Sunday, June 17, 2012

God fights the battle for me!

1. Hook:
  • Option 1: Ready, Get set, Go!
    • How many of you like to run? Who thinks they can run the fastest?
    • Imagine you have to take part in a race. It’s a big competition. All the best runners will be there. What do you do? 
    • You exercise every day. [get kids to do some stretching exercises, e.g. right hand over head and bend to the left, 1-2-3-4; the other side, 2-2-2-4; the other side, 3-2-3-4 etc] 
    • You train hard. [get kids to run on the spot for 10 seconds]
    • You build up your strength [get kids to show you their muscles. Biggest muscles or most creative pose wins prize?]
    • [get kids to sit down. Give everyone a clap] 

  • Option 2: Biggest, strongest, tallest
    • Get children into 2 or more groups.
    • Issue a challenge and each group has to send their best contender. Each kid can only come up once until all have had a chance to participate.
    • Examples of challenges: the longest hair, the biggest smile, the widest palm, the largest shoe etc.
    • To make it more exciting (esp for older kids), you can just give the adjective first. E.g. “I am looking for the ‘longest’ … ”. Team contenders come forward. Then only you reveal, “I am looking for the longest hair.”
    • The winning contender scores one point for his/her team. Team with most points wins.

  • Conclusion: 
    • Yes, when you take part in a competition or race, you want to be the strongest, fastest and the best.
    • But do you know, children, that sometimes God uses the weakest and the slowest to do His work? 
    • Why would God do that? Why doesn’t He choose the strongest, the fastest and the best?
    • Because when the weak and the slow win, everyone will know that it’s God who won it for them!
    • Today we will learn that God fights the battle for you and for me!
2. Story: (based on Joshua 5)
  • Last week we learned about Joshua and the Israelites crossed a great big river. After they crossed, how many stones did they take out from the river? (12 stones) That’s right. 12 big stones to remind them about what God had done for them.
  • When the kings in the nearby lands heard about the Israelites crossing the Jordan, they were all very afraid! Do you think they dared to attack the Israelites? Of course not! They knew that the Israelites’ God was very, very powerful.
  • But the Israelites still had a big challenge ahead of them. They were going to enter the Promised Land. And they had to cross the big, tall walls of the city of Jericho. And they had to fight the giants in the land.
  • They should be very, very afraid. They should be exercising, They should be training hard. They should be building up their strength. 
  • But God had other plans.
  • God asked Joshua to circumcise the Israelites. What’s circumcise? Circumcise was to cut a part of the skin of the boys and men’s body.
  • God first told Abraham to circumcise all the men in his family as sign of His covenant with him. Every time they see the cut skin, they remember that they are God’s special people.
  • But because almost all of the Israelites had grown up in the desert for the past 40 years, they had not been circumcised yet. So God wanted them to be circumcised as a sign that they belonged to Him (that the shame of their past in Egypt is cut away from them.)
  • Circumcision can be quite painful! And the boys and men will take a few days to rest and recover.
  • Can you imagine, the whole army of Israel having to rest and recover for a week? They could not exercise. They could not train hard. They could not build up their strength. They could only lie down and rest.
  • But God wanted them to know that they did not have to fight this battle on their own strength. It was not because they were so clever or strong or good. But because God was so clever, and strong and good.
  • One day, as the men were resting, Joshua saw a man standing in front of him. He had a long drawn sword in his hand.  Who was that? The man answered, “I am the commander of the army of the Lord.” 
  • God sent the commander of his army to show the Israelites that He is the one fighting for them, so that they know that they are not alone and they don’t have to fight by themselves.
  • In fact, last time, God told Moses when the Egyptians were chasing the Israelites into the Red Sea, “The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
  • God was going to fight the battle for the Israelites. And God fights the battle for you and for me!   

3. Activity suggestions:
  • Memory Verse: Exodus 14:14 “God will fight for me; I only need to be still.” 

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