This lesson was taught at WEPC Kids Club on October 16, 2019.
Main Theme of whole year: “King David shows us Jesus!” He does it by showing us what a good king looks like! He does it also by showing us that even good people do terrible things and we need Jesus! God rescues good people and God rescues bad people.
An Elementary School Lesson on 1 Samuel 4:1 – 7:17
Into the Box
Every week, we look in the box to discover what we are learning about this week.
Pull out board that says DAGON
I wonder who that is!? Let’s see…
Introduction – weightiness / Glory
But first – what is something that is heavy? Listen to answers, then bring out a dumbbell.
Is this dumbbell heavy or light?
What is something that is light? Listen to answers, then bring out a balloon.
Is this balloon heavy or light?
The point of this part of the story is this: God is heavy!
Let me show you…
We will leave Samuel for a bit. He’s in the temple of God, serving and listening to God and waiting.
Meanwhile over here, at Ebenezer, there is a BATTLE!!!
4:1: “The Israelites went out to fight against the Philistines.”
Who are the Philistine? They are descendants from Egyptians and they lived in the land with the Israelites.
Ever since Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, the Philistines have been a constant threat and enemy from within the country. Some of the judges fought the Philistines (Shamgar, Samson). And then here they are again…
But do you remember the lesson about Hannah – is this a good time in Israel? Was it a safe place? NO! In fact, the people of God have turned from God and they no longer listened to God’s voice, but instead did their own thing.
So… the Israelites go to battle… and LOSE!! About 4,000 people died. Oh no!
They come up with a plan… let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant into battle with us! This is like bringing God into battle. Sounds good, right?
So they battle again against the Philistines WITH THE ARK BESIDE THEM!
They go and get the Ark from the priests – Hophni and Phineas (Eli’s sons).
They bring the ark into the camp and the Israelites are cheering so loudly that the Philistines got scared.
6 The Philistines heard the noise. They asked, “What’s all that shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” Then the Philistines found out that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. 7 So they were afraid. “A god has come into their camp,” they said. “Oh no! Nothing like this has ever happened before. 8 How terrible it will be for us! Who will save us from the power of these mighty gods? They struck down the people of Egypt in the desert. They sent all kinds of plagues on them. 9 Philistines, be strong! Fight like men! If you don’t, you will come under the control of the Hebrews. You will become their slaves, just as they have been your slaves. Fight like men!”
So they went to battle. And guess what happened?
The Israelites LOST AGAIN!!
30,000 men died that day.
Hophni and Phineas died.
The Ark was captured.
A young man ran back to the temple and found Eli and told him that his sons have died and that the Ark has been captured. Israel ran away from the Philistines. Large numbers of men in the army were wounded or killed. Your two sons Hophni and Phinehas are also dead. And the ark of God has been captured.
18 Eli fell backward off his chair. He had been sitting by the side of the gate. When he fell, he broke his neck and died. He was old and fat. He had led Israel for 40 years.
Eli was fat because he stole from the fat of the offerings.
(He was heavy, but they treated God lightly)
Phineas’ wife also is dying from childbirth, and as she lay there, she whispered… “The God of glory has left Israel.” The Bible says this line twice – “The God of glory has left Israel.”
It was a terrible defeat!
Do you know what the word GLORY means – it means heavy.
God is HEAVY!
God is GLORIOUS!
The Israelites treated God like a balloon – like He was a token.
They treated God like a waiter in a restaurant. He is not important and part of our dinner. But we call on him when we need something. “Let’s bring out the Ark to make God fight for us.”
Guess what? You and I do this too, sadly.
We think – if I do the right stuff – am gracious and kind and loving and a good neighbor and come to church and come to Kids Club and prayer and read my Bible – then God owes us something – he will bless us and give us what we want.
In a way, we think that God belongs to us, instead of us belonging to God.
Friends – God must be central to your life – not a part of it.
But the Israelites were not the only ones who treated God lightly.
You see – they have their own god – DAGON!
He was a statue and a false god – an idol in their temple.
(5:2) They took the Ark and put it in the temple next to the statue of their god.
The next morning, the town woke up and found the statue of their god lying face down in front of the Ark.
They propped their god back up (ha!).
The next morning – the same thing! Face down lying in front of the Ark. And not only that, but its head and hands were broken off.
The Philistines treated God like a balloon – a prize that is exciting at first, but it soon deflates and no longer means much to you.
When the Philistines brought the Ark into the temple of Dagon – they thought they won!
They placed the Ark in with Dagon, but God will not be mocked!
Before the True God, all false gods will fall.
The glory of God is so heavy – it is nuclear!
Point to Jesus
When Jesus died on the cross, the devil thought that he won.
But God will not be mocked.
On the third day, Jesus stood up victoriously.
Dagon didn’t win – he lost.
Sin doesn’t win – in the face of Jesus, it loses.
Conclude the story – the Ark returns
The Philistines take the Ark and return it back to the Israelites – “TAKE IT BACK!”
The Israelites take it – and place it in a guy’s house named Abinidab (7:1). And it stays there for TWENTY YEARS!!
But where has Samuel been?
What about you?
Samuel reenters the story in 7:3. He is not 30-ish years old. And what does he do?
He gathers the Israelites together and reminds them of something important:
Who are you for? The True God, or your own false gods?
Well… If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away (your sin) and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the LORD.
Samuel reminded the Israelites of two very important things that I remind you of:
- Turn to God / Repent
- True repentance means to run away from your sin.
We need to see the weight of God’s glory.
We need to see the extent of God’s love for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We need worship our true God.
Broken in the Box:
- Broken in the Box:
- What did we learn about today? DAGON
- And the Philistines and the Israelites AND US, we all fail to take God seriously.
- We need to see that God is heavy/glorious!
- But it doesn’t really solve our problem.
- Break the DAGON board
- While breaking it, say: “We need something else.”
- We need Jesus and the power He gives His people. Power to forgive, to love, to boldly move forward in life!
- At the end of the year, the first letters of each of the boards will scramble to spell: “King David Shows Us Jesus!”
DEEPER INTO THE SCRIPTURE & INTO THE LIVES OF THE KIDS
- Why did the Dagon statue fall down?
- In the story, when did the Philistines take God too lightly? Why do you think that is?
- In the story, when did the Israelites take God too lightly? Why do you think that is?
- How seriously do you take God?
- Are there sins you need to repent of?
- Are you feeling lost, despairing, threatened, or abandoned? How can the cross of Christ be an encouragement to you?