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BIBLE PASSAGE: Jeremiah 38:1-13
BACKGROUND: Jeremiah’s prophecies had been met with rejection among his people over and over again. He had been imprisoned and banished, and now his life was being threatened. God had warned the Israelites through Jeremiah that they should leave their city or they would be killed by the Babylonians. Yet again, the people didn’t want to listen. But even when Jeremiah might have been feeling alone, God was with him and was still looking out for him.
Invite the children to sit together in a circle. Encourage them to share stories from their week. Celebrate any birthdays or special events. It can be helpful to have an object or cuddly toy to pass around for the child who is talking to hold. Ask the children: “When do you like to chat to God?” Thank God that he is with you and ask him to help you learn more about him today.
You will need: 2 tablespooons of cocoa powder; 2 cups of flour; 2 cups of water; objects or toys to put in the ‘mud’ Before the session, mix the ingredients together to make mud. You could find another mud ‘recipe’ if you prefer or even use real mud!
Explain that in today’s story you’re going to hear about someone who ended up in squelchy mud. Even when he felt like he was alone in the mud, God was always with him. Encourage the children to play with the mud and join in with their play.
You will need: a tall pot or cardboard tube; play figures to be Jeremiah, the king’s officials, the king and Ebed-Melech; string; two magnets
Before the session, attach one magnet to a piece of string and one to your Jeremiah figure.
Gather the children together and tell this story:
Jeremiah was a prophet. Hold up your Jere- miah figure. He went around telling people what God was saying. ‘Walk’ Jeremiah this way and that. Because the people didn’t always like what they heard, lots didn’t listen to him. He had even been put in prison.
God told Jeremiah to tell the Israelites that anyone who stayed in the city would be destroyed. He said they would lose in battle to the Babylonians and that the city would be captured. He said that they could leave and then they would be safe, but the people didn’t like what they heard! Invite the children to pretend to be the people who were not listening or liking what Jeremiah was saying.
The king’s officials went to the king and said: “We should get rid of this man. He is not helping our people. We don’t want to listen to him!” Act out the story with your figures.
The king said: “OK. Do whatever you want to do with him.”
So they went and found Jeremiah, and they threw him into a broken and
empty well. There was no water, only mud. Jeremiah sank down into the squelchy mud. Throw your Jeremiah figure into your ‘well’. (You could even put some of your play mud from ‘Intro activity’ in the bottom.)
They left him there.
But Jeremiah wasn’t alone. God was with him.
A servant from the palace called Ebed-Melech heard about Jeremiah and went to the king, saying: “Please help Jeremiah. These men have been very unfair. Jeremiah is alone and there is no food for him.” Act out the story with your Ebed-Melech and king figures.
This king told Ebed-Melech to hurry up and get Jeremiah out! He took 30 men and lots of rags with him and they used them to pull Jeremiah out and rescue him. Use the magnet and string to ‘rescue’ Jeremiah. Invite each child to take a turn rescuing Jeremiah.
Jeremiah was never alone. God was always with him. God is always at work.
We can always talk to God because he is always there. When Jeremiah was sinking in that squelchy mud, God was with him and he had a plan.
God is always doing stuff, even when we can’t see what he’s doing.
Use these questions to talk about the story, encouraging everyone to join in:
- What was your favourite part of the story?
- How do you think Jeremiah felt at the bottom of the well?
- How do you think God felt when the king’s officials put Jeremiah in the well?
- When do you feel most alone? (Remind the children that however lonely they feel, God is there with them.)
You will need: sticker sheets with ‘God is always with me’ written or printed on them; felt-tip pens or crayons
Share with the children that God is always with us, just as he was with Jeremiah in the well. Even when we don’t know what is happening or we feel scared or alone, God is with us and he has a plan.
Give each child a sticker and invite them to decorate it. They can either wear it or take it away to stick somewhere at home. Then when they are on your own they can look at their sticker and remember that God is with them. They can chat to him and he will listen.
Invite all the children to share about somewhere they will go this week, then pray they will know that God is with them. You could do this in a ‘popcorn’ prayer style, with each child ‘popping up’ to name their place as you pray together:
“Thank you, God, that I can always talk to you. Thank you that you are always with me and that you always have a plan. Please be with me when I go to…”
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