Satan has many different ways to attack us. This game will help children to understand that they can attack back with prayer. The game is a tossing game in which children will try to knock out targets with beanbags or something else that they can throw.
- Board with cutouts for targets (I recommend a sheet of plywood with sixteen (16) rectangles cut out of it (made to look like a collage picture frame). There should be four cutouts per row and four rows. Each cutout should be approximately six inches tall by 4 inches wide. Sheets of paper will be taped to the back of the board over the holes. The board should have a stand so that it is free-standing (or leaning) and can withstand being hit with beanbags. You can find a diagram in the file “Satan’s Tactics – Board Diagram” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teaching.them.com. Alternatively, you could tape the Tactic Cards mentioned below to the floor and have participants try to throw a beanbag on top of them.)
- Tactic cards to place in each of the cutouts (You can find these in the file “Satan’s Tactics – Tactic Cards” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teaching.them.com.)
- Tape to tape the cards in each of the cutouts and to mark the throwing line
- Beanbags (3-6 – you can substitute tennis balls or some other throwing object – label them with the word, “PRAYER.”)
- Scissors for cutting out the tactic cards
- Permanent marker for labeling the bean bags
- Create your target board.
- Print out the tactic cards and cut the pages down the middle. (There are two tactic cards per page.)
- Tape the tactic cards in the holes on the back of the target board with the words showing out.
- Use the tape to mark a throwing line about ten feet away from the target board.
- Label the beanbags to say “PRAYER.”
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “We have an enemy, and he is trying to attack us.” (Have a volunteer read the 1 Peter 5:8.)
- “Satan has many different tactics (or ways) that he uses to attack us, but we can attack back with prayer to God.”
- “We’ve put many of Satan’s tactics on the target board over there, and your goal is to knock them all out with these bean bags, which represent prayers.”
- “Everyone gets two chances to throw a ‘prayer’ at the targets and try to defeat one of Satan’s tactics.”
- “Then, we’ll rotate. We’ll keep going until all of Satan’s tactics have been defeated.”
- “Any questions?” (Answer questions if there are any. Then, play the game, allowing the youngest person in the group to go first. When all the Tactics have been knocked out, discuss the Debrief Questions below. You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.)
- Have you ever been attacked in one of these ways? Which ones?
- Do you think prayer would help? Why or why not?
- Do you know of any other attacks Satan makes against us?
- How can you fight against those?
When Satan attacks
Send a prayer back!
This object lesson shows how God can protect us during times of suffering and temptation. It uses some science and some surprising ways to keep balloons from popping even when pierced or put over a flame.
- Balloons (3 per child and 5 for facilitator (includes a few extras just in case))
- Wooden skewers (2 per child and 2 for facilitator)
- Vegetable oil (just a little to dip the skewers in)
- Duct tape (1 roll)
- Candle with a stand (1 set)
- Matches or a lighter
- Medicine dropper (1 – for putting water into a balloon before you blow it up)
- Water (1 cup per group)
- Get your materials ready.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Did you know that bad stuff happens to everyone – even Christians?” (Listen for responses.)
- “If you don’t follow Jesus, you’ll be like this balloon when bad stuff happens.” (Blow up and tie a balloon.)
- “This wooden skewer represents bad stuff that happens to them.” (Use the skewer to pop the balloon.)
- “That’s not good! I don’t want to be like that balloon, do you?” (Listen for responses.)
- “But Christians don’t have to worry, because God protects them when bad stuff happens.” (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:7. Then, blow up and tie another balloon, this time about halfway to two-thirds full.)
- “Even Christians are still like this balloon, but they have something special.” (Put a piece of duct tape over the balloon on two different sides.)
- “They have God’s covering to protect them when bad stuff happens.” (Slowly twist the skewer through the tape, through the balloon and through the other side. Then show it to the kids.)
- “Pretty cool, huh? The bad thing still happened to the balloon, but this time, it didn’t pop, because it had God’s covering.”
- “God know where our weak areas are, and He will protect us in those places.”
- “God protects us in another way, too.” (Blow up and tie another balloon about halfway to two-thirds full. Take one of the skewers, and dip it into the vegetable oil. Carefully twist the skewer into the nipple of the balloon (the thickest part at the very top) and then though the other side close to where you tied the knot.)
- “Oil in the Bible often represents the anointing of the Lord. God anoints us when He has something special and difficult for us to do, and the anointing protects us from Satan’s attacks.”
- “I know one more way God protects us!” (Light the candle. Use the medicine dropper to put one dropper-full of water into a balloon. Blow up the balloon and tie it with the water inside. Hold the balloon over the flame of the candle. You can even allow the flame to touch the balloon where the water settles.)
- “If we will fill ourselves with Living Water by reading God’s Word every day, He will protect us from popping when Satan turns up the heat in our lives.” (Pass out balloons and other materials to the kids, and let them try the three experiments. Help them if they need it to tie balloons, pierce balloons with skewers and hold balloons over the flame. When they’ve all had a chance to try, discuss the Debrief Questions below. You can use the Rhyme Time to reinforce the main point of the lesson.)
- Why didn’t the balloons pop when the skewers went through them?
- How about when you put the balloon over the flame?
- How is this like how God protects us during times of suffering?
- If you have to go through a time of suffering in the future, how will you handle it?
We have God’s covering
To protect us when we’re suffering.
Children, Teens, Adults
This object lesson teaches about how God’s permissive will works with God’s unchangeable will. It uses the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers to illustrate how God allows us to make choices but brings even our bad choices and sin into alignment with his perfect will in the end.
- Genesis 2:16-17; 37-50
- Numbers 23:19
- Deuteronomy 30:15-20
- Joshua 24:14-15
- 1 Samuel 15:29
- Malachi 3:6
- Romans 8:28
- Hebrews 6:17
- James 1:17
- One red rope – about 15-20 ft long
- Five ropes (any color other than red) – about 15-20 ft long each
- Printout of the file, “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choices Cards (OBJ LESSON).” It can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com. This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.
- 70 clothespins
- Large paper clip or rubber band
- Bag to hold clothespins, Choice Cards and ropes
- Print out “JJ – God’s Permissive Will – Choice Cards.” (There are 35 pages.)
- Cut each of the pages in half down the line in the middle to make 70 separate Choice Cards.
- Put ropes in your bag
- Put the clothespins in your bag so that you can carry them during your lesson.
- Put the Choice Cards in numerical order (the numbers are on each card) with #1 on top and all the rest following.
- Clip or rubber band these cards together, and put them in your bag.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “God’s will is difficult to understand.”
- “In some parts of the Bible, it says that God’s will never changes.” (Have volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 6:17, James 1:17.)
- “But we know from other parts of the Bible that God allows us to have free will – meaning, He lets us make choices.” (Have a volunteer(s) read one or more of the following Scriptures out loud: Genesis 2:16-17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Joshua 24:14-15.)
- “This is sometimes called ‘God’s permissive will,’ which means that God gives us permission to choose to do something different than His will.”
- “These Scriptures make me wonder how God’s will can always stay the same even though we do things that are not in His will.”
- “Why don’t our bad decisions mess up God’s perfect and unchanging will?”
- “I’m going to show you how this all works.” (Ask for two volunteers. Give them each one end of the red rope, and have them stretch it out as far as it will go across the room.)
- “Let’s say that this is God’s unchanging will.”
- “It stays the same no matter what.”
- “On this end, we have ‘Before time began,’ and on the other side, we have ‘Eternity.’”
- “God’s will is outside of time. It was here before time began and will continue on after time ends.”
- “This rope represents our free will.”
- “There was a time in the Garden of Eden when God’s will and man’s free will were tied together.” (Tie the two ropes together near the ‘Before time began” end.)
- “But that didn’t last long, because Adam and Eve chose to do something against God’s will when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
- “Whenever people step away from God’s will by using their free will to do something wrong, it looks like this.” (Ask for another volunteer to come up and hold the “free will” rope away from the “God’s Will” rope. Leave the two ropes tied together, but have the volunteer just hold the rope a few steps away from the “God’s Will” rope.)
- “That first sin was followed by many more, and I don’t have time to tell you about all of them.”
- “Instead, I’ll focus just on one family – the family of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.”
- “I’m picking this family, because they are God’s chosen people, the ones He made a promise to bless.”
- “The story started with God making a promise to Abraham. Abraham was old and didn’t have any children, but God promised to make him the father of many nations. His son Isaac was the child of that promise.”
- “At this point, Abraham’s free will was lined up with God’s will, so the two ropes are together.” (Have volunteer who has the “free will” rope come back to the red “God’s will” rope and hold both ropes together. Pull out Choice Card #1 from your bag. Show it to the audience. Clip the two ropes together using a clothespin. Anytime a Choice Card says, ‘GOD’S WILL – BOTH ROPES’ at the bottom, clip the two ropes together.)
- “Isaac grew up and got married. His wife Rebekah couldn’t have children, so he prayed for her. God answered his prayer and gave them two children, Esau and Jacob.”
- “What do you think? Was Isaac’s free will still lined up with God’s will at this point?” (Listen to responses.)
- “Sure it was! Isaac wanted what God wanted, and God blessed him with two children.” (Show Choice Card #2, and use the clothespin to clip the two ropes together.)
- “Esau and Jacob fought with each other in their mother’s womb, and God told Rebekah that Jacob would one day rule over his brother Esau.”
- “Do you think it God’s will that the babies fought in the womb?” (Listen to responses.)
- “I don’t know for sure if babies know enough to use their free will, but let’s say that it could be possible.”
- “That means that their free will separated from God’s will.” (Have ‘free will’ rope volunteer take a step away from the ‘God’s will’ rope so that the two ropes separate. Make sure he/she doesn’t pull hard on the rope and rip the Choice Cards that are already on it. Use a clothespin to clip Choice Card #3 to just the ‘free will’ rope. Draw out Choice Card #4, and show audience.)
- “Jacob’s name in Hebrew means, ‘He deceives,’ and it’s a great name for Jacob. He was one of the trickiest people in the whole Bible. The first trick we know about is when he convinced his brother, Esau, to sell him the birthright of the firstborn son in exchange for a bowl of stew!”
- “The birthright of the firstborn son was a special privilege given to the boy who was born first, and it made him the leader of the family when the father died. It also gave him twice the inheritance of the other children, so it was pretty important.”
- “Now we know that God said Jacob would one day rule over Esau, but I’m pretty sure this is not how God planned for it to happen.”
- “God didn’t need Jacob to trick Esau. God would have made His will come true without tricks.”
- “So, this choice that Jacob made was definitely away from God’s will!” (Clip Choice Card #4 with a clothespin to just the ‘free will’ rope. If you have lots of participants, you could give the choice card to a volunteer and have him/her clip it and then stand by it to represent that choice. There will be 70 choices total, so you might have each volunteer represent several choices. Draw out the remaining Choice Cards in numerical order while telling the story of God’s chosen people. The cards are listed below for your reference along with important story elements.)
- REBEKAH AND JACOB – Tricked Isaac into giving Esau’s blessing to Jacob (It wasn’t enough that Jacob stole the birthright from Esau; he felt he had to steal his blessing, too. (The blessing was a special gift from the father that helped a child to know what his or her future would be like.)) FREE WILL ROPE
- ESAU – Threatened to kill his brother, Jacob (Esau was so mad when he found out, that he promised to kill Jacob as soon as their father died.) FREE WILL ROPE
- REBEKAH – Tricked her husband, Isaac, into sending Jacob away to find a wife among her brother’s people (Now we know where Jacob learned to be so tricky. His mom was a trickster, too! She saved Jacob’s life by sending him where Esau couldn’t get him. It’s good that she saved Jacob’s life, but she didn’t trust God to help. Instead, she told a lie. That’s away from God’s will.) FREE WILL ROPE
- GOD – Promised land to Jacob in a dream and told him that he would have many descendants (God met Jacob while he was running away and renewed the promise that He had made to Abraham and Isaac.) BOTH ROPES
- JACOB – Fell in love with Rachel as soon as he saw her (When Jacob arrived at the land of his relatives, he saw a girl named Rachel and fell in love with her. God wants us to fall in love. This was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
- JACOB – Worked for Laban for seven years in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. (It was the custom for these people at this time that a man would pay a woman’s father for the privilege of marrying her. Jacob didn’t have any money or property, so he worked for seven years as payment. This was honorable behavior.) BOTH ROPES
- LABAN – Tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister, Leah (Jacob wasn’t the only tricky person. His uncle Laban wanted to marry his oldest daughter off before Rachel got married, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her. That’s definitely away from God’s will.) FREE WILL ROPE (have volunteer step away from ‘God’s Will’ rope to hold ‘free will rope’ and show the distance between the two. You might want to have them step in the other direction from the first time in order to make the best use of space.)
- JACOB – Was angry with Laban but agreed to work for Laban for seven more years so that he could marry Rachel, too. (Jacob loved Rachel very much and still wanted to marry her, so even though he had been tricked, he agreed to work seven more years to pay for her hand in marriage. That’s pretty romantic, but the problem with it is that God doesn’t want us to marry more than one person. This is away from God’s will.) FREE WILL ROPE
- LABAN – Tricked Jacob many times in order to make him keep working for him. (Laban wasn’t satisfied with having Jacob work for him for 14 years. Jacob was a talented shepherd, and Laban got rich while Jacob was taking care of his sheep.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 14. GOD – Blessed Jacob by giving him many herds and many children (12 sons and 1 daughter). (This is the beginning of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.) BOTH ROPES
- 15. RACHEL and LEAH – Competed with each other to see who could have the most sons for Jacob. (In their culture, they believed that you were more important if you had more sons. Leah was able to have six boys, but Jacob didn’t love her. He loved Rachel, but she couldn’t have children for many years until God finally let her have Joseph and Benjamin towards the end of her life.) FREE WILL ROPE
- JACOB – Ran away from Laban. Laban chased him, but God warned Laban in a dream not to hurt Jacob. (I’m not sure if it was God’s will for Jacob to run away or not, but God protected Jacob, so we will say that this was lined up with God’s will.) BOTH ROPES
- JACOB – Wrestled with God until God gave Jacob a blessing. (While Jacob was traveling back to the land his family lived in, and angel of the Lord (probably Jesus) came to earth and wrestled Jacob. Jacob wouldn’t let go until God blessed him.) BOTH ROPES
- 18. ESAU – Forgave his brother Jacob, because he had been very blessed by God over the years they were apart. (Jacob was worried about his brother still being mad at him, but he was surprised to find that Esau had totally forgiven him.) BOTH ROPES
- SIMEON AND LEVI – Took revenge on people who hurt their sister, Dinah, by killing all the men in the town. (When Jacob settled his family in Shechem, a man hurt his daughter, Dinah. Her brothers took revenge by killing every single man in the town. Jacob never forgave his sons for what they did.) FREE WILL ROPE
- GOD – Allowed Rachel to die giving birth to Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest child. (Sometimes God allows bad things to happen, and we don’t understand why. There are times when we find out later what God was doing, but we won’t know all God’s reasons for what He allows to happen. We just have to trust Him.) BOTH ROPES
- JACOB – Loved Joseph more than any of his other children. (Because Joseph was the firstborn child of Rachel, the wife Jacob loved and because some of his other sons had disappointed him, Jacob showed favoritism to Joseph.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 22. JOSEPH – Told his father about the bad things his brothers had been doing. (Joseph saw his brothers do some pretty bad stuff, and he told his dad about it. I think it was the right thing to do, but it made his brothers really mad at him.) BOTH ROPES
- 23. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Hated Joseph because their father loved him more. (It was obvious to his brothers that Joseph was their dad’s favorite, so they hated him.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 24. JOSEPH – Had two prophetic dreams that showed he would one day rule over his family. (These dreams were from God, because they eventually came true.) BOTH ROPES
- JOSEPH – Told his brothers about his dreams. (I think this was a mistake. Joseph might have been showing off to his family, and all it did was make them all angry with him and hate him more.) FREE WILL ROPE
- JOSEPH’S BROTHER – Hated Joseph because of his dreams. FREE WILL ROPE
- 27. JACOB – Made a special coat of many colors for Joseph, because Joseph was his favorite. (This was another mistake. The coat was a special coat like the one rulers would wear. It was a coat for people who didn’t have to work, and it made Joseph’s brothers hate him even more.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 28. JACOB – Sent Joseph to check on his brothers and bring him back a report. (And another mistake! Didn’t he realize how much his sons hated Joseph? The brothers were working, and Joseph was wearing his fancy, no-working coat. And Jacob sent Joseph to tattle on his brothers – not good!) FREE WILL ROPE
- 29. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Threw Joseph in a well and then sold him to some slave traders. (Joseph’s brothers were sick and tired of their little brother, and they decided to get rid of him.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 30. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Tore his robe and dipped it in blood. Then they let their father believe Joseph was killed. (They hid what they did by making Jacob think that Joseph had been eaten by a wild animal.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 31. MIDIANITES – Sold Joseph as a slave to Potiphar, the Egyptian and captain of the guard for Pharoah. (God is never happy when people are treated as slaves.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 32. JOSEPH – Served Potiphar faithfully and honored God. (Suffering can often change your heart, and I think Joseph grew up a lot when he was sold as a slave. During this time, he learned to trust God and do his best even in a bad situation.) BOTH ROPES
- 33. GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (When we are lined up with God’s will, He blesses us and blesses us!) BOTH ROPES
- 34. POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in charge of everything in his household and trusted him with everything he owned. (Even people who don’t believe in God can be in line with God’s will sometimes. Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he gave him responsibility for everything.) BOTH ROPES
- 35. POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Tried to get Joseph to kiss her. (What?! She was married! Definitely not in God’s will!) FREE WILL ROPE
- 36. JOSEPH – Refused to sin against Potiphar and God and avoided Potiphar’s wife whenever possible. (Good for him!) BOTH ROPES
- 37. POTIPHAR’S WIFE – Lied about Joseph to her husband and said that Joseph tried to kiss her. (Oooh….she’s not a good person!) FREE WILL ROPE
- 38. POTIPHAR – Put Joseph in the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept. (It’s interesting that he put Joseph in this special prison for Pharaoh’s prisoners. That gave Joseph opportunities to meet important people. Still, Potiphar shouldn’t have put him in prison for something he didn’t do.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 39. JOSEPH – Served the prison warden faithfully and honored God while he was in prison. (Joseph was put into prison unfairly, but he still chose to trust in God and honor God by working hard.) BOTH ROPES
- 40. GOD – Was with Joseph and gave him success in everything that he did. (Again, when we line up with God’s will, He blesses us.) BOTH ROPES
- 41. THE PRISON WARDEN – Put Joseph in charge of everything and everyone in the prison. (Because Joseph was so trustworthy, the warden trusted him with everything. God was definitely at work.) BOTH ROPES
- 42. THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Offended Pharaoh. (We don’t know what happened, but Pharaoh was mad at two of his top servants.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 43. PHARAOH – Put the cupbearer and the baker into prison. (It’s hard to know if Pharaoh was being fair or not, but God was going to use it.) BOTH ROPES
- 44. POTIPHAR – Assigned the cupbearer and the baker to Joseph. (Potiphar was in charge of the prison, and he apparently still had some trust in Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
- 45. THE CUPBEARER and THE BAKER – Both had dreams on the same night, but they were sad because they didn’t know what the dreams meant. (Sometimes God is the One who gives people dreams.) BOTH ROPES
- 46. JOSEPH – Noticed their sadness, asked to hear their dreams and then interpreted them. He asked the cupbearer to remember him when he returned to Pharaoh. (Joseph had interpreted his own dreams in the past and knew that God could interpret these dreams through him. In this case, Joseph told them that the cupbearer’s dream meant that Pharaoh would restore him again in three days and that the baker’s dream meant that Pharaoh would kill him in three days. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him and get him out of prison.) BOTH ROPES
- 47. PHARAOH – Restored the cupbearer and killed the baker, just as Joseph had predicted. (Exactly as Joseph had interpreted the dreams, the cupbearer went back to work, but the baker was killed.) BOTH ROPES
- 48. THE CUPBEARER – Forgot about Joseph for two years. (Not cool! Joseph got him free, and he totally forgot about Joseph.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 49. PHARAOH – Had two dreams that worried him. (These dreams were definitely from God. One was about seven fat cows that got eaten by seven skinny cows, and the other was about seven healthy heads of grain that got eaten by seven sick heads of grain.) BOTH ROPES
- 50. PHARAOH – Called all his magicians and wise men, but no one could interpret the dreams. (God was saving the interpretation for Joseph.) BOTH ROPES
- 51. THE CUPBEARER – Remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about his ability to interpret dreams. (Finally!) BOTH ROPES
- 52. PHAROAH – Called for Joseph to come to interpret his dreams. (It’s just about to get really good!) BOTH ROPES
- 53. JOSEPH – Interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and gave him advice about how to prepare for the coming famine. (Joseph didn’t take any of the credit for his ability. He gave it all to God, and he helped Pharaoh understand that the dreams meant there would be seven years of plenty of food followed by seven years of starvation.) BOTH ROPES
- 54. PHARAOH – Put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt, gave him his official ring, robes, chain and chariot and gave him a wife. (Pharaoh realized no one would do a better job than Joseph at saving the country, so he put him in charge of everything!) BOTH ROPES
- 55. GOD – Allowed a famine throughout all of the world. (A famine is a bad thing, but God allowed it to help many people stop believing in false gods and start believing in Him.) BOTH ROPES
- 56. JOSEPH – Managed the food in Egypt well so that no one had to starve during the famine. (God gave Joseph excellent management skills, and he saved so much food during the good years that there was plenty of food for everyone during the seven years of famine.) BOTH ROPES
- 57. JACOB – Sent Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to get food for the family. (It wasn’t just the people in Egypt who couldn’t grow food during the famine. People all over the world started coming to Egypt, because they were the only ones with food.) BOTH ROPES
- 58. JOSEPH – Recognized his brothers when they came to buy grain but didn’t reveal his identity. (Joseph knew that he had to test his brothers to make sure that they had changed.) BOTH ROPES
- 59. JOSEPH – Tested his brothers to see if his younger brother, Benjamin, was still alive. (First of all, Joseph was worried that his younger brother might have been killed or sold into slavery, so he made his brothers go and get him to bring him to Egypt.) BOTH ROPES
- 60. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned home to get Benjamin, but they had to leave Simeon, who was put into prison. (To make sure that they would come back, Joseph made them leave Simeon behind.) BOTH ROPES
- 61. JACOB – Didn’t want to let his sons take Benjamin, but he finally gave in when they got too hungry. (Jacob was afraid that the ruler (actually Joseph) in Egypt might keep Benjamin, so he didn’t want to let him go. In the end, though, they needed the food for survival.) FREE WILL ROPE
- 62. JOSEPH’S BROTHERS – Returned to Egypt with Benjamin and two times the money needed to pay for food. (They returned with twice the money, because Joseph had their money put back in their grain sacks before they left the first time. That shows that he had forgiven them. He didn’t want their money, and he didn’t want to get even.) BOTH ROPES
- 63. JOSEPH – Tested his brothers one more time to see if their hearts had changed. (Now that Joseph saw Benjamin, he was relieved, but he still wondered if his brothers were the same, evil people that they had once been, so he tested them one more time by sending them back with a silver cup hidden in Benjamin’s sack. After they had left, he sent his official to find out who “stole” his cup. He wanted to know if they would sacrifice Benjamin for their own safety.) BOTH ROPES
- 64. JUDAH – Offered to be Joseph’s slave if Joseph would just let Benjamin and the others go. (To Joseph’s surprise and joy, Judah offered to become a slave in order to free Benjamin. Judah was the brother who led the others to sell Joseph into slavery, but his heart had changed over the years.) BOTH ROPES
- 65. JOSEPH – Revealed his identity to his brothers and sent them back to get their father and bring him to Egypt. (When he was sure that his brothers had changed, Joseph told them who he was. They had dinner together, and he told them the whole story. Then, he sent them back to get the whole family.) BOTH ROPES
- 66. PHARAOH – Approved for Joseph’s family to live in the best part of Egypt. (Pharaoh trusted Joseph so much and was so grateful for his wise leadership that he gave Joseph’s family the best land in Egypt to live in.) BOTH ROPES
- 67. JACOB – Brought his whole family to Egypt. (70 people in all!) BOTH ROPES
- 68. JOSEPH – Reunited with his father and family and received his father’s blessing. (Jacob was so happy to see Joseph alive! The two had a great reunion.) BOTH ROPES
- 69. JOSEPH – Forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him. (Joseph really forgave his brothers. In fact, he told them that he knew they meant to hurt him, but God allowed it to happen so that he could save many lives.) BOTH ROPES
- 70. MOSES – Led the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. (And that wasn’t the end of the story, because Jacob’s family lived in Egypt for 400 years. During that time, they were protected from the evil religions that were in the country of Canaan, where they had come from, and they were able to grow from 70 people to over 2 million. When the time was right and the Hebrews were ready, God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back into the Promised Land of Canaan.) BOTH ROPES
- “Notice how often people in this story did their own free will apart from God’s will.”
- “But also notice that God always brought events back in line with His will.”
- “So here’s the answer to how God can allow us to have free will and sin but still accomplish His perfect will in the end…”
- “No matter what these people did, God would take it and use it for His purposes.”
- “Even when they sinned, He turned it around and made it work for good.”
- “In the end, God brings everything in line with His will.” (Grab the end of the Free Will rope. Then go to the “eternity” end of the red rope, and pull on the Free Will rope until it straightens out right next to the red rope. This shows how God brings everything into alignment with His purposes in the end.)
- “You’ve probably noticed that the ‘God’s Will’ rope is red. That’s to symbolize the blood of Jesus, that has the power to bring our Free Will into alignment with God’s Will.”
- “Satan is a bigger trickster than Jacob, Rebekah and Laban put together, and he constantly tries to get us to pull away from God’s Will.” (Gently pull several of your volunteers back away from the red rope as they hold onto the “Free Will” rope.)
- “But no matter what he tricks us into doing, God offers to help us line up with His will if we will just trust in the blood of Jesus.” (Pull the ropes together again.)
- “When you accept Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross as payment for your sins, God brings everything in line with His will.”
- “He will take all the bad and sinful choices you made and use them in a positive way.”
- “He will take all the terrible things other people did to you and use them in a positive way.”
- “And even though you can still make choices that take you away from God when you are a believer…” (Pull one of your volunteers and the “Free Will” rope away from the red rope.)
- “If you ask God for forgiveness, He will bring those bad choices back into line with His will.” (Pull the ropes together again.)
- “Romans 8:28 says that God will use ALL things for the good of those who love Him.”
- “God is pretty amazing, don’t you think?” (Acknowledge responses, thank your volunteers and allow them to be seated.)
Filed under Abraham, Abram, Challenges, Choices, Decision making, discipleship, faith, God's Plan, God's Will, Jesus, Joseph, Lesson, Listening to God, Obedience, Object Lesson, Repentance, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation, Transformation, unity
For summer camp this year, I’ve written ten Challenges (Bible activities for small groups and a leader to do together – sometimes in competition with other groups) and some large group lessons on the story of Joseph. They are all located on the Lesson and Material Downloads page (see the link at the top of the screen), and you can find them alphabetically in the list. They all start with the letters “JJ” for “Joseph’s Journey.”
Hope you can find some lessons that will be useful for you!
Filed under Abraham, Abundance, acceptance, activity, Agape Love, Annointing, Belief, Bible study, blessing, Challenges, Change, Character, Christianity, Comfort Zone, Coping skills, courage, Discipline, distractions, drama, exercise, faith, Fear, forgiveness, Future, Game, Games that Teach, God's dream, God's favor, God's Plan, God's Will, Hands-on, Healing, heart, Hope, Humility, Jesus, Joseph, Kindness, leadership, Lesson, Listening to God, Love, Obedience, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Pride, purity, Relationships, Repentance, Salt of the earth, sanctification, spiritual disciplines, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Health, Spiritual Warfare, Strengths, struggles, team, temptation, territory, test, tool, Transformation, Trust, unconditional love, Waiting on the Lord
This object lesson teaches about how difficult it can be for us to stay focused on following Jesus.
- A toy rocket or spaceship (or if you don’t have anything like that, improvise with a cardboard tube or just about anything else – the kids won’t mind)
- One large ball (preferably yellow or orange)
- Several smaller balls of varying sizes
- Permanent marker
- Index cards (one for each ball)
- Write the following words on different index cards, “SON,” “WORLD,” “Jealousy,” “Bitterness,” “Selfishness,” “Unkindness,” “Worry,” “Doubt,” “Foolishness,” “Pride,” “Fear,” “Greed,” “Ignorance,” or any others that you want to use. The only ones that are required are the “SON” card and the “WORLD” card.
- Tape these cards onto different balls. The “SON” card should be taped to the largest ball.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “Do any of you ever have trouble staying focused on following God?” (Acknowledge responses.)
- “Me, too! It’s so hard to always do what is right and stay on the path toward Him.”
- “We are kind of like a rocket ship heading toward the sun (but actually, we are headed to the S-O-N, because we won’t burn up when we reach Him!)” (Ask for enough volunteers to hold all the props you’ve brought – one for the rocket ship and one for each ball. Put the person holding the “SON” ball at one end of the room, and place the person with the “WORLD” ball and the person with the rocket ship at the other end of the room. Space those with the balls along either side of the path between the large ball and the rocket ship.)
- “Before we know Jesus, we are stuck in the WORLD’s orbit.” (Guide the person with the rocket ship by the shoulders to make several orbits around the person with the “WORLD” ball.”
- “But then, we catch a glimpse of the SON and decide we want to follow Him.”
- “We break free from the WORLD’s orbit and start heading toward the SON.” (Guide the person with the rocket ship slowly toward the SON, but as soon as you get to the first person with a ball on the path, break off and orbit around that person.”
- “Unfortunately, on the way to the SON, we get distracted by ________ (name whatever is printed on the card on the ball), and we go into orbit around it for a while.” (Keep going around this person.)
- “The more times we go around _____________ (say what is on the ball again), the more we hate it, but it is soooooooo hard to break free from its gravitational pull!” (Keep going around this person.)
- “We keep seeing the SON every time we pass around __________________ (say the name of the ball), and eventually, His power pulls us free of the orbit of the dead planet we have been circling.” (Break free and start back toward the SON.)
- “Not everything is a temptation for us, so we will be able to pass some of these dead planets without any problem, but our Enemy, Satan, is not going to give us up without a fight.
- “He will put a very tempting planet in our path, and sure enough, we will get distracted looking at it and get sucked into its gravitational pull!” (Guide the person with rocket to begin orbiting this new dead planet.)
- “Even though the planet looked tempting from a distance, when we get close to it, we find that it is empty and lifeless. It doesn’t satisfy.”
- “The SON won’t let us forget Him. We will see Him on every orbit, and eventually, He will pull us free from that dead planet and set us back on the path toward Him.” (Guide the person with the rocket to break away and head toward the Son.)
- “This keeps happening over and over and over again. It’s very frustrating!” (Guide the person with the rocket to get sucked into one orbit and then break away and then get sucked into another orbit and so on….)
- “But there is good news! The closer we get to the SON, the easier it gets to break free from these temptations.”
- “We get stronger and stronger in our faith and our ability to resist temptation, and we stay longer and longer on the path toward the SON.”
- “We just need to keep striving to reach the SON. Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
- “Paul was saying that he doesn’t look back at what’s behind him; he just keeps straining toward what is ahead of him.”
- “He keeps his ship pointed toward the SON, and when he gets off-course, he gets back on-course as soon as possible to follow the SON.”
- “One day, it will be time, and the SON will bring us the rest of the way to Him when we join Him in heaven (or when He comes back to join us on earth). (Guide the person with the rocket ship to the SON and have him orbit the SON several times before ending the lesson.)
Filed under Challenges, Daily walk, God's Will, Jesus, Obedience, Object Lesson, Pride, Repentance, sanctification, Satan's tactics, Spiritual Growth, temptation