When the Hebrews first left Egypt, they thought they might be in the desert for three months. Surprise: It took a lot longer than that to find the Promise Land, why? Because God is not the fairy Godmother. He doesn’t wave wands and make everything easy for us. He wanted the Hebrews to labor to build up their strength, their cohesiveness, and their faith in Him. This Bible study lesson will help teach children that, while laboring away in school all year might not be the most fun thing kids have ever done, their own Promised Land is at the other end.
Bible Study Lesson Materials
– Poster board
– Dark marker pen
Bible Study Lesson
Begin by asking questions and writing down the answers that kids give. The paper will get kind of messy with writing, so don’t write huge:
What’s your absolute least favorite subject in school? Write down the answers. Engage them in answering the question “why” each time, though you don’t have to write that down. Most common answer will probably be, “It’s boring.”
What’s your least favorite food? Write down answers. (Triggers: brussels sprouts, beets, spinach)
What’s your least favorite household chore? Write down answers. (Triggers: scrubbing the bathroom, doing dishes)
Finally, what’s your least favorite punishment when you upset your parents? Write down answers: (Triggers: Being sent to your room, being grounded, having your phone or TV taken away)
Wow. This board is starting to look depressing! Is there anything good on here at all? Ew, no.
How can we make this board fun? Adding things that are fun.
We could do that. But soon, we celebrate Labor Day. Does anyone know what “labor” is? Labor is “work.”
For most people, Labor Day means that summer fun is ending, and now it’s time for vacations to end, and for beach and pool time to turn back into school and work time.
So, let’s do something else first. Let’s first think of rewards and consequences.
Point back to “least favorite subject in school.” Ask, what happens to us if we don’t study our school subjects? Even the ones we don’t like? We won’t pass; we can fail; we can have to go to summer school; we have to go to special classes; we’ll be embarrassed in front of our friends. What happens if we do study hard? (Write down these answers.) (Triggers: We’ll get the best grade we can; we can be proud of our effort; we can get rewards for good grades.)
Let’s look at our least favorite foods. What happens if we don’t eat veggies? You get unhealthy. You can’t think as fast or as hard. You can get sick.
What happens if you do eat your veggies? (Write down these answers.) (Triggers: You stay healthier. You have better concentration. You have more pep and energy. Your heart stays healthy.)
Now, let’s look at chores. What happens if you don’t do your chores? Your bathroom gets dirty and disgusting. You run out of clean clothes. Mold could grow up the walls. The carpets would get ratty and full of dirt. Dust would be everywhere. What happens when you do your chores? (Write down these answers.) (Triggers: House stays clean. Everything is organized. You won’t cough on the dust. The bathroom is shiny. Your bed sheets won’t get tangled.)
Finally, let’s look at our least favorite thing of all: getting punished. What happens if we never got punished? How would we act if there were zero consequences for bad behavior? We would grow spoiled and entitled. We would think we can get away with anything. We could get mean. We would be really fresh to your parents and teacher. We would get lazy and disrespectful.
What happens to us if we are corrected for something we did wrong? (Write down these answers.) (Triggers: We learn to be bigger and better people. We learn to have discipline. We learn not to make the same mistake twice. We learn that actions have consequences.)
It is important that we go through some things in life that are not fun, isn’t it? When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, the people thought they would be in the desert for a few months. Why did it end up taking them 40 years to get the Promised Land? Take answers.
The real answer is that God needed them to labor – to become stronger, more organized, more courageous, and to have more faith. Granted, the Hebrews made some huge mistakes. Making the Golden Idol and bowing down to worship it was just one. That was a lack of faith. Another mistake that happened over and over was that they were constantly griping about how much they hated the things God was asking them to do to make them stronger.
God would be all, “Really? Do you want to be stronger or not?”
On Labor Day weekend, we are celebrating a return to our labor for the school year. When we don’t enjoy doing something, let’s remember that God is not the fairy godmother. He doesn’t often wave His hand over you and drop great things on your head. He wants you to work for them. He wants you to be strong. We get there by doing the things He tells us to do – like study your best, eat your veggies, do your chores, and “man up” when the consequences of your actions get your privileges taken away.
“Man up” means to not blame others, but to confess. And try to learn from it for yourself.
Most importantly as we prepare to become better people through this year’s labor, let’s remember that the most important element is faith.
I. Hebrews 11:6 says this: “”¦without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Let’s diligently seek God this year, and He will get us through the hard times the quickest and easiest way He can, so that we are still bigger and better people by this time next year.
Write “Promised Land” at the very top of all your scribbles. Have kids take turns naming a goal for this year, either developing a character trait or a skill they would like to improve at. Go around the outside of the paper writing down all those good traits, so that this last bit of scribble acts like a wreath.
Hang it on the wall for a few weeks to remind kids of their best goals and attitudes.