“Don’t tell me what to do!”
That phrase either runs through the mind or pops out of the mouth of every preteen student at one time or another.
Instinctively, none of us like being told what to do, but as followers of Jesus it’s less about what we want and more about who we love and how we demonstrate it.
Use this preteen lesson to teach students that we obey God because we love Him.
- Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry
PRETEEN MINISTRY LESSON ON OBEDIENCE
Bible: Isaiah 38:1-5
Bottom Line: We obey God because we love Him.
- Masking tape
- Strips of fabric cut into blindfolds (one for each student)
OPENING GAME: CROWDED OBSTACLE COURSE
Use the masking tape to create two maze patterns on the floor – one for each team.
Note: You can find some great, easy maze patterns if you search the internet – “masking tape maze.”
Each maze should be wide enough for one person to walk through it and should extend from one side of your youth space to the other.
Cut strips of fabric to use as blindfolds and give one to each student.
Divide students into two teams of equal size.
Have each team pick one student from their team who will not be blindfolded.
Have the blindfolded students stand at one end of the maze and the un-blindfolded students stand at the other end of their individual team’s maze.
You will need one adult leader for each team that will watch the teams as they travel through the maze.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: Raise your hand if you enjoy being told what to do.
I could have just told you to raise your hands, but I really wanted you to do it because I wanted to know how you feel.
We’re about to play a game where you don’t get to choose what you want to do.
Well, only one of you from each of your teams will get to do what they want.
When I say “GO,” you’re going to put on your blindfolds and put your hands on the shoulders of the person in front of you.
Your teammate at the other end of the maze will begin telling you what to do so you can successfully make it through the maze – as a team.
If someone on your team steps outside of the maze lines or takes their blindfold off, the leader that is watching your team will take you out of the game and your team will have to start at the beginning of the maze again.
The object of the game is for your team to successfully walk through the maze.
Here’s a hint – walk slowly so you can hear instructions from your teammate that is telling you where to walk.
The team that makes it through the maze with the greatest number of people left at the end of the game – wins!
Say: Some people view being told what to do as “taking orders” or “being bossed around.”
But as followers of Jesus, being obedient to what God says is part of our daily lives.
When we obey what God tells us to do we should to do it out of a willing heart that understands His direction for our lives is given because He loves us.
So, when we make decisions that we wouldn’t have chosen on our own, but know it’s what God wants us to do, we need to trust that God knows what is best for us.
Sometimes that’s really hard – like when someone tells a lie about you and instead of getting back at them, you show them love.
Why? Because the Bible says to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
And sometimes it’s really, really hard to do the right thing – like if you saw someone drop money and your family could really use it to pay the bills.
But, you know that it doesn’t belong to you and the Bible says, “Don’t steal.”
So, instead of taking it you trust God to provide for your family.
I think we can agree that it’s much easier to be obey God when everything is going great in our lives, but what about the times when it isn’t.
“Obedience is not a momentary option... it is a die-cast decision made beforehand.”
Meaning that before you are ever in a situation where you have to choose to be obedient, you should have already decided that you will be obedient.
That is a quote from Nate Saint – a man who was killed by a tribe in Ecuador while he was sharing the Gospel.
Before he had the option to choose to obey God, he had already decided that he would – and in his case, no matter what.
Ask: Are you known as being an obedient person? What do obedient people do?
Allow a few responses from students.
In the Old Testament, we read about King Hezekiah.
Here are a few quick things about his life in case you have never heard of him:
He became the King of Judah when he was about 25 years old and reigned for 29 years.
His name means “Yahweh (Jehovah) strengthens.”
When he became king, he went to great lengths to get rid of the idols that were all over the city and place God back at the center of Jerusalem.
He was known as being a great and good king and for his obedience to God throughout his entire life.
Read Isaiah 38:1-5.
About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
Then this message came to Isaiah from the Lord:“Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life…”
This story is really interesting because Hezekiah was about to die.
In fact, God sent Isaiah, a prophet with a message for Hezekiah – “you are going to die.”
That would be an upsetting message to receive!
But Hezekiah reminded God how he had lived a faithful life of doing what pleased God.
And what did God do?
He sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah to tell him that He heard his prayer and was going to add fifteen years to his life!
Wow! Maybe that story wouldn’t have ended the same way if Hezekiah couldn’t say that about his life, or maybe it would have… we don’t know.
But God honored Hezekiah because Hezekiah had a heart that obeyed God.
Today, my prayer for each of you is that you would choose to obey God, not because you have to, but because you love Him and you want to honor Him with your life.
It won’t be easy, but if you ask, God will help you obey what He says.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Can you think of a time when it would have been easier to do what you wanted instead of obeying God?
- Have you ever seen someone suffer the consequences of disobeying God?
- Why is it sometimes difficult to do what God says?
- How do we know what God says? What are some ways that He talks to us?
- What did you learn from the story of King Hezekiah?
- What are some things you can do to help you choose to obey God before you have to make decisions?
- Do people who don’t follow God ever obey what He says? How?
- Does it get easier or harder to do the right things as you grow older?
- Think about the last time you disobeyed your parents or teachers. Why do you think you made the decisions you made?
- How does today’s lesson help you think about what it means to be obedient?
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