BIG IDEA: I CAN KNOW GOD HAS A PLAN FOR ME.
AIM: The ‘Part of His Plan’ Sunday School Lesson on Deborah (Judges 4) helps children to see that God has a plan for their lives using the story of Deborah.
- Minute’s Up. Have players see if they can time a whole minute without looking at a watch. See who can get closest to the time.
- Minute to Win It games. These games come with videos available on Youtube. Simplyy type in the name of the game and ‘Minute to Win It’ in Youtube and you should find it. These games are basically games that can be played in one minute. You will need the props they suggest for the particular game you choose.
BIG VERSE: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.
SET the Scene:
If you could know the future, what would you want to know?
Read the passage in Judges 4. Once the judge Ehud had died, the people went back to doing evil in God’s eyes. So again God allowed the people to come under a harsh rule. Jabin, king of Canaan and his commander Sisera. For 20 years the people suffered, so they began to call out to God. Deborah is a judge over all of Israel. She has been entrusted to make difficult decisions concerning the people of God. When Deborah gives Barak the plan for how they will see Jabin and his kingdom fall, Barak says he will only go to battle if Deborah is with him. For this, Deborah tells Barak that a woman will destroy Sisera the commander. A woman will have the victory. That’s exactly what happens – a woman lures Sisera into her tent and kills him (in a bit of a brutal way). Once Sisera is killed, Jabin’s army is weak, and Israel overcomes king Jabin.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1. OBJECT LESSON: GOD HAS A PLAN FOR ME
You will need a day planner or calendar.
Say: [Hold the day planner as you talk]. This is my planner, it helps me to know what is going on and what it in store – the things that I have planned to do. I love to make plans (or say hate if you hate to!) Did you know that God has a plan for you?! Well, He does! The question is, whether we are willing to get on board with what His plans are! In our passage for today, Barak was told by Doborah: “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” (verse 6)
This was a command of God because He knew the plans that He had for Barak and his people. God’s plans are always good and we can always trust them. Yet Barak replied “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” (verse 8) That means that there was a possibility that Barak would not do as God has told him to do. He was willing to miss out on God’s plans if Deborah would not go with him.
The sad thing is, his response meant that someone else was chosen to be the hero. And not just anyone, but a woman! Now, we know that God thinks greatly of women because Deborah was the judge of all the land, and she was a woman! But perhaps men in those days didn’t see things quite the same. They knew Deborah was a woman of God and so they trusted her… but for someone else to kill the evil commander and not Barak, and for that to be a random woman would have been a bit of an insult! So, God has good plans, but are we going to step into them, or do our own thing? If we do our own thing, maybe He will use someone else to do the great things we were supposed to do! Just like he used the woman instead of Barak.
2. OBJECT LESSON: GOD WILL SHARE SOME OF HIS PLANS WITH ME
Story of a parent/adult that shares some of their plans with their children, but let’s them be surprised in the end, if you have one. You could also use a picture of stepping stones to show that sometimes God shows us things, one step at a time.
Say: Did you know that God wants to share His plans with us?! Deborah listened to God and so, she knew what God’s plans were. God had told her what to do and she was informing Barak of the plans. She knew that God had said a woman would kill Sisera because of how Barak had responded to the command. This is called prophecy. God had told Deborah something that would happen in the future and she told Barak what would happen. Yet she didn’t say who the woman was that would kill Barak. Perhaps she didn’t know?!
God shows us His plans only in part. We know that His plans are good, because He tells us that in His word. Sort of like stepping stones, or stairs on a staircase. We only need to move one step at a time, so sometimes God will only show us the next step. That means we have to trust Him with the steps after that. We know that we can trust Him because His character is faithful, trustworthy, loving and good. He is definitely someone we know we can trust with our lives! So even when we don’t understand why things are happening, or what is going to happen in our lives, we can know He is on our side. He is with us and will share His plans for my life with me when I need them.
3. OBJECT LESSON: I CAN BE PATIENT FOR GOD’S PLANS TO UNFOLD
Create your own, or ask the children to create a skit about patience. You could use our scenario below.
Skit: Waiting patiently for something v waiting impatiently.
scenario: two brothers have a games console and one is playing on it. The other brother wants to play but his brother tells him to wait.
a) The brother can’t wait, he hits his brother and snatches the remote control. He gets into trouble with his parent.
b) The brother waits patiently, helping his brother to win his game, then he eventually gets his turn.
Alternatively you could show some images of things that are difficult to be patient with:
- the circle on your Mac or the timer on your PC when the computer is being slow
- the bus at the bus stop
- Christmas and opening presents
Say: Do you like to wait or hate it? Are you patient or do you get impatient really quick? When we are following God’s plans and being obedient to Him, sometimes it can feel like we are waiting a really long time for something we want. Perhaps you want someone to get better, you want that new toy, console, phone or piece of clothing. Perhaps you are ready to do something for God but it just isn’t the right timing. It can be really difficult to wait. Yet there is a reward in being obedient and following God’s commands – and not trying to race ahead and do things yourself, or give up on what God has in store.
If God has promised something He will do it. Just as in this passage, God had spoken through Deborah that a woman would kill Sisera. This is what happened. Why? Because God does not tell lies. The things that He says are true. If God has promised you something, make sure you believe it and hold onto what He has promised. He will do what He says He will do. And how do you know it was God that promised something to you? You look at the Bible and test what was said and if it sounds like God – is it true to who He is?
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Write the bible verses below on strips of paper and hide them around your room or building. Create a treasure map or plan of where and how the bible verses are hidden within the room/building. Ask the children to go and find each of the verses using the plan laid out on the map. Ask the children if it was easy to follow the plan or not: Why/why not?
Bible verses that talk about God’s plans for us:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.
Read the verses together and discuss what they mean for our lives today.
Is it easy to trust that God has good plans for our lives? Why/why not?
How have you seen God’s plans work out in your life?
Do you think it would be good to see God’s plans for your whole life? Why/why not?
In what ways can we show God that we trust Him and His plans for us?
SENSE How You Feel:
Encourage the children to make the craft below. Either during or after the craft you can ask the three questions to help them consider how they would feel if they were in Barak and Deborah’s situation.
Use the template from this page.
See how the finished craft looks by visiting this blog page:
1. Ask the children to imagine that they are Barak as they question:
Why, when Deborah told you the plan, did you say: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
2. How would it feel to be Deborah and to pass on some of God’s plans to Barak?
3. What would it feel like to be Barak and miss out on God’s plans?
Remind the children of some of the different ways that God speaks.
Play the song ‘Even When’ as the children contemplate all that God is doing in their lives. It can be difficult to remember that God is still there even when they don’t understand or can’t see what He is doing. As the music plays, give the children space to listen and hear from God – to see what He might say. After this time, you could come together in small groups and discuss what the children believe God has spoken. If there are any words that you feel are for everyone, you could share them with the whole group.
Questions that arise from this passage:
Why would it be good to kill someone with a tent peg and hammer? Why is this celebrated?
Of course killing isn’t a good thing. But in this time in history the people of God were under great oppression. They were being killed. Jesus, of course, spoke of peace and we are called to be people of peace. But sometimes God commanded people to be killed [He alone is God and is sovereign, he judges when it is someone’s time]For more reading visit this page.
Can I miss out on the things God has for me?
Yes, if we don’t follow Him or His ways. But if you are willing to come back to God and repent when you walk away from His plans He can make a way for you to recover what was lost in other ways.