God is Sovereign (Genesis 21) Lesson #35 in What is God Like?
AGE GROUP: elementary (ages 6-11)
TIME REQUIRED: 45 minutes
This is lesson 35 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 35: GOD IS SOVEREIGN
- Key Verse: “I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
- Teaching Passage: Genesis 21
- Supporting Texts: Exodus 15:18, Psalm 9:7, Psalm 96:10, Isaiah 9:7, Psalm 47:8
Bibles, previous attribute of God posters, a large piece of paper with the words GOD IS SOVEREIGN written on it, key verse (Job 42:2) printed on a piece of paper, pictures of (1) the world, (2) rain, (3) a throne & (4) a crown, drawn or printed on 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.
Take a few minutes to review the attributes you’ve previously learned. Have kids stand in a line. Whisper an attribute of God in the first person’s ear. They should say the attribute outloud. The next person should do the motion and the 3rd person should define or explain the attribute. Those 3 people should then move to the back of the line so you can start all over again. If someone doesn’t know the motion or definition, they can pass or someone can give them a clue. Play for 5 minutes or so.
- 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
- God is Merciful = God is full of compassion, pity, and undeserved grace & love for another
- God is Omnipotent = He is almighty or infinite in power
- God is Omnipresent = He is everywhere all the time
- God is Omniscient = He knows everything
- God is One = the Only God
- God Protects His People = He defends, guards, covers & shields His people
- God is Righteous = He is always right & He always does what is right
- God is the Rock = solid, strong and offering protection
- God provides the PERFECT SACRIFICE for sin = Jesus is the gift or payment that paid for our sin
- God Saves = to rescue from danger
- God Shepherds His people = He tends, guards and watches over His people
- God is a Shield= He hides, conceals & protects His people (through Jesus’ blood)
Introduce this week’s attribute by showing the 4 pictures. (The four pictures are (1) the world, (2) rain, (3) a throne & (4) a crown). Ask kids to guess what those 4 pictures have in common or what truth about God they could be pointing to. Hopefully with a little coaching (a king sits on a throne and wears crown when he rules, etc.) someone will come up with the word reign orsovereign. Explain that our truth for the morning is SOVEREIGN which means that God rules or is control or in charge of everything.
Read the following verses: Exodus 15:18, Psalm 47:8, Job 42:2, Job 38:12, Job 38:35, Job 38:39. Then ask, “based on these verses is there anything that God does not rule over?”
Remind the group that God rules over everything from the smallest ant getting its food to tsunamis and thunderstorms to when and where babies will be born. God is in control of everything.
Introduce the story by asking someone to tell you a little bit about Abraham – who he is, what he’s known for in the Bible, etc. Talk briefly about how in Genesis 12 God chose a man named Abram and told him to leave his home and follow Him and Abram did. God promised to make him into a great nation and to give him land and to bless the world through him. God changed his name to Abraham and his wife’s name to Sarah and even though they were old and didn’t have any children God promised to make their descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky or the sand on the beach and they believed God by faith (belief in something they couldn’t see).
But, time passed, they were getting older and they still didn’t even have one child, let alone numerous descendants, so they decided to take the control away from God and come up with their own plan. Abraham took a second wife. Her name was Hagar. Hagar had a son and they named him Ishmael and Abraham thought that he could be the start of God’s plan. About 13 years later, some angels came to visit Abraham and told him that Ishmael was not the son that God had promised him, but that in one year they would come back and Sarah would have a baby. When Sarah heard this she laughed because they didn’t think this could be possible, but they told her that nothing is to hard for God. The next year, Sarah had a baby and they named him Isaac and that’s where today’s story starts.
Read Genesis 21:1-21 and/ or tell the story in your own words highlighting the following points:
- God kept His promise and gave Abraham & Sarah a son in their old age. This son was the beginning of the promise from God.
- When Isaac started to grow up, Ishmael got jealous of all the attention Isaac was getting. It bothered Sarah the way that Ishmael was treating Isaac, so she asked Abraham to send Ishmael away.
- Abraham didn’t like the idea of sending away his son, but God told him not to worry that even though Isaac was the promised son and Isaac was the one through who God would bless the world, that He would still bless Ishmael and make him into a great nation too. God reminded Abraham that His plan was to bless the world through the family He would give Abraham and that was through Isaac.
- So Abraham sent Hagar & Ishmael away into the desert with some bread and water. They wandered around and when they were about to run out of water, Hagar cried out to God because she was scared that her son would die. God spoke to Hagar and told her that He would make Ishmael into a great nation and then God showed her a well and she and Ishmael drank and lived. Ishmael grew up in the desert and married an Egyptian woman and God kept His promise to Ishmael and made him into a great nation too.
DEFINE AND REMEMBER:
To help the kids remember this truth about God, take a few minutes to define the attribute.
SOVEREIGN = RULES OVER ALL
Since motions & actions help kids remember, choose an action for SOVEREIGN. A good motion might be to pretend that you’re holding the reigns of a horse and pull gently on them.
SAY: “Today we’re talking about the truth that God is sovereign…which means that He rules over All.”
Read the memory verse (Job 42:2} a few times together and do the motion for sovereign.
In the story today we were reminded of a promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 & 15:5-6 (read those verses). God promised an old man that he would be the father of a great nation. This seemed impossible to Abraham, but nothing is impossible for God. In this one promise, God was showing that He is the One who gives life, He is the One who controls where and when and to whom babies are born, He is the One who is SOVEREIGN over everything in all of creation. By giving Abraham & Sarah a baby in God’s timing, God was able to show that Isaac was born because he was God’s plan, not because of anything that people could plan. It was a miracle that an old lady like Sarah was able to have a baby. But, hidden in the promise to make Abraham into a great nation was an even bigger promise and an even bigger miracle. In Genesis 12:3, when God told Abram that all people on earth would be blessed through him, God was hinting to a child that would be born into Abraham’s family hundreds of years later. Another baby who’s birth would be a miracle. He wouldn’t be born to an old woman, but instead He would be born to a young woman who had yet to be married. He was the true promised Son. His name was Jesus and He was born as a blessing to all people. He was born to die on the cross and pay the price for our sin, so that everyone who believes in Him would be blessed by being brought into God’s family and made a child of God.
Give each child a blank piece of paper provide markers or colored pencils. Encourage them to write the word SOVEREIGN somewhere on the paper and then write or draw something to help them remember this attribute of God. They could write the definition for sovereign or the memory verse or they could illustrate the the story. 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 turn to this good God for salvation. Pray that the children in the class would come to understand God’s sovereign rule and trust His perfect plan in all things.