This is lesson 14 of 33 in a series of lessons called “Praise God Through the Psalms.”
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 24 we have a clear picture of the gospel when the psalmist asks ‘who can stand in God’s presence?’ This lesson provides an opportunity for you to clearly show the children in your group that apart from Christ none of us can stand in the presence of God.
Passage: Psalm 24
Target Audience: Kindergarten-4th Grade (can be adapted for older or younger children)
Teaching Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Materials Needed: Bibles, a set of Bible book cards, bean bag
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. – – As you get started this evening, take some time to think through some of the many truths about who God is that you’ve learned/ discussed so far this year. Have the kids all stand in a circle and toss a bean bag to one of them and say a letter of the alphabet. They need to respond with a truth about God that starts with that letter before tossing the bean bag to someone else and saying a different letter. After playing for a few minutes, remind them that the Psalms are a great place to learn about who God is and what He is like because the Psalms were written as songs or prayers to God, so David and the other Psalmists often included truths about who God is in the psalm.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 24 ….
- Have each kid in the group read one verse, or have 3 volunteers do the reading (verses 1-2, 3-6 & 7-10). As you go through the Psalm continually ask kids (1) what is this Psalm telling us about who God is?, (2) what is this Psalm telling us about what God does and (3) what is this Psalm telling us about what God expects of His people and how His people should respond to Him.
- 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.
- Take a few minutes to talk about what truths this Psalm teaches us about God.
Verses 1-2 praise God as the creator and remind us that because He made the world that the world belongs to Him. Ask the kids where else we can read about God creating the world. Likely kids will mention Genesis 1 & 2. Have someone tell the story of creation in their own words. Then, have someone read John 1:1-3 and talk about how the Bible tells us that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all part of the creation of the world.
Skip over verses 3-6 and reread verses 7-10. Ask the kids what truths about God they see in those verses- – the King of Glory, Lord, strong, mighty, Lord Almighty. Ask the kids if theses verse make them think of anything else in the Bible. Then, have one of the kids read Luke 19:35-38 and talk briefly about how Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the King a week before He died and rose again. Help kids to see that both the beginning and the end of this Psalm are pointing us to Jesus.
- Cross- Connection– – Then, have one of the kids reread verses 3-6. Ask the question in verse 3 of them – “Who can stand in God’s presence?”
Have one of the older kids remind you of why people were cast out of God’s presence (in the Garden of Eden) and how and why God kept His people out of His presence through the whole tabernacle/ temple time using the curtain and the most holy place. Remind them that the only way anyone could enter God’s presence was by the killing of an animal. Reread verse 4 as the answer to who can stand in God’s presence. Ask the kids in the room if any of them have a clean hands and a pure heart. Remind them that the Bible says that this isn’t true of any of us. Have volunteers read the following verses…Romans 3:10-12, Romans 3:23, Psalm 51:5, Isaiah 64:6-7.
Act like you’re completely confused by all of this and ask several times something like, “How can anyone stand in God’s presence if none of us is clean? What can we do?” Hopefully one of the kids will give the answer that this is only possible through Jesus. If time allows, have someone read the story of Jesus’ death from Matthew 27:45-51 and explain that the only way we can enter God’s presence is through Jesus. Jesus opened the way back to God (John 14:6). Finish the discussion by reminding the kids of the promise in Psalm 24:5 of those who have a pure heart and clean hands receiving a blessing, and talking about how that blessing is a life spent in the presence of God.
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 by praying for the kids in the group that they would realize that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and that they would see that the only way they can be saved and be with God is because of what Jesus did in their place when He died on the cross.
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 Old Testament they have to go to your left side and if it’s New Testament 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.