As students file into the classroom, hand out supplies and have them begin to make a list of people in their lives they go to for advice and guidance. They can write beside each one what makes that person stand out as a trusted confidant. After they’ve had a chance to think and write, ask:
- Who do you go to for guidance in your life? Why? (Let students share their lists; if time is a factor, choose a few volunteers.)
- How do you choose the right person to listen to? (Some possible answers: You choose someone you think is smart and who makes good decisions for themselves; choose someone older; etc.)
Sometimes it can be tricky to know which voices to listen to. How do we really know who’s telling us good information and who isn’t?
Recently, Utah reporter, Morgan Saxton’s news report went viral after a mystery animal appeared walking toward her during her live broadcast. Morgan remained calm and claimed it was a dog while she was live on the air. However, thousands of people have differing opinions after watching the video. She’s been told by many it was a mountain lion and yet others are sure it was a dog. Whatever it was, it gave her a scare. No one can agree, yet everyone has an opinion, and they are all certain they have the correct answer. Who is right?
It’s your turn to decide. Which animal do you think interrupted this news reporter’s broadcast? Let’s watch to find out. You may need to play this brief video more than once to give your students an opportunity to make their own decision [:25].
Dog or mountain lion?
After playing the video, tell your students that many viewers weighed in on the debate and all of them were 100% certain their answer was correct. Read the following quotes from viewers:
“No question that’s a dog.”
“That’s 100% a mountain lion.”
“Very clearly a dog. The tail and ears and how it walks give it away.”
“…seriously, that’s a mountain lion/cougar.”
Have your students take a vote to decide what animal they think it is. After voting, tell them so many people had an opinion on what they thought the creature was, that the Utah Division of Natural Resources got involved to solve the mystery for everyone. Let’s watch to see what happened.
Play the following clip [1:29].
Did a Mountain Lion Just Photobomb This Reporter’s Live Shot?
- How many of you were positive you were right in your decision, even if you were wrong? Why were you so sure? (Answers: I just knew what it was; I had a feeling; I can’t believe I was wrong—I was so sure, etc.)
- Did you listen to anyone around you or what other viewers thought before making your own decision? (Answers: I listened to everyone’s thoughts before deciding for myself; no, I decided on my own without help, etc.)
We have so many voices in our lives pulling us in all different directions and every voice is convinced their way is the best way. How can we know for certain? Which voice is right? None of us want to make a bad decision. So, how do we live life making the right ones?
In today’s lesson we’re going to see how Abraham’s servant dealt with this same dilemma. He was in charge of making an important decision and wanted to make sure he received God’s guidance in the matter. The servant couldn’t get this decision wrong, it was too big. Let’s see how the servant was able to decipher God’s direction from his own and what that means for you and me.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
- Internet access
- Whiteboard and marker
- Verse Mapping Formula printouts (1 per student; template found here)
- Bibles or Bible apps for each student
Before class, print out enough Verse Mapping Formula sheets so that each person has a copy (template here). Also, write the following on the whiteboard:
HELP – DEFINITION
to give assistance or support to; to make more pleasant or bearable.
Improve, relieve, rescue, save
Earlier we learned how important it is to receive God’s guidance in our lives. Abraham’s servant had a very important job to do and didn’t want to make a mistake. So, he went to the only One that could give him the correct guidance and truth: God. With God’s direction we will never go wrong.
- How can we receive God’s guidance and help in a situation? (We can pray for His help, we can read the Bible for His instruction, etc.)
- How do we know the answer we’re receiving is from God and not just from our own thoughts or the thoughts of others? (Answers may include: the Bible will always confirm God’s instructions to us; I can ask my pastor or parent for help figuring it out, etc.)
Jesus says that His sheep know His voice and follow it (John 10:27). The way we begin to recognize God’s voice is to get to know Him and His voice by reading His Word, the Bible. The more we read the Bible and study it, the more we begin to experience God and understand when He is speaking to us.
One way we can receive His guidance is to study the Bible by a topic or problem. For instance, if we are having a problem with a friend, we might look up verses on friendship to see what God has to say about it. If we’re struggling with anger, we can look up verses on anger or kindness to see God’s direction.
Spend a few minutes showing students how to use the concordance in the backs of their Bibles or a Bible search app if they don’t know how.
Make sure each of your students has access to a Bible with a concordance or a smartphone with a Bible app. Pass out paper and pens/pencils to your students along with a Verse Mapping Formula sheet. Walk your students through steps 1-9 of the formula using the word “HELP” as your sample study word. Give your students a minute on each step—they may not be able to finish, but they should at least get a feel for what each step entails so they can do it at home. When you come to the step about the definition and synonyms, refer them to the whiteboard to save time. When you get to the step on finding verses with a Bible app or concordance, have them look up one or two in Psalms since there isn’t class time for more. As students work, you may want to play the following song [5:25]:
Voice of Truth lyrics-CASTING CROWNS
We are in need of God’s truth and guidance for our lives every day. The more we read God’s Word and spend time in prayer, the more we will begin to hear His voice speaking truth into our situations. God will always guide us toward His truth, just as our verse from Psalms today says (ask a volunteer to read Psalm 25:5 aloud.)
Take your Verse Mapping Formula home with you and finish up the steps you started today in class. Don’t let your studying stop after this class—there’s so much more for you to find! Use your new verse mapping skills to seek God’s guidance and instruction in every area of your lives.
Pray to close.
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