, he assured them he would be by their side (Matthew 28:19-20). Spend a few moments reminding the children about the Great Commission and how we can be involved in it (sharing with their friends at school, inviting their friends to church, giving money to church, praying for missionaries). 

Now that we’ve talked about God always being with us, can you think of a time when you were afraid to do something but you did it anyway because you believed God was with you? 


Transition
Let’s sing a song about Abraham, and as we do let’s remember God is always with us.

Song:
Father Abraham

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm" and move right arm, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm" and move both, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm, right leg" and move all, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg" and move all, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, chin up" and move all, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, chin up, turn around" and move all, as if marching.]

Father Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let's just praise the Lord
[Yell "right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, chin up, turn around, sit down" and move all, as if marching. Sit down at the end.]


Activity Break: (15 minutes)
Game: Listening to God (teacher will need to bring a handkerchief or blindfold)
Form groups according to how many children are present. Have one person in each group close his or her eyes. Have someone in the group take the person to the farthest side of the room.

Say: You have one minute to get back to your seat with your eyes closed. Your friends in your group will guide you, but listen well.
The "blind" people can't be led by the hand; they must follow only their group members' instructions. Play as many times as necessary so each group member has a turn being the blind one. Then ask: How easy or difficult was it to listen to your group members' voices? How did other people's instructions affect you? What techniques did you use to listen well?

Ask: Think of the techniques we used in our game to listen well. How can we use some of those same techniques to listen well to God like Abraham did?

Wrap Up: 
Let children color a blank sheet that shows how Abraham listened to God because he believed God was with him. Then let them explain what their pictures represent. 

Take Away:
Go around the room and let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Abraham.