Sure, most of us are familiar with the amazing story of Joshua and the fall of Jericho at the sound of trumpets, but how many kids know the equally remarkable tale of Jehoshaphat? Don’t let the long name scare you…this is a must-know lesson in trust, worship, and God’s unbelievable power.
Lesson focus: God is able to do more than we can imagine and is worthy of all worship.
Passage: 2 Chronicles 20: 13-30
Target Audience: 2nd-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Small shoe-boxes or containers; Decorating supplies; paper; dime and nickel
Lesson Opening: Doing the impossible…would you believe me if I said I could do something that seems impossible? Hold up a dime and a nickel. Does it seem like this nickel could fit through a hole the size of a dime? Trace the dime on a piece of paper and cut out a hole just the size of it. Demonstrate how the nickel cannot be pushed through. Then fold the paper in half so that the dime-sized circle is an arch. Now the nickel can fit through the folded slot created by the hole. Sometimes we have to adjust our expectations or ideas about how God solves our problems. But with faith He can always do what seems impossible. Today we are going to take a look at a story where God accomplished something that seemed impossible, in a rather unusual way.
Bible Lesson: What is worship? Is it just singing, or more? Explain that today we will be discussing worship and why it is so important in the Christian life. God wants us to live lives of worship. This doesn’t mean we walk around quoting hymns, but that we live with Him in mind. Whatever we devote the most time and attention to is the object of our worship. Maybe it is sports, art, even friends. God promises that when we truly worship and devote ourselves to Him, amazing things can happen.
The Bible is full of stories about people who learned to worship and praise God. Who has heard the story of Joshua? How did he and the Israelites defeat the people of Jericho? (Re-cap miraculous trumpet triumph) Well, who has heard of Jehoshaphat? He also experienced an amazing rescue through faith.
Have students help act out the story, found in 2 Chronicles 20. Explain that Jehoshaphat was a king of Judah who learned that there were three large armies ready to invade his land. He was terrified because his army was tiny in comparison, but Jehoshaphat believed in the power of prayer and asked God for help. Then the Holy Spirit replied.
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
Have a few students act as Jehoshaphat and the Israelites, with others (a larger group) playing the part of the opposing armies. Have the people of Judah bow low and act as though in prayer, while the “army” frowns and pounds fists…
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[a] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
Have the army of Jehoshaphat start singing a praise song, while the opposing armies start to “attack…” as the singers continue, have the rest of the group (safely and carefully) act out a mock battle and eventually fall down “dead.”
24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[b] and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah[c] to this day.
27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets. 29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
Have the singing students come upon the “dead” ones and stare…then burst into applause. As students sit back down, discuss what an amazing story they just heard/acted. Did the army of God even have to do any fighting? No! The only weapons they used were voices! God promised that the battle was not theirs; it was HIS. They just had to trust, praise, sing, and shout! God sent the ambush and not one of the offending army escaped. And how did the people of Judah respond? With more praise, of course! They lived with an attitude of constant worship and praise.
Of course, as we mentioned earlier, worship does not mean only music and singing. We worship through our actions by having firm faith that God will act through us. We worship in our conversations with people; in our thoughts; in anything. We can also worship through prayer. When we pray, we take our worries and problems and present them to the most powerful One in the universe, trusting that even if it isn’t what we would expect, God will handle it.
Craft: Prayer boxes
When we give our concerns to God, they become his cares. He takes away our anxiety and we don’t have to stress about it anymore. Today we are going to make special containers to remind us of that. Provide each student with a container or box and allow them to decorate with paper, markers, stickers, craft jewels, etc…then provide small slips of paper. Explain that kids can write down worries or prayer requests and place them in the box. Once they go in the box, they belong to God and we must trust that He will handle them.
Close with prayer and reminder to trust and worship God…sometimes we need help from God just to believe and trust that He will do all He says. Remind students to let Him do the worrying and the fighting!
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