MEETING AIM: To encourage us to find rest, comfort and strength in God and to encourage us to lean on each other.
BIBLE PASSAGE: 2 Kings 19:1-19
BACKGROUND: It might seem a tricky ask for young people from the 21st Century to get their heads around warfare and politics from more than 2,500 years ago, but the story of Hezekiah holds some eternal truths for your group to explore. Hezekiah is under tremendous pressure from the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Isaiah predicts Sennacherib’s downfall, but the Assyrian king continues to spread fake news about Judah’s fate. There are parallels with our faith and what the world tells us is true. How easy is it to rely on God when faced with terrible situations and lies about our lives?
Welcome the young people and share out any refreshments you have brought. Chat together about what has happened this week. Rejoice in the young people’s triumphs and sympathise with their difficulties. Use this time to build relationships and settle into the session.
Ask an older (and stronger) young person to lean backwards onto the back of a younger or smaller member of the group, so the older teen is resting completely on them. See how long they can stay in this position for, but keep an eye on the younger person to avoid injury! Depending on the size of the group, you could use a number of young people.
Chat about how sometimes situations can be overwhelming, weighing us down and becoming too much to handle. It is especially in times like these though that God wants us to lean on him. He loves us dearly and like a good father, he will not leave us alone when we face difficulties.
You will need: Bibles; large sheets of paper; marker pens
Introduce Hezekiah to the young people.
Hezekiah was king of Judah when the Assyrian empire was the region’s superpower. King Sennacherib of Assyria and his predecessors had laid waste to nations, imprisoning and deporting captives from their homelands to different territories. In a futile attempt to halt the might of Assyria and appease Sennacherib, Hezekiah gave him all Judah’s precious ornaments but it wasn’t enough! Sennacherib still wanted more and when King Hezekiah decided to stand firm, he posed a crucial question that went to the very core of Hezekiah and of Judah: “On what are you basing this confidence of yours?” Discuss these questions in pairs:
- How do you react to challenging situations? Let the group give examples they are comfortable sharing. You should also have your own examples ready, just in case.
- What would you have done if you were Hezekiah?
Read 2 Kings 19:1-19 and make two lists.
In one list, write down what God says will happen (through the prophet Isaiah). On the other write what Sennacherib says will happen. Ask the group again what they would have done if they were Hezekiah. Who would they have believed?
Leaning on God means trusting him to see us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Solutions may or may not be instantaneous but he does promise a kind of illogical peace that thrives in the midst of chaos. 1 Corinthians 12:9 says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Continue your exploration of the passage by discussing these questions:
- What do you think happened next? (Read 2 Kings 19:35-37 to find out.)
- How easy is it to believe what others say, rather than what God says?
- Who do we have in our lives to lean on? What about leaning on God? Is that easy to do?
You will need: pens and paper; cushions; reflective music and the means to play it
Give the group 30 seconds to write the names of two or three people they can wholeheartedly rely on or call trustworthy. Once they’ve done this, encourage them to think about whether they would be on anyone else’s list. We cannot always solve our problems ourselves and at times, God wants us to share with one another in order to make our loads a little bit lighter and to give us the experience we need to help others in the future.
Give fluffy cushions to the group to rest their heads on as if resting on God. Play your reflective music and encourage the group to intentionally let go and rest on God. After a few minutes, read this quote from Karen Sloan: “We are designed by God to be dependent. It is a twofold dependence – firstly, directly upon God, and secondly, indirectly upon God through those people God brings into our lives. Our existence is to be one of interconnection, not isolation.”
You will need: Post-it notes; pens; basket
Close by creating a prayer wall. Ask each young person to write a prayer point on a Post-it note. Put them all in a basket and ask each person (depending on group size) to randomly pick a prayer sheet and spend a few minutes praying about it. After they’ve prayed, stick their prayer sheet on a board or wall. They could also take a picture of the wall as a reminder that someone is praying for them and vice versa.
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