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Releasing Joy through Faith

Aim: To encourage faith as a source of confident joy in each child's life

Core Competency: Joy

Objectives: The children will

  • Accept God's trustworthiness based on faith
  • Follow faith to confident joy

Key Verse: Is anything too hard for the Lord? ( Gen 18:14 )

Story: "God's Promise Fulfilled " ( Gen 17:1-8,15-22;18:1-15;21:1-7 )

Materials Required:

  • radio
  • bag, plastic shopping
  • newspaper
  • towel
  • shirt
  • foil

Eye on Science:

Advance Preparation: Tune the radio to a station that carries foreign language programming, if possible. Set the volume to be loud but not painful, then turn it off.

In Classroom:Introduce today's lesson with this (in your own words, if possible). "The story is told of a traveler intent on reaching his sick wife as quickly as possible. Now this was in the days before cars, and the man had to walk. He walked late into the night, until he came to a frozen river.

"Having never traveled this way in winter before, he was unsure if the ice was thick enough to support his weight. So, in great fear, he began to crawl across the ice, spreading his weight as far out as possible in hopes of not breaking through into the freezing water below.

"Does your spiritual life sometimes remind you of the fearful traveler? Do you sometimes act as if you are afraid God will "break" and let you fall into the icy water of failure and disappointment?

"This was Abram and Sarai's problem in today's story."

Tell of God's promise to them in Gen 17 , and their response in Gen 18 . Emphasize their problem - no child, despite God's promise. Point out that Sarah's laugh in chapter 18 is the laugh of unbelief; she is not happy, but rather judges God as unable to keep this difficult promise.

Why didn't Sarai believe God? God's promise was first made years ago, yet it had not yet been fulfilled. She was now so old that the world claimed she could not have a child. She believed the world rather than God. As a result - NO JOY.

Turn on the radio. The loud noise represents the world's unbelief trying to drown out God's promises. How do we overcome this obstacle and find joy?

Some people seek joy in "stuff" - shopping for material possessions. Place the radio in the plastic shopping bag - it should be just as loud as before.

Some people seek joy in fame and popularity. Wrap the radio carefully in newspaper - again, it should be just as loud.

Some people seek joy in friends, busy work and parties. Wrap the radio in the towel (ahem - beach party) - still, it should be just as loud as before.

Surely those people who go to church can overcome this problem. Wrap the radio in the dress shirt - still no joy. Not even church alone can bring you joy.

Perhaps what you need is the shield of faith. Read Ephesians 6:16 . Wrap the radio in the tin foil - it should immediately go silent, as no radio waves can penetrate the foil to the radio.

Emphasize that God is faithful by completing the story of Isaac's birth ( Genesis 21 ). Sarah laughs again in verse 6, but this time it is the laugh of joy. Sarah has seen God's faithfulness, and her restored faith brings her joy.

Belief does not depend on the reasonableness of the promise, but on the trustworthiness of the Promiser. God cannot lie ( Titus 1:2 ), so trust God and be joyful.

Application: What "static" is keeping you from a joyful relationship with God?

Have a brief closing prayer, then finish the story of the traveler. "As the traveler crept fearfully across the ice, flat on his stomach, arms and legs out lest the ice give way, he suddenly heard the sound of singing approaching him from behind. Looking over his shoulder, he saw two lanterns approaching. The lanterns were hanging from a large wagon filled to the brim with heavy coal, being pulled by two huge horses and guided by the happy singer. This man made a coal run every night across the ice, which he knew to be several feet thick. Because he had crossed the river often in the winter, he knew it would not break. His faith, born of experience, left him free of worry and filled with joy.

"He stopped his wagon, looked down at the cold and miserable traveler still flat on the ice, reached out his hand and asked, 'Would you like to get in the wagon?'"

Application: Will you take action on your faith and get in God's wagon?

Used: KIDZ 06/02

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