BIG IDEA: JESUS RESCUES
AIM: This Sunday school lesson on Ehud aims to teach children the story of Ehud and highlight how Ehud rescued the people of Israel. The lesson is aimed at teaching children that just like Ehud, God can use you and me to reach others for His kingdom, and that ultimately it is Jesus who rescues and saves.
- ‘My Lighthouse’ by Rend Collective
- ‘You Have Won Me’ by Bethel
- ‘Whom Shall I Fear’ [God of Angel Armies] by Chris Tomlin
- Jousting. Children play in small teams or in partners to see who can knock their opponent over whilst holding onto one foot and using a flat hand against their opponent’s hand.
- Fishing Feet. Create or buy some mini hoops (you could use lifesaver candy) and hide them in some of your own disgusting food or liquid. Then have children fish the hoops out of the food with their feet!
- Hula Hoop Challenge. Have children come to the front and compete to see who can hula hoop the most times.
BIG VERSE: So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.
(use Seeds Worship video to teach this verse.) Notice that the verse speaks of God’s righteous right hand. The man we are going to look at today rescued God’s people with his left hand. This is important to note! Ask the kids: What hand will God uphold you with? (response: His right hand!)
SET the Scene:
Read Judges 3:12-30. You could act it out in a funny way or use the video by HillTop Productions or by using the video by Compass Church. (The Compass Church video is best used with older children or teenagers, with a warning not to play with knives). The passage tells the account of the judge Ehud that was chosen by God to save the Israelites during the 12 year reign of the wicked king Eglon. Ehud was a left handed man. This was quite strange for his day, although this would be the very tool that God would use to help His people. Something that seemed like a disability or disease was going to help propel the people of God into a place where they could have freedom once again.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1.OBJECT LESSON: WE ALL NEED RESCUING
Help! images projected on a screen or printed out on paper/card to hand around as you speak.
Say: Have you ever been in a situation where you needed help? Maybe you got lost at the supermarket and couldn’t find your mom or dad?! Maybe you couldn’t do your homework and you need help with a tough question?! We all need help from time to time. In fact…
The bible shows us that we all need rescuing! Each of us has done something wrong in our lives – none of us are perfect. Yet God is completely perfect. 100% in fact! Our sin; those wrong things in our loves, separate us from a loving and perfect God. Without forgiveness for those things, we are in trouble, we are headed for a life – and an eternity without Him.
We all need rescuing! Every one of us! Without a rescuer we are dying in our sin! Yikes! We need rescuing from lots of things: bad thoughts, fear, anxiety- feeling worried about something, problems with our families, friends or health. Every one of us needs rescuing from something.
The people of God called out to God in the midst of their trouble. King Eglon, an evil king had been making things difficult for them – in fact, life was terrible under Eglons’ rule! For 18 long years they stuck it out. Now they were crying out for God’s help! It was their sin; their wrong doing, that had brought them under King Eglon’s rule in the first place – they thought they didn’t need God – yet now they were crying out to Him. Help! Help! Help!
2. OBJECT LESSON: GOD SENT A RESCUER
Show the images below as you speak and ask questions about them.
Say: So, the people of Israel needed help. In fact, we all need help with our sin. So, should God send the police? The paramedics? The lifeguard? The fire fighters? The coast guard? [Get feedback.] Of course not! We don’t need any of those, we need someone else and so did God’s people!
God sent Ehud to rescue the people of Israel at a time when they had been turning their back on God. Now God had come to their rescue through the judge, Ehud. Ehud was a left handed man, in those days he would have been thought very little of. His left handedness would have been thought of more as a problem than anything else. In fact, it was probably thought of as a disease! So, Ehud was an unexpected hero! Nobody would have imagined that a left handed man would be able to save God’s people.
Ehud was the unexpected hero in the story. God sent him to be the rescuer. Years later God sent the only rescuer we or anyone else will ever need – Jesus! Jesus is able to rescue us from our sin; from all the bad things we have done, and from bad thoughts, feelings and situations. All we need to do is call out to him. He may not take us out of the situation straight away, but he will be with us. He will help us.
3. OBJECT LESSON: JESUS IS OUR RESCUER
You will need access to the first minute of the Bondi Rescue video where Terri the lifeguard saves a little girl.
As an alternative, you could use a clip from Sleeping Beauty where Prince Philip fights the dragon and rescues his Princess with a sword and a kiss.
Say: Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be that little girl being rescued by the lifeguard? (or Princess Aurora if you used the Disney clip) How would it have felt to be them at the beginning of the clip? [get feedback] How about at the end, after she had been rescued? [get feedback] That is exactly how Jesus wants us to feel – safe, secure, joyful and thankful.
The story of Ehud reminds us that God sent a rescuer once and for all for each of us. God sent his son Jesus to be our ultimate rescuer. Jesus is the one that came to set us free from our sins so that we can be friends with God and so that we can live eternally with Him. Jesus lived a completely perfect life and died a perfect death for us so that we might know God. In dying for us Jesus took the punishment for our sins.
The cool thing is that in coming to rescue us Jesus has also made us fellow helpers in his rescue mission. Once we have put our faith in him we are called to join this mission in telling others how Jesus, the greatest rescuer wants to rescue them from their sins. He wants to rescue them from fear and give them faith. He wants to rescue them from bad feelings and thoughts and replace them with the Words of God. All we have to do is accept this rescue mission as our own. We can be just like the lifeguard (or Prince Philip); when everyone else didn’t see or wasn’t looking or couldn’t help the girl, he was there. He saw, he cared, he did something about it. We can ask God to give us eyes to see those around us who need Jesus in their lives and in their situations.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Write the names of some of the rescuers in the bible on ‘life rings’ that you have cut out of foam or card. Use them to play a game of hoopla by setting up some small objects that the children must try and hoop. With a small group you could have the players that hoop the object with their life ring answer why the person on their life ring was a rescuer. If they cannot answer, or they miss the object, the opposing team can have a guess.
In larger groups you could choose one contestant from each team. The rest of the team could help their contestant to answer the question. The team with the most correct rescuers is the winning team.
People that God used as rescuers in the bible:
Noah – rescued his family and the animals from the flooding world
Moses – took the people out of Egypt
Joshua – took the people into the Promised Land, rescuing them from the wilderness
Joseph – rescued the Israelites from the famine by understanding Pharoah’s dream
Gideon – rescued the people from the Midianites
Samson – rescued the people from the Philistines
David – rescued the people from Goliath
Jesus – the ultimate rescuer who rescues us all from the power of sin!
God the Father is the rescuer throughout the whole bible – He is the rescuer that continues to rescue Israel and finally sends his son to rescue them and the Gentiles (you and me) too.
SENSE How You Feel:
What do you think it would feel like to be:
a) Ehud saving all God’s people?
Do this fun Sword Craft as a way to think about how Ehud saved the Israelites.
b) saved/rescued by Jesus?
Create the Jesus is My Lifesaver craft using white and red foam or by using card and scrunching up and gluing red and white tissue paper.
Ask the children to think about these questions as they create their craft, then discuss their feelings after the craft is done.
Is there anyone in my life that I need to help to rescue? Is someone in need of some help? Children could make a life ring that they can write a prayer on. Attach some string/wool to the life ring and bring all the children together. (If you don’t have much time, prepare the life rings before the lesson and simply hand them out). Say a prayer for all the people on the life ring and have the children ‘cast’ their life rings to the floor and imagine their friend being saved as they tell them about Jesus and all that he has done for them. Remind them that it is God who saves, yet we are blessed to be involved in the process!
Use the ‘Jesus is my Rescuer’ sheet as a take home. Simply cut out the swords and hand one to each child.