The Good Shepherd. Session 3. Psalm 23:1-6

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1 Session 3 FOR THE LEADER The Good Shepherd Psalm 23:1-6 David was a shepherd in his youth (1 Sam. 16:11). As a shepherd, he would have spent long hours alone with his father s sheep. Sheep not only provided food and wool for the family, they were also a measure of family wealth. Therefore, a shepherd s responsibility for the sheep s welfare impacted the family s survival and status. The wilderness of Judah could be an inhospitable place for sheep. Water and grass were scarce. Consequently, David would have frequently moved his flocks to new locations to feed and water them satisfactorily. He fought predators, such as bears and lions, in order to protect his sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-37). During David s night watch over his flocks, he would have had the opportunity to gaze at the infinite stars twinkling overhead. Instead of feeling insignificant in the vastness of the universe, David recognized that God had given humanity a special role in creation. This outward paradox elicited great praise for the Lord from David (Ps. 8:1-9). In Psalm 23, David depicted his relationship to God in terms of a shepherd and his sheep. David drew from his own experience of knowing what his sheep needed and knowing what he offered them. Just as David supplied nourishment, protection, and shelter for his sheep, God provided direction, security, and care for David. Later, others would pick up on his metaphor here and identify the Lord as the Shepherd of Israel (Ps. 80:1; Isa. 40:11; Ezek. 34:11-16). Jesus also used the imagery and employed it to depict His relationship to His followers (John 10:1-21). Jesus described the Good Shepherd as the One who gives His life to prevent harm to His sheep. Jesus is that One! His sheep have an intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd and they respond to His voice. Jesus being our Shepherd is personal, just like it was for David. Session 3: The Good Shepherd 21

2 OVERVIEW SESSION FOCUS CORE PASSAGE: Psalm 23:1-6 CONNECTION PASSAGE: John 10:1-21 FAMILY MEMORY VERSE: Psalm 23:1 TEXT TRUTH: God is our provider and protector. GET STARTED 10 MINUTES BIBLE STUDY 35 MINUTES SMALL GROUP 30 MINUTES GET STARTED TOOLS Who s That Sound: bell or noisemaker BIBLE STUDY TOOLS Jumping In: Family Cards Examine the Text: Christ in Context: Psalms (Poster Pack), Bibles The Bible Story: Sheepfold and Text Truth Strips (Poster Pack) Video: Explore the Bible on Location videos Memory Verse: Psalm 23:1 (Poster Pack) Prayer: Text Truth Strips (Poster Pack) SMALL GROUP TOOLS Explorer Guides: Bibles, Explorer Guides, pens Move: Allergy Alert (enhanced CD), yarn, balloon, tables Explore: new fly swatters, tape, notecards, pens Examine: Bible Book Cards (enhanced CD), timer NOTE: Downloadable versions of DVD items are available in the Digital Video Bundle. Downloadable versions of enhanced CD items are available in the Music and Print Extras Bundle. For free online training on how to lead a group, visit ministrygrid.com/web/explorethebible. 22 Explore the Bible: Older Kids

3 BIBLE STORY JESUS IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD CONNECTION PASSAGE: John 10:1-21 One day Jesus taught the people about who He is. Jesus explained that He is like a shepherd. When a shepherd opens the door and enters the pen of the sheep, the sheep hear his voice. The shepherd knows each of his sheep and calls them by name. The sheep will run from a stranger. They don t recognize the voice of the stranger and will not follow him. The people were confused and didn t understand what Jesus was telling them, so Jesus told them more. I am the door of the sheep. If anyone follows Me, he will be saved. He will be cared for. I have come so that people may have life and have it in abundance. A thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy, Jesus said. Jesus told the people, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd will die for His sheep. A man who is not the shepherd will run away from the sheep when a wolf comes. But I am the good shepherd, I know My sheep and will die for them. CHRIST IN CONTEXT: The Book of Psalms reveals our need for a Savior. Psalms includes prophecies about Jesus, the Messiah and Savior. Jesus explained in Luke 24 that the Book of Psalms taught people about Him. Psalms highlights our need for salvation and that God, our Redeemer, provides salvation to those who trust in Him. CONNECTION STATEMENT: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He provided for our greatest need He sacrificed himself on the cross to pay the price for our sin. Jesus continued, My sheep know Me. I will die for my sheep. No one will make Me do this. I am willing to die for my sheep, but I will not stay away. I will live again. God has commanded Me to do this. KEY CONNECTIONS TO PSALMS CORE PASSAGE: Psalm 23:1-6 God provides for our needs. We may not get everything we want. David, who was a shepherd, wrote Psalm 23. Session 3: The Good Shepherd 23

4 GET STARTED TOOLS: Who s That Sound: bell or noisemaker GET STARTED (10 MINUTES) WHO S THAT SOUND? Say: Life is full of noise. We sometimes get to decide what we listen to, but most of the time we hear noises we never choose. Part of our study today emphasizes listening. It doesn t focus on literal sounds. It s about the source of teachings and beliefs and truth. Continue: There are many false teachers and wrong beliefs capable of distracting us if we re not paying close attention. They re like noises we won t be able to avoid. The solution is to focus on the source of truth God. Provide a bell or other noisemaker that will only make a sound when activated. Select a volunteer to sit facing away from the group with her eyes closed. Give the bell to someone in the group, and have him ring it. The volunteer will guess who she believes rang the bell. If the group is large enough, she might be able to turn around to face everyone again to narrow her options. If her guess is correct, the person who rang the bell will take her place, and she will give the bell to someone else to ring. If her guess is incorrect, she will remain in place to guess again, and the bell ringer will pass it along to someone else. Repeat as many times as possible. Say: There is only one source of truth. There s only One who deserves to be heard Jesus. Listen for His message in today s study. Transition to Bible Study. 24 Explore the Bible: Older Kids

5 BIBLE STUDY BIBLE STUDY (35 MINUTES) JUMPING IN Select a few volunteers, and instruct the rest of the kids to close their eyes. Send the volunteers to stand in different places around the room. Explain that you will say a kid s name, and she will raise her hand when she hears her name. If possible, each kid should have a chance to raise her hand. Warn them not to respond to the volunteers or anyone else s name. Direct the volunteers to quietly move around the room and occasionally say a name. To add mild distractions, allow them to include names of people not in the room. Even with closed eyes, the kids should easily recognize when to raise their hands. Distribute the Family Cards and describe the object for the session. Discuss the responsibilities of a shepherd, and emphasize that the relationship with his sheep is an example of devotion and trust. Say: You recognized my voice when I said your name. You didn t need to see me to know when to raise your hand. Similarly, sheep know when to respond to their shepherd. TOOLS: Jumping In: Family Cards Examine the Text: Christ in Context: Psalms (Poster Pack), Bibles The Bible Story: Sheepfold and Text Truth Strips (Poster Pack) Video: Explore the Bible on Location videos Memory Verse: Psalm 23:1 (Poster Pack) Prayer: Text Truth Strips (Poster Pack) OPTION: Display the Shepherd visual from the DVD-ROM when you discuss the object. EXAMINE THE TEXT Encourage the kids to open their Bibles to Psalm 23. Say: There are a number of references in the Bible that compare people to sheep that need a shepherd. Sheep are completely dependent on their shepherd. Psalm 23 identifies the Lord as a shepherd and illustrates what it is to be completely dependent on Him. Read or have the kids help read Psalm 23:1-6. Say: In the very first verse of this passage, David identified the Lord as his protector and provider. The rest of the passage reveals the depth of his trust in God. He was confident that God would take care of him. He knew that he would lack nothing, because God would determine his needs and fulfill them in the best way. Continue: This Psalm outlined all the ways that David could express his trust in God. He belonged to the Lord, during his life and for eternity. Display the Christ in Context: Psalms poster for a volunteer to read. Say: We can trust Jesus in every circumstance. He is the Good Shepherd. THE BIBLE STORY Tell the Bible story using the provided script as a guide. Say: In our story today, we see that Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd. He was aware that the people listening would know Psalm 23 and recognize that, by calling Himself the Good Shepherd, He was calling Himself the Lord. Review any key elements of the story to help the kids compare what Session 3: The Good Shepherd 25

6 BIBLE STUDY a shepherd does for his sheep to what Jesus does for His followers. Emphasize their mutual recognition, the sheep s dependence, and the shepherd s devotion. Within this discussion, help the kids understand that the door is the only legitimate way into the sheep pen (fold) and any other attempt is a thief or wolf. Display the Sheepfold poster to help kids visualize the importance of the shepherd being the door to the pen. Say: Jesus was using the example of a shepherd to illustrate salvation. A shepherd will risk his life to protect his sheep. What did Jesus mean when He said that He would die for His sheep? Allow the kids to respond. Guide them to a proper understanding of Jesus death on the cross and how it protects us from the judgment of sin. Say: Jesus cares for His people much more than a shepherd cares for his sheep. There s no need for us to wander, because we can follow Him. He is the Good Shepherd who provides salvation. Display the Text Truth Strip for a volunteer to read aloud. God is our provider and protector. PLAY THE VIDEO Play the Session 3 video. Ask: Who did Kaileigh visit in the video? What did they help her learn about? Who is the ultimate rescue specialist? What did David say about God in Psalm 23? MEMORY VERSE Review the previous week s verse, Psalm 78:35. Ask: Did you help anyone memorize the verse last week? Allow time for the kids to share stories of memorizing with their families. Display the Psalm 23:1 poster. Offer someone the opportunity to lead the group in reading it together. Explain that committing this verse to memory will serve as a reminder that God is our provider and protector. PRAYER Say: It s comforting to know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. His sacrifice on the cross conquered sin. Nothing is more powerful than the love of the Savior. Refer to the Text Truth: God is our provider and protector. Close in prayer and dismiss to Small Group. 26 Explore the Bible: Older Kids

7 SMALL GROUP SMALL GROUP (30 MINUTES) EXPLORER GUIDES Instruct the kids to open their Explorer Guides to The Good Shepherd. Say: Let s talk about the Word to Know for today. Help kids understand the word is used to describe who wrote Psalm 23. Lead kids to read aloud Who Was David? and All About Sheep. Ask a volunteer to read aloud the information about today s object in Shepherd. Help kids use their Bibles to complete the Gospel Review activity. Invite girls and boys to solve the Sheep Letter Scramble. PRAYER TIME Share a personal example or testimony of the comfort of Jesus. Connect it to any aspect of today s study to show the kids that what they are learning relates to everyday life. Pray that the kids will be able to recognize Jesus as the Good Shepherd and trust in Him in every way. TOOLS: Explorer Guides: Bibles, Explorer Guides, pens TECH CONNECT (OPTIONAL) Prior to class, download the Explore the Bible: Kids Family App. Use the activity labeled Explorer Plus on the app. ACTIVITIES Select one or more of the activities to complete as time allows. MOVE YARN BALL Tools: Allergy Alert (enhanced CD), yarn, balloons, tables Yarn ball is very simple. There can be as many teams as there are available tables. Each team will require one balloon and enough yarn to reach lengthwise across both sides of the table. Teammates will stand at opposite ends of the table and use stretched yarn to maneuver the balloon from one end of the table to the other. The balloon may touch the table, float in the air, or touch the yarn. If it touches a person or the floor, it must be returned to the starting point for the team to begin again. The kid at the starting end of the table will not move away from his position. His feet must remain in the same place the entire time. If there are multiple kids on the starting side, they will all remain in place. The goal for each team is to get the balloon to fall off the far end of the table. Once a balloon has been maneuvered with the yarn to the end of the table, falls, and touches the floor, all team members will call out the Text Truth: God is our provider and protector. The first team to complete the task wins. Play again as time allows. Session 3: The Good Shepherd 27

8 SMALL GROUP EXPLORE EXAMINE TRUTH SWAT Tools: new fly swatters, tape, notecards, pens The kids will take notecards and write individual words of the Text Truth on each card. Do this ahead of time, if necessary. They will then randomly tape the notecards on the floor. It will probably not work to have multiples of the same words, but words not included in the Text Truth will add difficulty and improve the game. All of the notecards must be placed in the same general location within easy reach of all players. Form two teams, and provide two flyswatters for each team. Announce a random word from the Text Truth: God is our provider and protector. The first kid to swat the correct word earns a point for her team. If her teammate swats an incorrect word, the point does not count. Repeat words, and use extra words not on any cards to add confusion. Be sure to use all the words from the Text Truth. Bring no attention to which words have been used. The first player to notice that the Text Truth was completed can recite the Text Truth and win the game for his team. Option: If flyswatters are not available, a paper towel roll will work, but extras might be necessary. BIBLE BOOKS ORDER Tools: Bible Book Cards (1 set per team, enhanced CD), timer Form as many teams as possible with each team using a separate set of Bible Book Cards. Each team of kids will stand in a circle around a table or section of floor. They will work together to put the Bible Book Cards in order. Once all the kids have had time to see the cards in order for a minute, they mix the cards and randomly spread them out within the circle or on the table. It will work best if they are not all facing up or turned in the same direction. Begin by having kids immediately switch to another team s section to place the cards back in order. Announce the first word of the Text Truth: God is our provider and protector. Every time a word from the Text Truth is announced, the teams must switch to another team s section to continue putting the cards in order. Regardless of where they began, the first team to get all the cards in the correct order will win the game. If no team completes the task before the entire Text Truth has been announced, they must mix up the cards and begin again. 28 Explore the Bible: Older Kids

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