God is good! Here’s a small one-hour session that will help children between 9 to 12 years of age learn that God is Good. Happy teaching!
|Age Group||5 to 8 Grade (9 to 12 years)|
|Story||Naaman is healed|
|Message||Taste and see that God is good. You can taste him by going to Him in prayer.|
|Bible Portion||2 Kings 5:1-15a|
|Memory Verse||Taste and see that the LORD is good. Psalm 34:8|
|Activity||The tasting competition (Game)|
Materials required: Small portions of snacks for each child (Toffee/cake/fruits)
[Give the snacks to the children and ask them to taste it]. Did you like what you just had? Was it good or bad? [Let the children answer: It was good!] Okay, now that you said it was good, how did you know that it was good? [Let the children answer: We know it was good because we tasted it] That’s right! You know some food is good or bad only when you taste it. The Bible asks us to taste something greater. Do you want to know what? [Let the children answer: Yes!]
Would you all repeat after me?
Taste and see that the LORD is good. Psalm 34:8
[Repeat the verse until the children learn by rote]
The Bible asks us to taste and see GOD! Does that sound a bit strange to anyone? How do we taste God? He is not a food to be eaten for sure! 😀
In today’s story, I am going to share with you an incident that happened long ago, where a man tasted God. How did he taste Him? Did he find Him to be good or bad? Well, you will have to wait till the end to know.
“Left! Right! Left! Left! Right! Left! Forward march!” ordered Naaman. Hundreds of soldiers stood before him obeying his orders. Are you wondering who this Naaman is? Naaman was the commander of the army of the King of Syria. He was a highly respected man. The king was very pleased with him because he had won many victories for him. He was the hero of the country! Everyone knew Naaman. There could have been little children pestering their parents for some “Naaman” Hero-figures.
Though this hero had a big success story, there was a painful side too. Naaman had leprosy. Do you know how bad leprosy is? It is a skin disease causing change of color and lumps on the skin. In most cases it ends up in painful smelly sores. It is quite contagious. So not many dare to touch a leper. Which in turn forces them to live a lonely life. Naaman, put up a big strong commander look outside, but he was a rotting lonely man inside. His family who knew his condition felt very sad for him. They wondered why such a hero had to have such a painful life.
Naaman though, never gave up. He went on wars and raids and would fight his best to win in all the battles. His men had gone on raid to the land of Israel. While returning, they brought a little girl from Israel. This little girl served Naaman’s wife. As she lived longer in Naaman’s house she learnt about the disease Naaman was struggling with. In her place, Israel, when anyone was sick they would ask God to heal them and God would heal them. She knew a man of God, named Elisha, who had prayed to God for many sick people and healed them.
One day, she went to her mistress and said, “Mam, I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in my place! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” When Mrs. Naaman heard that something good can happen to her husband, she was very excited. Soon word reached Naaman. He had already tried all the medication by the best doctors in his country, nothing good ever happened. The little girl’s words resounded in him and he thought to himself, “Let me just give this God a try. Maybe He can heal me”.
He went and told his king about the little girl’s words. His king was happy to hear about it and immediately wrote a letter to the king of Israel to help his most trusted servant, Naaman. Naaman was excited. He took some presents and supplies for the man of God whom he was going to meet. After a long journey, he and his servants reached Israel. Naaman went to the king’s palace in Israel and gave him his king’s letter. When the king of Israel read it, he was worried. He cried, “How can I heal you? Am I God?” Let me pause and ask you a question here – Do you think the king of Israel had tasted God? [Let the children answer: No!] I don’t think so too. Naaman had the same doubt – If this king had tasted God, he would know Him! He doesn’t seem to know him much!
Thankfully, Elisha, the man of God heard about all that happened in the palace. He immediately sent word and asked Naaman to come and meet him.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.” And the servant left. Naaman turned furious – “I am the hero of Syria, I am the commander of the country’s army! But look! This man has not even come out to see me!” In anger he said, “I thought he will come out, stand before me and call on the name of God, wave his hand over my spot, chant some spells and heal me!” His servants were afraid and were quietly listening to his rant. Naaman continued, “Now he wants me to wash myself in some river called Jordan here. Are there not better and clean rivers in my place? If I should wash in a river, it is better I do it in my place.” So he turned and left in rage.
His wise servants though afraid, gathered some courage and spoke to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean? Is it not simple? Why don’t you give it a try?”
Naaman being a good man, listened. He went to the river Jordan. He dipped himself once, nothing happened! He looked at his servants’ faces – they nodded saying “Six times more sir”. Naaman obeyed. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… and 7! He had dipped himself seven times. He came out of the water and looked at his servants. They looked at him speechless with surprise. His skin that had lumps and sores and that which was abnormally white as snow became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean. Words could not express the joy in Naaman’s life. He had tasted the God who heals. He had tasted a God who does good because He is good. Naaman and his servants went back to the man of God, full of happiness and said “There is no God in all the world except this God who is good”. Naaman tasted God and found him good.
So how do you think Naaman tasted God? [Let the children answer] Naaman tasted God by going to Him. Those days, people had to travel long distances to meet men of God who would then talk to God and find answers. But today, because of what Jesus did on the cross, you and I can directly talk to God wherever we are. You can go to God right from your bench during class interval. You can go to God when you are playing with your friends in the field. Going to God is as simple as talking to Him as you would talk to a friend. You can tell him what you need, how you feel, what someone did to you or about the beautiful butterfly you spotted or your wooden cricket ball or just about anything. This is what we call prayer. You can go to God from anywhere and anytime by praying to Him. When you pray He would listen and answer you. When He answers you, you will find He is good, very good in fact!
Shall we pray?
I will talk to you often from now. I want to taste you and see how good you are just like Naaman. Amen!
Game: The tasting competition
About the game: This game is a competition that will test the taste buds of the contestants. To make it more complicated and fun, combine more than one ingredient on each platter.
Materials required: Blended fruits or vegetables, pen/pencil, paper, stop watch, paper tissues.
- Prepare 4-5 kinds of food platter. Make at least 2 portions (20-30 ml) of each and put them in separate containers. Make sure you mark the containers with number/ alphabets to identify them yourself while scoring.
- To make a platter, combine finely chopped/ smashed/ blended fruits and vegetables.
- Here is an example list.
- Platter 1 : Apple juice + orange juice
- Platter 2 : Orange juice + lime juice
- Platter 3 : Beetroot juice + apple juice
- Platter 4 : Beetroot juice + Smashed potato + Orange juice
- Platter 5 : Smashed potato + lime juice
- Divide the children into equal teams of two or more, depending on the number of testing portions you have prepared.
- If there are more children, say more than 50, after dividing them into teams, invite 5-6 players who will represent the entire team and play the game.
- Ask the players in each team to form small team circles.
- Additionally you can asked them to name their team with something they think tastes very good (Jack fruit would be my personal choice 😀 )
- Hand out the writing materials to each team and start the stop watch.
- The teams will have 3 minutes to decide what ingredients are present in each platter. [Be prepared with lot of paper tissues]
- At the end of the stipulated time, the team that gets more number of ingredients right for each platter wins.
Message: You all tasted to find out what was there in each platter. Some tasted good and not that great. Which were your favorites? [Let the children answer] Which did you disliked the most? [Let the children answer] Today we learnt that there is someone who is good always. Who do you think He is? How do we taste Him? [Let the children answer]