This is lesson 4 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 4, we’re confronted with the difference between the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man and are reminded of the way we all seek after ‘false gods.’ Through this study, kids will be challenged to see the false gods in their lives and will be reminded that salvation is through Christ alone.
Passage: Psalm 4
Target Audience: Kindergarten-4th Grade (can be adapted for older or younger children)
Teaching Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Materials Needed: Bibles, blank paper, markers/ pencils
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. – – Play a round of “2 Truths and a Lie”– -Explain to the kids in the group that you’re going to go around the group and each person will say 3 things about themselves….. 2 of them have to be true and one of the has to be a lie… (EX: I am 7 years old, I’m in 3rd grade and I play baseball…. All 3 of them should sound believable). Then, the group will try and guess which one is the lie. After everyone has had a chance to say their 3 things, tell the group that one of the things that we’re going to see in our Psalm this week is that God is righteous, which means that everything He does is right.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 4 ….
- Have one of the kids in the group read Psalm 4, or have the whole group read it from their books.
- Discuss the Passage– As you talk through the passage, get out 2 pieces of paper and list everything that the Psalm says that God is or God does on one page and write everything that people do or should do on the other page. Then, ask the kids what God expects of His people (Leviticus 19:2). Ask if anyone can think of other places in the Bible where we can read about what God expects of His people. When someone mentions the 10 commandments, read through them from Exodus 20. Chat for a couple of minutes about commandments 2 & 3 and what it means to worship idols or false gods.Look back and Psalm 4:2 and have the kids read what David wrote as God’s response….asking how long men will turn God’s glory to shame and how long will they seek false gods. Ask the kids if they have ever worshipped (or sought after) a false god. Help them to see that worshipping false gods isn’t just about bowing down to statues, but it’s about putting anything other than God (like yourself and your own desires) in the #1 spot in your life.
- Cross Connection– reread Psalm 4:3. Ask the kids what they think it means that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself. Then, ask the kids if anyone is godly. Have one of the kids read Romans 3:10-12 and discuss what the Bible says is true of all people – no one is righteous, no one does good…this shows us that no one is godly on their own. Then read Romans 3:23-24 and have kids tell you how someone becomes godly (or how they can be made righteous). Remind the kids in the group that no one can justify themselves or make themselves godly, but this is only possible by God changing their heart to allow them to believe in Jesus by faith. Read Ephesians 1:4-8 to show the progression of God’s work in the lives of His children. Then, reread Psalm 4:3 and ask how God sets apart the godly. Explain that before the creation of the world, God chose and set apart His children, those He would make godly through faith in Jesus’ death in their place.
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.
False God, False God, True God – Remind the kids in the group of the previous discussion about ‘false gods.’ Have the kids help you make a list of false gods that they might worship or seek after. Gear the discussion based on the age of the kids in your group. Some of the things that you might want to add to the list are popularity, friends, sports, good grades, celebrity, cars, technology, tv, etc. Remind the kids that none of these things will lead to salvation. Read John 14:6 as a reminder that Jesus is the only way to be saved. Then, talk about how good things could become ‘false gods’ in our lives- things like being good, obeying your parents, serving at church, even reading your Bible, depending on why you are doing them.
Play a game (similar to ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’) to help emphasize this point. Have the kids sit in a circle and choose one child to be IT. The child that is IT will walk around the circle tapping kids on the head naming ‘false gods’…. friends, iphone, games, football, etc. Then, they should tap a child on the head and say ‘Jesus.’ That child chases them back to their seat and then they are IT next. Continue as long as kids are interested and then finish by reminding them of the truth that there is only One True God and Jesus is the only way to be saved.
Prayer- Ask the kids in the group to share the truths that they see about God from this passage… the things they put in their books, etc.
Sing “Praise Him Praise Him all you little children…God is…” including the truths that they saw. You might want to sing and then point to a kid to fill in the blank. Close the prayer time by praising God for the truths that you see about Him in this Psalm and praying for the kids in the group that they would really get to know the character of God through this study. As you pray, focus on the righteousness of God as opposed to the sinfulness of man and pray that kids would realize their need for forgiveness and salvation.
Extra Time- If you have extra time at the end of the session, have a Sword Drill. Have all the kids hold their Bibles closed in their hands or on the table in front of them. If not all the kids have Bibles with them, have them share Bibles and work together. For starters, name a book of the Bible and say GO for them to race to find any page in the book. After several rounds of just looking for books, start challenging them with looking up chapters and verses. If kids are having a hard time with this, then go back to naming a book, when they have their Bibles open to the book, name a chapter and then a verse.