What does it mean to follow the Lord? Includes a lesson, 2 games, and a prayer exercise.
Needed: newspaper or current events magazine
Intro Game: Simon Says
Students follow your commands and motion when you say, “Simon says” first. If you don’t say, “Simon says” before the command, and they do it anyway, they’re out. If they follow a motion that doesn’t match the “Simon says” verbal command, they’re out. The winner is the last one in the game.
End by bringing everyone back into the game and telling the group that you’re going to take them on a journey. Have them follow you, mimicking your motions, on a journey through the church.
Summarize Numbers 9:15-23 , using the following story and asking the included questions as you read.
After God brought Moses and the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, they had to walk through the desert to get to their new home, they place where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were all from before Jacob and Joseph and all his brothers moved to Egypt.
While they were in the desert, God gave them the Ten Commandments and told them to build the first church, the Tabernacle. When the people of Israel had built the Tabernacle, a cloud from God came down and floated above the whole building. It stayed there all day, and, at the end of the day, when it started to get dark, the cloud turned into a pillar of fire. In the morning, it was a cloud again. And it kept going like that every day. In the daytime, a cloud covered the Tabernacle, and, at night, fire covered it.
Sometimes, the cloud would float up above the Tabernacle and start moving to someplace else. When the people of Israel saw the cloud move, they knew that was God was telling them that He wanted them to move too. So, they would pack up all their things, pick up the Tabernacle, and follow the cloud wherever it went.
Why did the people move when the cloud moved? (Because that was God telling them that He wanted them to move.)
If the cloud didn’t move on some day, the people wouldn’t move, either. They would wait until God made the cloud move. Sometimes, God would make the cloud stay where it was for a long time, and, sometimes, He would make the cloud stay there for only one day. However long the cloud stayed there, the people of Israel stayed where they were. And if it moved, they moved with it. Whatever the cloud did, the people followed God’s command and followed it.
Why did the Israelites stay where they were if the cloud stayed where it was? (If the cloud stayed where it was, that was God’s way of telling the people that He didn’t want them to move yet.)
So, God used the cloud to tell the Israelites where to go and what to do. Do you think God could tell you where to go and what to do? (Yes.)
Does anyone remember a time when God told you to do something?
What kinds of things could you use to help you know what God wants you to do?
God uses the Bible to tell us, or prayer, or our conscience. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit living inside us gives us a feeling of what we should do. Sometimes, God uses other Christians to help us know what to do. Sometimes, something happens in our life to tell us.
(Tell a story about a time God led you to do something through one of these ways or through another method.)
One time, a man was driving in another country and he was taking Bibles to people who didn’t know about God. But before he got there, a big snowstorm started and his car began sliding all over the road because the snow was so slippery. He crashed his car in a ditch and didn’t know what to do. A few minutes later, an old man came out and took him to his farm. When they got there, the old man asked if he had brought the books. He said, “What books?” and the old man said, “The books about God.”
The man had been taking Bibles to other people down the road, but God had made his car crash here so that he could give the old man a Bible too. Sometimes, things happen in our life to help us know what God wants us to do. If his car hadn’t crashed, he never would have known that he was supposed to give a Bible to that old man. So, look for what God is doing in your life. Go where He wants you to go and do what He wants you to do just like the Israelites did when they followed the cloud.
Game: What Does God Want?
Have the students pair up and read through a newspaper story. Their goal is to determine what God would want in the situation. Try to avoid taking sides on political issues, but speak in general terms.
Have the students sit quietly in prayer. Direct them to listen for one thing God wants them to do today. Ask for volunteers to share afterward.
Have the students choose a random Bible story to read on their own. Ask them to find one thing that God wants to say to them through that story. Again, ask for volunteers to share what they found.
Game: Simon Says
Play the intro game again, reminding students that we want to follow God whenever He tells us to do something.
Lord, make us be like the Israelites who only moved when You told them to. We only want to do what You tell us. Help us to pay attention to all the ways You can speak to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
This lesson is included in my book, Slaves to Conquerors: Children’s Sunday School Lessons for Exodus – Joshua.