Title: Tower of Babel
Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: Only God is worthy of our worship and praise.
Supplies: Poster paper with “GLORIFY” written on it, 2 sets of building blocks with main point written on them (one word per block)
Optional: Download a coloring page version of the image above or use this Tower of Babel activity to encourage kids to illustrate their own.
Hold up the sheet of paper with “Glorify” written on it.
Ask: Does anyone know what the word “Glorify” means? (To give praise to.)
Ask: What does it mean to glorify God? (To worship him and praise him for all that he has done.)
Ask: What does it look like when people glorify themselves instead of God? (When they think they’re really great and brag about themselves a lot, etc.)
Say: Today we’ll hear the story of a group of people who tried to put themselves above God. We’ll learn that only God is worthy of our worship and praise.
Tell the Story
Say: Who can tell me what the first book of the Bible is? (Genesis.) That’s right, and today’s lesson is from Genesis 11:1-9.
Tell the Story: Last week we heard the story of Noah and how God rescued him from the flood by having him build an ark. Well, many years passed and Noah’s kids had kids. And those kids had more kids. And those kids had even more kids! Finally there were a lot of people on the earth again. The people lived in a plain called Shinar, and they all spoke the same language.
Ask: What language do most people speak in the US? Is anyone able to speak a different language?
Tell the Story: Up till this point in history, only one language was ever spoken so it was easy for everyone to understand everyone else. One day they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth.”
Ask: How tall did they want their tower to be? (As high as the heavens.)
Ask: Do you think building the tower was something that glorified God or people? (People)
Tell the Story: Right! But then we read…
Read from the Bible: “But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” (Gen 11:5-7)
Tell the Story: So that’s just what God did! All of a sudden everyone was speaking a different language and they had no idea what anyone else was saying. Can you imagine how hard it would be to build a tower without being able to speak the same language? Not only did God confuse their language but he also scattered the people all over the earth. Now there were groups of people in different places all over the world.
Say: God could see how prideful the people’s hearts were becoming and he put a stop to it. God knew that if he didn’t discipline his people, they would fall deeper and deeper into sin. That’s not what God wants! He wants us to know him and glorify Him, because only he is worthy of our glory.
Ask: How did God punish the people for their pride? (He confused their language so they couldn’t understand each other, and they were scattered all over the earth.)
Say: You see, when man glorifies himself, God humbles him because only God is worthy of worship and praise!
Say: At first this story might seem really sad. All the people had to be spread over the whole earth and they couldn’t understand each other anymore. That’s how it still is today. There are thousands of languages spoken in hundreds of countries all over the world! But we read something really exciting in Revelation 7:9. In this verse John (one of Jesus’ disciples) is seeing a vision of what heaven will be like. This is what he sees:
“I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”
Say: You see, even though we all speak different languages now, there will be people who are worshipping Jesus in heaven from all over the world! We might all look and sound different, but we will all be worshipping the same great God.
Ask: In heaven will we be glorifying ourselves or glorifying God? (God!) God wants our lives on earth right now to be sort of like a rehearsal for heaven. He wants us to honor him and worship him now because that’s what we’ll be doing for eternity!
Ask: What can we learn from this lesson this week? How do you think your life might be different after hearing the story of the tower of Babel? (Accept any answer.)
Say: Let’s stand together one more time and say our main point.
Main Point: Only God is worthy of our worship and praise!
Pray: Dear God, thank you so much for our lesson today. Thank you for showing us a glimpse of heaven and how one day all the people scattered over the earth will come together again around your throne worshipping you and giving glory to you alone! Give us hearts that want to worship you today. Amen.
- What did the people want to build? (A tall tower reaching to the heavens)
- How did God punish them? (He confused their language so they couldn’t understand each other.)
- Why did God punish the people? (They tried to put themselves above God. They weren’t worshiping God alone but themselves.)
- What do we learn about God from this story? (He alone is worthy of our worship and praise!)
Learning Activity 1: Who is Worthy?
- Have all the kids stand up. You will read through the following list of activities. If it is something that glorifies God, have the kids raise both their hands in the air. If it is something that glorifies a person have them crouch down on the ground.
- Singing during worship time on Sunday morning (God)
- Bragging about your good grade on a test (Man)
- Helping a friend with her math homework because you’re good at math (God)
- Doing your best to help your soccer team win (God)
- Starting your own business so you can get rich (Man)
- Starting your own business so you can help other people (God)
- Say: These are just a few examples of ways that we can either glorify God or glorify ourselves. But really, only God is worthy of being glorified, so it’s kind of silly for us to brag about ourselves anyway. Every good thing that we have and every skill we have comes from God. So even when we’re really good at something, like math, or skateboarding, or being a good friend, we should give glory to God!
Learning Activity 2: Tower of Praise Relay
Supplies: 2 sets of cardboard building blocks each with index cards on them with main point written (one word per card)
- Divide the class into two teams, and have each team line up on one side of the room. Each team will have a set of the building blocks with the words of the main point on them.
- The object of the game is to be the first team to assemble their tower with the main point in the correct order at the other end of the room. Play this game as a relay with one kid per team taking a block to the other side of the room.
- When the team has assembled their tower they must yell, “Only God is worthy of our worship and praise!” as loud as they can.