God’s special messengers – Isaiah

Topic

Isaiah

Aim

To help pupils see the difference between appearing to do good and actually doing good.

Things you’ll need

  • Lots of screwed-up pieces of paper
  • A rubbish sack
  • A small paint brush
  • Pictures to illustrate the story Picture Illustrations

Bible Base

Isaiah 58:1-9a

Preparation

Before the assembly, scatter the pieces of paper around at the front so that it makes a mess. Place some of the paper on top of things (the piano, window-sill etc) so the pupils will notice it.

Content

1 Ask for a volunteer to come and clear up all the rubbish and say that you will help. Give him/her the rubbish sack. As your volunteer starts clearing up, tell the rest of the pupils what a kind person you are and how you are going to help (but don’t!). Go on about how nice and helpful you are and how you can’t wait to help clear up. Pause after a while and ask the volunteer if a brush would make it easier to collect up the rubbish. Give him/her the paint brush. As the volunteer finishes clearing up, carry on telling the pupils how helpful you are. Just as your volunteer finishes, say that you’re now ready to help. Then thank your volunteer for all their work.

2 Ask the children who they think was the most helpful: you or your volunteer. Argue your case by saying that you said you were helpful, and you even gave the volunteer a brush to help.

3 Make the point that it’s quite easy to appear to be doing good – working when the teacher is looking, not running down the corridor when you’re being watched. Sometimes, though, people seem to be doing good, when really they’re not.

4 Tell the children that in the Bible we read about one of God’s messengers (prophets) called Isaiah. God had seen that people thought they were being good, when really they weren’t. God knew what was going on and he sent Isaiah to tell them. Tell the story, using pictures if possible.

The people of Israel were worshipping God every day. They would pray to God and promise to keep God’s laws. They even had special festivals when they fasted and prayed, but God never seemed to answer their prayers so they started to complain.

It was then that God sent Isaiah with a message. God wasn’t pleased with them, because even though they were worshipping God, fasting and looking as if they were being good, they were actually being horrible to each other. They were fighting, arguing and bullying people. They looked as if they were doing what was right and good, but in fact, they weren’t. God told them that real worship would mean caring for each other, sharing their food with the hungry and looking after people who were homeless and hungry. God told them that if they did that, he would always be with them to protect them.

Application

A Christian viewpoint

Christians believe that the Bible teaches God still wants people to worship him today, and to care for those in need. It’s no good people saying they will do what God wants, and then not doing it. The Bible says that being a Christian means loving God and caring for others.

For everyone

Whoever we are, it’s easy to look as if we are a caring person. Talking about caring for others is easy. The real challenge is to do it: to be friends with someone at school who has no friends; to share your crisps with someone who hasn’t got any; to be the kind of person who doesn’t just say you care, but actually does.

Response

Ask the pupils to think of a time when they have pretended to do good, but haven’t really. Now ask them to think of any ways in which they can do good things for others today and during the week.

End with a prayer saying sorry for the times they’ve not really done the right thing, and asking for God’s help to care for others during the day.

 

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