The Lord gives us what we need! Includes a lesson, game, craft, and snack idea.
Needed: pair of adult shoes, hat, Desert Survival Gear Relay game cards (use clip art or photos of various items), drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: Desert Survival Gear Relay
You will need an adult-size pair of shoes and a large hat as well as game cards with necessary and unnecessary items pictured on them. Children will run a relay race against the clock to collect all the necessary things that the Israelites needed in the desert.
The first person in the line wears the shoes (because the Israelites were walking through sand and that’s pretty difficult) and the hat (to keep the desert sun out of their eyes). On “Go,” they run to where the game cards are and select something they think the Israelites would have needed. They run back to their team and give the shoes and hat to the next person, and the game continues.
If a team-member selects an item that the rest of them think is unnecessary, they have to run back and get something else. The game is finished when all of the necessary items have been collected. The students need to work quickly to get the best time because the Israelites had to leave Egypt and go into the desert in a hurry.
When all of the necessary items have been collected, however, point out that none of the cards had any food or water on them. Tell them that God gave the Israelites their food and water and then hand them the cards picturing those things.
(Summarize Exodus 15:22-16:36 using the following story and asking the included questions as you read.)
After God brought Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt, they had to walk through the desert for three days and couldn’t find any water to drink. Everyone act like you’re walking through desert… Now, act as if you’re walking and you’re really thirsty.
Where were the people walking? (In the desert.)
How long did they walk without finding any water? (Three days.)
Do you think you would get thirsty after walking in the desert and not having any water for three days? (Yes.)
Finally, on the third day, the people did find water. Everyone look happy and excited. But, when they tried to drink it, it tasted bad because there was something wrong with it. They couldn’t drink it. So, they all got grumpy and started complaining to Moses and to God. Everyone, look grumpy.
When the people did find water, what was wrong with it? (It tasted too bad to drink.)
Were the people happy that they couldn’t drink the water? (No, they were frustrated.)
Would you be frustrated if you were them? (Yes.)
Then, Moses prayed to God and God told him to throw some wood into the water. When Moses threw the wood in, the water tasted better and was okay for the people to drink. Everyone, look happy.
What did Moses do when the people couldn’t drink the water? (He prayed to God for help.)
Did God help them? (Yes.)
How did God help them? (He made the water good to drink.)
When you have a problem and get frustrated, do you think you can pray to God and God will help you? (Yes.)
After God gave the people water to drink, they again went out walking through the desert. They had to keep walking through the desert to get to their new home, the place where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph had all been from before the Israelites moved to Egypt. Everyone, pretend like you’re walking in the desert again.
While they were in the desert, they ran out of food and started to whine and complain because they were so hungry. Everyone, act like you’re hungry. They even said that they wished they had stayed slaves in Egypt so that they could at least have some food.
What was the problem this time? (They were hungry and couldn’t find any food in the desert.)
So, God said to Moses, “Moses, I’m going to give the people food to eat.” And Moses said to the people, “Stop whining and complaining against God and saying that you wish you were still slaves. God’s going to give us food.” And that night, God sent a bunch of birds, hundreds and thousands of them, that came and landed in the people’s camp. Everyone, act like birds coming in for a landing. And they caught the birds and cooked them and ate them. Act like you’re catching birds and then cooking and eating them. When they woke up the next morning… Everyone, act like you’re waking up… there was a bunch of bread lying on the ground.
What did God do for the people? (He made a bunch of birds fly in and land on the ground for them to eat and He made bread appear on the ground.)
The people called the bread that God gave them manna. Everyone say, “manna.” God told them to only take as much of the bread as they needed for that day. Everyone, pretend like you’re taking a little bit of bread off the ground.
He promised to send them more manna the next morning. But, some people gathered more bread than they really needed. Everyone, pretend like you’re taking a lot of bread off the ground. They kept it until the next day. When they woke up the next day… Everyone, act like you’re waking up… that left-over bread that they had kept was all moldy and covered in maggots. Everyone, show me your best “gross face”.
God told them to only collect as much as they needed for that day, but some people wanted to get more. Why do you think they collected more? (They didn’t trust God that He would give them more the next day.)
What happened to the left-over bread? (It got maggots on it and got all moldy.)
God gave fresh bread to the people every day, but on Saturday, He told them to collect a little extra. He told them to collect enough for two days – for Saturday and Sunday – because He wasn’t going to give them any bread on Sunday. He wanted them to be in church… Everyone, pretend like you’re in church… and resting the rest of the day on Sunday… Everyone, pretend like you’re resting… instead of going out and collecting the bread.
What happened on Saturday? (God gave them enough bread for two days.)
Why did God give them enough for two days on Saturday? (Because people aren’t supposed to work on Sunday or do other things. They’re supposed to use their time to go to church and to rest.)
Do you think the people should have complained against God about not having any water or food? (No.)
What should they have done instead of complaining? (They should have prayed and asked God to help them.)
Can we pray when we need God to help us? (Yes.)
Craft: Drawing Your Prayer
Have students draw a picture of something they might need and how God might supply that need. When they’re finished, ask for volunteers to share.
Give each child a slice of bread with honey on it. Tell the children that the manna God gave the Israelites was bread that tasted like it had honey in it.
Father God, we thank You that You always know what we need and You’re always there to help us. We pray that You’ll help us to trust You and pray to You when we need something. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This lesson is included in my book, Slaves to Conquerors: Children’s Sunday School Lessons for Exodus – Joshua.
1 thought on “Lesson: God Gives the People Manna”
“God gave fresh bread to the people every day, but on Saturday, He told them to collect a little extra. He told them to collect enough for two days – for Saturday and Sunday – because He wasn’t going to give them any bread on Sunday. He wanted them to be in church… Everyone, pretend like you’re in church… and resting the rest of the day on Sunday… Everyone, pretend like you’re resting… instead of going out and collecting the bread.
What happened on Saturday? (God gave them enough bread for two days.)
Why did God give them enough for two days on Saturday? (Because people aren’t supposed to work on Sunday or do other things. They’re supposed to use their time to go to church and to rest.)”
God gave them extra food on Friday to be enough for Friday and Saturday. Their Sabbath was on Saturday, not Sunday. And they sure weren’t going to church. It might seem like an insignificant detail, but we should be accurate.