- HOOK: Table setting relay game
- Prepare 2 sets of table settings (simpler for younger kids, more challenging for older ones)
- Divide kids into 2 groups. Number of table items should be same as number of kids in each group.
- Show them the order and placement of each table item, e.g. 1 Table cloth; 2 Plate; 3 Spoon etc
- Divide kids into 2 groups. First person from each group has to run forward, take a utensil/table item and put it at its correct place. Run back, tag teammate, and 2nd person runs forward etc. Until kids have all had their turn. First team to finish wins.
- Say you want to invite all your friends over for a party. What would you do? There will definitely be a lot of preparation involved. Well, first you would have to figure out who you wanted to invite. Then you would need to figure out what you were going to feed them and then you would have to make a list. Then, of course, you would have to clean your house. Then you would need to decide how you were going to decorate the table and when to start the cooking. Wow, there would be tons to do to prepare for your guests, wouldn’t there? A lot of care, thought and effort is put into making the meal a scrumptious one.
- Do you know that our Good Shepherd, Jesus, has prepared a wonderful feast for us? Let’s find out more as we continue our journey with Psalm 23.
- Psalm 23:5a: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
- The shepherd prepares a table for his sheep
- A good shepherd prepares only the best for his flock. So, one of his most important jobs is to prepare the choice mountain meadow lands before the sheep get there.
- Before the sheep arrive, there is a lot of work to do to get the place ready for the flock. Just like if you were planning a party for all your friends. The shepherd needs to get rid of the poisonous things so the sheep won’t eat them. Next, he needs to drive away as many of the predators as he can that are lurking around, like rattle snakes. And, he also needs to clean out the watering holes so the sheep will be able to drink.
- All of this preparation takes place long before the sheep get there. It’s a lot of hard work and it can take a lot of time. But the shepherd does all these because he loves his sheep and wants to see them enjoy the green pastures.
- In the presence of the sheep’s enemies
- If there’s a threat, sheep who are frightened won’t be able to eat. Their eyes would be wide open. Their hearts beating fast. The food will be stuck in their mouths. Their cheeks full.
- But even though there are always lions and bears out there, the sheep can eat their green, green grass in peace because they know their shepherd is watching over them.
- What does it means to me?
- There is a place at the table for me
- When we belong to Jesus, our Good Shepherd, He prepares us a place at His table. Only the sons and daughters of the King get to sit at the table. The servants don’t get a place. The dogs don’t get a place. Only the children. And you and I are His children.
- Luke 22:29-30 And just as My Father has granted Me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom.
- There is the best for me
- Like the shepherd prepares the best for his sheep, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, gave us His very best — His very life. When we have Jesus, we have everything!
- Every time we take the Holy Communion, we are reminded of the feast that He prepared — His body and His blood — for us.
- We feast in the midst of troubles
- Usually people only feast when it’s a party and when everything is going well and peaceful. Do you know, though, that even when there’s trouble all around and when there are enemies surrounding you, the table is prepared, and you can feast in peace, because the Good Shepherd is keeping watch over you?
- Whenever you are facing a problem or trouble, if your parents or teachers are angry with you, or your friends don’t want to friend you, remember that Jesus is for you and with you. You can eat of His words and find strength and joy.
- Our enemy is defeated
- The best news is, our biggest enemy, Satan, is defeated because of Jesus’ work on the cross. We don’t have to be afraid of him anymore. We can eat and rest with the assurance that our Shepherd is with us and that we do not need to fear the enemy any more. Whatever the enemy tries to throw at us, all the problems and sickness and challenges, they cannot harm us because our Shepherd turns it all out for our good!
- So far, in our journey through Psalm 23, we’ve learnt that we have a Good Shepherd who:
- provides everything we need
- invites us to rest in Him
- gives us new life
- guides us along the right pathsis with us through the darkest valleys
- protects and keeps us safe with His rod and staffand prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies
3. Suggested Activities
- Memory Verse with actions:
- Psalm 23:1-4 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.He makes me lie down
in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.