This lesson involves a simple but powerfully important reminder of what God wants us to place at the center of our attention. It can be tricky for children to understand the principles of this prophetic passage (it can even be difficult for adults), but Isaiah 55 has some beautiful and comforting words about the comfort found in God. The discussion here will hopefully bring those ideas to clarity for youngsters.
Lesson focus: If we want to truly be satisfied with what we have, we need to desire and seek things that are of God, rather than things of this world.
Passage: Isaiah 55:1-7
Target Audience: Pre-k through fifth grade (adaptable)
Materials Needed: Thirst-inducing snack (pretzels, cookie, etc.); paper or foam cups; decorative materials; menu or price list.
Lesson Opening: What are you hungry for? Start by giving each child a small portion of a snack, such as a single chip or cracker, a tiny cookie, or a chocolate chip. Was it tasty? Explain that obviously, a tiny amount is not going to satisfy…it will probably only increase the desire for a snack. Not only that, but such a small thing might also make us thirsty. Inform students, though, that unfortunately there are no drinks or more snacks to be had…that seems rather frustrating and unfair, doesn’t it??
Talk to students about cravings and favorite foods. It is tough to have a taste of something without getting more, isn’t it? What kinds of things taste good? Remind kids that food does not really satisfy us sometimes. We might eat things that taste good, but we don’t always feel great afterwards. Well, in the Bible, food is often used to describe things we might want, but is compared with other, better things. Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost. -Isaiah 55:1
This is an invitation to come and enjoy a special kind of food, which is actually more than just food. And food with no cost? How can that be? Show children a menu or list of items with prices attach. Everything has a price of some sort. Ask if anyone has been to a grocery store. At the end of the store, there is a checkout line and everyone pays. Guess what? If we want to get things, usually we have to pay for them. There is a price tag on everything. But trying to put our faith and hope in things that don’t last is not really fulfilling.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare. -Isaiah 55:2
We know that ultimately, all of the milk and cookies and candy bracelets and Pop-Tarts that money can buy will be a waste. So what kind of “rich fare” is being promised here?
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.” -Isaiah 55:3-5
The Lord God is the everlasting and mighty one. He has made a promise to us, and that will never fail. Food and drink fade away, but God’s promises stay and last forever. If we follow Him, seek Him, and live for God’s purposes and not our own, we will never be spiritually hungry and will know what brings genuine peace.
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7
To remind children to “come and drink,” have them decorate special cups to take with them. These might be plastic, foam, or paper cups, and students can use stickers or markers to write on them. Attach a caption of the Isaiah 55:1 (or other preferred verse).
Close with prayer and thank God for all He has given. Ask for guidance as we seek His will and follow the instructions of His Son.