LESSON OVERVIEW/SCHEDULE

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1 TEACHER BIBLE STUDY Following Joshua s death, the Israelites were without a leader. They fell into a cycle of sin that can be seen during each reign of the judges. The cycle is marked by an A-B-C-D-E pattern. Let s look at the first judge, Othniel, to see this pattern. First, the people Abandoned God. They turned away and served other gods. (Judges 3:7) Next, they experienced a period of Bondage. God was angry with the Israelites, and He gave them into the hand of the king of Aram. (v. 8) Third, the people Cried out to God. (v. 9) God sent a Deliverer to save them. (vv. 9-10) Finally, they had Ease in the land. (v. 11) Then Othniel died. This pattern continued with Ehud. The people had again turned from God. Their abandonment made God angry. He sent them into bondage by strengthening the king of Moab to defeat Israel. The Israelites served the king of Moab for 18 years. The Moabites were fat, especially the king. They enjoyed the fruit of the Israelites labor while the Israelites went hungry. By thrusting a sword into the king s belly, Ehud disemboweled the king and left him dead on the floor of his room. The fat covered over the handle of the sword so that Ehud could not remove it. After Ehud delivered Israel, the Israelites struck down the Moabites and there was peace in the land for eighty years. But Ehud would die, and they would need another judge to lead them. The Israelites needed someone better than a judge; they needed a king who would save them not only from the consequences of their sin, but the sin itself. That was all part of God s plan. God sent a true Deliverer; His Son Jesus died for our sin and delivered us forever from the oppression of sin and death. LESSON OVERVIEW/SCHEDULE Session Title: The First Judges Bible Passage: Judges 3:7-31 Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Key Passage: Judges 2:18 Unit Christ Connection: God used the judges to deliver His people from their enemies; Christ delivers people from the greatest enemy, Satan. Transition Time Welcome time Activity sheet/table Centers Session starter (10 minutes) 1

2 Lesson Countdown Introduce the session (1 minute) Timeline Map (1 minute) Big picture question (1 minute) Sing (5 minutes) Key passage (4 minutes) Tell the Bible story (10 minutes) Discussion starter video (3 minutes) The Gospel: God s Plan for Me (optional) Prayer (5 minutes) Table Time Timeline map (1 minute) Bible story review (10 minutes) Large Group Review / Activities Key passage activity (5 minutes) Activity choice (10 minutes) Prayer (5 minutes) THE BIBLE STORY/OVERVIEW The First Judges Judges 3:7-31 Joshua had died. Without a strong leader, the Israelites began to disobey God and worship false gods. They forgot about the one true God. God was angry. He let an enemy king take over the Israelites, and they served the king for eight years. Then the Israelites remembered how good they had it when they loved and obeyed God. They cried out to Him, Save us! God wanted the people to love and obey Him, so God raised up Othniel (AHTH nih el) to rule over them as the first judge. Othniel led the Israelites into battle against the king of Aram, and God helped the Israelites win. The land was peaceful for 40 years, then Othniel died. Again, Israel forgot about God. God gave the king of Moab power to attack the Israelites and defeat them. The Israelites served the king of Moab for 18 years. The Israelites were sad. They remembered how good they had it when they loved and obeyed God. They cried out to Him, Save us! So God raised up Ehud (EE huhd) to save them. The Israelites sent Ehud to the king of Moab, who was a very fat man. Ehud had a doubleedged sword under his clothes. Ehud said, I have a secret message for you. The king dismissed all his attendants so he was alone with Ehud. When the king stood up, Ehud pulled out his sword. He pushed it into the king s belly. The sword was swallowed up by the king s fat. Ehud couldn t even pull it out! Ehud escaped down 2

3 the porch, locking the doors of the room behind him. Ehud was gone when the king s servants came in. The door was locked and they thought he was using the bathroom. They waited, but the king never opened the door. The servants got worried, so they unlocked the door and found their king dead on the floor! When Ehud escaped, he blew a ram s horn and he became the Israelites leader. God will help us defeat our enemies, the Moabites, Ehud told them. So the Israelites battled the Moabites and took control over them. There was peace in the land for 80 years. When Ehud died, the Israelites forgot God again. They turned away from Him. When they remembered how good they had it when they loved and obeyed God, they cried out to Him, Save us! God sent a third judge, Shamgar (SHAM gahr), to save them. Christ Connection: The judges saved the people from the consequences of their sin, but not the cause of it. God s plan was to one day send a true deliverer Jesus, His own Son to be the King of His people. Jesus saves people from sin forever. TRANSITION TIME Session Title: The First Judges Bible Passage: Judges 3:7-31 Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Key Passage: Judges 2:18 Unit Christ Connection: God used the judges to deliver His people from their enemies; Christ delivers people from the greatest enemy, Satan. Welcome time Tip: As kids arrive this is a great time to collect the offering, fill out attendance sheets, and help new kids connect to your group. Arriving Activity: Purpose Finder 4 or 5 small everyday items of your choice Before kids arrive, place several items together on a table. Invite the kids to look at and touch the items and try to figure out what they are used for. Use everyday items like a pencil, an eraser, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and so forth. If available, use some uncommon items too. Encourage kids to talk about other uses for the items. Kids may want to sort items by where they are used (at school, at home, inside, outside). Before you start the session, talk about each item and its purpose. Say Everything we own is used for something. It all has a purpose or plan. Today, we will talk about how God accomplishes His plan. 3

4 Activities/Table Centers (5 minutes) Table Centers (Miscellaneous Activities) Complete the Pattern activity sheet / Bible Story Coloring Sheet, 1 per kid markers, colored pencils, crayons Guide boys and girls to complete the activity page. Say The Israelites made it into the land God promised. After they moved in, a pattern in the way they lived formed and it wasn t a good one. We ll find out more in just a few moments. Session Starter (10 minutes) Option 1: Left-Hand Game ball or paperwad Instruct the kids to form one large circle or several small ones. Invite the kids to toss a ball or paper wad. The player with the ball may toss it to the kid of his choice. However, kids may only use their left hands to throw it. Encourage them to not let the paper wad or ball hit the ground. Say How many of you thought this game was more difficult because you had to use your left hand? That s probably because you are right-handed. How many of you thought it was easy? You are probably left-handed. Today, we will learn about a hero of the Israelites who was left-handed. Option 2: Gavel Snack paper towels, 1 per kid pretzel sticks marshmallows Distribute a paper towel, pretzel sticks, and marshmallows to each kid. Use mini marshmallows with small pretzel sticks or regular-size marshmallows with large pretzel rods. Demonstrate how to push the pretzel into the side of the marshmallow to form a gavel. Once the kids form gavels, they may eat them as a snack. Say Judges use gavels to get the attention of the people and to rule in a courtroom. In today s story, we are going to look at three judges who didn t use a gavel to get the people s attention, but they did rule over God s people. Transition to large group 4

5 LESSON Session Title: The First Judges Bible Passage: Judges 3:7-31 Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Key Passage: Judges 2:18 Unit Christ Connection: God used the judges to deliver His people from their enemies; Christ delivers people from the greatest enemy, Satan. Suggested Theme Decorating Ideas: The theme for this unit centers around judges on a reality show. Position a judges table at the front of the room. Create a red carpet entrance by unrolling red fabric or long, red paper and securing it to the floor with appropriate tape. Hang long curtains or fabric behind your teaching area to represent theater curtains. If your ministry has some spotlights or can lights, arrange them around the teaching area. Countdown countdown video (on provided DVD with lesson videos and worship) Show the countdown video as you clean-up table centers, set up classroom chairs for lesson and set it to end as large group time begins. Introduce the session (1 minute) camera [Large Group Leader enters the room with a camera.] Leader I can t believe I was invited to this event! I even brought my camera so I can take pictures. Obviously, you all were invited too. I can t believe we have front row seats to You Judge the Judge. For the next few weeks, we get to see some of the most well-known Israelite judges. We all get to share our thoughts on each judge. We get to judge the judge. Let s get started. Timeline Map (1 minute) Timeline Map (small group visual pack copies provided for Table Time Review) Leader The judges were Israelite leaders who came after Moses and Joshua. When the Israelites sinned, God punished them by letting other nations be in charge of them. After a while, they realized they needed God and asked Him to save them. God used a judge to free and lead His people. Here s our first look at today s judge. I understand there are three of them. They are The First Judges. Big picture question (1 minute) Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? - 11x17 poster provided Leader God used different types of leaders throughout the Old Testament. He used judges, 5

6 prophets, priests, and kings to lead the Israelites. We can learn about each one. Do you know where? Right! They are all in the Bible. Did you bring yours today? I hope so. Let s hear our big picture question. How does God accomplish His plan? Sing (5 minutes) Worship Song: My Deliverer (on provided DVD) Leader Throughout their history, the Israelites moved away from God unless a strong leader was in control. They found themselves bound by their own sin and asked for someone to save them. Still, none of the earthly judges were the perfect leaders. They all pointed to another leader the perfect Judge, Prophet, Priest, and King. Do you know who that is? Right! It s Jesus. Jesus was their Deliverer. He still delivers those who call on Him. Sing together My Deliverer. Key passage (4 minutes) Key Passage Poster: Judges 2:18 (provided) Worship Song: As Long As the Judge Was Alive (on provided DVD) Leader It s time to learn a new key passage. Over the next four weeks, we will be studying Judges 2:18. Show the slide or poster of the unit s key passage, Judges 2:18. Lead the boys and girls to read the verse together. Leader God never turned His back on His people. They turned their backs on Him. He waited for them to figure that out and call on Him again. Sing together As Long As the Judge Was Alive. Tell the Bible story (10 minutes) The First Judges video (on provided DVD) Bibles, 1 per kid Bible Story Picture Slide or Poster Leader It s time to meet the first three judges God used to save His people. Let s open our Bibles to Judges 3. Don t forget about our big picture question. How does God accomplish His plan? Choose to tell the Bible story in your own words using the script provided, or show the video The First Judges. Leader Did you notice a pattern? The people of Israel sinned. God sent an enemy to remind them how much they needed Him. They asked God for help. He sent someone to free the people and lead them. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Redemption means to pay a price to get something back. The Israelites faced the consequences for their sin, and God used a judge to bring them back to Himself. The first judge was Othniel. Othniel was related to Caleb. Does anyone remember who Caleb was? He was one of the twelve spies Moses sent to see what was in the promised land. 6

7 The spies came back with a bad report, but Joshua and Caleb trusted God. God blessed them for their obedience. We don t know much more about Othniel, but we know God used him as a judge for 40 years. He died and the people refused to follow God. This time God sent a mean king named Eglon. For 18 years, the Israelites served this king until they cried out again. Then God sent Ehud. Ehud was left-handed, which was rare. God used his left-handed ability to kill the mean king and set the people free. The Israelites were free for 80 years. The third chapter of Judges also mentions a third judge. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an oxgoad. An oxgoad is an 8-foot long stick with a pointed end. It was used for farming, but God used it to deliver His people. Ask the following review questions: Who is the first judge mentioned in the Book of Judges? (Othniel, Judges 3:9) What made Ehud different from most others? (He was left-handed, Judges 3:15) How did Ehud get King Eglon to meet with him alone? (Ehud told Eglon that he had a secret to tell him, Judges 3:19) How long was Israel at peace because of Ehud? (80 years, Judges 3:30) What did Shamgar use against the Philistines? (oxgoad, Judges 3:31) Discussion starter video (3 minutes) Unit 9, Session 1 - Discussion Starter Video (on provided DVD) Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? - 11x17 poster provided Leader How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Could God use you? Watch this video. Show the discussion starter video. Leader Do you think God can use you in His plan for redemption? What are some ways He can use you? God chose to use people to tell others about Jesus and to direct them to God s Word. God can use what we say and do to point others to Jesus. After all, Jesus was able to do what the judges could not. The judges freed the people from the consequences of their sin. Jesus frees us from sin itself because He took the punishment for sin once and for all. Jesus is God s plan for redemption of all people. The Gospel: God s Plan for Me (optional) Use Scripture and the guide provided with this session to explain to boys and girls how to become a Christian. Assign individuals to meet with kids who have more questions. If this is not possible, encourage boys and girls to ask their parents, small group leaders, or other Christian adults any questions they may have about becoming a Christian. 7

8 Prayer (5 minutes) Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? - 11x17 poster provided Show the big picture question slide or poster. Leader Did you notice the big picture question and answer? How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Invite those who are left-handed to ask the big picture question and those who are right-handed to answer. Swap roles and repeat. Before transitioning to small group, make any necessary announcements. Lead the kids in prayer. Pray that God will use your kids to tell others about Jesus. Dismiss to small groups for Table Time The Gospel: God s Plan for Me Ask kids if they have ever heard the word gospel. Clarify that the word gospel means good news. It is the message about Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation. Use the following guide to share the gospel with kids. God rules. Explain to kids that the Bible tells us God created everything, and He is in charge of everything. Invite a volunteer to read Genesis 1:1 from the Bible. Read Revelation 4:11 or Colossians 1:16-17 aloud and explain what these verses mean. We sinned. Tell kids that since the time of Adam and Eve, everyone has chosen to disobey God. (Romans 3:23) The Bible calls this sin. Because God is holy, God cannot be around sin. Sin separates us from God and deserves God s punishment of death. (Romans 6:23) God provided. Choose a child to read John 3:16 aloud. Say that God sent His Son, Jesus, the perfect solution to our sin problem, to rescue us from the punishment we deserve. It s something we, as sinners, could never earn on our own. Jesus alone saves us. Read and explain Ephesians 2:8-9. Jesus gives. Share with kids that Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. Because Jesus gave up His life for us, we can be welcomed into God s family for eternity. This is the best gift ever! Read Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21; or 1 Peter 3:18. We respond. Tell kids that they can respond to Jesus. Read Romans 10:9-10,13. Review these aspects of our response: Believe in your heart that Jesus alone saves you through what He s already done on the cross. Repent, turning from self and sin to Jesus. Tell God and others that your faith is in Jesus. Offer to talk with any child who is interested in responding to Jesus. 8

9 TABLE TIME LEADER Session Title: The First Judges Bible Passage: Judges 3:7-31 Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. Key Passage: Judges 2:18 Unit Christ Connection: God used the judges to deliver His people from their enemies; Christ delivers people from the greatest enemy, Satan. Bible story review (10 minutes) Bibles, 1 per kid Timeline (small group visual pack extra copies provided for Table Time Review) Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? (11x17 poster provided in classroom) paper (3 pieces) markers tape Tip: Divide children into small groups for table time. Each group should include an adult leader at the table. Encourage kids to find Judges 3 in their Bibles. Help them as needed. Say Judges is located in the Old Testament. The book comes right after Joshua as part of the division called History. The Book of Judges tells about the leaders of Israel who came after Moses and Joshua. Use the small group visual pack to show kids where today s Bible story is on the timeline. Review the Bible story provided or summarize the story in your own words. Attach a piece of paper to three different walls in the room. Write Othniel on one of the papers, Ehud on another, and Shamgar on the final paper. Explain to the kids that the group is going to play Who Am I? Read the following questions and encourage the kids to go to the wall they think has the correct answer: Who was the first judge? (Othniel) Who told the king he had a secret message to give him? (Ehud) Who was the third judge? (Shamgar) Who killed the king with a sword? (Ehud) Who killed 600 Philistines? (Shamgar) Who battled the king of Aram? (Othniel) Who battled his enemy with an oxgoad? (Shamgar) Who was a judge for 40 years? (Othniel) Who does the Bible say was left-handed? (Ehud) Show the big picture question slide or poster. Say Here s a reminder of the big picture question and answer. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. 9

10 The Israelites redemption was only temporary. Once the people cried out, God sent someone to lead them to victory. After that judge died, the people once again quit worshiping and serving God. Our redemption through Jesus is forever. Jesus paid the price for our sins once and for all. LARGE GROUP REVIEW AND ACTIVITIES Key passage activity (5 minutes) Three Judges Instructions Key Passage Poster: Judges 2:18 (provided) Make sure the key passage, Judges 2:18, is visible for each child, either as the printed poster or written on a dry erase board. Read the verse together. Say God cared about His people even though they stopped worshiping and obeying Him. When they cried out for help, God used people to deliver them from their enemies. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. God didn t just use the judges to accomplish His plan; He uses me and you to share Jesus with others. Choose three volunteers to be judges. Form three or four groups with the remaining kids. Read the verse together several times so kids are comfortable with the passage. Instruct the kids how to say the verse. For example, tell them to say the verse loudly, softly, quickly, and slowly. Invite the three volunteers to judge which group was best at following the instructions. Change up judges and groups, and play again as time allows. Activity choice (10 minutes) Option 1: God Uses Me dry erase board dry erase markers dice Draw a winding path on the dry erase board. Every few inches, put a mark, line, or X across the path. Mark about 20 spots along the path to create a gameboard. Invite the first kid to name something she really likes to do. She may then roll the dice and move that many spots on the gameboard. If she can share a way to tell others about Jesus, she may roll again for a bonus move. Play until someone reaches the end or time runs out. If you have lots of kids, create multiple gameboards. Say God can use you to tell others about Him. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. 10

11 Option 2: Left-Hand Craft heavyweight piece of paper (1 per kid) washable school glue sand or glitter Distribute a piece of heavyweight paper to each child. Pour a generous amount of school glue on a paper plate. Demonstrate how to place your left hand in the glue and leave a handprint on the paper. Once kids make their handprints, provide glitter or sand to sprinkle onto the glue. Encourage each kid to write God can use me! below her handprint. Say God used a left-handed man named Ehud to free the Israelites from an evil king. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. God can use us to share about Jesus. Jesus is God s plan to redeem people of all nations. Prayer and Clean-Up (5 minutes) Say Let s say our big picture question and answer one last time. How does God accomplish His plan? God works in the lives of people to bring about His plan for redemption. If time remains, take prayer requests. End the session with prayer, thanking God for using us in His plans. Pray for each child by name, asking God to help each one see how God is working in his or her life and in the lives of others. 11

12 Instructions: Complete each pattern below. UNIT 9 Session 1 Younger Kids Activity Pages 2012 LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay The Judges

13 The First Judges Judges 3: LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay

14 Family Journal Page The Judges Think of one or two believers at church or in the community whom you admire. Talk about why you admire them. Share that just as God works in their lives to accomplish His plan, and just as He did with the judges in ancient Israel, God works in the lives of your family members. Write in the space below how you see God using the person(s) you named. The First Judges Judges 3:7-31 Preschool Key Passage: Big Picture Question: Christ Connection: After God s people sinned, the judges helped God s people obey God again. But the judges could not change the people s hearts and make them love God. God had a plan. He sent His Son Jesus to change their hearts and save them from sin forever. Kids Key Passage: Big Picture Question: Christ Connection: The judges saved the people from the consequences of their sin, but not the cause of it. God s plan was to one day send a true Deliverer Jesus, His own Son to be the King of His people. Jesus saves people from sin forever. OK TO PRINT

15 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. Judges 2:18 OK TO PRINT The Judges

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