Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday School Lesson on Samuel - The Philistines Defeat Israel, but God Defeats Dagon

Use this Sunday School lesson on Samuel to teach kids the power of the real God.

Needed: Bibles

Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)

Ask students, How many gods are there? (Only one.)

God is the only God that there is, and God tells us that we are only allowed to worship Him. Why do you think God doesn’t want us to worship other gods? (Because God knows that those other gods aren’t real, and that it won’t do us any good to worship them.)

Well, last time we learned a little more about Samuel and Eli and Eli’s sons. Does anyone remember what God said to Eli about his sons? (God said that He was going to kill Eli’s sons because they were doing wrong things and Eli wasn’t doing anything to stop them.)

But Samuel was doing the right things and so God made Samuel a priest and a prophet.

Today, we’re going to read what happened to Eli and his sons, and we’re going to see God fighting against the fake god, Dagon.

(Read 1 Samuel 4:2-7:2 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)

Summary Story:

A little later, the Israelites went to war against the Philistines. The Israelites were losing the war very badly. In one day, the Philistines killed over four thousand Israelite soldiers. The leaders of Israel couldn’t figure out why they were losing. Then they decided to send someone to the Tabernacle church to bring the ark of the covenant out to the battlefield. “Then God will be fighting for us,” they said, “and we will win.”

Eli the priest sent his sons, Hophni and Phineas, with the ark since they were priests too.

The Israelite soldiers were glad when Hophni and Phineas brought the ark of the covenant to them. They thought they would win the war for sure then, and they started yelling because they were so happy.

The Philistines heard them yelling about how the ark of the covenant was with them now, and the Philistines were afraid. They knew that God was the one who sent the plagues on Egypt and brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. They said, “We can’t defeat the Israelites’ God.”

But the next day, Israel and the Philistines started fighting again.

Who do you think is going to win this time?

The Philistines won again. Even though the Israelites had the ark of the covenant with them, God wasn’t helping them win the war. During the battle, Hophni and Phineas died, just like God wanted them to, and the Philistines stole the ark of the covenant from the Israelites.

After the battle, one of the Israelite soldiers ran to the Tabernacle church and told Eli the priest what had happened. When Eli heard that his two sons were dead and that the ark of the covenant had been stolen, he fell backwards out of his chair and died.

Meanwhile, the Philistines took the ark of the covenant and put in their Temple to the fake god, Dagon. They put the ark of the covenant right beside their statue to the fake god, Dagon.

But the next morning, the statue of Dagon had fallen down. The Philistines put the statue back up, but the next morning, the same thing happened again. And this time, Dagon’s head and hands were broken off!

Why do you think the statue of the fake god, Dagon, kept falling over? (God was making it fall over to show that He is real and that He is stronger than the fake god, Dagon.)

And God made the Philistines in that city very sick. The leaders of the city sent the ark to another Philistine city, but the people in that city got sick too. Finally, the Philistines decided that they had to send the ark of the covenant back to Israel. They also sent a lot of gold to Israel to apologize for stealing the ark. When the ark of the covenant was back in Israel, God healed the Philistines from their disease.

Review Questions:

Why did Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas die? (God killed them because of the bad things they were doing.)

Why did the statue of the fake god, Dagon, keep falling over? (God was making it fall over to show that He is real and that He is stronger than the fake god, Dagon.)

Why did God make the Philistines get sick? (Because they stole the ark of the covenant from Israel?)

And what happened when the Philistines returned the ark of the covenant? (God healed the Philistines from their disease.)

So remember, there is only real God and He has the power to punish people who do the wrong things, just like He punished Hophni and Phineas and the Philistines. But if we do the right things, then God won’t have to punish us.

Find more Sunday School lesson ideas on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.
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