God wants our worship to be sincere.

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1 Praise Jesus! God Rejects the Israelites Worship Lesson 8 Bible Point God wants our worship to be sincere. Bible Verse Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Growing Closer to Jesus Students will n identify obstacles to sincere worship, n brainstorm solutions to those obstacles, and n experience worshipping God through song and through silence. Teacher Enrichment Bible Basis n God rejects the Israelites worship. Amos 3:13-15; 5:21-27 In Amos day, Bethel was not a place where God was being honored. The Israelites pursued their own interests, their own comforts, their own reputations. This was a period of considerable economic and political growth for the northern kingdom. But as is so often the case, external prosperity led to internal complacency. God was especially angry at the means by which many of the wealthy had gained their wealth: The poor were exploited, and the courts gave verdicts favorable for the society s privileged (see Amos 5:10-11). God called on Israel to replace the abundance of false religious activities with an abundance of justice (5:21-24). In Amos day, false gods were commonly worshipped. Bethel was also home to one of two golden calves made at the direction of the wicked king Jeroboam I. Jeroboam reasoned that the Israelites would not need to go to the Temple in Jerusalem if they could worship an idol in Bethel (see 1 Kings 12:26-33). Much earlier the Israelites who came out of Egypt worshipped a golden calf and that event became one of the most infamous examples of Israel s spiritual failures. Yet they repeated the sin exactly! Other Scriptures used in this lesson are Exodus 15:9-21; Amos 5:10-12, 21-27; Habakkuk 2:20; and Matthew 5: Prayer Read Matthew 5: Which is easier: performing external rituals well or having a heart that is right before God? To which activity do you typically apply the most effort? How can you get your heart right with God before continuing with external religious activities? Pray: Lord, no one can fake it before you. Why do we so often try? Help me to be genuine in my worship. Help me teach children to be genuine before you. 93

2 Lesson 8 Before the Lesson n Collect the necessary items for the activities you plan to use, referring to the Classroom Supplies and Learning Lab Supplies listed on the chart. n Make photocopies of the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) to send home with your children. n Pray for your students and for God s direction as you teach the lesson. This Lesson at a Glance Attention Grabber What Children Will Do Classroom Supplies Learning Lab Supplies Simon Says Try to follow a leader who says one thing but does another. Bible Exploration & Application Joyful Noise Make musical instruments and perform with them, read Amos 5:10-12, 21-27, and discuss what makes worship displeasing to God. Worship Blockers Try to shoot baskets while others block them, read Matthew 5:23-24, and discuss how to get past the things that block our worship. Songs and Silence Read Exodus 15:19-21 and Habakkuk 2:20, and experience worship in song and in silence. Worship Whys and Hows Write ways they ll worship God this week, and then pray. Bibles, construction paper, transparent tape, markers, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, stapler, scissors Bibles, newsprint, masking tape, paper, pencils, markers Bibles, CD player Black fine-tip permanent markers Closing Praise Bouquet Make a bouquet of foam flowers, and offer praise to God. Bibles, pencils, transparent tape 94

3 Welcome God Rejects the Israelites Worship As kids arrive, discuss how they put last week s lesson into action. Ask questions such as How did you experience God s love this week? and Did confessing your sins bring you closer to God? Tell kids that whenever you sound the giggle hammer, they are to stop talking and focus their attention on you. Explain that it s important to respond to this signal quickly so the class can do as many fun activities as possible. Repeating the Bible Point over and over will help the children remember it and apply it to their lives. Help children learn one point that will stay with them for days and even years to come. Attention Grabber n Simon Says SUPPLIES: none Say: Let s get going today by playing a rousing game of Simon Says. Ready? Play the game, asking kids to do simple movements when you say, Simon says. However, every time you give a command, do something different from what you said. For example, if you say, Simon says put your hands on your head, put your hands on your hips instead. Play for a while, gradually speeding up. Allow kids to stay in the game even if they make mistakes. After a few minutes of play, have kids form a semicircle. Ask: What went through your mind when we were playing this game? (I kept doing what you did instead of what you said; I kept getting mixed up; I was too busy to think much of anything.) What do you think about people who say one thing and do another in real life? (I don t trust them; you never know what to believe.) Why do people say one thing and do the opposite? (To fool you; to make them look good at the time; because they re lazy.) What are some ways that people in church do things without really meaning them? (They sing the songs but don t think about the words; they close their eyes during prayer, but they don t really pray.) Say: God wants our worship to be sincere. But sometimes we find ourselves just going through the motions. Let s see what a prophet named Amos had to say to some people who had the same problem. 95

4 Lesson 8 Bible Exploration & Application n Joyful Noise SUPPLIES: Bibles, construction paper, transparent tape, markers, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, stapler, scissors Set out plastic stirrers, construction paper, transparent tape, markers, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, a stapler, and scissors. Have kids form groups of four. Say: Each of you may use these materials to make a musical instrument. Then, using all of your instruments, have everyone in your foursome practice a musical number that you can perform for the rest of the class. You may need to give kids ideas for simple instruments. Examples might include poking paper clips through the edge of a sheet of construction paper to make a tambourine; simply having one person hold a sheet of construction paper while another person beats on it as if it s a drum; or folding a sheet of construction paper in half, filling it with several paper clips, and stapling around the edges. After all the groups have performed, give a round of applause with an occasional Bravo! or Encore! Have students number off within their groups from one to four. Say: Discuss the next few questions in your groups. After I ask each question, I ll call out a number from one to four. The person in your group whose number I call out will be responsible for sharing your answer. Ask: In your opinion, what makes music worth listening to? (If I like the tune; if it has good words; if it s by a band I like.) What do you think makes music worshipful? (If it s about God; if it tells how great God is; if it s quiet, like prayer.) Say: The Bible tells us that the Israelites would sing songs of worship to praise God but their actions often didn t go along with the words they sang. The prophet Amos brought a message to the Israelites. He told them how God felt about their meaningless worship. Distribute Bibles, and have one person in each group read Amos 5:21-27 aloud. Continue to call out numbers after you ask each of the following questions. Ask: How would you describe how God felt about the Israelites worship? (Angry; he thought it was just noise; it was unacceptable; he wanted to ignore it.) Why do you think God felt that way? (Because the people made God angry; because the people weren t being good or fair.) Have a person in each group read Amos 5:10-12 aloud. Ask: What can you learn about the Israelites from these verses? (They got rich off the poor; they were liars; they hurt good people; they were criminals.) How did the people s everyday lives affect how God felt about their worship? (God didn t care how much they praised him in worship if they didn t live out their faith; treating others right is more important to God than giving him offerings.) What can we learn from God s words to the Israelites? (God wants me to live out what I say on Sunday; if I m not living right, God won t listen to my praise; God wants my praise to be sincere.) 96

5 Say: God wants our worship to be sincere. Let s explore the things that can get between us and God. Have kids put their instruments away. Collect the plastic stirrers for use in later lessons. HANDS-ON BIBLE Say: Amos was a shepherd and a person who took care of trees, but God called him to a bigger job that of being a prophet! Have kids turn in their Hands-On Bibles to the What Do You Want to Be? activity found on page 885. Set out paper and markers for kids to use as they make their family-job trees. When everyone s finished writing and drawing, have kids form pairs. Have partners explain their trees to each other. Then invite kids to present their partners trees to the rest of the class. Encourage kids to take their tree pictures home with them to share with their families. God Rejects the Israelites Worship n Worship Blockers SUPPLIES: Bibles, masking tape, newsprint, paper, pencils, markers Stack several chairs one on top of the other, and move the stack against a wall. Place the flying flipper on top of the chairs. Use masking tape to mark off an area about 4 feet away from the chairs on all three sides. Give two kids a sheet of newsprint, and distribute the popping eyeballs evenly among the rest of the kids. Say: When I give the signal, you ll have 15 seconds to toss as many popping eyeballs as you can into the flipper. The kids holding the paper will try to block your shots with the paper. Only they may go inside the area marked off with masking tape. Give the signal with the giggle hammer, and let kids play for 15 seconds. Give the giggle hammer signal again, and choose two different students to block the shots. Continue playing 15-second rounds until everyone has had a chance both to shoot and to block. Put away the flying flipper and the popping eyeballs for use in later lessons. Tape the newsprint on the wall. Have kids form groups of three, and give each group a Bible. Have each group select a Scripture Reader, a Recorder, and a Reporter. Give each Recorder a sheet of paper and a pencil to record the group s answers to the following questions. Give each Reporter a marker. Ask: What was it like trying to get the popping eyeballs onto the flipper? (Frustrating; impossible; easy; rewarding; fun.) How did this activity compare to sending our praise and worship to God? (Aiming the eyeballs was hard because other things got in the way, just like things get in the way of our worship; I have to concentrate on what I m doing for both things.) Bible Insight Amos was born in Tekoa, a village six miles south of Bethlehem, in the hills overlooking barren Judean wilderness. It s possible that Tekoa s solemn surroundings were the inspiration for Amos remarks on Judah s religious emptiness. If the classroom chairs don t stack, set the flying flipper on a table instead. 97

6 Lesson 8 Then say: The blockers made it hard for the eyeballs to make it to the flipper. Sometimes things block us from worshipping the way God wants us to. Matthew 5:23-24 tells us one thing that might get in the way. Have the Scripture Reader in each group read Matthew 5:23-24 aloud. Ask: According to these verses, what s one thing that can block a person s worship from God? (A fight with another person; not having peaceful friendships; our emotions.) Allow Reporters to share their groups responses. Then ask: What are some other things that can cause interference in worship? Have your Recorder write each worship blocker on its own line, leaving space to write after it. (Letting your mind wander; doodling instead of listening; not singing during song time.) What could you do to remove each of these worship blockers? Have your Recorder write your ideas after each of the worship blockers. (Concentrate instead of letting your mind wander; take notes instead of doodling; sing and think about the words even if you don t like the tune.) Have the Reporters use markers to write their group s list of worship blockers and solutions on the newsprint. Have kids form a semicircle facing the newsprint. Ask: Which of these solutions could you try next time you re in church? Come up and put your initials by at least one solution you will try. When everyone has initialed the newsprint, say: God wants our worship to be sincere. He wants the things in our hearts and minds to match the things we re saying or singing with our mouths. Let s experience worshipping God first with songs and then with silence. n Songs and Silence SUPPLIES: Bibles, CD player Cue the CD to Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10) tracks 15, 16 (track 15). Have the kids form a circle. Let them follow along in their Bibles as you read Exodus 15:19-21 aloud. Say: Stand when you ve thought of an answer to the next question. I d like to hear lots of different, interesting answers. When you give an answer, you may sit down. If someone says an answer you thought of and you don t have anything more to add, you may sit down, too. Ask: In one word, how would you describe what the Israelites singing must have been like after they crossed the Red Sea? (Loud; excited; happy; danceable.) What do you think about that kind of singing? (I like it; it gets you moving; it s OK.) How do you think God feels about that kind of singing? (He likes it; it s good to sing like that if you re thanking God for something.) Do you think the people were worshipping God when they sang that song? Explain. (Yes, because they were praising God; yes, because they must have really meant it; yes, because God had just saved their lives.) Say: There are all kinds of ways to worship God. We can worship him with loud and lively songs the way the Israelites we just read about did. We can also worship God with quiet songs. Let s sing a song to God, too, only ours will be a quiet one. 98

7 Ask: What would make our worship meaningful as we sing this song? (Thinking about God; thinking about good things God did for us; remembering God s power.) Play Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10) on the CD, and encourage kids to sing along. (Lyrics are at the back of this book.) When the song ends, turn off the CD player. Have someone read Habakkuk 2:20. Allow kids to freely respond to the following questions. Ask: How do you usually respond to the quiet or silent times in worship? (I get sleepy; I think about other stuff; I can t really concentrate on praying.) What do you think God wants from you during quiet times of worship? (He wants me to think about him; he wants me to be respectful; he wants me listening instead of making noise.) Have the children scatter around the room to find places where they can sit by themselves. Say: Some of us prefer loud singing over quiet thinking times. But loud singing and quiet times can both be a part of worship. As we listen to the next song, sit quietly and use the time to think about God or to pray silently. Play God Is So Good (track 16) on the CD. Afterward, say: We can worship God with loud songs and in silence. We can worship God with offerings and prayers. We can also worship God by reading the Bible. But whatever we do, God wants our worship to be sincere. Put away the CD for use in later lessons. God Rejects the Israelites Worship n Worship Whys and Hows SUPPLIES: black fine-tip permanent markers Have the kids gather in a circle on the floor. Show the kids the streamer wand. Say: Today we ve talked about what the Bible says about worshipping God. We ve talked about how important it is for our worship to be sincere. Now, let s talk about how we can worship God every day. We ll consider all that we ve read in the Bible about sincere worship. Ask: What does the Bible have to say about why God is worthy of worship? (He does powerful things; God takes care of his people.) What s your favorite way to worship God? (I like to sing praise songs; I pray and tell him I love him.) Have the kids use a black permanent marker to write their ideas on the remaining strip of the streamer. Ask: What does the Bible have to say about how we worship God? (We can sing; we can shout; we can pray; we can obey what God says.) Have the kids use a black permanent marker to write their ideas on the other side of the streamer. 99

8 Lesson 8 Capitalize on your students strengths. Learn to let your students shine by drawing on their strengths and allowing each of them to make positive contributions to the group. For example, try pairing children who know the Bible story with children who are hearing it for the first time. Let your students teach each other. Say: Turn to a partner right now, and tell your partner why you d like to worship God this week. Pause. Now tell your partner which of these ideas that we ve written on the streamer you d like to do this week to worship God. Pause. Say: Let s all take a turn twirling the streamer wand. When it s your turn, tell God about why and how you will worship him sincerely this week. Give everyone a chance to twirl the streamer wand and pray. Say: One important reason to worship God is because he sent Jesus. Without Jesus, we could never get close to God. We could never get to heaven. Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins. And he came back to life, showing his power over death and sin. When we believe in Jesus, he ll be our best friend here on earth, and someday we can live with him forever in heaven. Let s give God a big cheer to thank him for sending Jesus! Lead kids in a cheer for God. Closing n Praise Bouquet SUPPLIES: Bibles, pencils, transparent tape Have kids find partners. Distribute pencils, foam flowers, and transparent tape. Say: Tape your flower to the eraser end of your pencil so that it looks like a flower on a stem. Then exchange flowers with your partner. As you do, give each other a few words of praise by completing the sentence: I m glad you came today because When partners have affirmed each other, say: You just praised each other. God loves to hear praise from us, too. Tell your partner one way you ll sincerely worship and praise God this week. Pause to let kids talk. Invite volunteers to share their ideas with the rest of the class. Say: Let s look at today s Bible verse. Have kids read Psalm 100:4 aloud together several times: Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Have kids form a circle, and set the modeling clay on a table or chair in the center of the circle. Say: Giving God praise is like giving God a bouquet of flowers. Let s give God a bouquet of praise. One at a time, come forward and say a one-sentence prayer of praise. For example, you might say, God, I praise you because you are allpowerful. Then poke the stem of your foam flower into the modeling clay. When everyone has offered a prayer of praise, say: God wants our worship to be sincere. When our worship is sincere, God accepts it and enjoys it. Put the modeling clay and foam flowers back in the Learning Lab. 100

9 God Rejects the Israelites Worship Growing closer to Jesus extends beyond the classroom. Photocopy the Hands-On Fun at Home handout (at the end of this lesson) for this week, and send it home with your kids. Encourage kids and parents to use the handout to spark meaningful discussion on this week s topic. 101

10 LESSON 8 God wants our worship to be sincere. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Go to a worship service as a family this week. Have each family member make a note of one part of the worship that was especially meaningful. At home, share what was meaningful to you and why. Take a walk in your neighborhood, taking pictures of things you want to praise God for. (Don t forget to look for things in your own house!) Use a photo album or notebook to make a Praise Album. Offer a prayer of praise to God for each object or person pictured. Read Psalm 100:1-2. When was the last time you shouted out some good news? What was the news? What has God done that is worth shouting about? Read Psalm 100:3. What are some abilities God has given you? How can you use those abilities to worship God? Read Psalm 100:4. What is your favorite praise song? Share what it means to you. Read Psalm 100:5. What things happened this week that remind you that God is good? Many of the psalms are prayers to God. This week, each time you eat a meal together, let one family member take a turn choosing a psalm to read as a family prayer. 102 Permission to photocopy this handout from Group s Hands-On Bible Curriculum Grades 3 & 4 granted for local church use. Copyright Group Publishing, Inc., 1515 Cascade Avenue, Loveland, CO group.com

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