This lesson is inspired by the Gospel Project curriculum we’ve been using at my church. This is an overview of Joel prepared for a small group of students ranging from age 6-10. The focus of the lesson is God’s desire for all people to repent and believe in Jesus to be saved from God’s punishment.
Bible Passage: Joel 1-4
Bible Story Title: Joel-Repent and be Restored
Target Age Group: Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List: Bibles, index cards to write words for memory verse,
Learning Goal: Students will learn that God desires for all people to repent and believe in Jesus and be saved (delivered from God’s punishment).
Learning Activity #1: Activity ideas for Joel
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Jonah 4:2 “I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
Memory Verse Activity: Have students put the index cards with words from verse in order. Use timer and start out with 3 minutes to order the verse and each time make the time less.
Bible Lesson: Joel: Repent and be restored
(Introduction) Who am I? I have strong wings to fly. The group I travel with is called a swarm. I am noisy and when my friends are together we are loud. I eat crops. Our swarm destroys all the crops in our path. People do not want us to show up in their land. A famous Bible character ate me for lunch…who am I? I am a locust.
In our Bible lesson today we are going to hear about locusts in the Book of Joel. Before we get to Joel let’s have some Bible review.
In the beginning God created a perfect world. He created the earth and everything in it for His most special creation-people. The very first man was Adam and his wife was Eve and they lived in the Garden of Eden. God gave them only one rule. Does anyone know the one thing God told Adam and Eve not to do? (They could eat fruit from every tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) What did God say the consequence for disobeying His one rule? (They would die)
The consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin affected God’s perfect creation. Now there was sickness, death and sadness in God’s perfect creation. Now every person born was born with a sinful heart that does not please God and is separated from Him. (Romans 5:12)
God is holy. That means God is perfect and never sins. Because He is holy He must punish sin. Maybe you have memorized Romans 6:23 ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. What does this verse say the punishment for sin is? (Death) In this verse what has God given to rescue people from the consequence of sin? (He has given His Son Jesus as a gift for all who believe to have eternal life)
In the Bible God’s true words are written for us to read. We learn in the Bible about the history of His chosen people the Israelites/Jews. He gave them His promise that one day someone from Abraham’s family the Savior of the world would be born. God gave His people laws and promises. He promised His people that they would be blessed (happy) if they obeyed His laws. He also promised consequences if they disobeyed His laws.
Did God’s people obey or disobey His laws? (Disobeyed) Because God’s people sinned there were consequences. The consequence for sin is punishment. God has to punish sin but He desires for all people to repent and be saved. (Big Picture Question)
God gave the Israelites the land He promised Abraham. While the people were living in the land that God gave them, they wanted to be like the other countries living around them who did not worship the One True God. God was their King but they rejected Him and wanted a human king. He allowed His people to have a king.
After King Solomon died God’s people were divided into 2 kingdoms the northern and the southern kingdoms. All the kings that were leaders in the northern kingdom Israel were evil. Many of the kings in the southern kingdom Judah pleased God and tried to obey His laws.
Unfortunately as years passed God’s people in both kingdoms became more and more wicked. They worshiped idols and sinned against the One True God.
What is the consequence of disobeying the Lord? Punishment
God promised to bless His people if they obeyed and He also promised to punish them if they disobeyed. (Deuteronomy 28)
God’s character is amazing! He promises punishment for all who sin but He also provides an opportunity for people to turn from their sin (repent) and turn back to God.
God is compassionate and desires that all people to repent and turn away from their sin so they do not have to face His punishment. 2 Peter 3:9 “The LORD is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
God showed His mercy to the Israelites by sending His prophets with His warnings to repent or face the consequences of sin. Sadly, the Israelites did not listen to God’s warnings and they faced His punishment.
Joel was one of the prophets God sent to His people living in the southern kingdom called Judah. The people in Judah were sinning against God. He sent locusts that destroyed all the crops the people were growing for food. God also sent a drought and the water dried up in the land. It was so dry fires burned up the pastures that animals used to be able to eat green grass. The locusts, drought and fire were consequences to the sin of God’s people.
Joel told the people to mourn (be sad) for their sinfulness. Put on sackcloth (uncomfortable clothes) fast (a time of focusing completely on the Lord) and cry out to the Lord. Joel said, “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing-grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.” Joel 2:14
Joel told the Israelites that things were bad but it was not too late to repent and turn back to God. He told them that things were bad now but there is a day called the Day of the Lord which will be even worse. This would be a time when God would punish all people who choose to not believe in the Lord Jesus and live sinful lives.
Joel ended God’s warnings with God’s promises to restore the land of the Israelites and they would be kept safe because they turned to Him and believed Him. He will forgive all their sins and bless them.
God shows His kindness by warning His people of the consequences of sin. Today you and I have God’s Word so we can know how to live a life that pleases Him. The people in Joel’s day did not have the New Testament because they were still waiting for God’s promised Savior to come. We have the Old and New Testament because God’s promised Savior Jesus has come into the world. He walked on this earth teaching people to turn from sin and to live a life that pleases God. He performed miracles that showed God’s power. Then, one day just as God had planned for His Son, cruel men nailed Jesus to the cross where He was punished for my sins and yours. He died and was placed in a tomb. Three days later God raised Jesus from the dead!
Jesus loved us so much that He didn’t want us to have to face the consequences for our sin which is to be separated from God’s presence forever and ever. He died and took the punishment we deserved upon Himself so we could have forgiveness if we believe in Him.
Have you repented and turned to Jesus so you can be saved? If you don’t fully understand what that means please talk to your parents if they are Christians. You may also talk to us after we pray if you want to. It’s not too late to be rescued from the consequences of your sin.
If you have repented and believed in the Lord Jesus you are a Christian, or a follower of Christ. As a follower of Christ if you can read are you reading God’s Word everyday? When we read God’s Word and obey we will live lives that please Jesus.
Are you obeying what you do know God’s Word says? Do you obey your parents? Do you obey your leaders? Are you kind?
If not, just like our parents discipline us to help us to do what is right because they love us, God is our heavenly father who disciplines because He loves us and knows what is best for our lives.
Before we pray I am going to allow a few moments for us to be quiet so you can talk to God in your hearts. You can use this time to tell Jesus you are sorry for disobeying and ask Him for help to obey.
Close in prayer.
- What is the consequence of sin? (Punishment-death, separation from God)
- God must punish sin but what does He desire all people to do? (Repent and be saved)
- Who is Joel? (A prophet)
- Why were God’s people being punished? (They were disobeying Him)
- How did God punish His people? (Locusts, drought, fire)
- What did Joel tell the people they should do while there was still time? (Repent and be saved)
- What is the Day of the Lord? (A time when God will punish people who do not believe in the Lord Jesus)