Week 4 objectives: to discover that this verse was written by Jeremiah and that it was part of the message to God's people that one day the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt and they would thank God again.
Game - 7 mins
Aim: to play a game that involves happy and sad faces before talking about the sad and the happy news that Jeremiah passed on to God's people.
You will need: 'Happy and sad faces' (see Printables).
If you have fewer than five children include the helpers and teachers in the game. Before the session print or photocopy sufficient happy and sad faces so that there are at least four faces per person. If you have only one or two children in your group you may want to print some extra faces to make the game more challenging. Cut out the faces as indicated.
Lay the cut-out faces face-down on the floor. Allow a child to turn over two faces. If they turn over a happy and a sad face then they should pick up their pair and place them by their side until the end of the game. If they turn over two happy or two sad faces the pictures must be returned face-down to the same position on the floor. When a child has either collected a pair or returned their faces to the floor, play passes to the next child. Continue playing the game until all the pairs have been selected. Count up the number of pairs collected by each child.
Talk about - 6 mins
You will need: The Bible Curriculum Old Testament Flashcards six and eight, ‘thank you’ slips (see Printables), a bowl, a low table, a whiteboard or a large sheet of paper, marker pens and a Bible.
Before the session print and cut out sufficient slips for one per child. Place the bowl on the low table in your teaching space. Write the verse on the whiteboard or a large sheet of paper.
Remind the children that over the last few weeks we have been thinking about what it means to worship God. Quickly write the word ‘worship’ next to the verse. Remind the children that we learnt that worship is when a person or group of people show God how much they adore him by doing things they know he loves. Draw a heart around the word ‘worship’. If you have time recap some of the things Christians do as part of their worship such as singing to God, praising him, helping others etc. Underline the word ‘thanks’ in the verse as you remind the children that God loves it when people say thank you to him. Many Christians say thank you to God as part of their worship.
Quickly remind the children that Christians worship God because they believe he deserves to be worshipped. Spend a very brief moment explaining again what the word ‘deserve’ means. Christians believe God deserves worship because he is great and does great things. Explain that this verse tells us that God deserves to be worshipped because he is good and his loving-kindness lasts forever. Circle the words ‘good’ and ‘loving-kindness’ in the verse.
Circle the word ‘Jeremiah’. Explain that Jeremiah wrote this verse. He was an Old Testament prophet, one of God's messengers. Jeremiah spoke to God’s people living in Judah (show Flashcard number six). He told them some sad news (hold up a sad face used in the game): ‘If you do not live the way Moses taught you, if you do not start listening to God, then the enemy army will take you away from your land (show Flashcard number eight).
Over and over and over again God gave his people in Judah a chance to change but they did not want to hear Jeremiah’s sad news; they only wanted happy news. So they made Jeremiah a prisoner. They made him stay in a courtyard. While he was in the courtyard God gave him another message; this time there was some happy news (hold up a happy face): ‘One day God will forgive people for all the wrong things they have done. People will see that God is good and they will thank him. In the city people will sing: “Give thanks to the Lord of All, for the Lord is good. His loving-kindness lasts forever.” ' Point to the words as you read them aloud. Summarise by explaining that the verse we are learning about comes from Jeremiah’s message to God’s people; it was part of the happy news that one day the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt and people would thank God again.
If you have time, tell the children that many years later the Temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt and the people did sing a ‘thank you’ song just as Jeremiah said they would. Give each child a ‘thank you’ slip. Explain to the children that you are going to sing the Bible verse (see the song below) and then one by one walk to the low table and place the ‘thank you' slips into the bowl. Explain that some children might want to do this as a way of remembering the Bible verse, but others might want to say a real ‘thank you’ to God for his great love and kindness.
With older children you could listen to a modern worship song about thanking God. Spend some time talking about the words of the song. If you have time talk about Christians singing together, and on their own. If appropriate talk about times when the children have sung worship songs in big groups, talk about how it sounded and felt. Explain that Christians believe God loves it when people worship him on their own but he also loves it when Christians come together to worship him.
Song - 2 mins
To the tune ‘Ten fat sausages’
Give thanks to the Lord,
For the Lord of all is good,
Give thanks to the Lord,
For the Lord of all is good,
His loving-kindness lasts forever and ever,
Give thanks to the Lord.
For the Lord of all is good.
As you say ‘good’ do a ‘thumbs-up’ sign.
As you say ‘loving-kindness’ give yourself a hug.
As you say ‘forever’ roll your hands over and over.