Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about the story of David and Bathsheba to teach kids about God’s punishments and forgiveness.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads, Don’t Say It / Taboo cards
Game: Uriah Dodge Ball
Divide your play area in half and divide the students into two teams. Give each team an equal number of soft balls or paper wads to throw. They have to stay on their side of the play area. The trick is that they can only target one member of the opposite at a time. All the players throw at that one person until they’re out. Then, they decide who to target next. The first team to get all the members of the opposite team out first wins.
Ask students, If you break a rule at home, do you ever get punished?
If you say you’re sorry for breaking the rule, do your parents forgive you, or do they just stay mad at you?
Usually, our parents forgive us for the wrong things we do. But just because they forgive us, that doesn’t mean that we get out of our punishment. Even if our parents forgive us, we usually still have to be punished too.
So far, we’ve learned about how Saul, the first king of Israel, died, and about how David, the person God chose to be the second king of Israel, took over. Saul did some wrong things when he was king, so God chose David to be the next king. God knew that David was someone who always did the right things that God wanted him to.
But today, we’re going to learn about how David did some things that were very wrong and had to be punished by God.
(Read 2 Samuel 11-12 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)
One day during the spring, when it was nice outside, King David went up on the roof of his palace to walk around for a little while. While he was up there, he looked down and accidentally saw a woman taking a bath in her house. David thought the woman was very pretty, so he sent one of his servants to find out who she was.
The servant came back and said, “She is Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. Uriah is in the army, and he’s out fighting our enemies with the rest of the Israelite warriors.”
David heard that the woman, Bathsheba, was married, but he thought she was so pretty that he didn’t care if she was married or not. David ordered his servants to bring Bathsheba to the palace. Then, even though David knew she was married to someone else, David slept with Bathsheba and made her pregnant.
Do you think David should have slept with Bathsheba? (No.)
Why not? (Because she was already married to Uriah.)
One of God’s rules is that we’re not supposed to sleep with anyone that we’re not married to.
When David found out that Bathsheba was pregnant and going to have a baby, he got scared and thought that everyone would find out the wrong thing he had done. He had the army commander send Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, home from the war.
When Uriah came home, David told him, “Take a break from the war. Go see your wife and sleep with her.” David wanted Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba because he wanted to trick Uriah and make Uriah think that he had made Bathsheba pregnant instead of David.
But Uriah said he wouldn’t sleep with Bathsheba. Uriah said, “It wouldn’t be fair for me to take a break from the war and go see my wife when the rest of the army doesn’t get to take a break and see their wives.”
So, because Uriah wouldn’t go sleep with Bathsheba, David knew that Uriah would never believe he had made Bathsheba pregnant himself. If the baby was born and Uriah knew that he wasn’t the father, he would tell everyone the wrong thing that David had done.
So, David got another plan. He sent Uriah back to the war, and he sent a letter to the army commander, ordering the army commander to send Uriah up against the toughest enemies and not to help him.
Why do you think David would want Uriah to fight the toughest enemies without any help? (David wanted Uriah to be killed.)
And Uriah was killed. He died in battle. Then, David married Bathsheba, and they had a baby son. But God was very angry about the wrong things David had done.
What wrong things did David do in this story? (He slept with Bathsheba when she was already married, he tried to trick Uriah, and then, he made it so that Uriah would be killed in the war.)
Then, Nathan the prophet came to David and said, “God says, ‘I protected you when King Saul was trying to kill you, and I made you the second king of Israel. Why did you do all these wrong things? Now, I am going to punish you by killing your new son.”
David, “I have sinned. I’m sorry.”
And Nathan said, “God forgives you. But He is still going to punish you by killing your son.”
Do you think it was good for David to say he was sorry for the wrong things he had done? (Yes.)
God likes it when we say we’re sorry and He always forgives us for our wrong things. But just because God forgives us, doesn’t mean that He won’t punish us. David still had to be punished for what he did.
So, David and Bathsheba’s baby son became very sick, and a week later, he died.
Where do you think that baby’s spirit went when he died? Did he go to Heaven or to Hell?
The baby went to Heaven because the baby hadn’t done anything wrong and because God takes every baby to Heaven.
David was very sad that his baby son had died, but he knew that it was a punishment from God for all the wrong things he had done.
A little while later, he and Bathsheba had another son, and because Bathsheba was David’s wife this time, God let this new son live. His name was Solomon, and he grew up to be the wisest king Israel ever had.
Game: Don’t Say It!
Divide students into two teams. In this Taboo-like game, teammates take turns trying to get their teams to guess the main word on their card without using four obvious words listed on the card. For example, a team member might need to get their teammates to guess “cow,” but they can’t say “moo,” “milk,” “dairy,” or “steak.” You can purchase the Don’t Say It! game or write your own game cards.
If the team member does say one of the words they’re not allowed to say, they’re out of the game. If they get their teammates to guess the word, they get a point for their team and continue their turn until they’ve scored up to three points. If they say a word they shouldn’t or after they’ve earned three points for their turn, play passes to the second team.
Play until each student on each team has had a chance to be the clue giver. Then, tally up all the points minus how many team members got out. The winner is the team with the most points.
When the game is over, ask, Why did I make some of you sit out the rest of the game? (Listen to their answers and explain that it was because they broke the rule of the game. Even though the rule of a game isn’t a big deal, we have to learn that if we break the rules, there are consequences. If we break serious rules at home or in school, we get punished. If we break God’s rules, He can punish us. There are consequences to breaking the rules. Even if we say we’re sorry, we still have to take consequences sometimes.)
Game: Uriah Dodge Ball
Play the intro game again. This time, explain that David wanted all his enemies to gang up on Uriah.
God, we know that Your punishments are just and that You always forgive us when we ask You to. But we pray that You’ll always help us to do the right things so that You don’t have to punish us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Samuel and David: Children Sunday School Lessons on the Boy Prophet and the Shepherd King.