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God Gives Me Courage – David: Part 2 (LESSON)


Scriptures:    1 Samuel 17:1-51

Description:    This lesson tells the story of David & Goliath and focuses on how we can defeat the “giants” in our lives.

Rhyme Time:    Knocking down giants isn’t so tough.
God will help when things get rough!

Time:     30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Computer, LCD projector and screen
o    PowerPoint file – “God Gives Me Courage – Maps.ppt” (available on Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com )
o    Roll of wide masking tape
o    Tape measure
o    Thick black, red and green permanent markers
o    Stilt blocks for Goliath character (made with three 2”x4”s)
o    Tools for making stilts (saw, screws, drill)
o    Costume for Goliath character (adult size)
o    Costume for David character (child size)
o    Sling for David.
o    Five smooth stones.
o    Harp for David.
o    Shepherd’s staff for David.
o    Bags of “food” for David.
o    Armor for Saul
o    Notecards
o    Something (like a bean bag or a large pillow) to make a soft place for Goliath to land when he falls.

Preparation:
o    Use the wide masking tape to tape off a 10-foot vertical bar against the tallest point in the room.  (You may need to continue to tape across the ceiling if your room is shorter than 10 feet.)  Then, use the tape measure and a black permanent marker to mark off and label each foot, one to ten.  Use the red permanent marker to mark off and label Goliath’s height at 9.75 feet.  Use the green permanent marker to mark off other heights for comparison.  I recommend: Robert Pershing Wadlow – Tallest Man in the Guinness Book of World Records at 8’11”, Yao Ming – Tallest NBA player at 7’6”, Chewbacca – from Star Wars movies – 7’3”, Shaqille O’Neal – NBA player – 7’1”, Darth Vader – from Star Wars movies – 6’7”, Michael Jordan – NBA legend – 6’6”, The Rock – wrestler/actor – 6’5”, Abraham Lincoln – President of the U.S. – 6’4”.
o    To make the stilt blocks, drill three 2”x4” boards together (so that you now have the equivalent of a 6”x4” board) and cut them into 12” lengths. .  Screw a strap of belt to each one, and punch new holes through the leather so that the belt can be tied over Goliath’s feet.
o    Make a costume for Goliath.  You will need a shield, armor, spear, sword, helmet and shin guards (these can be made out of cardboard or cardboard tubing and painted).  You might also want a tunic (shirt) and skirt to complete the look.
o    Write Goliath’s lines on notecards.  You will want him to say, “Choose a man to come and fight me!” and then later “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks? Come here, and I’ll feed you to the birds of the air!”
o    Ask a tall adult to be Goliath for you.  Have him dress in the costume.  Make sure he practices with the stilts.  When he comes into the room, try to have him walk in where his legs will be obscured by a table or some other obstacle so that the kids won’t see the stilts.  Give him his script on notecards.
o    Ask some adults or some of the older kids to be ready to help you with a chant when the Israelites come out to battle.  It’s the same chant as the football players used in the movie Remember the Titans, but you will exchange the word “Titans” with “Israelites.”  All they will need to know is that they should echo whatever you chant and that they should do it loudly from wherever they are in the room.
o    Make a costume for David.  A simple body-length piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle to fit over his head will work.  He will need a belt to tie around his waste, and this can be a remnant from the fabric.  Sandals would be a plus, but he could go barefoot.  He will need a sling and five smooth stones.  The sling should be a strap of something leather-like with a wider piece in the middle to hold the stones.  It should be about 2 feet long when folded in half.
o    Make harp for David.  It can be a simple cardboard cutout with yarn or twine taped to one side to represent strings.
o    Make a shepherd’s staff for David.  It can be a long pole with a hook at the end.
o    Fill a few grocery bags with food – something anachronistic might get a laugh (like Fruit Loops or Pop Tarts.)
o    Make armor for Saul. You will need a shield, armor, spear, sword, helmet and shin guards (these can be made out of cardboard or cardboard tubing and painted).  Make them big so that they look huge on a child.
o    Write David’s lines on notecards, One should say, “I’ve killed the bear and the lion, and I’ll do the same to this Philistine.” Another should say, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come in the name of the Lord!  Today, the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down.  Everyone will know that this battle belongs to the Lord.”
o    Put the five smooth stones somewhere where David can pick them up later.
o    Set up a soft landing place for Goliath to fall on.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “We are going to talk about a story that happened in the land of Israel.”
o    “You may not know where Israel is, so I’ve brought a map.”  (Show map of the world, and point out places the kids might recognize.  Then show the general area where Israel is located.  When you advance the slide, it will magnify the Middle East and then put a circle around Israel.  When you advance the next time, it will magnify Israel even more and outline it in red.)
o     “This is a map of Israel.”  (Show next slide in PowerPoint presentation.)
o    “In our story today, the army of Israel was at war with the Philistines, as usual.”  (Click PowerPoint slide to advance to next slide.)
o    “All of the activity in the story will take place in this part of Israel.”  (Click slide to show the red oval.)
o    “The Philistines had set up camp in a town called Sochoh.”  (Click to highlight Sochoh and bring in a Philistine soldier.)
o    “The armies of Israel were close by in the Valley of Elam.”  (Click to highlight the Valley of Elam and bring in an Israelite soldier.)
o    “Israel was on one hill and the Philistines were on another.”
o    “I said that they were at war, but there wasn’t much fighting going on.”
o    “Neither side wanted to get into a huge battle that would kill most of their men, so the Philistines offered an alternative.”
o    “They sent out their strongest warrior and offered to decide the winner of the war with a single battle the champions from each army.”
o    “But the Philistine’s champion was no ordinary warrior.”  (Click to bring out Goliath.)
o    “His name was Goliath, and he was over nine feet tall – a giant!”  (Point out the marked off masking tape you prepared earlier, and allow a few volunteers to come stand next to it in order to give it perspective.  Read off the heights of a few of the famous people you chose to label on the tape.)
o    “He was so big and strong that he could wear 125 lbs of armor, a helmet made of bronze, bronze shin guards (“greaves”), a bronze javelin and a huge spear that weighed over 30 lbs!  Just the iron point of the spear weighed 15 lbs!”  (Have your Goliath volunteer enter the room and say, ‘Choose a man to come and fight me!’  Have him wait for a few moments and then leave the room.)
o    “Now, you would think that King Saul would jump up and run to fight Goliath.”
o    “Saul was bigger and stronger than any other Israelite.  He had the best armor and the best weapons, but he was afraid.”
o    “When Goliath issued his challenge, Saul hid in his tent with the rest of the Israelites.”
o    “Day after day, Goliath would come out and issue the challenge again.”  (Have Goliath return and issue his challenge again, wait a few moments and then leave.)
o    “Morning and evening for 40 days – that’s 80 times Goliath dared the Israelites to a fight!”
o    “But no one was brave enough to go…at least….no one in the army was brave enough.”
o    “Do you remember the shepherd boy named David?  …the one that Samuel anointed to be the next king after Saul?”
o    “Well, a lot had happened in his life since that time.”
o    “After David’s anointing, he went back to shepherding his flock, but God had other plans for him.”
o    “King Saul began to lose his mind after he disobeyed God and the Spirit of the Lord left him.”
o    “The Bible says that he was tormented by a spirit, and he couldn’t find any relief from it.”
o    “But one of his servants had once heard a boy named David play the harp, and he was so impressed that he thought of David when the king complained of his distress.”  (Ask for volunteer to play David.  Put his costume on him, and give him the harp and the shepherd’s staff.)
o    “He suggested that King Saul call for the boy to come and play for him when he was feeling the worst, and Saul did.”
o    “He sent a messenger to David’s father, Jesse, and asked for David to be sent with his harp.”   (Have David set the shepherd’s staff down and go to another part of the room to pretend to visit Saul.)
o    “You see, David was a wonderful musician.  He wrote over 100 songs about his love for God and for His Word.”   (Have David pretend to play the harp.)
o    “They are published in the Bible in the book of Psalms so that we can still enjoy them today.”
o    “David would play songs about his love for God whenever Saul was having trouble, and the beautiful sounds would calm Saul’s spirit.”
o    “When Saul felt better, he would send David back to his father to watch the sheep, but whenever he wasn’t feeling well, he would call for David again.”  (Lead David by the shoulders to another part of the room, and give him the shepherd’s staff.)
o    “So, back to the story.  David’s father asked David to go see his three oldest brothers, who were in the Israelite army, and see how they were doing.  He sent him with a gift of food for their captain.”
o    “David was excited to get a break from tending sheep, and he was thrilled to see what was going on in the war, so he left right away.”  (Have David lay down his harp and pick up the bags of food.)
o    “When he arrived at the Israelite camp, he dropped off the food that his father had sent with him as a gift, and he rushed to talk to the soldiers.”  (Have David go to another part of the room and drop the food off – then rush to another part of the room.)
o    “He arrived just as they were going out to their battle positions shouting their war cry to get themselves ready for battle.”  (Lead the volunteers you spoke with earlier in the following chant.  They should echo what you chant.  If you know the movements from the movie, you might add those in, too.)
o    Everywhere we go (Everywhere we go)
o    People wanna know (People wanna know)
o    Who we are (Who we are)
o    So we tell them (So we tell them)
o    We Are The Israelites! (We Are The Israelites!)
o    The Mighty, mighty Israelites! (The Mighty, mighty Israelites!)
o    “But just as soon as they finished their chant, out came Goliath, issuing his daily challenge.”  (Have Goliath come out and issue his challenge.  He should stay this time.)
o    “And just like every other day, all the Israelites ran back to their tents.”  (Have all your volunteers sit down or run somewhere in the room to indicate their fear.)
o    “You might ask, why were they shouting a war cry when for 40 days, they had been hiding in their tents?”
o    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘they were shoutin’ on the outside, but they were shakin’ on the inside.’”
o    “They hoped that all the shouting would give them courage to fight, but the only fighting this army was doing was in the lunch line.”
o    “So, Goliath issues his challenge, everyone runs for their tents, and David is left alone.”  (Tell your David to sniff his underarms just in case that’s the problem.)
o    “David couldn’t believe it!  God’s army was running from someone who didn’t even believe in God?”
o    “He started asking questions.  ‘What will the king do for the person who kills the giant?’”
o    “They told him that Saul would make him a prince and give him his daughter in marriage and never charge him taxes again.”
o    “When Saul heard that David was asking about Goliath, he called for him.”
o    “Imagine Saul’s surprise when he realized that it was David, the boy who would occasionally come to play harp for him?”
o    “Saul looked at David and said, ‘What are you thinking!?’” (Playfully knock David on the head.)
o    “’That giant is going to skewer you with that spear of his and roast you like a marshmallow!’”
o    “But David said…” (Give David the first notecard, and have him say, ‘I’ve killed the bear and the lion, and I’ll do the same to this Philistine.’)
o    “’Okey-dokey….but at least take my armor.’”  (Help David get suited up in the armor for Saul.)
o    “David tried it on, but it just didn’t fit.”
o    “You see, David wasn’t ready to be king yet.  He still had some growing to do.”
o    “So David made a very wise decision.  He decided to put his trust in God rather than a set of armor.”  (Help David get out of the armor.)
o    “He decided to just be himself rather than trying to someone else.”
o    “Goliath had strength, size, training, armor and deadly weapons.”
o    “His armor alone weighed more than David’s whole body.”
o    “But David had God on his side, and God plus one is always a majority!”
o    “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘All you need is God + one.’”
o    “David took his shepherd’s staff and went to the stream.  He chose five smooth stones and started toward Goliath.”  (Have David pick up five smooth stones.)
o    “Goliath saw that he was just a boy and hated him.”
o    “He saw David’s shepherd’s staff and said…”  (Have Goliath say the words on the second note card, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?  Come here, and I’ll feed you to the birds of the air!”)
o    “Then David said…”  (Show David the second notecard, and have him say, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come in the name of the Lord!  Today, the Lord will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down.  Everyone will know that this battle belongs to the Lord.”)
o    “Goliath was ticked!  He started to move closer to David.”  (Have Goliath stomp around to signify he’s coming for David.)
o    “David ran (not walked) toward the battle line.” (Have David run in place.)
o    “He reached into his bag, drew out a stone and put it in his sling.”  (Have David pretend to do this and then swing the sling around his head.)
o    “He slung it at Goliath, and it struck him in the forehead – one of the few places where he didn’t have armor – and he fell down dead.”  (Have David release the sling, and have Goliath pretend to get hit in the head and fall over (preferably onto something soft).)
o    “David ran and stood over the giant (OPTIONAL – and cut off his head).”
o    “All the Philistines realized that God was on the side of Israel, and they ran for their lives.”
o    “The Israelites chased them as far as Gath, Goliath’s home town.”  (Allow all your volunteers to take a seat.)
o    “So, who really won the battle? – God, of course!”
o    “All of Israel had God on their side, but only a shepherd boy trusted God enough to take the risk to fight the giant.”
o    “Here’s something else to think about.  If the armor had fit, and David had gone to fight Goliath wearing it, people might have said, ‘Of course he won.  He had on the king’s armor.’”
o    “When God joins someone in battle, He ties both hands behind His back, He stacks the deck against Himself, He takes away all excuses.  He wants to make sure that the odds are in favor of the enemy.”
o    “Then, when God’s man or woman wins, God gets the glory….not David, not Saul, not ‘Goliath was having a bad hair day’….God gets the glory!”
o    “God will use you in the same way if you trust him!”
o    “The sooner you trust Him, the sooner He will give you the victory against the giants in your life!”
o    “How many of you are going to trust God with the next problem in your life?” (Review the Rhyme Time for the day.)
o    “Let God help you with those giants!”

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Filed under Belief, Bullying, courage, David, faith, Fear, Goliath, Saul

God Cares for Me – Psalm 23 (LESSON)


Audience: Children, (possibly youth if you ham it up quite a bit to engage them)

Scriptures:    Psalm 23

Description:    This lesson teaches about a shepherd and how he cares for his sheep.  It makes comparisons to Jesus as The Shepherd who cares for His sheep (those who believe in Him).  It also briefly introduces David as a shepherd in anticipation of beginning his story during the next lesson.

Rhyme Time:    God loves me; I’m under His care.
Wherever I go; He’s always there!

Time:    30-45 minutes

Materials:
o    Shepherd’s costume (sheet with a hole for your head to go through, belt made out of a piece of fabric, 3 ft x 2 ft piece of fabric to go over your head, headband made out of fabric)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s staff  (The size and shape of the staff are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a long, slender stick (maybe 6 ft or longer), with a hook on one end.  It can be natural or manmade.)
o    Something to act as a shepherd’s rod (The size and shape of the rod are important, because it will be part of the lesson.  It should be a straight, long (4 ft or longer) and about 2 inches in diameter, with a knob at one end.  This knob helps the shepherd use the rod for defense.)
o    Sheep hats (can be as simple as headbands with cotton ball ears) for the kids who will help you with your lesson.  (I recommend 6-8.)
o    Snake, wolf, bear, lion and fly hats (differently colored headbands with ears that represent each animal – one of each)
o    A Ziplock bag full of good, green grass and a Ziplock bag full of dead grass or weeds.
o    A glass off clean water and a glass of muddy water.
o    Olive oil (one bottle)
o    Mustard powder (one can / bottle)
o    Cinnamon or other powder in spice form (one can / bottle)
o    Bowl for mixing oil and powders
o    Spoon for mixing oil and powders
o    A bag with some rock salt in it.
o    Optional – A “wool coat” – a large piece of fabric with cotton balls on it to represent wool.

Preparation:
o    Most of the information for this lesson was taken from a book entitled, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller (1970, HarperCollinsPublishers).  It’s a good read and a good story if you have the time and can find a copy.
o    Make costumes, and have them on-hand.
o    Set out bowl, spoon, oil and powders.  You will mix them during the lesson.
o    Find all the Scriptures from the lesson and bookmark them in a Bible for your reading volunteer.
o    Gather some good grass and some bad grass, and fill two Ziplock bags with them.
o    Pour some clean water in two glasses, and make one of them dirty with a little dirt.
o    Optional – if you use the “wool coat,” you will need to make it out of a piece of fabric with some cotton balls glued to it.  After you’ve made it, drag it through the soil and grass to make it dirty and clogged.

Procedure:
Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:
o    “There is a very famous psalm that many people have memorized, because it gives them peace and calm when they are going through difficult times.”
o    “Does anyone know which psalm it is?”  (Take responses if there are any.)
o    “Right, it’s Psalm 23.  It’s very short, but it has a lot of meaning.”
o    “It was written by David, the most famous and loved king of the Israelites.”
o    “It’s a poem about God that describes Him as a Shepherd watching over a flock of sheep.”
o    “David, of course, knew all about shepherds and sheep, because he was a shepherd boy until the time that he killed Goliath, the giant.”
o    “So, using everything David knew about being a shepherd, he tells us what God is like.”
o    “Jesus liked the metaphor, too, because He said to His disciples in John 10:11, ‘I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.’”
o    “So, let’s take a look at Psalm 23 and see what it tells us about God from a shepherd’s point of view.”  (Ask for several volunteers to come up and be your sheep.  Put the hats on them, and have them get down on all fours in a “flock.”  Ask other volunteers to act as a wolf, lion and bear.  Put the hats on them, and tell them that their job is to go to the edges of the room and only come to attack the sheep if they wander away from the others.  Then, have a volunteer read Psalm 23:1.)
o    “The first part of that scripture says, ‘the Lord is my Shepherd.’  Sheep can’t just take care of themselves.  They need a shepherd.”
o    “If they are left alone, they wander off and get into trouble.”  (Ask your volunteers to wander around by crawling to different places in the room.  When one wanders near the “snake,” the “wolf,” the “bear” or the “lion,” rush to save it.  The “snake,” “wolf,” “bear,” and “lion” should pretend to attack the sheep.)
o    “We are like those sheep.  We often get ourselves into trouble when we go wandering away from our Good Shepherd, Jesus.”
o    “It’s also important to follow only the Good Shepherd.  We must know His voice so that we don’t follow the wrong shepherd.  Jesus talked to His disciples about this.”  (Have volunteer read John 10:1-5.)
o    “The LORD is my Shepherd – not Satan or anyone working for him.  We only listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, and we only follow Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:1 again.)
o    “The Scripture says ‘I shall not be in want.’  That means that, because the Lord is my Shepherd, I will have everything I need.”
o    “It doesn’t mean that I’ll get everything that I want to have – just that I’ll have everything I need to have.”
o    “A good shepherd gets up early every morning and goes to inspect his flock.”
o    “He examines them to make sure that they are healthy and happy and able to stay on their feet.”  (Pretend to look over your sheep to make sure they are okay.)
o    “He can easily tell if they are sick or if they need special attention.”
o    “His sheep don’t need anything, because a good shepherd takes care of everything that is necessary for them.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2.)
o    “It is almost impossible for sheep to be made to lie down unless four needs are met.”
o    “#1 – They must not be afraid.”
o    “Sheep are afraid of many things and for good reason.”
o    “They have no way to defend themselves.”
o    “Their only means of protection is to run.”  (Allow wild animals to attack, and have the sheep run away in all directions.  Then have the wild animals return to their places, and go gather up your flock.)
o    “Nothing makes sheep feel more secure than to see their good shepherd in the field with them.”
o    “For us, we can be calm and free from fear, because we know that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always with us.”  (Have volunteer read Deuteronomy 31:6.)
o    “God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  In other words, He will never give up on us, even if we mess up sometimes.”
o    “Because of this, we can be strong and courageous!  God is all-powerful, and He will protect us!”
o    “#2 – If you want your sheep to lie down, they can’t be in fights with other sheep.”
o    “Sheep are mean to each other.”
o    “You would think that with all their other enemies, they would be nice to one another, but they aren’t.”
o    “Older sheep stiffen their legs, tilt their heads, arch their necks and butt the young ones as hard as they can.”  (Demonstrate this behavior playfully with your flock.)
o    “And rams are even worse.  When they are fighting over girlfriends, their necks swell and get strong.”
o    “They furiously butt their heads and horns together to see who is the strongest, and some even die this way.”
o    “When the young sheep are worried about bullies, they start to get edgy and lose weight, so a good shepherd will defend the weaker ones.”
o    “With the rams, he puts grease on their heads so that they slip off each other when they collide.  That way, none of them get hurt.”  (Playfully demonstrate this with two of your flock.)
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about the bullies in our live, but He says in His Word that He will take care of us.”  (Have volunteer read Ezekiel 34:15-16 and then Ezekiel 34:20-22.)
o    “The third thing that needs to happen for sheep to lie down and rest is that the sheep must be free from flies and other insects.”  (Ask for a volunteer to come up and put on the fly hat.)
o    “There is a certain type of insect, called a nose fly.  They love sheep and buzz all around their heads, trying to deposit their eggs in the wet places on the sheeps’ noses.”
o    “If the flies lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, worms will hatch and crawl up into the sheeps’ heads, causing irritation and inflammation.”  (Have fly volunteer ‘buzz’ around the sheep and pester them.)
o    “It drives the sheep crazy!  To get relief, they will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, bushes…anything.  They will rub them on the ground, and some even kill themselves just to get rid of the feeling.”
o    “A good shepherd will dip the sheep in chemicals and coat their heads in oil to keep the flies off of them.”   (Shoo away your fly volunteer, but don’t have them sit down just yet.)
o    “For us, the flies represent our worries, our fears, and our frustrations that keep us from resting and having peace.”
o    “They buzz around in our heads, looking for a place to land and lay their eggs.”  (Have your fly volunteer buzz around you.)
o    “If we allow them to stay, these fears and worries will paralyze us and keep us from doing all the things God wants us to do.”
o    “Our Good Shepherd knows about these, and He offers us perfect peace if we will just trust in Him.”  (Have volunteer read 2 Corinthians 10:5.)
o    “Every time we have a negative thought, He asks us to capture it and take it prisoner until our thinking becomes obedient to God.”  (“Capture” your fly volunteer, and hold him/her still for a moment.)
o    “You see, Satan is the father of lies.  He lies to us all the time.  In fact, he can’t even tell the truth, because his native language is lying.”
o    “But God will always tell us the truth.”
o    “When we have a negative thought, we should ask God about it.  He will tell us if it is true or not.”  (Have fly volunteer have a seat.)
o    “The fourth and final thing that a good shepherd has to do to help the sheep rest is to make sure they aren’t hungry.”
o    “Sheep will eat bad grass and drink bad water even when good grass and good water are available, because….well….they just aren’t that smart.”  (Offer your flock a choice between the Ziplock bags of good grass and bad grass.  Then offer them a choice between the clean water and the dirty water.  Try to really sell the bad stuff.)
o    “I’m sorry to say this, but we are a lot like those dumb sheep.”
o    “Our spirit is thirsty for what God calls ‘living water.’”
o    “Living Water is the Word of God – the Bible.”
o    “It satisfies our spiritual thirst and gives us peace and joy.”  (Take a drink of the clean water.)
o    “Unfortunately, we will drink just about anything but Living Water in order to satisfy our thirst.”
o    “We want sticky, sweet things, and we try to satisfy our spiritual thirst with money or entertainment or other things that can sometimes be bad for us.”
o    “We drink lots and lots of them, because even after we drink, we are still thirsty.”
o    “The only thing that can satisfy our spiritual thirst is God and His Word.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:2 again.)
o    “The second part of that verse talks about quiet waters.  Some Bible translations call them ‘still’ waters.”
o    “You see, sheep need quiet or still waters, because rivers and streams are dangerous for a 300 lb washcloth with ears.”
o    “If the sheep slips into the water, it will start soaking up water and sink to the bottom.”  (You might sprinkle some water on the sheep just for laughs at this point.)
o    “So the shepherd would go to the stream and use stones to divert some of the water into a pool.” (Pretend to use rocks to divert a stream.)
o    “There, the sheep could drink without being afraid.”  (Have your flock pretend to drink.)
o    Water in Scripture often points to God’s Word.  I told you that it is sometimes called, ‘Living Water.’”
o    “We need to drink deeply of God’s Living Water every day during the still hours of the morning.”
o    “If we will make the time for Him, He will divert some special truths for us and teach us wonderful things.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3.)
o    “Sheep sometimes get ‘cast down,’ a term that means they get turned upside down like a turtle.”  (Demonstrate with one of your flock.)
o    “Sheep get cast down when their wool gets too heavy or when they lie down in a place that isn’t level.”
o    “When they realize that they can’t get up, they panic and start kicking their legs frantically.”  (Demonstrate with your flock.)
o    “This causes gasses to build up in its body and cut off the blood supply to its legs.”
o    “If the shepherd doesn’t ‘restore’ the sheep to its feet soon, it will die.”
o    “He restores it by gently rolling it on its side and massaging its legs.” (Demonstrate.)
o    “Sometimes, we get ‘cast down.’”
o    “We feel sad, depressed or hopeless, but we can’t get back on our feet.”
o    “God comes along during those times and encourages us through prayer, His Word or through other people.”
o     “I mentioned that a sheep would often get cast down because of the heavy weight of his wool coat.”  (If you have it, put the imitation wool coat on one of your flock.)
o    “To prevent this, the shepherd would shear the sheep.”  (Pretend to shear your flock.)
o    “Sheep hate being sheared, and they will fight it with all their energy sometimes.”
o    “But once it’s over, they feel so good, because their wool coat is always caked with mud and poo and fleas and ticks and burrs.”
o    “Wool represents our sinful nature.  Priests were not allowed to wear it into the Temple of God for this reason.”
o    “Our sinful nature gets so clogged up with dirt and nasty stuff that it’s a huge relief when God takes the shearing clippers to us, but we don’t like to be sheared.”  (Show children the clogged wool coat.)
o    “Shearing represents God’s discipline in our lives.  It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it is very necessary to help us get free from our sin.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:3 again.)
o    “Sheep are creatures of habit, and they will blindly follow a sheep in front of them even if they are going in the wrong direction.”  (Have flock demonstrate by getting a “lead” sheep to walk in circles.)
o    “We do that sometimes, too, but God will lead us down new, righteous paths that honor Him.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4.)
o    “Sheep are low on the food chain, and almost everything is a threat to them.”
o    “Wherever they go, they are surrounded by enemies.”  (Have “enemies” circle in close to the sheep.)
o    “Christians, too, have enemies everywhere.  Satan attacks us whenever he sees a chance.”
o    “But God is with us, and we never need to be afraid.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:4 again.)
o    “A shepherd has two main tools for leading the sheep – a rod and a staff.”
o    “A rod looked like this.”  (Show rod.)
o    “It was typically cut from a young tree and carved to specifically fit a young shepherd’s hand.”
o    “A young shepherd boy would spend hours and hours practicing his throw with his club, learning how to send it whistling through the air with speed and accuracy.”
o    “This way, he could defend the sheep from their enemies (pretend to scare away some of the enemies with the rod) and keep the sheep from going into places they shouldn’t.” (Demonstrate how you could use the rod to scare a sheep away from a place where one of their enemies (i.e., a snake) could be hiding.)
o    “The shepherd’s staff was entirely different.”
o    “It was designed like this (show staff) in order to be of the most help to the sheep.”
o    “It was a long, slender stick with a hook at the end.”
o    “The hook was used to bring sheep closer for inspection or to unite a new lamb with its mother without getting the scent of a man on it.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “It was used to guide the sheep along the right path or as a gentle way to let the sheep know that the shepherd was near.”  (Demonstrate.)
o    “This is a picture of God’s justice and His mercy – of His discipline and His grace – of His protection and His care.”
o    “The rod represents God’s authority, power and discipline, and the staff represents His grace and unconditional love.”
o    “Some people think of God as only power, justice and discipline; some think of Him as only love.”
o    “Neither are a complete picture.  God is both justice and mercy – both discipline and grace – and all of it is done because of His love for us.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5.)
o    “A table to a shepherd is a table mesa – a high place in mountain country, where sheep are led to graze in the summer months.”
o    “The shepherd goes ahead of the sheep and prepares the area by pulling poisonous weeds and scouting the area for dangers.”
o    “He takes salt and minerals and spreads them over the whole area so that the sheep will eat them and improve their diet.”  (Pretend to spread the minerals, and then have your sheep graze.)
o    “God does the same for us.  He blesses us even in the middle of all our enemies.”
o    “And Jesus told us in John 14:1-4 that He is preparing a place for us in heaven.”
o    “He said that He’s coming back to get us and that He will lead us to that place He has prepared.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:5 again.)
o     “David, the writer of the psalm, is talking about a few things in the last part of this verse.”
o    “When guests came to your home for dinner in Israel, your responsibility to them included anointing their heads with oil and to making sure they had plenty to drink.”
o    “The anointing was to moisten the skin, since Israel is surrounded by desert.”
o    “But it was also a token to say that this person is special.”
o    “Shepherds used anointing, too.”
o    “Remember about the nose flies I told you about?”
o    “Remember how the shepherd would put oil on the sheep’s head to keep the flies away?”
o    “The shepherd would mix olive oil or linseed oil with sulfur and tar.”  (Mix oil, cinnamon and mustard powder in the bowl, and then smear a little on the forehead of each of your sheep.)
o    “The flies couldn’t land, so the sheep stayed calm.”
o    “God anoints us – not with oil typically but with the Holy Spirit.”
o    “This anointing sets us apart as special to God.  It marks us as His children, and it protects us from Satan’s evil plans.”  (Have volunteer read Psalm 23:6.)
o    “Sheep have really good poo.  It’s so good that they are sometimes called, ‘the animals with the golden hooves.’”
o    “After they have left a grazing place, all their poo fertilizes the ground and makes it even better for growing things.”
o    “So when David talks about ‘goodness following him all the days of his life, it’s kinda funny.”
o    “The sheep poo; everything grows – goodness follows them everywhere they go.”  (Have your flock walk around, and follow them.  Say, ‘A little goodness here; a little goodness there.  Goodness, goodness, everywhere.  Thanks, little guys!’)
o    “For us as Christians, we ought to leave everything better than we found it.  By doing that, we leave goodness and mercy everywhere.”
o    “Finally, David tells us that he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
o    “This will be true for any Christian – especially when we get to heaven.”
o    “But with the sheep, this last line tells about how sheep are safe if they stay with the good shepherd.”
o    “As they dwell in his house (a shelter from the weather), they can be sure of their safety.”  (Dismiss volunteers, and thank them.)
o    “We are all a lot like sheep.  The Bible says that we are all like sheep who go astray (Isaiah 53:6).  That’s why we need a Good Shepherd to lead us and to help us in this world.”

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Filed under Christianity, Daily walk, David, Joseph, Sheep, Shepherd