Sunday School Lesson – “Ruth and Naomi” Ruth 1:1-18

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

VERSE DISCOVERY: Ruth 1:1-18 (KJV, Public Domain)

Few relationships in life are stronger than a mother and her child.  A mother would rarely have to think twice before making a sacrifice that would better the life of a child.  So, too, would a child be more than willing to go out on a limb to care for and love on their mother.

Their relationship has been bound together from the womb to the point that love and sacrifice spoken between the two is not a foreign language.

But what is this familial attachment didn’t come from womb binding?  People, every day and all over the world, make the heart decision to love another as their own.  They willingly step into that vacant position of another’s life to fill it with the love and support the other so desperately needs. 

The story of Ruth and Naomi is such a relationship.  When she has nothing to gain and everything to lose, Ruth turned her back on everything comfortable and familiar and walked into a life unknown because she had connected herself and committed herself to love and care for a mother who was not her own. 

All decisions have an end result and little did she know it at the time, but the decision that Ruth made on that day would bless her life greatly.

 Elimelech’s Decision

Ruth 1:1-5 “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Beth-lehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.  And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.  And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.  And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.  And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.”

The time of the “judges” start when Joshua, Moses’ successor, passes off the scene and continues to the time of Samuel who became the last judge of the people.  This time period is filled with a lot of ups and downs involving Israel’s history.  The downs came by way of the heart of a people that constantly strayed from the will of God (Judges 2:10-12).  People refused to be governed by what was holy and right and decided they would all live according to their own ways and what they thought was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25).

The ups they experienced as a people came when, despite their sinfulness, God raised judges to deliver them out of their circumstances (Judges 2:16).

Storylines like these show mankind’s pull away from the will of God.  But with God being the Author of all, the hardest storylines can have the sweetest of endings, as the story of Ruth will prove.

One hard part of the storyline is dealing with life-changing circumstances.  A “famine” was in the land and caused one man, one family, to make the hard choice to leave everything behind and go where there is the possibility of something better.  One must believe that’s what drove “Elimelech” to uproot his family and to plant them in a strange land such as “Moab.”

The desperation they were facing must have been strong because the children of Israel and the people of Moab don’t exactly have a cordial background toward one another.  Earlier in their history, when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness from their exodus out of Egypt, they were not well-received by the Moabites.  At one point, there was even an attempt at cursing them (Deuteronomy 23:3-6; compare Numbers 22-24).

Leaving their home, Elimelech and his family settled in this new place “about ten years.”  During that time, Elimelech died (vs.3), leaving Naomi alone with her two sons “Mahlon and Chilion.”

How Elimelech died is not recorded, but what is noted that the two sons of Naomi married women of Moab by the names of “Orpah and Ruth,” which was also a direct violation of the Law (Deuteronomy 23:3).  Time passed, and the sons of “Naomi” also died (vs. 5) and now this family has dwindled down to three lowly widows.

What’s a girl to do?  A question we may flippantly toss about in our day during times of frustration, but it was a real question, following real circumstances, that must be answered if there were any hope of a brighter future coming from this dismal past.

Naomi’s Decision

Ruth 1:6-13 “Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.  Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.  And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.  The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.  And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.  And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?  Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;  Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.”

So, what’s a girl to do?  Naomi, taking inventory of all that transpired and where she is in life, made the decision that now it was time to return to her own homeland “from the country of Moab” where they have been dwelling these past ten years.  They came to this land during the desperation of a famine, but while in this land she lost even more.  It was time to pick up the pieces and move on.

How she heard it, we don’t know, but Naomi got wind “that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.”  Although famine was often used as judgment from God, we are not sure if that’s the reasoning behind the famine that drove Elimelech to leave.  But, one thing is for sure, it was God who is credited with giving the people bread again.  God “visited” His people.  God ended the famine.  God provided their now plentiful supply.

Therefore, Naomi “arose with her daughters in law” to head back home.  Perhaps there she can find solace among her own people.  Perhaps there help for the hopelessness she faced can be found.  Perhaps there this worst-case scenario can have a happy ending.

Please Note: Let God in on your story.  Let God in your decisions.  Elimelech left his homeland because he thought Moab could answer his woes and provide more.  Naomi left Moab to go back home for the same reasons.  How much could this story have been impacted further if they looked to God first before making any moves?  Thankfully, God is Sovereign, and through His providence, He redeems this story to bring about the most beautiful and timely end that glorifies Him alone.

Rising with her daughters in law to begin her journey, Naomi, thinking about not only her future but the future of these two women she has come to love as her own, suddenly realizes it’s not best for them to follow her into a future unknown.  What positive reception would she receive, if any, after being gone so long, let alone, how would these Moabite women be received?  What of the perilous journey?  Surely, it’s not best to have three unguarded women traveling alone.  Even after considering all of that, what kind of future would they really have if they followed Naomi?

“Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house.”  She gave them a lifeline.  She gave them free course to go back home.  She released them from any obligation they may have felt tied them to this dear woman.  “Each” one had a choice.  “Each” one had the option to move on.  “Each” one, I’m sure she felt a motherly concern for and was seeking their best outcome with this announcement.  They were still young and had many years ahead that could be filled with so much more than what Naomi could offer.  Therefore, she spoke, “The LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.”

Through all of the loss and uncertainty, they have stood by Naomi’s side.  In the camaraderie of widowhood, they have shared in the pain and concern for one another, but now it is time to move on.  Staying as things are now will help none of them, so Naomi spoke again, “The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.”  A future with her remains in the unknown, but if these daughters would go back to their own land and find “husbands” there they could have “rest” and the security they so needed in those days.  For this reason, she urges them away because she genuinely loves them.

So much so, at the announcement of her decision, “she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.”  This expression shows that their love for one another is as real as if they had come from her own womb.  Although Naomi’s suggestion of this separation was for their good, it was still heart-wrenching and they “wept” because that’s what you do when something is hurting you like it was hurting these women.  To lose so much in such a short amount of time, and now this.  Their sorrow was overwhelming.

Overwhelming or not, the women couldn’t fathom doing anything but staying with Naomi until the end.  They said, “Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.”  They just were not ready to let of this dear woman so easily.  Originally, they both claimed they would give up everything to follow her.  Originally, they were both unwavering in each of their personal commitments to their mother-in-law, but Naomi stepped in and explained in further detail how that decision could affect their future happiness and well-being.

She, herself, is well-advanced in years.  She has no husband of her own any longer.  She has no more “sons”.  She has nothing to offer these women.  No one to step in place for her.  No one to fill the void her sons left in these widowed women (see Deuteronomy 25:5).  As far as she could see, the only way for them to have a happy ending to this sad story was to go back home.

Even if she were to marry tonight and have sons, would it seem reasonable or fair to ask these women to wait until they are of age?  “Would ye tarry for them till they were grown?” she asked.  Would you refrain yourselves from having the love and security of a husband now, and for all those years?

That was a heavy burden to bear, especially for women in that day.  Without a husband or older children to care for them, times were very hard.  For these women, with so much possibility ahead, Naomi couldn’t ask them to stay as they are just for her.  Naomi grieved over her situation and for her daughters’ sake.  She felt as if the “hand of the LORD” was against her.  Little did she know, God’s hand was working something wonderful out for her in this time of despair.

Ruth’s Decision

Ruth 1:14-18 “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.  And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.  And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”

Weeping, and saying her good-bye’s, “Orpah” headed back to her people and her mother’s house.  She reluctantly agreed with Naomi’s take on their dire circumstance and sought something more for herself by returning to her home.

But Ruth, not seeking to make life easier for herself, could not bear to leave Naomi.  The Bible says, “Ruth clave unto her.”  She would not let her go without her.  She would not detach herself from her.  She loved this woman and refused to walk away from her.

One must ask, what of Ruth’s own mother?  What of her family and the chance to see them all again and to live with them again?  Surely, she could have had a comfortable life by staying in the comfort zone of the familiar.  But, she feels the pull to walk away from it all, declaring, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” 

She stood her ground on her original commitment.  She committed herself to Naomi, her people, and her God for life!  “Nothing,” she declared, “but death part thee and me.”  That, my friend, is genuine love.  Due to her husband’s death, she could have been cleared from all of this, but genuine love and commitment caused her to hold on and go all the way with Naomi and God, wherever that future may lead.

The Bible tells us, “Happy are the people, whose God is the LORD,” (Psalm 144:15b).  The one who willingly attaches themselves to God attaches themselves to the best.  They are truly blessed regardless of everything they have left behind.  Ruth, a faithful woman, refused to have it any other way.

Naomi no longer tried to stop her.  “When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”  Ruth’s heart and mind were made up and she would not be dissuaded from her choice.  Seeing her commitment and love, not just in words, but in action, moved Naomi’s heart also to allow this beautiful daughter in law to follow her home into the new life that was waiting for them both.

Ruth’s story will continue beyond the verses covered in this lesson.  In the end, her faithfulness to Naomi and God brings about a blessing she could have never possibly foreseen.

Stay faithful, dear friends, for every decision, just like those in this lesson, brings about a certain end result.

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes):  Sunday School Lesson – Ruth and Naomi

Suggested Activities:

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Ruth and Naomi

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Ruth and Naomi

Blank Journal Page: Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages

Draw the Scene: Ruth and Naomi Draw the Scene

Word Search: Ruth and Naomi Word Search  Answers: Ruth and Naomi Word Search Answers

Crossword: Ruth and Naomi Crossword  Answers: Ruth and Naomi Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Ruth and Naomi Word Scramble  Answers: Ruth and Naomi Word Scramble Answers

Game Ideas for Ruth 1 from Jesus Without Language

Lesson ideas to support your class can be found at Ministry-To-Children

 

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Sunday School Lesson Series: “Getting to Know God Better”

When we enter into a new relationship it takes time to begin to understand and know the other individual.  This knowledge does not come instantly.  It comes with patience and perseverance; it comes by spending time with someone to get to know them personally.  It’s how we figure out all those special things that make them, them.

Getting to know God better, I believe, operates in much the same way.  The more time we spend with Him and the more time we take to understand Him and those special things that make Him, Him, the greater our love and appreciation for Him grows.  That growth is important because our understanding of who God truly is has eternal implications.  Jesus Himself spoke and said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” (John 17:3; emphasis mine).

Can I tell you a secret?  God wants us to know Him.  He spoke in Jeremiah, saying, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord,” (Jeremiah 9:23-24; emphasis mine).

The greatest thing we could ever have is a solid relationship with God.  Fortifying that comes by taking the time to get to know Him better, which is the gist of this new lesson series.  Each lesson focuses on some of those things that make up the beautiful character of our wonderful God.  In the end, my prayer is that your faith in Him and your relationship with Him would be strengthened all the more.  We have this promise in the Bible: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8).  I pray that the words written in these lessons would help you to do just that, get closer to God.

To access the lessons, simply click on the links below.  They can be studied individually or grouped together as a series.

The power of God is over all! The power of God is responsible for all things created! The power of God cannot be matched and Job declares, even during the roughest patch of his life, that God’s sovereignty over all remains.

When we truly grasp the understanding of the love of God for us, then can we learn to love others better.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s longsuffering is God’s patience at work in the best possible way.  Believe today and turn to the Lord for salvation.

Holiness is still right! Isaiah saw a vision of God’s holiness in heaven, unmatched by anything we can know down here or imagine. Peter lets us know, the only way we will get to experience heaven, is to live holy while down here on earth. We must be holy because God is holy!

I am expecting to add more lessons to this series in the future so please stay tuned for updates.  For now, I’m off to work on other projects and series.  Many blessings to you all!

Sunday School Lesson – “God Created Mankind” Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7

Photo Credit: Pixabay/Prawny

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7 (KJV, Public Domain)

Do you know how special you are?  Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today?  Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?

As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design.  Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you.  And, as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us – but no scene is more beautiful to Him than those who were made in His image, in His likeness.  These were specially designed for a relationship with the Father.

As the creation story unfolds, may we find our place in it, our origin in it, and may those findings render a new appreciation for how special you are in the eyes of God. 

God Created Man

Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

For six days, God had been creating.  With light created and darkness separated, both being defined for what they are; and with land, plant life, celestial bodies spoken into existence and put in their places, the Creation story of the beginning of everything we know is off to a beautiful start, and it is all good in the sight of the Creator.

With sea, land, and air creatures created and placed in their proper places, it is time for the crème de la crème of all His creation to be formed.  That apex of God’s design comes when He decides to inhabit this grand earth He made with mankind.

Mankind is the most unique of all God’s creation for several reasons (and we’ll discuss those reasons in a bit), but let’s hone in on the word “unique” for a moment in relation to all the elements of the Creation story already put in place.

Mankind has nothing like himself that dwells on the face of the earth outside of other members of the human race.  Yes, I know there is a scientific theory that tries to over-exaggerate similarities between humans and other species when, in fact, there are no other species identical to the man God formed out of the dust of the ground as his beginning origins (Genesis 2:7).  And, I know there are other theories that express many ideas of suppositions of how we came to be the people we are in the place that we are in, but the Bible gives the very straightforward facts of not only our origin but also why we are so special in our uniqueness among all other creation.

For we are made in the image/likeness of God.  God, Himself, spoke on that sixth day of creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

The words us and our leaves many asking to whom God is talking to when He is speaking.  Now, again, while many people have theorized several answers to that questioning, the most biblically based, solid answer, revolves around the Trinity.  Biblical evidence shows clearly God the Father, the Son (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) being present at the time of Creation.

With God having no physical likeness, the image/likeness we were made to be like has more to do with the way He created man from the inside out.  Though His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), God gave us the capacity to think or operate intellectually and emotionally as He does.  With that comes the ability to reason, to love, etc.  We are not God, but apart from all other creatures, we are His likeness upon the earth.

In an article I previously published, Our True Image, I wrote:

“I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on.  He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend.  He spoke of our likeness of Him.  At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.

Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven?  No.  But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more.  The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.” (WordForLifeSays.com)

Another part of the uniqueness of created humanity is he is to reign and have dominion over all other creatures created.  David expressed in the Psalms the reign of man over all “the works of thy hands,” (Psalm 8:6-8), and Hebrews agrees (Hebrews 2:7-8).

What this means is, as representatives of God on this earth, we are to diligently care for and steward the things of the earth.  One day, the earth will pass way in the great finale of the end times, but until then, every human being is given the order to care for this temporary home of ours, and all the other creatures in it.

Through the years, the word dominion has become synonymous with words like power, authority, and control.  And, that’s a right interpretation of the word.  But, what’s more important is how that word is being carried out.  Are we abusing, taking for granted, and treating recklessly those things placed under our control?  Or, are we managing everything in a godly fashion and taking proper care of what has been given us?  As His image-bearers, we have the responsibility to be responsible with His creation.

Both men and women carry this responsibility for both are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  Each bears their own qualities that set them apart as male and female, but each are image-bearers created by God and His perfect design for all humans.  There are separate identifying markers for each sex, but as part of the human race they are made in his own image.  Jesus once said, “Have you not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4).  Both have important roles in His creation.

Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Then God spoke His blessings over them with the charge to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.  God blessed them to be productive that the earth might be filled, the same way He called all other creatures to multiply (Genesis 1:20, 25).  As God placed in all other living species of His creation the ability to produce (procreate) that the earth may teem with life, so did He with humanity.  Multiplication equals increase.  Increase equals a filled earth.

And, with that blessing of fruitfulness, came also the reiteration of their responsibility to subdue and have dominion… over every living thing…  God placed mankind in charge.  This may make us special, and some may abuse that top-of-the-food-chain-status, but the greater reminder is that with such a heavy charge there comes more to answer for on how things/creatures/nature was used under our control/charge.  Our job is to be righteous rulers over everything God has placed in our care.

Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

As God has called us to the position of caring for other creatures in creation, He shows mankind some of the ways He cares for them and all living things as He supplies for their needs.  Specified seeds, fruits, herbs, and vegetation would be the meat or food nutritional source for all creatures such as beasts… fowls… and everything that creepeth upon the earth along with mankind which God created.  He gave or furnished every living thing with all that they need to survive, flourish, and multiply.

Genesis 1:31 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

When God took in the scope of everything He created, He saw it was very good.  Everything was perfectly original, perfectly created, and perfectly placed.  There was no intrusion in the tranquility of His beautiful design.  Sin was not present, and the earth was as glorious as He envisioned it – unstained and unaffected by the mess we see today.

Once I wrote, “Our original design was not to live in an environment of sin and decay.  It was not designed to exist with dead and dreary things.  It was designed to behold the beauty of God through His creation.  We were designed to live in God’s best!” (Made for Green/WordForLifeSays.com). 

And, when He saw His best on display, God viewed it as very good, culminating the sixth day of creation.

God Rested After Creation

Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

After everything was finished, God rested on the seventh day.  This day would later be referred to as Sabbath, which means “rest” or “cease.”  It would be a day set aside out of the week that demanded nothing but rest and time to worship (Exodus 20:8-11).  It also became a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:13).

This holy precedent started with God Himself.  There are fewer things in the world than that which brings one the satisfaction of a job well done.  What God did was perfect.  There was no further need for work, therefore work ended, and He ordained the seventh day as a time of rest.

God made this day a priority and sanctified it, which means He set is apart as holy.  He did this because of or in honor of the fact that he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

There is something uniquely beautiful in the idea of the Creator of all sitting back and being pleased with everything before Him in perfectness.  I can’t help but imagine how happy His heart must have been at that time.  Did it all put a smile on His face?  Does it put a smile on your face thinking about it?  It does for me.

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

As chapter 2 progresses, it describes and reiterates, with additional detail, certain aspects of the creation story, including the specifics on mankind being formed… of the dust of the ground (compare Genesis 3:19, 23).   

Opposite of everything that was spoken in creation, or the way the animals were called forth from the ground (Genesis 1:24; 2:19), mankind was the only uniquely one formed to be an image-bearer of God.  This one, he was special, and he required a special design.

See, I told you that you were unique and special in His design.  Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Mankind is alive because of God.  Should God take away or withhold that precious breath, mankind would cease to live (see Psalm 104:21; Job 34:14-15).  “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein,” (Isaiah 42:5). 

God created mankind, and that’s the one and only true answer for our existence on this earth.  You and I are living souls because of God!

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – God Created Mankind

Suggested Activities:

Fingerprints uniquely tell who we are. There are no two sets alike, not even for identical twins.  Your fingerprints tell of the individual God made you to be; that you are individually special to God.  Using a stamper and the fingers of students, have each rub a thumb or ink on the stamper pad and stamp a clear paper with their fingerprint.  Have them look carefully at it.  Students can even exchange them with one another to see their own uniqueness in the way God created them.  Tie this example into today’s lesson.

Younger students can work with moldable playing dough. For this example, homemade is best (I like the idea of using it organically, with no colors for the forming of man effect), but of course, any kind of moldable dough for playing will do.  Have students form “man” from the blob you give them.  Discuss how easy or hard it was.  Discuss the intricate details it took for God to make us. (Note: if you are using homemade dough and if time allows, let the children help you make the dough, to really get involved in the “creation” of the people they make.  Find a recipe for a non-cooking version.  There are many online to choose from.)

Younger students can also put together a Made in God’s Image people necklace. Print from the outlines (found online at wordforlifesays.com) the people templates on cardstock or glue to construction paper.  Decorate each one as you want.  Punch a hole in the top and string through with yard or something similar.  You can even add beads or cut up straws for a nice decorated effect.  They can wear it proudly around their neck because they are Made in God’s Image. PDFMade In God’s Image Craft

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Made in the Image of God

Draw the Scene: God Created Mankind Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: God Created Mankind Memory Verse

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Crossword: God Created Mankind Crossword  Answers: God Created Mankind Crossword Answers

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Sunday School Lesson – “A Help Meet for Adam”

Photo: Pixabay/MiguelRPerez

VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 2:18-25 (KJV, Public Domain)

All throughout the Bible, God is seen as being a promoter of strong family relationships and from the beginning, these families would start with the marriage of a man and a woman.  This is and was God’s one and only design for an intimate relationship and to fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). 

Is there anything sweeter than the absolute unity of true togetherness?  Togetherness that’s not shackled by doubts, mistrust, etc.?  Togetherness that speaks more in action than words and says, in this relationship, we come together to share life together?  Her concerns become his concerns, and vice versa.  She feels what he feels because their bond is one of unity and selfless love.  Yes, I believe in the beginning, before sin entered the picture, that sweetness existed.

And, that’s just how God intended it to be.  After the man was created, he was alone and had no one else like himself to share life with.  The animals were great and served as some source of possible companionship, but they could never fulfill the needs of the man the way someone like him would.  Animals are wonderful, and I’m an animal lover, but animals are not people.  People need people.  Humans need other humans to love and interact with to be whole and complete.

There is something integral missing in the created man’s life and God set about to remedy that situation when He made a help meet for Adam.   

 

                                                 Something Not Good                 

Genesis 2:18 “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

This lesson opens with, And the LORD God said, verifying that God Himself is the one making the statement that follows.  This is critical because it’s not only stating God’s authorship of the words but also in the actions that follow.

It is not good that the man should be alone.  At the end of everything God created He said, “It was good,” (Genesis 1:31).  But, here in this verse, something causes God to say, it is not good.  And that something is the loneliness of man, which we are assuming is the present cause for concern.  This verse specifically points out the man using a singular stance, meaning just one.  The usage of the words like this reemphasizes the power behind God’s statement of his [the man] being alone.

Think about that word alone for a minute.  It can evoke a sense of isolation even though one is not in isolation physically.  Adam was in a big, beautiful garden, but he was alone.  He was surrounded by other living creatures, yet, he was still alone.  In all of that, we get the sense that Adam longed for more.

Was Adam feeling unfilled?  Viewing the monkeys swinging in the trees together as a community or rabbits chasing each other in a game of bunny tag, did the sight dishearten Adam and make him long for more?  We don’t know.  All we do know is what Scripture tells us, and that is, man is alone and in God’s eyes, it was not good.

Adam could talk, but he had nobody like himself to converse with on a daily basis.  Adam could feel, but he had nobody like himself to share his feelings with.  Adam could embrace, but another set of arms to embrace him back was missing.  What was all of this doing to him on the inside?

Again, we don’t know.  But, for the man God created, I can imagine He did not want to see any despondency in Adam due to being alone.  So, God sought to remedy the situation.

Note: Yes, Adam could converse with God and share his daily concerns with God, but we are talking about the absence of another physical being like himself on the earth to share life with.  And, when we are thinking along those lines of questioning, remember it was God Himself who pointed out Adam’s aloneness and said it was not good.  Therefore, we cannot argue with God.

I will make him an help meet for him.  God has something special up his sleeve.  All that He created was good.  Every creature, the way He made them was perfect, but God was going to do something special for Adam.  God was going to bless him with a mate, a companion; someone whom he could share this life journey with.  God was going to fill that not good part of Adam’s life with something not only good but specially made just for him.

With His marvelous creative abilities, God said, I will make, or, I will design someone who can specifically fill that void He sees in Adam’s life.  How awesome is that!  The Bible goes into great detail to show us God’s love and care for the man, to the point of fashioning for him someone that can meet his needs on every relational level.  One that is appropriate and compatible just for him.

Genesis 2:19-20 “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast… and fowl.  Here is a reiteration of what already occurred.  There are no contradictions in the Bible.  A good Bible student will see the wording for what it is, a supportive summary of creation and continually pointing back to God as the Creator is necessary and we could never over-emphasize it enough.  Perhaps that’s why the psalmist rejoiced when he thought about it and celebrated God for it when he states, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom thou made them all…(Psalm 104:24; emphasis mine).  Out of all those manifold works, we see here where it is stated again that the Lord made these animals as well.

And, if we remember, when God made Adam, he was brought forth from the “dust of the ground,” (Genesis 2:7).  These reiterations of the Creation story, specifically toward living creatures, not only supports the story of the Author of Creation, but it also sets apart that special way that God takes that not good and turns it into something good (we will discuss this further in the next section).

And brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  Genesis 2:15 says, “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”  I have always looked upon that verse and the verse in our lesson with the name of every living creature as jobs that were given to Adam by God.  And notice, these jobs were given before the Fall of man, before sin entered the world.

A lot of people try to distinguish why Adam was responsible for the naming of the living creatures at this meet and greet with the animals and not God.  God could’ve done it all, and yet, God has always invited mankind to participate in what He is doing.  God has never promoted laziness but has always encouraged mankind in taking on responsibility.  I think it is amazing how God is allowing Adam to work at, or speak things, as He Himself does.  He is not speaking things into creation, but he is speaking names over it and whatever Adam speaks, whatever he calls them, that was the name thereof, and God ordained it to be so.

I believe (just my opinion), that when one works at something, be it dressing a garden or naming creatures or the like, there becomes more interest and more personal involvement compelling one to invest in the care of what God already created.  With that, Adam gave names to all.

God’s observation in verse 18 begins to stand out even more in verse 20 where it states, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  After naming the animals, was it now apparent, or more apparent to Adam himself that there just was no one else like him?  Again, we don’t know, but what we do know is that the reiteration of this point means that God wanted it especially noted and referenced.

Twice in this lesson, the need for a help meet appropriate for Adam is implied and stated.  Twice we sense that deep longing for companionship.  Twice we see Adam didn’t have anybody to relate to on his level.  These are all things that can be associated with the not good that God stated at the beginning of this lesson.  Nevertheless, God is getting ready to take that not good, and make something good.

Something Good

Genesis 2:21-22 “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept.  It was time for the first human surgery to commence.  This was not done by doctors in the medical field who have piled on degrees to learn about the human body.  This was done by Him who created the human body from the mere dust of the ground.

Awesome!

Using the first case of anesthesia, Adam slept.  As with modern day anesthesia he was completely under, knocked out, and totally unconscious.  This was done that God might create the help meet he needed as a companion, and He was going to do this in a special way.

Taking one of Adam’s ribs, God made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”  Why did God decide to make Eve in a different way than He did Adam?  There’s a lot of speculation with no definitive answer.  All we know is God left a very detailed and illustrated version of Eve coming into existence differently than Adam.

Most seem to suggest this was done to exhibit unity in the human race as well as unity in marriage.  We do know that Genesis 1:27 states, “In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  The woman may have been formed differently from the man, but she too was important; she was made also “in the image of God.” 

Then, God brought her unto the man.  As a gift most precious, the woman was presented to the man from God.  In his eyes, she was definitely something good to behold as the next verses suggest.

Genesis 2:23-25 “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Adam’s reaction when he saw Eve was priceless!  “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh,” he exclaimed.  Some way or another, Adam was made aware of the procedure that transpired and when he saw the woman he immediately recognized her as being the result of that procedure; her as being from him.

Adam’s declaration is she is no longer just a part of his body, rather now, meaning presently, after God created her – she is fully and completely of him and from him from the inside out.  Saying bone of my bones may be a hint to the inside, and flesh of my flesh could be a hint to the outside (from the inside out).

Notice also Adam’s use of the word my twice which not only shows unity but could he be speaking as if he now has a responsibility to her and for her because she is now a permanent part of his life?

She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Although I have referred to the Woman as Eve several times throughout this lesson, she does not actually take on that name until Genesis 3:20.  I referenced her as Eve for familiarity purposes.

Here, we see Adam’s first response was to call her Woman.  She was a part of man, but different from man.  Some like to say that she was the feminine side of mankind.  Regardless of what one thinks, one thing of note is that both the words Man and Woman are capitalized.  At this time their proper names weren’t being used by each other, therefore the need for capitalization of their human titles.

Notice also the emphasis placed on the phrase she was taken out of man (compare 1 Timothy 2:13; 1 Corinthians 11:8)This is the reiteration of her origin as being different from Adam and all other created beings.  They were from the ground, from dust – but, not her.  She was a special order.  She was for a purpose (compare 1 Corinthians 11:9).  She had a special role that would make her one hundred percent completely compatible for Adam.  She is that something good that would come and overshadow what was not good, and with this special design on her life, she was the perfect help meet for Adam.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.  When God looked at Adam and saw that it was not good for him to be alone, we see He remedied the situation.  Now, she becomes a priority to the man.  The word cleave means to “cling.”  She was taken out of him and now his job is to adhere himself to her, stay with her and make himself available to her and to love her.  That sounds like marriage vows already.  In fact, many view this as a snapshot of what a marriage relationship should look like (compare to the Apostle Paul’s teachings in Ephesians 5:28-33).

The idea of cleaving is also showing a strong level of commitment, fostering an environment where intimacy and love can be cultivated and nourished.  It is in this relationship where those needs that were once unmet, can now be met in this God-ordained, suitable partner for life as one flesh together (compare Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).  Whatever brought attention to the Man’s previous “alone” state can now be fully satisfied and fulfilled with the gift of the Woman.

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  When my youngest was in Pre-K, I volunteered a lot at her school.  Her teacher was very thorough in all areas of subject, but had a deep appreciation and interest in art.  One of my assignments with the students was to go through an art catalog and show different works to the students (they had a field trip coming up to the museum).  I was to point out and ask about lines, shading, shapes, and such in the works.

Before releasing me to the students she made sure to emphasize the need to stay away from “inappropriate” works, namely naked works, and with good reason.  The time of Eden is over, and these types of materials are usually looked upon with a certain amount of shame.  A quick search on the internet and in books telling the story of Adam and Eve will hide their nakedness behind trees and leaves, or something else.

But, in our lesson, innocence abounded, and they were both naked… and were not ashamed.”  During this period, there was nothing present that could make them feel ashamed.  There was no sin and no wrong.  They were completely pure.  The need to cover came immediately after they sinned (see Genesis 3:6-7).  As soon as their “eyes were opened… they knew they were naked.”  But here, as God originally made them, they had no reason to be ashamed. 

Adam and Even could enjoy an unhindered relationship God blessed them with to meet the capacity of human need.  In Eve, the help meet God designed for Adam, the void that was once present could now be filled.

 

PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes for teaching): Sunday School Lesson - A Help Meet for Adam

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Better Together Craft:  Using the Better Together Craft pdf template, create this craft following the directions as a reminder of God’s great design.

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