Although we read and use many verses from the great book of Isaiah, many children (and even adults) are not quite aware of the concepts of this great prophet—or any prophet for that matter. This lesson provides some information on the purpose and work of Old Testament prophets, and in particular highlights Isaiah and his special mission for God.
Lesson focus: God in His amazing wonder has called and equipped us to do great things for Him.
Passage: Isaiah 6:1-10
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Small pebbles/jewels; construction paper or cardstock; stickers/markers/decorative material; pipe cleaners; white boards and markers.
Volunteers? Prior to the opening game, ask students to raise hands if they would like to go first. Usually kids are eager to volunteer for things. Choose someone and announce that they are to drink a bottle of Tobasco sauce (or other similar and unappealing activity). Explain that we often want to volunteer, but don’t always know what we’re getting ourselves into…
Who are you? Open with an identification and observation guessing game. Have one child at a time leave the group while the rest remain. The student who has left chooses one subtle thing to change about his or her appearance (remove a hair bow, roll up sleeves, etc.). Upon return, the rest of the kids try to guess what has been altered. Take turns so that multiple students can try. Then explain that today we will be talking about who God has made us and what it means to work for Him.
Explain the background of prophets in the Bible. Review how the Bible demonstrates trends of behavior among God’s people: a tendency to go astray, followed by a return to obedience and blessing…and then another fall away. We know that God had a plan to send Christ as the Messiah and ultimately deliver His people permanently. He sent special messengers called prophets to prepare for that. In the Old Testament we see prophets doing a couple of things. Some prophets were sent to warn people that they had strayed from God’s path and needed to come back to righteous behavior before punishment came. Prophets also served to give people hope, announcing the impending advent of a savior.
Isaiah was a man called by God to announce such things to Israel. The book of Isaiah has some amazing and powerful descriptions of God and His power, as well as predictions about the Messiah. When Isaiah is first called, we see a somewhat odd and astonishing image of God: have students gather around a white board or large paper and draw a picture based on the strange description they hear. This can be done in groups or pairs, or even individuals. Try to visualize how strange this would be.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke
The point is not necessarily what God looks like, but how crazy super awesome He is, that He has such power to fill the earth and temple with His glory. Have students bend on their knees or even lie face-down as they note Isaiah’s response:
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
Isaiah actually felt guilty for looking upon the face of God. It seemed too remarkable to bear. But what does God do? Takes the sin away and cleanses him…now, we know that our guilty stains are also removed…how? (Jesus Christ)
Provide students with a “coal” (rock, jewel, or other token; could even be something edible to touch their lips) as a cleansing memory. This can wait until the end of the lesson if it will be distracting during the story.
Once Isaiah realizes God has made him clean and whole, what does he do?
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go and tell this people: ” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
Isaiah realizes that God has made him with unique characteristics and a special purpose: to serve him and proclaim his news. He is eager to volunteer as a messenger to do God’s will in whatever way he can. This will mean trial and difficulty, but he knows it is what God wants and how he can help God’s people.
Craft: Announcements and announcers (several options)
Students can create special “newspapers” to spread good news. They will choose an exciting event or announcement and create a paper detailing it. Or they can choose to make someone an encouraging card or congratulatory card.
Younger students will work to decorate announcing “megaphones.” Using a pre-cut paper template, decorate with stickers or markers and roll up to create a megaphone. Attach a pipe cleaner handle.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s amazing plan. He has called all of us and equipped us with special qualities and purposes to do His wonderful work. Tell God you are ready for Him to use you. Watch for ways you can serve!
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