El Olam – The Everlasting – Alpha Omega (Genesis 21:22-34) Lesson

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Hello, My Name Is… A Series on the Names of God

Lesson Fourteen: El Olam/ The Everlasting God/Alpha Omega

Main Idea: God is forever. His promises are forever. His love is forever. His Word is forever. And we can live forever when we know God and trust in Jesus, who died for our sins and now lives forever.
Memory Verse: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
This is part 14 of 16  in our study of the Names of God for kids called, “Hello, My Name Is…  A Series on the Names of God.”  Visit that link to navigate to other lessons in this curriculum.
Teacher Preparation:

  • Read lesson, Scripture references, Psalm 90, Isaiah 46:4, John 6:40 and Psalm 100:4-5.
  • Gather: Bible, lesson plan, dry erase markers or chart paper and markers, hula hoops, paper, scissors, tape, pencils, toilet paper rolls, paint on paper plates, large sheets of paper, and small slips of paper.
  • To help keep track of the names of God learned over this series, write each lesson’s name of God on the board along with the main idea. Tape a strip of paper over the name, and one over the main idea. Use this to review the lesson as you go. Alternatively, use large flash cards with the name of God on the front and the main idea on the back. Create one of these every week and review with the class as you go.
  • Take time to meditate on this lesson and apply it to your own life. Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” I so often find myself weak and weary. I try to serve God out of my own strength, and it is never enough. God’s supply of energy never runs out. When we wait on the Lord, when we put our faith in him and follow his will, we gain his everlasting strength. Dear teacher, I pray that as you near the end of this “Names of God” series, God would renew your strength so you can soar high on wings like eagles and bring his love to your students.

Scripture References:

  • Genesis 21:22-34
  • Genesis 12:2
  • Psalm 145:13
  • Psalm 121:7-8
  • Psalm 102:25-27
  • Psalm 103:15-17a
  • Matthew 24:35
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11
  • John 17:3
  • Revelation 22:13

Game: Time Warp Tag
This game of tag is just like normal tag, except as the kids play, you can call out “time warp” at any time. When you say “time warp,” they must slow down and run in slow motion. When you say “time warp” again, they run fast again. Play continues as long as you desire. Tell your class that it’s fun to pretend to run in slow motion, but we can never slow down or stop time. For a less active game, kids can play with hula hoops. Explain that just like a round hula hoop has no beginning or end, God goes on forever too.
Message: Open in prayer, then say, we are almost done with our series on the names of God! We only have a few weeks left. We have learned that God’s name is holy and when we get to know the names of God, we get to know God better. We have learned that God is Elohim, the Strong Creator God, he is YHWH, I AM, the Lord Adonai, Abba Father, the Consuming Fire, the God of Peace, the King of Kings, the Rock, the Judge, the Shepherd, our Refuge, and our Provider. Whew, it seems like we have been learning about the names of God FOREVER! That brings us straight into today’s name.
I have a question for you before we jump into today’s Bible story. What is infinity? What is forever like? (Allow students to answer. Don’t try to correct them. Children come up with some amusing and often deep answers to this question.) This is a big question that people have been trying to answer for a long time. It’s a hard question to answer though. You see, we live in time, and forever goes beyond time. Your parents are probably always telling you to “hurry up!” or to “slow down!” At school you have to take your time on a test. Before school, Mom may say “we don’t have time” for cartoons. We can make a clock stop by taking out the batteries. But we cannot make time stop. The sun rises every morning and sets every night and the hours keep on passing no matter what we do. So it’s hard for us to understand what forever is like. Imagine it this way. Imagine you are a stick figure. (Draw a stick figure on the board. Bonus points if it kind of looks like you.) Stick figure me can walk to the left. (Draw arrows toward the left of the stick figure to show motion.) She can walk to the right. (Draw arrows to the right.) She can move up and down. (Draw arrows up and down from your stick figure.) But my stick figure can’t walk out of this board or behind the board. She’s two dimensional. She can never understand what it would be like to move forward. She can only imagine. That’s like us, trying to understand infinity. We can’t totally get what forever is like. We can only imagine. Thankfully, the Bible has lots of helpful verses for us to learn about eternity. Let’s start with a story in Genesis. So last week we talked about Abraham and how he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar but that God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead. Today’s story is also about Abraham. This story takes place after Isaac was born, but before God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son. You know that God promised Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son, Isaac. After that promise was made, but before Isaac was born, Abraham and Sarah travelled through the kingdom of a man named Abimelech. Long story short, Abraham had Sarah lie, and the king was tricked and almost committed a horrible sin because of this lie. So that’s all the background you need to know for today’s story. Let’s sum it up real quick. (On the board, draw a timeline with the following events: “God promises Abraham a son,” “Abraham lies to king Abimelech,” “Isaac is born,” “today’s story,” “Abraham sacrifices Isaac.”)
So, today’s story is in Genesis 21:22-34. Follow along as I read. I’ll stop every now and then to explain things. (For your convenience, brief explanations are in italics throughout the passage below.)
“About this time, Abimelech came with Phicol, his army commander, to visit Abraham. “God is obviously with you, helping you in everything you do,” Abimelech said. 23 “Swear to me in God’s name that you will never deceive me, my children, or any of my descendants. I have been loyal to you, so now swear that you will be loyal to me and to this country where you are living as a foreigner.”
Remember, not long before, Abraham had deceived Abimelech. But Abimelech sees that God blesses and helps Abraham.
24 Abraham replied, “Yes, I swear to it!” 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelech about a well that Abimelech’s servants had taken by force from Abraham’s servants.
26 “This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Abimelech answered. “I have no idea who is responsible. You have never complained about this before.”
27 Abraham then gave some of his sheep, goats, and cattle to Abimelech, and they made a treaty. 28 But Abraham also took seven additional female lambs and set them off by themselves. 29 Abimelech asked, “Why have you set these seven apart from the others?”
30 Abraham replied, “Please accept these seven lambs to show your agreement that I dug this well.” 31 Then he named the place Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”), because that was where they had sworn the oath.
Giving the livestock to Abimelech was a sign that Abraham was going to keep his promise to never lie to Abimelech again. He added extra lambs to show that both he and Abimelech agreed that the well their people were fighting over belonged to Abraham.
32 After making their covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech left with Phicol, the commander of his army, and they returned home to the land of the Philistines. 33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham lived as a foreigner in Philistine country for a long time.” (On your timeline, erase “today’s story” and write “treaty with Abimelech.”)
And there we have it, today’s main story! We see the name of God at the very end there. “Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God.” I thought about just summarizing the story for you today instead of reading it, but I wanted you to hear some key things. They may not seem important at first glance, but they tell us a lot about God. First, about the well. It seems like a little thing to fight over, but giving Abraham’s household a well to call their own means they have access to water in the desert. They can really start to establish a life instead of just being wonderers. When Abraham plants a tree, it shows that his family can really “take root” in the land that is promised to his descendants. This is a sign that God keeps his promises. When Abraham worshiped the Eternal God here, he’s remembering the promise God made to him in Genesis 12:2. “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.”
Abraham calls God “El Olam,” or “The Everlasting” or “Eternal God.” (Write “El Olam” and “the Everlasting God” on the board.) You know that “El” means “strong,” and is used for “God,” like in “Elohim.” “Olam” means “eternal, everlasting, forever.” The name El Olam, Eternal God, implies that God’s promises last forever.
Let’s have a sword drill. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, turn to Psalm 145:13. Go! (Read, or have a student read, Psalm 145:13.) “For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.” (On the board write, “God keeps his promises.”) When we remember that God is the Everlasting God, we remember that he will keep his promises forever, no matter what. One of my favorite promises is Psalm 121:7-8. It says, “The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” God will always be with us. Always, always, always!
Have you ever had a favorite shirt or pair of pants that you either outgrew or wore so much it got holes in it? It’s such a bummer when we can’t wear our favorite things anymore! But the fact is, everything wears out. Let’s look at three passages to learn more. (Divide your class into three groups. Have the first group look up Psalm 102:25-27, the second group look up Psalm 103:15-17a, and the third group look up Matthew 24:35.) Now this group, I want you to look up Psalm 102:25-27. This group, look up Psalm 103:15-17. We’ll read through the first part of verse 17 on that one. Last but not least, this group needs to look up Matthew 24:35. I want all three groups to find the things that wear out in this verse and the thing that lasts forever. (Give your class a few minutes to work. Listen in on all groups to make sure they are on the right track, and help them choose someone from each group to read and explain the passage.) Okay group one, please read Psalm 102:25-27 and tell us what wears out and what lasts forever.
“Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” In this verse we see that the heavens and earth will die and fade away, fall apart like old clothes. But God is forever.
Group two, tell us about Psalm 103:15-17a. “Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.” Here we see that we will fade away like grass and flowers. We’re here one day and gone from this earth the next. But when we fear God, his love will be with us FOREVER. Remember this kind of fear doesn’t mean God is scary. It means we respect him as the great God he is. (On the board write “God is forever” and “God’s love is forever.”)
Group three, read and explain Matthew 24:35. “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.” Heaven and earth will disappear in the end of everything, but God’s word, the truth of the Bible, will never disappear. (On the board write “the Bible is forever.”)
Because God is El Olam, the Everlasting God, he will be forever. His promises are forever. His love is forever. His Word is forever. There’s one more thing that can last forever. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” He has planted eternity in the human heart. Isn’t that beautiful? Even when we have eternity in our hearts, we can’t see everything God does from the beginning of time until the end of time. We only can see a little part of our lives even. No one but God knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s why we must trust in him.
God loves us. We are sinners. We do bad things and don’t deserve to get to live with God forever in heaven. But God STILL loves us. So he planted eternity in our hearts. He placed a little seed of forever in us. This world is not our home. Heaven is. Whenever we get bored here, or get homesick even when we’re happy at home with our families, that’s the little seed of forever that God has planted in us. You know that seeds need water and sunlight and soil to grow. John 17:3 tells us how to make the little seed of eternity in our hearts grow into eternal life. It says, “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”
God is forever. His promises are forever. His love is forever. His word is forever. And we can live forever when we know God and trust in Jesus, who died for our sins and now lives forever. (On the board write, “We can be forever.”) The reason that we can live forever when we trust in Jesus is because Jesus is forever too! In Revelation 22:13, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters in the Greek alphabet. Like A and Z. Three times in a row in this verse, Jesus tells us that he is forever. When we believe that Jesus died for our sins and then rose again and will live forever, then we will live forever too! And that’s a promise. And we know El Olam, the Everlasting, Eternal God, will always keep his promises!
Close in prayer.
Craft: Mobius Strip Hearts, Circle Painting
You have two craft options for today. The first one is a bit tricky, but when completed correctly, yields amazing results. The second one is much easier and still helps to drive home the main point.
If you are unfamiliar with Mobius strips, do some research to learn more about them. They are a fun and complicated math concept that help explain infinity. To make a basic Mobius strip, take a piece of paper (about 1 inch by 11 inches) and mark an X on each short side on the front of the paper. Now make a half twist in the paper and bring the Xes together so they touch. Tape the ends together. You basically have a circle with a half twist in it. Now take a pencil and draw a line down the center of the Mobius strip. Don’t lift your pencil. Just keep drawing a straight line by moving your paper until you meet the start of your line. You’ll notice that the line you just drew in on both sides of the paper. A Mobius strip has only one side! Now for the fun part. Cut along the line, and instead of cutting the Mobius strip in half, you’ll make a larger strip with a full twist in it. Demonstrate these basics to your class. Explain that a Mobius strip goes on forever. Then they can follow you as you make interlocking hearts out of Mobius strips. Everyone will make two Mobius strips. This is VERY important: the twists must go in opposite directions. When making the twists, say for one, “to the left,” and for the second, “to the right.” Now tape your two Mobius strips together at right angles. This will sort of look like an L. Now cut down the middle of both strips. If done correctly, you will end of with two interlocking strips that can be positioned to look like hearts. This reminds us that God’s love is forever!
If this is too complicated of a project for your class or if you have extra time, make circle paintings. Every student needs a large sheet of paper with their name on it. They then can use toilet paper rolls dipped in paint to stamp circles all over the paper. On a separate slip paper, have them write, “God is forever.” Glue this on top of the circle paintings. As they paint, remind them that like a circle has no beginning or end, God’s promises, love, Word, and God himself last forever.

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