Big Idea: God knows what is best for us, and we can trust Him to give it to us in His time.
Bible Passage: 1 Samuel 8-10.
Parent Prep: Over the last few weeks we have been working our way through Judges and now the book of Samuel. Since the start of last year, when we commenced in Genesis, we have been looking at God's Big Story to save the world and how He calls us into it. It's an exciting time for you to join us on this journey if you haven't already been following along. Here's a recap: It's a VIDEO from the Bible Project, which should bring you up to date with what's going on in the story so far, and will help you understand where we are as we begin in chapter 8 of 1 Samuel. (We will follow the same format each week: Prepare, Read, Talk, Listen, Do)
Next, Talk about the story with children:
The people wanted to be like every other nation and have a King. This meant that they were rejecting God as their king. God knew that a human king would boss them around, make their men fight in wars, make them pay taxes (take their money) and put them to work. God knew He was a better king than any human would be, but the people kept demanding a king. So, God gave them King Saul. As it turned out, Saul made a lot of mistakes and didn't turn out to be a very good king, even though he was very strong, handsome and smart.
God had a plan to give the people the very best King. Eventually, He came down to earth Himself, as King Jesus. King Jesus isn't like every other human king, because King Jesus doesn't just boss people around and make them love Him. King Jesus is caring, kind, forgiving, merciful, strong, protective, humble and never ever gives up. And, King Jesus is the only one who could really save the people from their sins. God knew that all along, and it was His plan to give us the perfect King, in His timing. We can trust that God always gives us what we really need, in His own time.
Listen. Here's some questions to ask around the table:
Older children: Have you ever wanted something because everyone around you has it? How did it make you feel to be the only one without it? What would you do if you were missing out on something everybody else has? Is it difficult or easy to go without something when everyone else has it? When it's difficult, what could you do about how you feel? Who could you talk to about finding peace about this? If you have been praying for something and God hasn't given it to you yet, how does that make you feel? Read Luke 12:27-32 together for reassurance of God's care for us while we wait for His answers.
Younger children: Who is the boss in this family? Why are mummy and daddy the boss? The job of a boss is to take care of everyone. God is the boss because He knows best. We can trust Him and be patient when we don't get everything we want, because God is the boss and He will take care of us. Our God knows what is best for us.
Allow the questions to prompt natural discussion around this topic and feel free to lead the conversation to wherever it is most important to children. Ask if there are any questions or feelings they may have about this story. Take the opportunity to bring these questions and feelings to God in prayer, reminding children He is (and you are) okay with their doubts and fears.
Give every member of the family a piece of paper. Ask them to write or draw one rule that they would make everyone follow if they were king for a day. This rule can be anything they like (you get to set the boundaries ). Then crumple up the pieces of paper and throw them in a hat or basket. Each day, draw one rule out from the hat and make everyone obey that rule for a whole minute, or five minutes – or the whole day if you're game! Make a point of reminding children that human kings are not perfect, and that the only perfect King we have is King Jesus. His rules and commandments are for our best, because He knows what's best for us.
Here's a song the Bumblebees have learned about King Jesus being the boss: Jesus is the Mighty, Mighty King.