MEMORY VERSE: Judges 2:18 "...when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge..."
BOOK TO REMEMBER: Philemon. Write "Philemon" on small slips of paper and hand out at the end of class.
PRAYER: Pray for the church all over the world that she may be strong in knowledge and in zeal. May God be with those in foreign lands, in troubled situations, and are reaching out seeking Truth.
SPECIAL SONG: On Jordan's Stormy Banks (see June - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #6 on this blog.)
VISUAL AIDS: Draw a large circle on the white board or chalk board. make a large Activity like the one below.
- After Joshua died and all the people were in the Land of Canaan, the children of Israel were ruled by a number of judges, but one judge at a time. The Bible does not say a whole lot about some of these judges, but others have a little more said about them. We can read in the book of Judges about how the children of Israel sinned and disobeyed God. When they did not do as God commanded, they would fall into the hands of their enemies. Then the people would cry out to God and He would raise up a judge who would lead them out of their bad situation. Once out of their enemies' hands, the people would again forget God and sin again. This was called a cycle. The people would sin and forget God, the people would cry out to God for help, God would deliver them, then they would sin again.
- The children of Israel were faithful to God all the days that Joshua lived and as long as Joshua's friends lived, but as soon as they all died, they did something that God punished them for--they worshiped idols--something they should have NEVER done because they knew that God was the Only Living True God. The people began worshiping other gods because they had not driven all the Canaanites out of the land and they began to marry the Canaanites and--the people forgot God! They did not worship Him, they did not keep His commandments, and they did not serve Him!
- God was extremely angry! He had brought the people out of Egypt and out of slavery, He had given them a beautiful land that flowed with milk and honey, and the people forgot Him! Bad things began to happen. The children of Israel's neighbors came and robbed them and took their belongings. Some of the people were sold to their enemies. The people had many enemies and every time the Israelites went to fight them, their enemies won. God was not with them because He was angry that they were worshiping other gods or idols and not worshiping Him. Had God ever said that He was a jealous God? YES! When God gave Moses the commandments written on stone on Mount Sinai, He said that He was a jealous God. God had warned His people. If they would obey Him, He would be with them, but if they did not obey Him, He would not be with the people.
- When life got so bad, the people would remember God and cry out to Him and repent or be sorry for their actions and God would listen just like He listens to our prayers today. He would listen and He would send someone to help them. He would send a judge to help.
- There were fifteen judges who ruled over the children of Israel: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli, and Samuel.
- The first judge was Caleb's younger brother. We remember Caleb, don't we? He was one of the two faithful spies who spied out the land of Canaan and he was the one who wanted a mountain! Othniel was Caleb's younger brother and he was the first judge. A man named Ehud was the second judge. We don't know a lot about Ehud, but we do know that he delivered God's people from King Eglon by killing him. The third judge's name was Shamgar, and that is about all we know about him.
- The Book of Judges is all about the cycle that the Children of Israel were in. For a while, the people would serve the LORD God, but whenever the judge died, the people would forget God again. God would get extremely angry again and then the enemies would come back and make the children of Israel's lives miserable. Guess what the people would do? That's right! They would cry out to God and tell Him they were sorry and God would forgive them and send them someone to help them--a judge. This would happen over and over again, many, many years.
- Discuss the many good things that God had done for and given to His children,i.e. freedom from slavery, a home in Canaan, protection from their enemies, etc.
- Talk about why the people would forget God.
- Explain in detail what a 'cycle' is, like a water cycle, or maybe what the children do in their day could be drawn on the board as a cycle, i.e., get up, eat breakfast, get ready for school, Math and Science, eat lunch, Reading, Spelling, go home, eat dinner, do homework, take a bath, go to bed, say prayers, sleep.
Materials needed: 9" x 12" red piece of construction paper, 5" white piece of paper, six 2" x 3" yellow rectangles, one fastener, scissors, glue, crayons.
- Hand out red paper to each child. This is the background.
- Hand out white paper to students.
- Round corners with scissors to make a circle.
- Poke hole in the middle of white and red papers and place fastener. (The Bible Teacher might need to help putting fastener in the middle of the white circle and the red paper if students are young.)
- Write "Children Of Israel" and three arrows in circle.
- Write "The people forget God." on one yellow paper.
- Write "God gets angry and not with the people." on another yellow paper.
- Write "The people's lives are miserable." on another yellow paper.
- Write "The people repent and cry to God." on another yellow paper.
- Write "God listens and sends a judge." on another yellow paper.
- Write "Life is good." on the last yellow paper.
- At the top of the red paper, write "The Cycle In The Book Of Judges" and "Judges 1:1-3:31."