AGE GROUP: elementary (ages 6-11)
TIME REQUIRED: 45 minutes
This is lesson 23 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 23: GOD IS MERCIFUL
- Key Verse: “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” Daniel 9:9
- Teaching Passage: Elijah & the prophets of Baal~ 1 Kings 18:16-45
- Supporting Texts: Daniel 9:9, Deuteronomy 4:31, Nehemiah 9:31, Psalm 4:1, Psalm 30:10
Bibles, previous attribute of God posters, a large piece of paper with the words God is Merciful written on it, key verse (Daniel 9:9) 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. Do a little bit of review by reading out a few of the definitions and asking kids to tell you the attribute of God. You could also give them clues by doing the motion while reading the definition.
- 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
- God is Gracious = merciful, benevolent, kind & compassionate
- God Guides His People= He leads, accompanies, assists and gives direction/ guidance
- God Heals = make healthy & whole & free from ailments
- God is Holy = He is sinless, perfect and set apart
- God is our Hope = He is the One in whom our expectations are centered
- Jesus is Immanuel = God with Us
- God is Judge = He is the One who rules over and passes judgement on others
- God is Just = He is the One who is fair and does what is right
- God is King of kings & Lord of lords = He is The One who rules the rulers
- Jesus is the Lamb without blemish = He is the perfect sacrifice for sin
- God is Love = God has tender and caring affection for His people
- God is Majestic = God is stately, kingly, grand & raised up
TEACH- GOD IS MERCIFUL:
Start out by asking the kids if they’ve ever heard someone in the movie or on TV begging and crying and saying something like, “please have mercy on me.” Ask them what they think the word mercy means and what the person in that situation might be asking for. Briefly explain that mercy is undeserved love, compassion, pity & grace. Tell the kids to listen for an example of mercy in today’s story.
Talk through 1 Kings 18:16-45 (the story of Elijah & the prophets of Baal) in your own words. You might want to read the text and elaborate on it. Some points to include are:
Make sure to include the following points:
- Elijah was a prophet of God and was one of the few people of God left in Israel. Queen Jezebel had captured and killed most of the prophets and the rest were in hiding.
- The land of Israel was suffering from a severe famine and drought. Most of the people in the land were worshipping a false god called Baal.
- Elijah presented himself before King Ahab and told him that they would decide once and for all if God was God or if Baal was God.
- Elijah had King Ahab summon all of the prophets of Baal and come to Mount Carmel.
- Elijah told the prophets of Baal to build and altar and put a bull on it, but not to light the fire. Then, Elijah told the prophets of Baal to pray to God and ask Baal to call on Baal to burn up their sacrifice. The prophets of Baal cried al to Baal all morning long and nothing happened. Elijah teased them and joked that maybe Baal was sleeping or busy so they should shout louder. Nothing happened.
- Then, Elijah repaired an old altar to God and arranged the bull on his altar. Elijah had 12 huge jars of water poured over the whole altar, the bull and the firewood so that the whole thing was soaked.
- Elijah prayed and asked God to show that He is God.
- God sent fire from heaven and burned up the whole bull, the wood, the altar and the dirt around it.
- When they people saw what God had down, they repented and turned back to God and said “The Lord, He is God.”
- Elijah had all the prophets of Baal killed and then God sent rain on the land of Israel.
DEFINE AND REMEMBER:
To help the kids remember this truth about God, take a few minutes to define the attribute.
MERCIFUL= FULL OF COMPASSION, PITY, UNDESERVED GRACE & LOVE FOR ANOTHER
EXPLAIN: Talk about how we we saw mercy displayed in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Ask how God showed mercy on His people in the story. Ask kids for other examples in scripture they can think of where God shows mercy to his people. Read these verses and talk about what they tell us about the mercy of God.
Since motions & actions help kids remember, choose an action for MERCIFUL. A good motion might be to wipe your hands on each other twice (like you’re showing that your hands are clean).
SAY: “This morning we’re talking about the truth that God is merciful and we have a new verse….
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” Daniel 9:9
As a group, talk through this verse and define the words in it. Define and discuss the following words:
- Lord ~ One who rules & has authority
- Merciful ~ full of compassion, pity, and undeserved grace & love for another
- Forgiving ~ canceling debts
- Rebelled ~ gone against, broken the law
In your discussion, talk about how we have all rebelled against God and how God has shown mercy to us through Jesus.
Read the memory verse (Daniel 9:9) a few times together and do the motions that you’ve just come up with.
Remind the kids that in our story this morning that God’s people had forgotten about God, they had rebelled against God and they were worshipping a false God named Baal. Then, say that we have all done the same thing. True none of us bow down to statues, but the Bible tells us that we have all rebelled against God. We’ve all turned our backs on God and in our own way we have all worshipped other things. But in the story, we saw that God rescued His people from idolatry by showing them who He is and having mercy on them. They (like all of us) deserved to be punished for their sin, but God showed mercy to them and they repented. Each time we see something like this happen in the Old Testament we can be reminded of the most amazing way that God showed mercy to His people even though we all deserve punishment. Romans 5:8 tells us that because of His love for His people, God acted in mercy and Jesus died for our sins. Now that’s mercy.
Give each child a blank piece of paper provide markers or colored pencils. Encourage them to write the word merciful somewhere on the paper and then write or draw something to help them remember this attribute of God. They may want to write and illustrate the memory verse, illustrate the story or draw/ write something to remind themselves how God ultimately showed mercy to His people through Jesus’ death on the 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 come to know God more and more each week through this study and that they would remember that all of us are sinners who need to be saved and that they would call on God for mercy and turn to God for salvation. Thank Jesus for dying on the cross as the perfect sacrifice and for paying the price for our sin.