This is lesson 11 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 16
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 16 we are reminded of the truth that God is a refuge for His people and that ultimately He protects His people from sin and death through Jesus’ death on the cross in our place.
Passage: Psalm 16
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, a roll of art paper, a small item, a wrapped gift box (see below), a large dice
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. – – Make a good things mural– – Put a large piece of art paper (about 2-3 yards) on the wall and encourage the kids to fill it with things that they would consider to be good things…you might need prompt them by asking them what they favorite things are- – favorite food, favorite color, favorite place, activity, etc.. Give them a few minutes to work on the mural. Then, have the kids share what they wrote or drew that they would consider to be good things.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 16 ….
- Have one of the kids in the group read Psalm 16, 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?
- As you read, point to the fact that this Psalm focuses us in on God as the giver of all good things, and clearly points to Jesus as being the One through whom all good things come. In this Psalm we also see God as the protector of His people and the One who gives wise counsel to His people.
- Discuss the Passage – After talking about these various aspects of God’s character seen in this passage, pull out a wrapped gift box that you have brought from home. (Inside the box should be slips of paper with the following verse references on them….(1) Psalm 16:2, (2) John 4:10, (3) Romans 6:23, and (4) James 1:17.) Explain that in this box you have the greatest gift ever given. Have the kids try to guess what’s in the box. They will likely guess that it has something to do with Jesus. Then, let one of the kids unwrap the gift and have 4 volunteers look up the 4 verses in the box and read them for the group. As you go through the verses, talk about how Psalm 16 points us to the truth that all good things come from God, the best thing being Jesus how came to earth to die on the cross in our place.After talking about Jesus as the best gift from God, have one of the kids read Psalm 16:10 and explain that this Psalm is also a prophecy about Jesus that was fulfilled when He rose from the dead. God did not abandon Him in the grave or let Him decay.
- Cross- Connection– – Not only does this Psalm point to Jesus as the good thing who comes from God, but it also reminds us that Jesus is the way. Have one of the kids read Psalm 16:11 again for the group and ask if it reminds them of something that Jesus once said. Then, have someone read or quote John 14:6. Talk briefly about how this Psalm says that God has made known the path of life and that Jesus made it very clear that He is the path of life…He is the only way to the Father and there is no life without Him. Remind kids once again that without Jesus we are all dead in our sin and the truth that it’s only through Jesus that we can live.
Protect Me – – As a way to remember that this Psalm teaches that God is a refuge (protection/ hiding place) for His people and that ultimately He protects His people through Jesus, play the following game. Use a coin or a piece of jewelry or something else small that someone in the room has that’s of great value and explain that you’re going to work together to protect that thing. Send one of the kids out of the room. While they are away, hand the item to one of the kids and have the group stand in a circle holding hands. Explain that they’re all going to pretend to pass the item around the circle (act like you’re taking something from the person to your right and handing it to the person on your left). The player who left the room will come back in and try to find where the item is being protected.
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- – 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 all good things come from God through Jesus.
Extra Time – – Play a Bible Book game called “Roll the Dice.” For this game you’ll take turns rolling the large dice and naming as many books of the Bible as the number that comes up on the dice. Ways to make the game more challenging… (1) have kids name books in order, (2) write down the books that are named and don’t let those books be named a 2nd time until all other books have been named, or (3) if they roll and odd number they have to name OT books and if they roll an even number they have to name NT books.