‘God, you give true peace to people who depend on you, to those who trust in you.’ Isaiah 26:3

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Week 1 objective: to discover that there are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah. The first 39 chapters are about Isaiah’s message to the Judeans before they left their homes. The second part is the message given to the Judeans in Babylon. 

Game - 7 mins
Aim: to begin to think about the idea of packing bags to go on a journey. 
You will need:  a score sheet (see Printables), two or three dice, a pen and a couple of large bags (blue IKEA bags would be ideal), a stop-watch, sticky tac, the sign saying ‘Babylon’ (see Printables), items from the list (see Printables) and some additional items of your choice.

Before the session print three ‘score sheets’ and the ‘Babylon’ sign. You will need two of each item (they do not need to be identical). Add a few of your own items but make sure you write the additional items on all three score sheets. On one of the score sheets write a number between one and fifty next to each item. These will be the points scored for collecting the item. Give the same item a different number of points on the remaining two score sheets, for example on one sheet write ten points next to ‘a sock’, twenty points on another sheet and thirty points on the final sheet. Use sticky tac to stick the ‘Babylon’ sign to the wall at one end of your teaching space. 

Place all the items in the middle of the room. Divide your group into two teams or work as one group. Give each team a dice and a big bag. Explain to the children that every time they throw an even number they can collect an item to put in their bag. The other players must not roll the dice while an item is being collected.  After two minutes stop the game and ask the children to bring their bags to ‘Babylon’. Select a score sheet and call out the points for each item. Note down the teams’ score. Repeat the game using a different score sheet. 

Talk about - 5 mins
You will need: a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard, marker pens, a Bible, ‘Two messages’ (see Printables) and the Old Testament FlashCards or a Bible map.

Before the session write the verse on the whiteboard or paper. Print and cut out the two messages. 

Ask the children if they can remember the name of the place in the game. Show the children the Bible map or flash cards. Explain that hundreds of years ago when God’s people, the Israelites, lived in Israel, the king upset all the people who lived in the north of his country. The people began to live in two parts. The people in the north called themselves Israelites and the people in the south called themselves Judeans. God sent prophets (messengers) to talk to his people. Sometimes the people listened, other times they didn't. After many years God let an enemy army capture the Israelites and take them to Assyria. Many years later the Judeans were forced to leave their homes and were taken to Babylon.  

Underline the reference to the Bible verse. Explain that the prophet Isaiah spoke to the Judeans before they were taken to Babylon; he told them to stop doing wrong things. Over and over again Isaiah warned the people. After the Judeans were taken to Babylon more prophets spoke to them in the enemy land. 

Show the children the book of Isaiah in the Bible. Quickly write ‘66’, ‘39’ and ‘27’ on the whiteboard. Circle the number '66' and explain that there are 66 chapters in the book of Isaiah. Underline the number '39' and explain that the first 39 chapters are about Isaiah’s message to the Judeans before they left their homes. Draw a sad face next to the number '39'. It is a message that is often sad and full of warnings: ‘...all these houses will be destroyed. These big, fancy houses will be empty.’ Stick the first speech bubble next to the verse.

Draw a star around number ‘27’ and explain that the second part of the book of Isaiah (chapter 27 to the end) is the message given to the Judeans in Babylon; it is a comforting message about one day returning to Jerusalem: ‘Then you will call to the Lord, and he will answer you. You will cry out to him, and he will say, “Here I am”.’ Stick the second speech bubble next to the verse.

Remind the children that our Bible verse comes from Isaiah chapter 26. Ask the children if this verse was said to the Judeans before or after they were taken to Babylon. Explain that in chapter 26 Isaiah sings a song about when the Judeans will one day know peace again.  

Song - 3 mins
To the tune: ‘Did you ever see a lassie?’
    God, you give true peace,
    To those who depend on you.
    God, you give true peace,
    To those who trust you.
    Depending and trusting.
    Depending and trusting.
    God, you give true peace,
    To those who trust you. 

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