Food in the Wilderness

Exodus 16.1-36; John 6.57-58

God always sustains his people! As the nation of Israel wandered through the wilderness, God led them and he fed them. The manna and the quail that God sent reminds us that we can trust in God and his promises each day. Jesus reminds us that he is the bread of life. In the same way that God kept the Israelites alive in the wilderness, he give us new life through his Son.

Key Verse

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ”

– 2 Corinthians 1.20a (NLT)

Lesson

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 (Eating every day)

Supplies: A box, breakfast place setting, cereal and milk.

Have all your supplies in a box in front of the class. Tell the kids that you’re going to tell them the story but that you’re really hungry because you haven’t had breakfast. Start setting a table for ‘breakfast’ and ask the kids why they think it’s important to eat breakfast. Why is it important to eat? Eating sustains you! When you eat, your body uses that food for energy so that you can run and play and think and learn. Jesus once said that “anyone who feeds on me will live because of me” (Jn. 6.57). That sounds really strange, but let’s look at a story from the Old Testament that helps to explain what Jesus meant.

Bible story.

Props you may want to use: A plastic table cloth, Pirate’s Booty.

Use your Bible or a children’s Bible to tell the story from Ex. 16.1-36.

Avoid just reading the full story. It’s a long portion of scripture with not much action. Act it out by collecting Pirate’s Booty into a jar. Some points of interest to highlight:

  • The people were moaning and complaining.
  • They forgot that they need to trust God’s promise.
  • God gave them clear instructions for how to gather the food for each day.
  • When it came it was like nothing they had ever seen before!
  • They called it manna, meaning “what is it?”
  • Not everyone listened to God’s instructions.
Application

God sustained his promised people through the wilderness with manna and quails to eat for years and years. Imagine how many different manna and quail recipes they must have had! The point is that God wanted his people to learn to trust him and depend on him each and every day.

Remember that we said that Jesus said that anyone who feeds on him would live? Well, Jesus compared himself to the manna that God sent to keep the Israelites alive. You see, we don’t just need to keep our bodies alive. God wants us to be spiritually alive and that comes from knowing Jesus. You get to trust Jesus and walk with him each and every day!

Prayer: Thank God for sending his Son Jesus to sustain us and to keep us 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.



Game (Measure it out)

This game is a relay and the objective is for each child to collect a handful of dried beans into a jar on a scale until the jar has an exact amount in it.

Supplies: Two scales, two jars, a large bowl of dried beans

How to Play: Divide the kids into two teams. Each team will be lined up behind a scale with a jar on it. Explain to the kids that God gave specific instructions to the Israelites. It’s important to always follow God’s instructions, so we’re going to play a game where we have to collect a very specific amount of manna (give a kids a specific amount that they need to collect, perhaps 16oz, depending on how many kids you have). We don’t have any manna, so we’ll be using beans instead. When the game starts, the two first kids in line run to collect manna from the bowl (alternatively you could have the beans scattered on a table cloth on the ground). Each child brings back a handful of beans and puts it in the jar until you have exactly 16oz. If the team has more, then the next person in line has to take out a few beans and take them back until the team has exactly 16oz. The first team to get the exact amount wins!


Craft (Wilderness Food Mobile)

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