This is lesson 27 of 33 in a series of lessons called “Praise God Through the Psalms.” These lessons are designed to point children to the fullness of God’s character and lead them to see Him as the One who deserves all praise and worship. These lessons work well in Sunday School or mid-week Bible study groups or even family devotion times.
“Praise God Through the Psalms” – Psalm 95
Lesson focus: Through the book of Psalms and the worship of the people of Israel, we get a glimpse into the character of God and how we should rightly respond to Him in worship. In Psalm 95, we’re reminded of the hardness of our hearts apart from Christ and how we need Jesus to replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.
Passage: Psalm 95
Target Audience: Kindergarten-4th Grade (can be adapted for older or younger children)
Teaching Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Materials Needed: Bibles, blank paper, markers, a large sheet of paper
Optional Materials: if you want to be able to send the kids home with something each week, you can print the text of the Psalm on one side of a piece of paper and on the back print “I should praise God because He is ____________” (leave the rest of the page blank for drawing.
Early Arriver/ Opening 10 minutes– have a few board games out and play with kids as they arrive. Don’t underestimate the conversations that happen while playing “Jenga” or “Uno” with a group of kids.
Intro– – Play a round of “Simon Says”. Make sure to end the game with the action words in the Psalm… sing, shout, bow, kneel
Read the Text. . .Psalm 95
- Have each kid in the group read one verse, or have 3 volunteers do the reading (divided amongst them). As you go through the Psalm continually ask kids (1) what is this Psalm telling us about who God is?, (2) what is this Psalm telling us about what God does and (3) what is this Psalm telling us about what God expects of His people and how His people should respond to Him.
- Work together to make a chart noting the following things as you go through the Psalm…. words used to describe God & words used to describe our reaction to God.Read verses 8-11 again. Ask the kids if they have any idea what those verses are talking about. These verses reference experiences that the Israelites had while they were in the desert for 40 years. Read and discuss Exodus 17:1-7 to give the kids some background on this psalm.
- Take a few minutes to talk about what truths this Psalm teaches us about God. Look back at the chart that you just made and talk about what it means that God is the Rock (strong, unmoveable, powerful), King above all gods (sovereign, mighty, the only one), the Lord our Maker (the one who made us and therefore deserves our praise and worship).
- Cross- Connection– – Look back at verse 7-8 and the warning against hardening your heart. Ask the kids if the phrase hard heart makes them think of anything. Remind them that during the plagues in Egypt that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he wouldn’t let the people go. Then, have one of the kids look up Ezekiel 36:26 and make note of the truth that without God softening our hearts that we all have hard hearts (stone) and we need God to replace our stone hearts with hearts of flesh so that we can worship God.Then look at verse 6 and the call to bow or kneel before God. Remind the kids that with a stone heart we are unable to bow before God. But, look at Philippians 2:10-11 and make note that one day every knee will bow before Jesus in worship. Remind the kids that we were all made to worship God but sin keeps us from worshipping the way we should.
Worship Time– After discussing the passage, distribute the paper and markers or pages printed with the text for the week. Explain that each week you want them to do three things in response to the Psalm…
- write a verse from the passage that they want to remember
- write a reason to praise God that they see in the Psalm
- draw of something from the passage that they think is important.
Give kids time to work on their pages and then have them share what they have drawn or written with the rest of the group.
Prayer– – Close in prayer by praying for the kids in the group that they would understand the sovereign rule of God and that they would turn aside from reigning in their own lives and submit their lives to the Lordship of Christ.
Extra Time – – Play a Bible Book game called “Roll the Dice.” For this game you’ll take turns rolling a large dice and naming as many books of the Bible as the number that comes up on the dice. Ways to make the game more challenging… (1) have kids name books in order, (2) write down the books that are named and don’t let those books be named a 2nd time until all other books have been named, or (3) if they roll and odd number they have to name OT books and if they roll an even number they have to name NT books.