Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids the story of Ehud the judge and the importance of praying to and listening to God.
Needed: Playing cards, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils, stapler
Intro Game: Bluff!
Have kids sit in a circle. Then, pass out a deck of playing cards with the cards face down. Starting with the first student, they must declare that they are putting one or more Ace cards facedown in the center of the circle. They can be bluffing in the number of cards that they’re putting down and in the value of the cards. If someone calls Bluff! the student must reveal what they put down. If they were bluffing, they take their cards back and any others that are in the pile. If they weren’t bluffing, the student that called Bluff! must take the pile of cards. The next student has to declare Twos, etc. all the way around the circle until someone successfully lays down all their cards.
If you have a large group, you can divide them into more than one circle, each group having their own deck of cards.
After Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, the people wandered in the desert for forty years. Then, Moses died and the new leader, Joshua, led the Israelites into their new home, the country of Canaan, that God had promised to give them.
The people believed in and served God the whole time that Joshua was alive. But then, Joshua died when he was 110 years old, and a new group of Israelites grew up.
This new group of Israelites had not been alive when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt or when He took care of the Israelites in the desert or when He brought the Israelites into their new home. So, this new group of Israelites did not believe in God. They believed in and served other gods, fake gods, instead.
How do you think God feels when people don’t believe in Him and when they serve fake gods instead of Him?
God was very angry that these new Israelites did not believe in Him and were serving the fake gods.
What do you think God will do to punish the Israelites for not believing in Him?
God sent enemy armies against Israel, and when Israel tried to fight their enemies in battle, God helped their enemies win. One time, God let King Eglon, king of the Moabites, take over and rule over Israel for 18 years!
How would you like it if an army from another country came to America and took us over?
The Israelites started praying to God again and asking Him to help them.
Do you think God will help the Israelites again?
When God saw that the Israelites were praying to Him again, he made a man named Ehud become the Israelites’ leader. They called him a judge. And God gave Ehud a plan of how to defeat King Eglon and the Moabites.
How do you think God will use Judge Ehud to defeat the Moabites?
Ehud went to King Eglon and brought him a gift from the Israelites. King Eglon liked the gift. Then, Judge Ehud said to King Eglon, “I have a secret message for you.” So, King Eglon told all his servants to leave so that he could hear the secret message. But then, instead of telling King Eglon a secret, Ehud pulled a sword out that he had hidden in his clothes and stabbed King Eglon in the stomach!
King Eglon was a very fat man, and the sword went all the way into his body. Ehud left the sword stuck in King Eglon’s body and walked out of the room and locked the doors behind him. Then, he left King Eglon’s palace, and none of King Eglon’s servants or soldiers knew what Ehud had done.
A little while later, King Eglon’s servants came to look for him. The doors were locked so they thought King Eglon must be going to the bathroom in there. But when the king still didn’t come out, the servants got the key and opened the doors. And there was King Eglon, dead on his throne with Ehud’s sword sticking out of him.
When Ehud got back home to Israel, he blew a trumpet, and all the Israelites came to him. He told them what had happened and said, “Follow me. God is going to help you defeat your enemy today!” So, Ehud and the Israelites attacked and defeated the army of Moab and then, the Israelites lived in peace for 80 years.
Let’s review. Why did God let the Moabites defeat and conquer Israel? (Because the new Israelites that grew up didn’t believe in God and started believing in and serving fake gods.)
Then, why did God help Ehud and the Israelites defeat the Moabites? (Because the Israelites started praying to God again and asking Him to help them.)
Do you think God can help you if you pray to Him? (He sure can! God wants you to ask for His help, and He will help you.)
What do you think of how Ehud lied to King Eglon? He told the king he had a secret message for him, but then, he stabbed him. Do you think God wanted Ehud to do that? Why or why not?
We know that God doesn’t normally want us to lie and be sneaky, but God used Ehud’s sneaky actions to defeat King Eglon. We have to be very careful to follow God’s rules about telling the truth, but if we feel that He wants us to be sneaky sometimes, we have to listen to Him.
Game: Lie Detector
This game is similar to Two Truths and a Lie. Tell students that you’re going to tell them a story about what happened to you. Most of it will be true, but someone of it won’t be. It’s their job to call out whenever they think you’re saying something that isn’t true.
When you’re finished, give a couple of students a chance to tell a story. Play as long as time permits.
Craft: My Judges’ Journal
Give students drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils. Have them draw themselves as a strong warrior of God on one page with the words “My Judges’ Journal.”
Remind students that the Israelites in our story weren’t alive when God brought them out of Egypt or gave them the land of Canaan. They forgot who God was. So, to make sure we don’t forget who God is, we’re going to make a journal of all the things God has done for us.
Staple a few pages to their cover and have them start their journal by writing or drawing some things God has done for them. Some ideas include giving them a family, creating them, sending Jesus to take their sins, giving them enough food every day, etc.
Tell students that they can continue writing or drawing in their journal any time God does something for them, including when He answers a prayer.
Father, we thank You that You always hear our prayers. Help us never to forget You as the Israelites did and to always listen to what You tell us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, The Judges and Ruth Children Sunday School Lessons.