Category Archives: Abraham

Reclaim the Promised Land (GAME)


Audience

Teens, Adults

Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This game helps participants to remember that we have an Enemy (Satan) and that he is constantly trying to take away from us what God has given to us.  If we don’t do battle for it, we can easily lose it.  The “Promised Land” in our lives can be anything that you want to focus on for this lesson (e.g., a people group for Christ, God’s purposes for our lives, our children, our marriages, our health….)

 

The Bible story is about Caleb, who received the hills of Hebron as a promise from God (Numbers 14:24).  In order to reclaim the land, though, Caleb had to fight against the Anakim (or Anakites), a fierce and giant people.  (Goliath, the giant that David defeated, was a descendent of the Anakim.)

 

Scriptures

o  Genesis 13:14-18

o  Numbers 14:24

o  Joshua 14:6-15

 

Materials

o  Gameboards (one for every two people – you can make these yourself or use the template in the file, “Reclaim the Promised Land – Game Kit.ppt” at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.

o  Rules & Instructions Sheet (one per pair of participants (you can find this in the same file)

o  Sample Game sheet (one per pair of participants (you can find this in the same file))

o  Debrief questions sheet (one per pair of participants (you can find this in the same file))

o  Game pieces (24 for each player – you can find these in the same file)

o  Cutting board or scissors

o  Glue stick

o  Ziplock bags (gallon size – one per pair of participants)

o  Bible

Preparation

o  Create a gameboard (one for every pair of participants), or print out the one in the file mentioned above.  (You can do variations of this game by creating larger gameboards and larger game pieces so that groups can compete against each other, or you could even do a life-size version by marking off the gameboard grid on the floor and making the participants into game pieces.  If you make the participants into game pieces, you will need to give them cards to hold or wear around their necks that are different colors on each side so that they can flip them to show who they belong to.)

o  Print out the game pieces in the file mentioned above (48 for each pair of participants).  There is a sheet of blue pieces and a sheet of red pieces.

o  Glue the two game pieces sheets together back-to-back so that the red pieces show on one side and the blue pieces show on the other.  The “Top” of each page is labeled so that you can line them up precisely.  (Be careful not to use too much glue that it creates bumps in the paper, but be sure to evenly coat the entire page before you glue the two sheets together.  If your glue coating isn’t even, some of your pieces might not stick together after you cut them up.)

o  Allow time for drying.

o  Cut the pieces out along the border lines.  If you were careful to line up the two sheets of paper, you will then have 48 game pieces that are red on one side and blue on the other.

o  Put a gameboard, 48 game pieces, a Rules & Instructions Sheet and a Debrief Questions sheet in a plastic zipper bag for each pair of participants.  (This will make it easier to pass out the games when it comes time.)

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “When Abraham (“Abram” at the time) left his people and his home, God took him to a new land and made him a promise.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 13:14-18.)
  • “God gave Abraham what was then known as the land of Canaan.”
  • “Abraham lived in it for some years, and so did his son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob, but then God took Abraham’s descendents into Egypt for about 400 years.”
  • “While in Egypt, they became slaves to the Egyptians and cried out to God for help.”
  • “God sent them Moses, who led them out of Egypt and showed them where the ‘Promised Land’ (promised to Abraham and his descendents) was.”
  • “Unfortunately, when they saw the enemies living in their land, they lacked the faith to trust God to help them reclaim it.”
  • “So, God made them wander in the desert for 40 years, until the old generation of Israelites had died and a new generation was ready to reclaim the Promised Land.”
  • “There were only two people left from the old generation who were allowed to enter the Promised Land.”
  • “Forty years earlier, Joshua and Caleb had scouted the land, seen the terrible enemies but still believed that God would give them the land.”
  • “For their faithfulness, God allowed them lead the rest of the people into the land.”
  • “God made Joshua the leader of all the Israelites, and He made Caleb a special promise.”  (Have a volunteer read Numbers 14:24.)
  • “Caleb remembered the promise, and even though he was 85 years by the time he was ready to claim it and even though the land was full of giants, he was still strong and ready to do battle against those enemies in order to reclaim it.”  (Have a volunteer read Joshua 14:6-15.)
  • “Caleb is an inspiration for us even today, because we are still engaged in a battle for ‘the Promised Land’ in our own lives.”
  • “’The Promised Land’ in your life is anything that God wants you to have that your Enemy, Satan, has taken away.”
  • “We’re going to play a game that deals with this ongoing battle, and I hope it will help you remember that you have to keep fighting to keep position of your ‘Promised Land.’”
  • “We’ve got to be like Caleb, who continued fighting the toughest enemies into his eighties!”  (Divide group into pairs.)
  • “I’m passing out to each pair a game kit, that has the gameboard, game pieces and rules and instructions for the game.”
  • “Please read over the rules and instructions, and let me know if you have any questions.”
  • “There is a ‘Sample Game’ sheet in your game kit that shows what a typical game might look like.”  (Allow them to read over the instructions and ask any questions before beginning.  Then, allow the pairs to play the game.  Afterward, have them discuss the Debrief Questions and then rejoin their table groups.  Conduct a large group debrief to capture some of the strategies for reclaiming territory Satan has stolen and for protecting territory we have already claimed from him.  Conclude with a final comment.   You can use the following one if you like.)
  • “While the Israelites were in Egypt, Satan stole the Promised Land from them.”
  • “But God had promised this land to Abraham’s people, and it was His will that they take it back.”
  • “While we or those who came before us have been in Egypt (Egypt usually represents sin, pride and trusting in our own efforts in the Bible), Satan has stolen much of the territory that God wants us to have.”
  • “It’s time for us to have the courage and determination of Caleb to reclaim our Promised Land.”
  • “We won’t get it without a fight, but if we trust in God, He will be faithful to give us victory.”

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Abraham’s Tests (Lesson)


Time

30-35 minutes
Description

This lesson teaches about how God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 17:19-20; 22:1-19
  • Hebrews 11:17-19

Materials

  • Whiteboard, chalkboard or flipchart
  • Marker
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Raise your hand if your parents have ever tracked how tall you are growing by putting a mark on a wall right above your head.”  (Acknowledge raised hands.)
  • “My mom used to do that, too.”
  • “I want to see how quickly we can do it today up at this board (or flipchart).”
  • “Everyone line up over here, and then come up and let me mark your height on the board.”  (As each participant comes up, make a mark above their heads and put his/her name beside it.  Try to keep everyone’s marks clustered in the center, because you are going to draw a large heart around them.  You might even want to use the two tallest participants as the top of the heart and then taper the marks toward the bottom.  Don’t draw the heart shape yet, though. )
  • “Wow, we’ve got a lot of different heights in this room!”
  • “So, this is how your parents’ might have tracked your height.”
  • “God does something similar, but He’s not tracking your height; He tracking your heart.” (Draw a heart shape around all the measurements.)
  • “God is much less interested in your height than He is in your heart, so every once in a while, He measures your heart to see how spiritually mature it is.”
  • “You could say that if God measured you, and you were down here (put your hand near the bottom of the heart) that you are not very mature spiritually.”
  • “But if you were way up here (put your hand near the top of the heart), you would be very spiritually mature.”
  • “Does anyone know how God measures the spiritual maturity of our hearts?”  (Listen for responses.  What you want to hear is that He tests us.)
  • “Right!  God tests us to measure the spiritual maturity of our hearts!”
  • “The story I’m going to tell you about today is about a person who was VERY spiritually mature.”
  • “He was very old, and he had followed the Lord for a very long time.”
  • “His name was Abram, but you might know him better as Abraham.”
  • “Have any of you heard of him?”  (Look for a show of hands.)
  • “Great! Well, there is a lot to tell about the story of Abraham, but we are going to focus on one of the times in his life when God was giving him a test to measure the spiritual maturity of his heart.”
  • “This part of his story started when he was 75 years old.”
  • “God made him a very special but very surprising promise.”  (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-3.)
  • “God promised to make Abraham (at this point, his name was just Abram) into a great nation.”
  • “This had to be surprising to Abraham, because he didn’t have any children at the age of 75.”
  • “His name, Abram, meant ‘exalted father,’ and it must have felt like a joke to him and may have even been a very painful reminder that he didn’t have anyone to carry on his name.”
  • “But Abraham believed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Abraham left his family and went to a place that God showed him.”
  • “Years later, Abraham still didn’t have any children when God appeared to him in a vision.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 15:1-6.)
  • “You see, it’s okay to tell God exactly how you feel.”
  • “Abraham complained to God that God had made a promise but nothing had changed.”
  • “So, God made His promise a little more clear and told him that he would definitely have a child..and not just one, but many, many, many…as many as the starts in the sky.”
  • “And Abraham believed him, and it was a good thing he did, because this was another one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about halfway up from the bottom, and write “Abram” or “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “Years later, Abraham was 99 years old and had a son.”
  • “Abraham thought this boy, Ishmael, was God’s promise to him.”
  • “Unfortunately, it wasn’t the son that God had promised but a son that came from a mistake Abraham had made when he thought God needed his help making God’s promise come true.”
  • “So, God appeared to Abraham again to help him understand.”  (Have a volunteer read Genesis 17:19-20.)
  • “God got very specific this time and even told Abraham the name of the promised child.”
  • “This was actually the time that God gave Abram his new name, Abraham, which means ‘father of many nations.’”
  • “Abraham laughed at the promise at first (since he was 99, and his wife was 90 – pretty old to be having children), but then he believed God.”
  • “And it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart about one-third down from the top, and write “Abraham” beside it.)
  • “One year later, Abraham and Sarah (his wife) had a baby boy, and they loved him very, very much!”
  • “Years passed, and Isaac grew strong and tall.”
  • “Probably about the time that he was a teenager, Abraham was tested by God again.”
  • “And since Abraham was spiritually mature, this test was a really tough one!”
  • “God wanted to know who was more important in Abraham’s heart – Isaac or God?”  (Have volunteer read Genesis 22:1-2.)
  • “This sounds like a terrible test!”
  • “How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his promised son?”
  • “But Abraham trusted God and knew that even if Isaac died, God could raise him back to life.”
  • “We know that was what Abraham was thinking, because the Bible tells us so.”  (Have volunteer read Hebrews 11:17-19.)
  • “So Abraham obeyed God, and it’s a good thing he did, because this was one of God’s tests.” (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:3-5.)
  • “I know this had to be tearing Abraham up in side.  Three days walking with your son, knowing that you were going to offer him as a sacrifice!”
  • “But Abraham kept trusting God every step of the way.”  (Mark a line on the heart a little higher than the last one and write “Abraham” beside it.  Then, have a volunteer read Genesis 22:6-8.)
  • “Do you hear Abraham’s faith? ‘God Himself will provide the lamb…’” (Mark a line a little higher.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:9-12.)
  • “Wow!  That was close!  But you have to understand that God never intended for Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac.”
  • “God says in another part of Scripture that He must NOT be worshiped by human sacrifice.”  (Deuteronomy 12:31)
  • “God had his angel standing on the ready the entire time, but the test wasn’t complete until Abraham showed that he was actually willing to sacrifice his son.”
  • “Abraham proved that he loved God more than he loved Isaac and that he believed God could bring Isaac back from the dead.”  (Make a mark at the top of the heart, and write “Abraham” next to it.  Then have a volunteer read Genesis 22:13-19.)
  • “When Abraham passed God’s test, God provided a another way that Abraham hadn’t even imagined.”
  • “God provided a substitute for Isaac.”
  • “Instead of Isaac dying, the ram would die.”
  • “And because Abraham passed this test, he got to be part of a very special story – the story about Jesus.”
  • “This story of Abraham and Isaac is a lot like the story of Jesus, and there are clue all the way through.  Can anyone tell me something from this story that is like the story of Jesus?”  (Listen for responses.  Here are some possible answers that you might want to bring it if they aren’t mentioned:

o   Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son just like God was willing to sacrifice His Son, Jesus.

o   Isaac was going to be an offering for sin, just like Jesus.

o   The journey took three days, which reminds us that Jesus was buried for three days.

o   Isaac carried the wood that he was going to be sacrificed on, just like Jesus carried His cross.

o   Isaac asked where they would get the lamb for the sacrifice, and Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb.  God did provide Jesus as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

o   Isaac apparently was willing to die, just like Jesus, because there is no mention of a struggle (a struggle Isaac surely would have won, since his father was over 100 years old, and he would have been a teenager).

o   The ram was caught in the thickets, a thorny bush, which reminds us that Jesus wore a crown of thorns.

o   An angel was present at both this event and the resurrection of Jesus.  You could say that Isaac also had a type of resurrection, since he was meant to die on the altar.)

  • “You see, this story points us to Jesus.”
  • “Some people call it a type or a shadow of the story of Jesus.  I prefer ‘shadow,’ because a shadow lets you know ahead of time if someone is coming around a corner.  And this type of story tells us ahead of time that Jesus is coming.”
  • “Jesus died for us so that we don’t have to.”
  • “The Bible says that the wages (or payment) for sin is death, and Jesus paid that payment for us on the cross.”
  • “He was our substitute, like the ram in the thicket.”
  • “And because Jesus paid for our sins, we get to live for eternity, forever and ever with Jesus in heaven.”
  • “What I want you to remember from today’s lesson are these few things:

o   God will test the spiritual maturity of your heart many times during your life as a Christian.

o   This test is not really for God to know your maturity; he already knows.  They are for you to recognize how mature you have become.

o   The more mature you get, the bigger the tests God will give you.

o   When you pass a test, God blesses you and uses you to bless others.”

 

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Don’t Fumble Your Faith


Time

30 minutes (or longer, depending upon how many rounds of play you allow)


Description

This object lesson helps children understand how much faith it took for Abraham (called “Abram” at the time) to leave his family and friends to go where God sent him. This is a good outdoor activity that gets everyone involved. It is more physical than typical object lessons, so please consider if it is appropriate for your group of children.

Materials

· Ball (preferably an American football if you are going to call the game, “Don’t Fumble Your Faith,” but most types of balls will do – it just needs to be large enough for the kids to try to pull it out of “Abraham’s” grip.)

· Tape or chalk

Preparation

· Use the tape or chalk to mark off a square on the floor or ground. The square should be four to five feet wide in all directions.

· Mark off an “X” in the center of the square.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Who can tell me some things you know or remember about Abraham from the Bible?” (Listen to responses. Encourage and correct where appropriate.)

· “Abraham was the first father of the Hebrew people. He was originally named, ‘Abram,’ which means, ‘exalted father.’ But God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation and gave him a new name: ‘Abraham,’ which means, ‘father of a great number.’”

· “This promise had to be a little hard to believe, because Abraham and his wife Sarah had already learned that they were not able to have children.”

· “What made it tougher to believe was that Abraham was 75 years old, and Sarah was 65 years old when God made the promise!”

· “Let’s read about it.” (Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 12:1-8.)

· “So, there was more to it. God didn’t just promise to make Abraham the father of a great nation; He also promised to:

o Make Abraham’s name great.

o Make Abraham a blessing to other people.

o Bless those who bless Abraham.

o Curse those who curse Abraham.

o Bless all the peoples on the earth through Abraham.

o Give Abraham’s people the land where the Canaanites lived. (This was a later promise – v. 7.)”

· “That’s a pretty big promise! But it didn’t come completely free. God asked Abraham to do something first.”

· “God asked Abraham to, ‘Leave (his) country, (his) people and (his) father’s household and go to the land (God) would show (him).’”

· “God didn’t even tell Abraham where he was going. He basically said, ‘I’ll let you know when you get there.’”

· “That takes a lot of faith! To leave everything you know and go somewhere you don’t! Through wilderness with wild animals and possibly hostile people!”

· “But Abraham (‘Abram at the time’) did it. Right after he got the promise, the Bible says, ‘So Abram left, as the Lord had told him…’”

· “Let’s play a game to help us understand how much faith it took for Abraham to leave his country, his people and his father to go where God sent him.”

Don’t Fumble Your Faith: Game Set-up and Rules

· Pick one volunteer to be “Abraham.” Put this person on the “X” in the center of the square. Give this person the ball.

· Pick one volunteer to be “God.” Place him/her some distance away from the square – at least ten feet away.

· Line the other kids up on the tape or chalk line that you laid down. There should be at least a few on each side of the square, but they will probably want more kids on the side that is closest to “God.”

· Tell the rules of the game:

o Tell the kids that the ball represents Abraham’s faith in God.

o Abraham’s goal is to get to God without fumbling (letting go of) his faith.

o The square outline represents Abraham’s comfort zone. In it, he feels comfortable and safe. Outside it, things are scary and unknown.

o The kids standing on the square outline represent things that make Abraham’s comfort zone comfortable. They are things like:

§ Fear of the unknown (anything that is outside the comfort zone)

§ Family

§ Friends

§ Home / House

§ Familiar foods

§ Familiar customs

§ A comfortable routine

§ A good job

§ Physical safety

§ Favorite things to do

§ Favorite possessions, etc. (After you’ve listed a few of the things Abraham had, you might use things the kids would identify with, like video games, pizza, sports… It adds humor and helps the kids to connect the lesson to their own lives.)

o Tell the kids that these things make it difficult for Abraham to leave his home and go where God wants him to go.

o The goal of the kids standing on the square will be to keep Abraham in his comfort zone. They can do this by locking arms, forming a wall and not letting Abraham through.

o They can also try to make Abraham “fumble his faith” (drop the ball) by reaching in and trying to grab it or pull it out of his grip.

o They cannot, however, take their feet off the marked-off square. If Abraham gets past them, they cannot chase after him.

o If Abraham breaks free of “his comfort zone,” he has only one obstacle left to reaching God, and that’s you (the facilitator).

o Tell the kids that your role is to play Satan / the devil. If Abraham makes it out of his comfort zone, you will either try to catch him and take him back, or you will try to make him “fumble his faith.”

o The game ends when one of the following happens:

§ Abraham “fumbles his faith.”

§ Abraham is unsuccessful in his attempts to reach God after several minutes (you choose the time limit, but three to five minutes should be plenty).

§ Abraham reaches God with his “faith.”

o Whenever one of the Abrahams successfully reaches God, he/she gets to pick the next Abraham, and a new round ensues with the previous Abraham joining the “comfort zone.”

o Whenever an Abraham fails to reach God or fumbles his faith, the facilitator should select the next Abraham.

o Play as many rounds as you like. Most kids will enjoy a turn at being Abraham or God.

o Save some time at the end of game play to debrief using the following script:

§ “Help me remember what symbols we were working with in the game.”

§ “What did the ball represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What did the square represent?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What are some of the things that make our comfort zone comfortable?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Who can share with us a step of faith that God has asked you to make in your life?” (Listen for responses, and encourage.)

§ “What do you think it means to ‘fumble your faith?’” (Listen for responses. The general idea you want to hear is that it means that you lose confidence that God will help you or protect you or that you lose confidence that He really asked you do something.)

§ “Has that ever happened to you or someone you know about?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “What can we do to make sure we hold onto our faith like Abraham did?” (Listen for responses.)

§ “Excellent, everyone! Remember this week to hold onto your faith!”

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