Tag Archives: Genesis 11:1-9

Scattered (Obj Lesson)


Time

20-25 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches about why God scattered the people after they tried to build the Tower of Babel.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 11:1-9
  • Nehemiah 8:1
  • Proverbs 3:11-12
  • Proverbs 29:23
  • Ezekiel 34:11-16

Materials

  • Stackable items (e.g., blocks, sugar cubes, cups, etc.) You will need at least enough for each person to have one, and you may want to have enough for everyone to have more than one to increase the level of difficulty.
  • A timer, stopwatch or watch/clock with a second hand
  • Table (optional)
  • Small prize for everyone after finishing the challenge (optional)
  • A set of dice (2)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Spread the stackable items out on a table or floor
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

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

  • “Let’s do a group challenge, called ‘Scattered.’”
  • “I will need a volunteer to roll the dice and keep time.” (Select a volunteer.  You could have two separate people doing these roles if you like.)
  • “Everyone else come and grab one (or more) of the blocks (or other stackable items) on the table (or floor).”
  • “Your goal is to work together to build a tower using all of the blocks (or other stackable items).”
  • “You will have a time limit, and your tower must be finished before time runs out.”
  • “We will find out how much time you have by rolling the dice and multiplying the total by five.”
  • “So, for example, if we roll a six and a three, that equals nine. Multiply that times five, and you get 45.  Then, you would have 45 seconds to finish your tower.”
  • “If we roll a two and a four, you will only get six times five seconds, which equals 30 seconds.”
  • “If you are not finished when the time runs out, I will call out, ‘SCATTER!’ and everyone will have to grab their block(s) and scatter away from the building area.”
  • “Then, we will roll the dice again, and you will get another chance to build your tower.”
  • “Does everyone understand how to do the challenge?”  (Answer any questions.  Then, go through several rounds of the challenge.  If they are really struggling, take a moment between rounds to show them how to build a step pyramid.  It looks like the pyramids of Egypt.  The first level is the biggest.  The second level is smaller and goes on top.  This is a stable way to build the tower, and it is easy to make the pyramid bigger by adding another row to the first level and then building on top.  If they just can’t get the tower built in the time, consider doubling it by multiplying the dice roll by ten instead of five.  When participants have successfully built the tower in the time limit, congratulate them and offer a prize (if you want).  Then, have them return to their seats.)
  • “Did you think that was easy or difficult?”  (Take responses.)
  • “For those of you who thought it was difficult, what made it hard to do?” (Take responses.  One of the responses you are hoping to hear is that they had to keep scattering.)
  • “I think so, too.  It’s hard to finish something if you have to keep taking it apart and scattering.  That leads me to our lesson for today.”
  • “Today’s lesson is going to be about the story of the Tower of Babel.”
  • “How many of you remember the story?”  (Allow someone to share it if they feel confident.  Then ask a volunteer to read it out loud from Genesis 11:1-9.)
  • “This story happened after Noah had built the ark and the floods had come, killing everyone on earth except the eight members of his family.”
  • “When the flood dried up, and the ark landed on a mountain, Noah, his wife, their children and their spouses all got off the ark.”
  • “Before long, their families started to grow, and when there were too many people to live in the same place, they began to move eastward.”
  • “When they came to the plain of Shinar, they thought it looked like a good place to live and got the idea to build a huge tower.”
  • “So, why do you think the people scattered?”  (Response should include that they spoke different languages and could no longer understand each other.)
  • “Right!  Think how difficult it would be to work together if you couldn’t understand what the other people were saying.”  (You might want to act out the story at this point to get a laugh.  Mimic the actions of a bricklayer laying bricks and spreading mortar.  Begin to ask someone to bring you more bricks, and begin speaking gibberish in midsentence.  Continue for a few moments, acting like you are getting increasingly frustrated by your inability to communicate.)
  • “This is where we get the word, ‘babel,’ which means a confusing noise.”
  • “God made the people babel (make a confusing noise) at the Tower of Babel.”
  • “Probably after a few hours of that, they gave up trying to talk with people who couldn’t understand them and started to form groups with people who did understand them.”
  • “Then, those groups separated from the other groups and went to different places around the earth.”
  • “So, why do you think God changed their language and scattered them?” (The reason you are looking for is that they were building the tower for the wrong reasons.  They built it to “make a name for ourselves.”)
  • “In other words, they were building a tower to show how great they were.  This is a motive called pride.”
  • “God hates pride.  In Proverbs 29:23, He says, ‘A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.’”
  • “God hates pride, because it means that we are taking credit for everything and giving no credit to God.”
  • “Do you think these people could have built the tower without the mud and straw that God provided for the bricks?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Do you think they could have built it without the strength in their arms and legs that God gave them to carry and stack the bricks?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Do you think they could have built it without the intelligence that God gave them to create a plan for how to build the tower?”   (Listen for responses.)
  • “We can’t take credit for any good thing that we are able to do without giving credit to God for giving us the materials, the strength and the intelligence to do it.”
  • “Everything good comes from the Lord, so He deserves our appreciation.”
  • “These people building the Tower of Babel didn’t appreciate what the Lord had done for them.”
  • “They thought that they could do everything in their own power, so God changed their language to show them that without the blessing of a common language, they really didn’t have as much power as they thought.”
  • “When they couldn’t understand each other, they found people who they could understand and scattered over the earth in these groups.”
  • “This isn’t the only time God scattered people.  In Nehemiah 1:8, the Scriptures tell us that God threatened to scatter His people if they were unfaithful to him.” (Have a volunteer read Nehemiah 1:8.)
  • “You see, God knew that the Israelites would get proud and think that they didn’t need God.”
  • “He threatened to scatter them as discipline for their pride.”
  • “But discipline is a good thing.  God says that He disciplines those He loves and calls His children, so while it might not sound great to get scattered, it really means that God loved them.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)
  • “The Israelites disobeyed God and got scattered for many years.”
  • “But God promised He would also bring them back to their land.”  (Have volunteer read Nehemiah 1:9.)
  • “And God did bring them back.  In fact, Nehemiah (the one who wrote the book from which we are reading the Scripture) was one of the ones God gathered back.”
  • “When he wrote this book of the Bible, he was rebuilding the ruined wall of Jerusalem.”
  • “God scattered the people multiple times throughout the Bible as a way of disciplining them and reminding them that need Him – that they can’t do everything by themselves.”
  • “But God didn’t leave them scattered.  Like a good shepherd gathering his lost sheep, God brought His people back home.”  (Ezekiel 34:11-16)
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Cultural Continuums (GAME)


Time
40-60 minutes (or more, depending upon how many cultural dimensions you choose to use)

Audience

Teens or adults who interact with people of different cultures or are planning to do so

Description

This game illustrates the differences between the many different cultures of the world.  It borrows from the research of Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner and the writings of Craig Storti.  Facilitators can benefit from having some familiarity with the different cultural dimensions before conducting the game.

The materials contain many more cultural dimensions than you probably want to cover in one game.  You can pick out the ones that are most relevant to your group, or you might want to run this game at different times during a multi-day meeting.

The “Cultural Continuums – Answers” file focuses largely on Europe and Asia, because that was the context for the group for which this game was developed.  However, additional flags are provided in the “Cultural Continuums – Flags” file, and the full statistics for each continuum are in the Notes section of the PowerPoint slide.  You can change the flags with this information.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 11:1-9

Materials

  • Flag cards – one set per team (These are available in the file “Cultural Continuums – Flags” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
  • Answer key (This can be found in the file “Cultural Continuums – Answers” on the Lessons and Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)
  • Rolls of masking tape (one per team)
  • Projector
  • Screen
  • Computer
  • Flipchart
  • Markers
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out copies of the flag cards (one copy per team)
  • Review the facilitator notes on the Notes section under each slide in the “Cultural Continuums – Answers.”
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “You may remember the story of the Tower of Babel.”  (Ask a volunteer to read it out loud from Genesis 11:1-9.)
  • “This Scripture is the birthplace of cultural diversity.”
  • “Never again would mankind all speak the same language or observe the same cultural practices – at least not until Christ returns, and probably not even then will we give up the cultural practices that make us unique.”
  • “So, let’s see how different we’ve become.”
  • “We are going to play a game to highlight the many differences among the various cultures of the world.”
  • “I will briefly describe a continuum of a cultural dimension. (A continuum is something that goes from one extreme on one end to the other extreme on the other end.)”
  • “After I’ve described it, you will take a group of flags (that I’m about to hand you) and stick them to the wall in the order that you think best represents where you think that country falls on the continuum.”  (Hand out sets of flag pictures and tape to each group.)
  • “Then, I will show you the ‘right answers’ on the screen at the front of the room.”
  • “Just so that you know, the ‘right answers’ are based on the work of some cultural experts who have been studying different cultures for many years.”
  • “You may not always agree with their findings, and that’s okay.  We can talk about it during the debrief.”
  • “Sometimes, countries had the same ranking or rating in their studies.  In this case, the countries will be shown in the same place on the continuum I show you at the front of the room.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions about how the game will work?”  (Answer questions.)
  • “Okay, let’s play.”  (Do as many cultural dimensions as you like.  After each one, you might want to ask the group members to explain why they ordered the flags in the way that they did.  There will always be at least one country that wasn’t part of the study.  You might want to focus on these and ask each group how they made their decision in regard to these countries.  When you are done with all the dimensions, have the groups discuss the following questions.  (You may want to post them on a flipchart.)  Allow 15-20 minutes for discussion, and then debrief as a large group.)

Debrief Questions

  1. What do you think about the different cultural dimensions, and where the countries landed on the continuums?
  2. What was surprising to you?
  3. Is there anything that you disagreed with?  Why?
  4. What do these differences mean for how we work with people from different cultures?
  5. What will you personally do differently as a result of what you have learned?

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