Children’s Sermon: Manipulating God – Philistines Capture the Ark!

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Use this children’s sermon about the capture of the Ark of the Covenant to show kids that we can’t control God.

Scripture: 1 Samuel 4:2-11

Needed: a picture of the Ark of the Covenant

Children’s Sermon

Ask children, How do you get God to do something for you?

Let’s pretend that you want God to do something for you, and you pray about it, will God always do what you want?

What if you want something, and you’re really good? Will God always give you what you want then?

What if you make a deal with God? What if you say, “God if You do this for me, I’ll do something for you?” Do you think God would always do what you want if you make a deal with Him?

There’s a story in the Bible about how the Israelites wanted to make God do something for them. The Israelite army was at war with the Philistines, another group of people. And the Israelites were losing. But then, they had an idea. They thought that if they brought the Ark of the Covenant (show your picture of the Ark) out to the battlefield, that would make God fight for them so that they could defeat the Philistines.

They said…

(Read 1 Samuel 4:3.)

“Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that He may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”

What was the Ark of the Covenant?

The Ark was a special chest that stayed in the Tabernacle. Inside it was the Ten Commandments, some manna that God gave the Israelites to eat when they were in the desert, and the staff of the first priest that God made grow flowers even though it was just a dead stick. But, most importantly, God’s Presence rested on the top of the Ark.

So, the Israelites brought the Ark of the Covenant to the battlefield to make God fight for them. Do you think it worked? Do you think God fought for the Israelites?

God did not fight for the Israelites. In fact, He let the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant. He eventually made the Philistines give the Ark back to the Israelites, but He didn’t fight for them that day. He was teaching the Israelites a lesson. He was showing them that we, as humans, can’t make God do anything.

He wouldn’t fight for the Israelites just because they brought out the Ark. And He won’t do things for us just because we pray or be good or try to make a deal with Him. If God wants to do something, He’ll do it. If He doesn’t want to do something, He won’t. We can’t make God do anything. God is the one who is in control of us. We’re not in control of God.

Closing Prayer

Lord, You are God. We can’t make You do anything. Help us to respect You and to remember how powerful You are. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this children’s sermon for Kindle or in print in my book, Children’s Sermons about Samuel and David.


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