Children need to learn to trust God, especially when life becomes difficult. This children’s sermon based on Psalm 46 will point them then to God as a refuge and strength.
Sometimes people can become tentative when reading the book of Psalms, but one does not need to be. Remember, the word “psalm” is another way to say “hymn.” When one reads Psalms, they must recall that it is similar to reading a song (hymn), poem, or prayer. There is a simple, yet sometimes complex, beauty when reading this book of the Bible. Allow the heart to be emerged in the reading, and try to feel what the author may be feeling. Is the author thankful? Contemplative? Praising? Sad? Excited? Meditating on God’s greatness? Empathetic? Psalms, like music, evokes images. Think in pictures.
Here, in this Children’s sermon on Psalm 46, one can see the magnificence of God’s ability to shelter his people from worldly strife. The significance of such a passage can impact the strongest adult and comfort the frailest child. Allow this psalm to wash over your heart and seep into your soul.
Children’s Sermon Title: God is our Fortress
Bible Passage: Psalm 46:1-7
Target Age Group: Elementary Aged Children
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It is possible to do both activities if time allows.
Read or sing–if you know the song–the lyrics by Martin Luther (separated into choruses)
1. A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevaling. For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.
2. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.
3. And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.
4. That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth; the Spirit and the gifts are ours, thru him who with us sideth. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever.
The lyrics are a bit archaic sounding; so, it may be beneficial to translate it into your own words, or explain what it means. For example:
- God never fells; He is strong, and nothing, not even Satan, can stand against Him.
- We cannot do anything in our own strength to save ourselves, only Jesus can save us; He will win the battle over sin.
- This world is full of darkness and “Bad” people, but God is more powerful.
- God’s truth will always remain, and His kingdom will last forever.
Have the children paint/draw/color a scene where a castle is being bombarded with heavy waves from the ocean.
Explain to the children that God is like a castle that can never be moved no matter how strong the waves may be. In fact, God wants us to run to Him, in His shelter. God will protect us; He is our fortress.
Questions to Begin
- How many of you have ever been frightened by a thunderstorm? What did you do when you were scared?
- Do you think you would feel safer outside during a thunderstorm or inside? Why?
- Have you ever been scared of a strange noise from outside? What did you do?
- Do you think adults can be scared too? Why or why not?
Explanation of Psalm 46
Everyone close your eyes. Imagine this…
I want everyone to picture in their minds a huge mountain. Now, imagine a large earthquake comes and splits the mountain in two pieces. One half of the mountain stays on the ground, and the other half falls into the sea (or ocean). Picture in your head the mountain that fell into the ocean. This ocean is very dangerous. The ocean is very dark and the waves are very strong. It is very dark, and you can’t see anything; lightning is crashing into the ocean and hitting the half of the mountain which fell in. It is a very scary place…
Open your eyes.
Did you know that even if something like this were to happen, that we shouldn’t fear? The Bible says that God is so strong and amazing that we can always run to him during scary times. Let us look at what a psalmist said about God in Psalm 46.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
A refuge is a place where a person can go when they are experiencing a difficult time in their life. Notice how verse 2 says we “will not fear.” We should not fear because God is our refuge and strength. God is the one who takes care of us. We don’t need to rely on our own strength, but we can rely on God who will protect us. Let us continue to read…
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
These passages show us an incredible image of God. This means that God has made his residence within his own city, and he cannot be moved. It’s like your parents are home when you are scared. Sometimes you can be comforted just knowing that they are in the same house, or that they are down the hall from your bedroom when storms come. God does the same thing. He does not want His children to fear, because he is right there with them, and He will always be there, especially during the storms. Next we read…
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
God is so powerful that his voice can shake the mountains; He is so powerful that the Bible says that God could melt the earth! This should be very comforting for us, because we know that God loves his children and guards them from bad people. God will punish those who do wrong like a good father. Ultimately we know that we can run to God when difficult times come; we can find shelter in Him when we are scared.
Fear is a normal part of people’s lives. Even the disciples of Jesus were afraid. Before Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4:35 his disciples were very worried. They came to Jesus, while Jesus was asleep, and showed their concern for the storm that was tossing their boat. Jesus, however, was not worried. Let us read the second half of Mark 4:35-41 starting in verse 39…
39 And [Jesus] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Notice the usage of questions within this passage. Jesus compares the disciples worry and fear with their lack of faith, and the disciples show their lack of faith by asking “Who then is this…?”. The disciples did not fully understand. Jesus had just saved their lives and they were clueless. We, too, can miss the point. Jesus desires us to have faith, faith that is found in believing Jesus. Mark 4:38 brings up another interesting question from the disciples. They wonder if Jesus cares about them perishing. Of course, the answer is “yes,” Jesus cares; he cares that all people could be perishing. This is why Jesus wants his disciples to know the he is the Savior of the world; Jesus wants his disciples and us to have faith in him.
We must trust ourselves to God; we must trust ourselves to Jesus. Jesus and God, who are one in the same, desire us to come to them. They are our shelter and savior; they love us and ask us to have faith in them. It is good to be still and know that they are God. It is comforting to know that they are a shelter for us when we become scared or worried.
- Is God and Jesus stronger than the storms?
- Do you think that God wants us to come to Him when we become scared?
- What would you have done if you saw Jesus calm the storm?