Listen to the Lord… Children’s Message on Following God’s Direction
Lesson Objective: This message explores a somewhat challenging story, but covers an important life truth in the process. The slaughter of children ordered by Herod was an awful episode in the history of Israel, but God rescued Jesus and His family, sending an angel to give Joseph special instructions. Use a blindfolded volunteer and specific directions to illustrate the trust required in following God’s commands. The focus of this message is on trusting God, even during scary circumstances. We don’t always understand what is happening, but we can listen to our Heavenly Father and know that He is with us and wants what’s best for us.
Law/Gospel Theme: The Lord promises to be with us and take care of us, no matter what else is happening in our lives. He sent an angel to warn Joseph that the family needed to leave for Egypt, which kept Jesus safe until Herod was no longer a threat to the Christ child. He will always be with us and keep us safe, too. Life can be scary and uncertain at times, but we can always count on Him for safety, love, and protection.
Don’t miss our complete 16-page Sunday School Lesson from Matthew 2:13-23 on the Escape to Egypt. You can also preview our Bible Crafts on the Holy Family’s flight from Herod.
Optional Materials: Blindfolds, special treats of some sort
Bible Passage: Matthew 2:13-23
Message: Note: As with most messages, the details of how you choose to communicate this are adaptable and should cater to timing as well as to your audience and student needs.
Children’s Sermon on the Escape to Egypt in Matthew 2:13-23
Greet children, and ask for a volunteer helper…
Hello, children of God!
I need a volunteer. Can someone help me out for a minute? Great…now, the first thing we are going to do is tie this blindfold on. Take a moment to place some sort of blind fold onto the volunteer student. Okay, now I have some instructions for you to follow, are you ready? Maybe we should spin you around a little, just in case…okay, now I want you to listen to my voice, and do just what I tell you to. Provide some directions, telling the child to walk to a certain location and pick up a container with the treats. Invite the volunteer to return and look at what is in the container. Well, that might have been a little challenging, right? It’s not easy to have no sight at all… but thank you for helping. As you can see, the end result was rewarding. You just had to trust that I was going to lead you correctly and keep you safe.
Did you know that this is how it is with God? He wants to direct us and provide for us, if we listen to Him. God is our guide, and we see how He leads us when we look at the wonderful stories of the Bible. The Lord often gave very specific leading to His followers. For instance, when Jesus was born, God sent angels to deliver the good news to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. That was a joyous event.
But there’s another time that God sent an angel in a dream to Joseph. That was actually a scary time. Right after the visit of the Magi, Joseph had a dream telling him to take Jesus and Mary and run away to the faraway country of Egypt. The Holy messenger warned the stepfather of the Messiah that wicked king Herod wanted to harm the newborn King. It must have been scary for Mary and Joseph to change their plans and follow God’s guidance, but they did it. They traveled to Egypt and lived there until God told them that the coast was clear.
God took care of the Holy family. And He cares for us, too! There might be times in our lives that are scary. Sometimes we don’t know what lies ahead. There are a lot of frightening and uncertain things that might arise along the way. But we know that God is with us. He promises to care for us and guide us. And we know we can trust Him. Earlier, (volunteer’s name) had to listen to my voice and trust that I would not lead him/her astray or say something crazy. He/she knew that I had his/her best interest in mind and would lead to positive things. At least, I hope so. Well, in the same way, we know that God loves us and wants the best for us.
And how do we hear His voice and listen for His guidance? We can listen, of course, but we might not always have signs as clear as angelic dreams. But we can also read His word, go to church, pray, and talk to trusted friends to understand what He might have in mind. We can ask for God’s help in understanding those things.
So listen! Learn…trust your Holy guide. He will never lead you astray. Let’s say a prayer to thank God and ask Him to help us listen for His comfort and guidance in all things.
(Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for taking care of us
And directing us where and how to go.
Thank you for being with us
Even when life is scary and uncertain.
Help us to listen for you and follow your word.
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference:
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.