Teach students about obeying God and the resurrection of the dead. Includes a lesson and 3 games.
Needed: a balloon, a box large enough to put the balloon in
Intro Game: Don’t Let it Fall!
Gather students in a circle. As you toss a balloon up into the air in the middle of the circle, call one of the student’s names. That student must run to hit the balloon back into the air before it touches the ground. The student next to them then runs to hit the balloon. The round continues until the balloon hits the floor.
Play as many rounds as you like. The last time the balloon drops (or if it ever pops), announce, “I’m sorry, kids. The balloon has dropped for the last time and now, it’s dead. Let’s have a funeral for our dear balloon.”
Gather the balloon and place it in the box. Say a few words over it and invite others to do the same.
Say, it wasn’t too sad when our balloon “died,” but it can be very sad when a person dies. Today, we’re going to learn about when Moses died.
One day, when Moses and the Israelites were walking in the desert…
Why are Moses and the Israelites walking in the desert? Can anyone tell me?
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but God used Moses to rescue the Israelites from slavery. They were walking through the desert to their new home in Canaan, but when the people got to Canaan, they were afraid to go attack the people living there and take over, even though God had told the people that He would help them. So, to punish the people for not trusting Him to help them, God told them that they could not go live in Canaan. They had to wait until every adult at that time had died and then God would take their children into Canaan to live there. So, now in our story, the Israelites still have to live in the desert until all those adults who didn’t trust God to help them are dead.
So, one day, when Moses and the Israelites were walking in the desert, they ran out of water.
Is it a problem for people to run out of water? (It’s a big problem. People need water to live.)
So the people came to Moses and started fighting with him about it. “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt?” they said. “We should have stayed slaves in Egypt. Then we would at least have water to drink!”
Moses went out to the Tabernacle church and bowed face down on the ground to pray. Then, God said, “Moses, take your staff and go to the large rock that is in front of all the people. Tell the rock to make water and water will come out of it. Then, you and the Israelites and all the animals can drink.”
What is Moses supposed to do to make water come out of the rock? (He’s supposed to tell the rock to make water.)
But Moses was so mad at the people for fighting with him, that he took his staff and hit the rock! “Do I even have to make water come out of this rock for you to listen me?” he yelled. Then, water did come out of the rock, and the people and the animals drank. But God was not happy with Moses.
Why do you think God was not happy with Moses? Did Moses do anything wrong in this story?
Moses hit the rock when God told him to talk to the rock and he made it sound like he was the one making the water come out of the rock instead of God.
So, God said to Moses, “Moses, you will not lead the Israelites into the country of Canaan. You will die in the desert.”
That was the punishment God gave Moses for not obeying His command. God gives us commands, too, doesn’t He? How does God give us His commands?
God gives us His commands in the Bible. We want to make sure we’re always following God’s commands so that He won’t have to punish us. God doesn’t want to punish us. He would much rather we listen to His commands and do what He says.
A few years later, God told Moses to pick the next leader for the people, and Moses picked a man named Joshua. Then, God told Moses to climb up a high mountain. From on top of that mountain, God showed Moses the whole country of Canaan. “This is the country I promised to give to Abraham and his children and his grandchildren forever. This is the country your follower, Joshua, will take the people into and give them to be their own country. I have let you see it, but you will not go there, Moses, because you disobeyed Me at the rock.” Then, Moses died and God buried him up on top of the mountain.
Do you think it’s sad that Moses died?
I’m sure all of the Israelites were sad because Moses was a good leader for them. He was their teacher and their pastor and kind of like their king. He was the one who brought them up out of slavery in Egypt and took care of them in the desert. He was the one who gave them all of God’s rules and told them everything God wanted them to do. So, it was very sad when he died.
One interesting part of the story, though, is that nobody could ever find where God buried Moses. They looked, but no one could ever find Moses’ body up on that mountain. Do you know why?
It’s because the devil wanted Moses to stay dead and buried up there on that mountain, but an angel came and took Moses’ body to Heaven, and God brought Moses back to life in Heaven.
( Teacher’s Note: We know that God raised Moses because he appeared with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Elijah was the prophet who didn’t die but was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire.)
And we know that God will do that for all of us one day, too, don’t we? When Jesus comes back, He will bring us all back to life, even the people who have already died and gone to Heaven. He will bring our bodies back to life and we will all live with Him forever and ever.
Bible Activity: Finding God’s Commands
Have students randomly open to a page in the Bible and find a command of God. Help those who can’t find one that’s obvious and let everyone share what they found.
Game: Don’t Let it Fall! (Take 2)
Play the intro game again, taking the balloon back out of the box or blowing up a new one. Explain that even though your balloon was dead, it came back to life just like Jesus will bring all of us back to life when He comes again.
Game: Resurrection Tag!
Divide students into two teams and play a game of freeze tag. When students get tagged, they freeze in place. They are Dead. Every few seconds, the leader runs through the playing field, pretending to be Jesus. When Jesus runs through, the Dead are unfrozen.
Perform this action a few times and then switch which team is chasing the other.
Lord, we thank You for the hope we have in Jesus that even if we die, we will live again with You. Help us to listen to and obey Your commands our whole lives so that we’ll be ready for Jesus to come back. Amen.
This lesson is included in my book, Slaves to Conquerors: Children’s Sunday School Lessons for Exodus – Joshua.