When you think about what you want your children to learn at church, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? We’ve all been there. With so much truth in the Bible where do we start? Why not start where the Bible starts. No, not necessarily creation, but GOD.
Who is God? What is God like? What does God do?
“The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls Father.” ~ C. H. Spurgeon
Through this series of 42 lessons we’ll be introducing children to fullness of God’s character one attribute at a time. Most churched children will tell you that God created the world, or He rescues His people, or even that Jesus came to earth to rescue God’s people, but the goal of these lessons is for them to begin to know more of who He is and what it means to worship Him for who He is.
AGE GROUP: elementary (ages 6-11)
TIME REQUIRED: 45 minutes
This is lesson 11 of 42 in our study on the Attributes of God called “Can you tell me what God is like?” Visit the series index to view all the lessons and get more ideas for using this curriculum in your children’s ministry.
LESSON 11: GOD IS GRACIOUS
- Key Verse: “He who did not spare His own Son, but graciously gave Him up for us all ~ how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
- Teaching Passage: Hannah and Samuel – 1 Samuel
- Supporting Texts: Exodus 34:6, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 145:8, Romans 8:32
Bibles, previous attribute of God posters, a large piece of paper with the words GOD IS GRACIOUS written on it, key verse (Romans 8:32) printed on a piece of paper, blank paper and markers or colored pencils for each child in the group
REVIEW PREVIOUS LESSONS:
Ask one of the kids in the group to remind you what you’re learning this year. Remind them that each week we’ll be looking into the Bible to answer the question… “Can you tell me what God is like?” and will be learning one of the many truths about God that we see in His Word.
Ask if anyone can remember the truths we’ve learned so far. Review the attributes by calling out one of the definitions and having the kids respond with the attribute and motion.
- God is Almighty= He has absolute power or is all powerful
- God is the Alpha and Omega= He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last
- God is Awesome = He inspires awe and amazement
- God is Compassionate = He shows a deep concern for His people & a desire to meet their needs
- God is the Deliverer = He is the rescuer or savior
- God is Exalted = He is noble, elevated and lifted up
- God is Faithful = He is reliable, trustworthy, true to His Word & keeps His promises
- God Forgives = He grants pardon and cancels the debt of sin
- God is Glorious = He is full of glory (praise, honor & distinction)
- God is Good = morally excellent, virtuous or righteous
TEACH- GOD IS GRACIOUS:
Ask if any of the kids in the group know what the word gracious means.
Then have the group read this week’s memory verse (Romans 8:32) from the poster. Ask if the verse gives any clues about what gracious means. Explain that another way we could say gracious is to say that God shows grace to His people and gives us what we don’t deserve, or doesn’t give us what we do deserve.
Tell the kids that you want to tell them a story from the Bible that helps to explain gracious.
Read 1 Samuel 1:1-8 to the group. Choose children to play the parts of Elkanah, Hannah, Peninnah & Eli while you read. After reading through the text, make sure the kids in the group get the following points.
- There was a man named Elkanah who had two wives- Hannah and Peninnah.
- Peninnah had children, but Hannah didn’t.
- Every year Elkanah’s family would go to Shiloh to worship the Lord and sacrifice to Him.
- One year while they were in Shiloh, Hannah got really upset and wept and cried out to the Lord in prayer. In her prayer she promised God that if He would give her a son that she would give him back to God to serve Him.
- Eli, the priest saw her praying and confronted her and Hannah told him what she was praying and Eli prayed for her as well.
- Elkanah and his family went home and soon Hannah became pregnant. When the baby was born, she named him Samuel because she asked the Lord for him.
- When Samuel was still a very young boy (around 2 maybe), Hannah took Samuel back to Shiloh where she offered a sacrifice to God.
- Then, she took Samuel to Eli, the priest, and told him that she asked God for a baby and He gave her Samuel, so she was keeping her promise to God and was giving Samuel back to Him to serve God.
DEFINE AND REMEMBER:
To help the kids remember this truth about God, take a few minutes to define the attribute.
GRACIOUS = MERCIFUL, BENEVOLENT, KIND & COMPASSIONATE
EXPLAIN: Talk about how we saw the graciousness of God in today’s story. In this story, God was gracious to Hannah; He heard her prayer and He gave her Samuel. Explain how gracious has the root word grace in it and that grace can be defined as getting what we don’t deserve and that God is gracious to His people by giving us what we don’t deserve
Since motions & actions help kids remember, choose an action for GRACIOUS. A good motion might be to pretend to hand someone a gift.
SAY: “This morning we’re talking about the truth that God is gracious. Another way we could say this is to say that God shows grace to His people and gives us what we don’t deserve, or doesn’t give us what we do deserve.”
Ask, where in the story did we see this definition of grace play out? Explain that God didn’t have to give Hannah a baby, nothing she did meant that she deserved a baby, but that God was gracious to her.
Read the memory verse (Romans 8:32) one more time.
Take a few minutes to talk about the most amazing way that God has shown grace (or been gracious) to His people. Read/ quote Romans 3:23 and 6:23. Ask the questions…. who has sinned? and what does our sin deserve? Then, have one of the kids read Romans 5:8 and ask, what did God do to show His grace to us? Explain how because of our sin we all deserve death, but that God is gracious and gave His only Son, Jesus, so that we might live. Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and ask what this verse tells us about salvation – it is a free gift of God’s grace. Remind the kids that in the story God didn’t have to give Hannah a baby, but he graciously gave her the gift of a baby, and in the same way, God didn’t have to save anyone and didn’t have to give up His Son, but because of His great love for His people He graciously did just that.
Give each child a blank piece of paper provide markers or colored pencils. Encourage them to write the word gracious somewhere on the paper and then write or draw something to help them remember this attribute of God. They could write the definition for gracious or the memory verse or you could encourage them to draw two cartoons, one of God being gracious to Hannah in the birth of Samuel and one of God’s ultimate act of grace in Jesus dying on he cross in our place. After a few minutes, bring the group back together and give kids time to share what they have drawn or written.
Pray that the kids in the group would personally come to know the graciousness of God more and more each day and that they would turn to this gracious God for salvation.