Gen. 22.1-18; Heb. 11. 17-19
God called Abraham to offer up his son Isaac, and he responded with total obedience. This took great faith on Abraham’s part, because it was through his son that all of what God promised him was going to be fulfilled. Because Abraham trusted God fully he was willing to obey God, even with a command as tough as this one. God’s promises to us are fulfilled through his own son Jesus. We know that we can always trust God’s promises!
“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ”
– 2 Corinthians 1.20a (NLT)
Explain to the kids that each week you’re looking at a story from the Old Testament* that points to Jesus. It’s often helpful to briefly review the previous week’s lesson.
Object Lesson (Leap the ruler**)
Supplies: A ruler, or anything to use as a place-marker on the ground.
Use this object lesson to review what we’ve been talking about in the previous weeks. Tell the kids that you’re going to put the ruler on the ground and jump over it. Promise them that you can do it! (Put ruler down in front of you and leap over.) Repeat the same exercise, promising that you can jump over the ruler, but this time with the ruler a little further, where it’s a bit more of an effort to jump over it. Thirdly, place the ruler far enough so that you obviously wouldn’t be able to jump over it and make as though you’re getting ready to jump. Ask the kids if they think you should promise that you can do it. Why would it not be a good idea to make this promise? [Because it isn’t within your human power to make the promise true.]
We’ve being speaking about some of the promises that God made. God can do anything. And whatever He says He is going to do, He will do. He is trustworthy, and Abraham decided to trust God. One day God came to Abram and He made a promise to him. God promised that He would 1) give Abram land; 2) turn his family into a great nation; 3) make his name great; 4) bless all the families of the world through him. So God made this promise, or to match our object picture, He placed the ruler down on the ground and then said He was going to leap over it. Can God leap over the ruler?
God told Abram to leave Haran and go to the land where He showed Him to go. Eventually Abram got to the land of Canaan and settled there. So, at this point in the story God has only partially come through on part 1 of the promise: land. Everything depended on Abraham having a son. Well, God miraculously gave Abram his promised son, which meant that the promises could come true. In Gen 21.12 God tells Abraham that his offspring will be named through Isaac, which means that Isaac is the promised son. But in today’s story we see a problem come up!
Props you may want to use: A walking stick to designate Abraham, a dishcloth for Isaac’s head, small sturdy table as an alter, two pieces of wood as ‘firewood’, a balloon as a knife.
Act out the story from Gen. 22.1-18 with the kids. As firewood use 2 pieces of wood that you can form a cross out of. When you come to the part about building the alter and laying the wood (v. 9), put the wood on the table in the shape of a cross. The kids shouldn’t notice this until the end.
Don’t overdramatize the sacrifice part of the story, especially for the little ones. If you’re going to use a knife prop make sure that it’s obvious to the children that it’s a prop.
Ask the children if they can think of another father in the Bible who’s son was sacrificed on a mountain. At this point you can lift up the firewood, holding it in the shape of a cross. Remind them of Abraham’s words “God will provide for himself the lamb” (v. 8)
Tell them that all of God’s promises to Abraham depended on him having a son but the Bible tells us that all of God’s promises are fulfilled in Christ! God’s promise to Abraham was that all the nations of the world will be blessed. Jesus died so that anyone who believes in him could be part of God’s promised people. That includes you and me!
Prayer: Thank God for sending his Son Jesus and making a way for us to be close to him. Thank him that we can always trust his promises. Pray for wisdom and courage for the children as they seek to follow God.
* Old Testament: The first part of the Bible that tells the story of God’s people and explains his promise.
** Object lesson borrowed from Future Flying Saucers
Walk of faith
This crazy activity on faith helps demonstrate what it means to listen, trust and do. Just like Abraham listened to God, trusted him and acted on that trust believing God will keep his promises.
Supplies: Plastic table cloth, carton of eggs, bananas, can of whipped cream and several paper plates, blindfold.
How to Play: Choose two contestants; kids you know are good at following instructions. Send them out of the room with an adult volunteer. Lay out the table cloth and have the rest of the children sit around it. Place the eggs, bananas and plates with whip cream all over the table cloth so there is no clear path to walk across it. Tell the children you are going to test the volunteers to see if they have “faith” and that the kids can help, but they cannot tell the volunteers the “trick.”
Have one contestant come back in. (the others needs to stay outside or where they can’t see what’s going on) Show them the tablecloth and ask the child if they trust you. Tell them you “promise” that you will guide them across the tablecloth, and if they listen carefully, they will not step on any of the items. If they agree, have them remove their shoes and then blindfold them.
Here’s the trick: once they are blindfolded, have two adult volunteers carefully and quietly remove the items from the table cloth to the sides. Make sure the children watching don’t say anything. Spin the contestant three times and line them up at the start. Here is the fun part. Tell the contestant to do exactly what you say. For example, tell them to pick up their right foot really high and place it one step in front of them. Tell them to pick up their left foot really high and bring it next to their right foot. Then to pick up their right foot and take a big step to the right, making it sound like they are just missing an item. The point is to have them do funny things to get across, with them thinking they are about to step on something gross. The kids watching can help cheering directions as well. IMPORTANT: As they cross, have the adult volunteers quietly place the items back on the tablecloth. Once they reach the end, remove the blindfold and let them look back to see that they crossed over the items safely and congratulate them on their faith and trusting you to keep your promise!
Do the same thing again with the second contestant. If you want to “sacrifice” the adult volunteer make them stay out of the room until the second contestant is done, then have them come in and do the same thing as the kids only do not remove the items and let them step on a few as they cross. The kids watching will love it. Just make sure you have some towels for clean up!
Featured Image Credit: Sacrifice of Isaac by Giambattista Pittoni (1713)