MEETING AIM: To see how we can trust in God no matter how difficult things seem.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Judges 4
BACKGROUND: Deborah is a leader of the Israelites at a difficult time. They are pressured from all sides by enemies, and from within by their own waywardness. God helps his people triumph against the odds, and they trust him once more. Deborah promises a similar triumph here, but Barak seems afraid to go. As you explore this story, help the children see how God keeps his people safe.
Gather the children together and share out any refreshments you have brought with you. Chat together about what has happened this week. What events did they enjoy? Did anything make them sad this week? Chat about who helps us when we have to do difficult things.
You will need: building blocks (wooden or plastic, such as Duplo); play people (such as Playmobil or Duplo)
Challenge the children to build a wall or house that will keep the play people safe. Chat about what helps them feel safe at home and explore how you can recreate that with your building blocks.
Place the people inside the house or behind the wall, and talk how the people might feel now that they are protected. Use this activity to chat about how God keeps you safe. Tell a story from your own life to help the children think about this.
You will need: Bible; building blocks and play people from ‘Intro activity’
Explain that you’re going to hear a story about God’s people. Show the children the book of Judges in the Bible. God’s people are being threatened by enemies and they are scared. He provides leaders for his people called ‘judges’. Say that you’re going to hear about one of those leaders – a woman called Deborah. Tell this story:
This is Deborah. Place a play person in the middle of your circle. She is a friend of God. She helps to lead God’s people. God’s people lived in dangerous times. There were lots of people who wanted to hurt them. Place more people around Deborah, facing inwards as if threatening her.
How would they stay safe? Get the children to build a wall around Deborah. The people of God couldn’t build a wall to keep them safe. The place where they lived was too big. They didn’t have enough time or bricks! Ask the children to remove the wall. How would they stay safe? Get some ideas from the children.
Deborah knew how to keep the people of God safe. They had to rely on God.
God had told her that he would help. She called her friend Barak. Place another play person next to Deborah. She told him that he had to go and fight their enemies. God had promised that he would help his people. How do you think Barak felt? Get some ideas from the children.
Barak was scared. Even though God had promised to keep him safe, he wanted Deborah to go with him.
Deborah said she would. However, Barak wasn’t going to defeat the enemies – someone else would win the victory.
Off they went to fight the enemies. Move Deborah and Barak around the circle of play people surrounding them. And God helped them to win. He kept them safe! Remove the ‘enemy’ people as you pass them. Then place Deborah and Barak back in the middle with their arms in the air (if possible).
Deborah and Barak sang a song to God to thank him for keeping them safe. Sing a song about thanking God.
Or simply cheer and shout: “Thank you, God!”
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns in contributing:
- God kept Deborah, Barak and his people safe. How do you think they felt?
- Why do you think Barak didn’t trust God to keep him safe?
- When do you sometimes feel scared? Who can you ask to help you?
- What does this story tell you about God? And about us?
Be sensitive when discussing feeling safe or in danger. Some children may be in difficult home or family situations. Make sure you follow your safeguarding procedure if you need to.
You will need: art materials
Ask the children to create a picture about what they have discovered today. It could be a scene from the story, something that God has said to them or something that the story has made them think about.
Chat together about the story and how God keeps us safe. Often, when hands are busy then minds are freed up to think more deeply; this activity could be a valuable time to process thoughts and talk. Try to make the most of the opportunity this provides.
You will need: play people
Give each child a play person and ask them to hold it in their hand. Say a brief prayer, thanking God for keeping Deborah and God’s people safe, when they were being threatened by their enemies.
Ask the children to think of some- thing that’s scary in their lives. Ask God to keep the children safe at these times. Then encourage the children to close their hand around the play person and think about God protecting them and keeping them safe.
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