This is lesson 10 of 33 in a series of lessons called “Praise God Through the Psalms.” These lessons are designed to point children to the fullness of God’s character and lead them to see Him as the One who deserves all praise and worship. These lessons work well in Sunday School or mid-week Bible study groups or even family devotion times.
“Praise God Through the Psalms” – Psalm 15
Lesson focus: Through the book of Psalms and the worship of the people of Israel, we get a glimpse into the character of God and how we should rightly respond to Him in worship. In Psalm 15 we are reminded of the holiness of God and the truth that man is separated from God because of sin. In this lesson, children will talk about how that separation began in the garden and continued until the time of Christ when the temple curtain was torn as Jesus died on the cross.
Passage: Psalm 15
Target Audience: Kindergarten-4th Grade (can be adapted for older or younger children)
Teaching Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Materials Needed: blank paper, markers, Bibles
Optional Materials: if you want to be able to send the kids home with something each week, you can print the text of the Psalm on one side of a piece of paper and on the back print “I should praise God because He is ____________” (leave the rest of the page blank for drawing.
Early Arriver/ Opening 10 minutes- have a few board games out and play with kids as they arrive. Don’t underestimate the conversations that happen while playing “Jenga” or “Uno” with a group of kids.
Intro. – – Start out by playing a round of “I’ve Never.” Go through a list of things that some of the people in the group may have done and others may not have (such as played American football, been to a professional soccer game, been on TV or the radio, lived in 4 or more houses, gone camping, spent the night on a boat, etc.) Then, start adding in some negative things like cheated on a school assignment or test, been in a fight, stole something, disobeyed my mom, etc. As you play the game, anyone who has done the thing you say must stand up and anyone who has not should remain seated. Finish the game by simply commenting that it’s interesting to see all the things that we’ve all done- -both good and bad.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 15 ….
- Have one of the kids in the group read Psalm 15, or have the whole group read it from their handout.
- As you go through the Psalm, have a signal for the kids in the group to make (like a time-out signal- – a T with your hands) every time they hear another truth about who God is and/ what God is like/ or what God has done. Each time you take a time-out, briefly talk about that characteristic of God. As you go through the Psalm focus on these questions/ thoughts… (1) What has God done?, (2) Who does God want to praise Him?, and (3) Why should we praise God?
- Discuss the Passage – Give some context for this Psalm by reminding the kids that God’s people had been separated from Him because of sin way back in the garden. Then, continue the context by reading (or summarizing in your own words) Leviticus 16 about the Day of Atonement. Talk about all of the rules and regulations that God put into place for His people when He gave them the law and had them build the tabernacle. Compare what the priests had to go through on the Day of Atonement with what David says in Psalm 15 about those who may come into God’s presence. Help the kids to see that because God is Holy, He requires complete holiness in His presence.
- Cross- Connection– – Read through the Psalm one more time and ask the kids if they could enter God’s presence based on what David says in this Psalm. Talk about the truth that is throughout scripture (have kids look up the following verses- – Romans 3:10-12, Romans 3:23) that we are all sinners and none of us is pure- therefore none of us can enter God’s presence. Then, remind the kids in the group of what happened when Jesus was on the cross and how the temple curtain tore as He died, opening the way for man to go into God’s presence through faith in Jesus.
Worship Time- After discussing the passage, distribute the paper and markers or pages printed with the text for the week. Explain that each week you want them to do three things in response to the Psalm…
- write a verse from the passage that they want to remember
- write a reason to praise God that they see in the Psalm
- draw of something from the passage that they think is important.
Give kids time to work on their pages and then have them share what they have drawn or written with the rest of the group.
Prayer- Have one of the kids in the group reread verses 1-2. Then, close in prayer. Pray for the kids in the group that they would realize their own sinfulness and turn to God in repentance. Pray that they would each come to the point of understanding that there is nothing they can do on their own to be good enough for God, but that God has made a way through His Son. Praise God for the gift of Jesus and the salvation that’s possible through Him alone
Extra Time – – If you have any extra time at the end, play the name game again, or play OT/NT– – Have all the kids stand up in the middle of the room. Call out a book of the Bible. If it’s in the OT they have to go to your left side and if it’s NT they have to go to your right side. To make it even more challenging, you could call out names that aren’t books of the Bible and have them freeze for those.