Lesson: Sodom Destroyed

September 30, 2010

taught Saturday 2 October 2010

10 kids came, plus Lucas and Deanna

Volunteers: Rita, Justin, Josie

Driver: Nora

Main Topics: Three Visitors, Sarah Laughs, Lot hosts two angels, Sodom destroyed

Primary scriptures: Genesis 18-19

Additional Supplies: coloring pages (below), worksheet printouts (see below), milk/curds/dough (Rita), clothes for skit (Josie, Justin, Rita), soccer ball, wax paper (Rita), blanket (Rita)

Memory verse: Psalm 105:13b

Two Coloring pages:  [paul will bring] 1. sodom-lesson.pdf; and:

img from internet -- click to enlarge

Lesson worksheet2oct2010worksheet.PDF file [Paul will bring]

Outline

  • Setup: arrange tables, chairs, flip chart, map, CD player;
  • (10:00am) name tags for new students (expecting 2 or 3 more)
  • KIDS KNEAD DOUGH on wax paper and we put these in the oven so it is ready by break
  • ask a child to hand out mini-albums (extras for the new students in the bin); another: coloring pages; another: name tags
  • collect emergency contact info for new students
  • together: Matthew 6 “Lord’s prayer
  • Sing – psalm 105 stanzas 1 and 4
  • Sing — “Abram” from Jamie Soles, all stanzas
  • together — recite the memory verse (Psalm 105:13b)
  • get a child to hand out lesson worksheet (see above)
  • Lesson (see below) — parts 1,2,3,4
  • (11:00 am) SNACK/BREAK
    • new ‘rules’ [to avoid over-stimulation] — (1) must stay within defined area of fellowship hall, except for bathrooms; (2) no shouting; (3) no activities that are too loud or fast
    • snacks on blanket while Josie (Sarah) and Justin (Abraham) act out the meal — see Rita;
    • Make sure nobody is thirsty so the second half isn’t interrupted;
  • (11:20 am) –Lesson parts 5,6
  • Mark each child’s worksheet, then go thru them together as a group;
  • have one of the children hand out stickers — max 3 stickers per child;
  • Singing: Apostle’s Creed, Psalm 116, and/or Psalm 8;
  • Praying: [Justin];
  • Kids collect: felts, pencil crayons, name cards, mini-albums;
  • (11:40 am) [time- and weather-permitting] organize an outdoor game of soccer

Lesson

1. Review Genesis 15-16 — Rita

[simplify as you see fit]

  • After Abraham returned from rescuing Lot, God gave him this promise: “Fear not, Abram. I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” [Genesis 15:1b; ESV]
  • Inheritance usually goes to a son/daughter, but since Abram and Sarai had no kids, Abram had chosen one of his servants (Eliezer) as his heir.
  • Abram wondered how God could give him any reward, since he didn’t have a child, but God said, “Your very own son will be your heir.”
  • Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them [...] So shall your offspring be.
  • God counted Abram’s belief as righteousness.
  • God gave Abram a sign by commanding him to bring 3 animals and 2 birds: birds of prey came, which Abram chased away, and later a smoking fire-pot and blazing torch passed between the pieces.
  • God told Abram about 400 years of slavery in a strange country, escape with riches, and punishment on the enslaving nation. God promised Abram a long life, and promised that Abram’s offspring would return to this very land of Canaan.
  • Covenant: God made a promise (He would give this land, from the river in Egypt to the river Euphrates, to Abram’s family), which He will keep; Abram and his offspring expected to believe and obey.
  • Since they had no baby, Sarai had an idea for Abram (“Take Hagar as your wife, and if she has children, I will be their mother. They will be our children, and we can build a family that way.”).
  • Hagar became pregnant; treated Sarai disrespectfully; Sarai considered Hagar to be a curse, and treated her harshly.
  • Hagar chose “freedom” in the wilderness rather than submitting to her mistress.
  • By a spring of water, an angel of God spoke to Hagar: commanded her to return and obey Sarai; promised her a large family, a baby boy, to be named Ishmael; “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.
  • Hagar’s awe of God: “You are the God who sees everything, and today I have seen You, the One who looks after me.”
  • Abram was 86 years old when his first son, Ishmael, was born.

2. The Three Visitors / Sarah Laughs — Justin

Name changes

[Tell the kids to watch their worksheet now -- they will hear answers for filling in the blanks. We will check/mark each of children's worksheets after the lesson.]

Because of the covenant, God told Abram that he would no longer be called “Abram,” but “Abraham.” (Abram ≈ father; Abraham ≈ father of many.) God also changed Sarai’s name to “Sarah.” [Both are variants of "princess," with the latter possibly with reference to her descendants instead of her descent.]

A visit

One hot day, while Abraham was sitting by his tent, three visitors came. Abraham knew that one of the visitors was God, because Abraham quickly ran to meet them and bowed down in front of them.

“O Lord,” said Abraham. “If you are pleased, rest and eat here with us.” (This is how we pray to God — we know that He can bless us, so we ask Him to. Listen now how Abraham showed that he truly believed by acting quickly.)

The other two men with God were angels.

It is always polite for people to be kind to travelers in their area, especially during the afternoon in hot parts of the world like where Abraham lived.

The visitors agreed to stay. Abraham and Sarah would not forget the guests they received that day.

Abraham went into the tent where Sarah was.

“Quickly,” Abraham said to Sarah, “Three seah’s of flour.” (Three seah’s is about 5 big milk jugs full.)

Sarah began making cakes with the flour, while Abraham ran to his herd to find a good calf. Abraham gave this calf to one of his servants to prepare.

Abraham brought the meat, along with some curds and milk, and set it before the three visitors. He stood near them under a tree while they were eating.

They asked Abraham, “Where is Sarah your wife?”

“She is in the tent,” replied Abraham.

Then God said, “I will visit again in one year, and Sarah your wife will give birth to a son.”

Sarah laughs

From inside the tent, Sarah heard what God had said, and it made her laugh.

“Will we now have a baby, after Abraham and I are both old!? I am too old to have a baby!”

But the words God spoke next frightened Sarah.

“Why did your wife Sarah laugh and wonder how she might have a baby?” God asked Abraham. “Is anything too hard for the LORD? As I said, I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, and she lied. “I did not laugh.”

God said, “But you did laugh.”

Sarah learned to believe God.

3. The Three Visitors / Outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah — Rita

God reveals His intentions to Abraham

After their visit with Abraham and Sarah, God and the angels left and looked toward Sodom, the land where Lot and his family lived. Lot had married, and had two daughters.

God said, “I will tell Abraham what I am about to do, since he will become a mighty nation, and his family needs to learn what justice is.”

God then made this announcement, and Abraham heard it: “Because I have heard that Sodom is a wicked city full of great sins, I am going to go and look more closely to see whether they have repented, or they are still full of wrongdoing and deserve to be destroyed by Me.”

Even after Abraham had helped Sodom so much when the attacking kings kidnapped many of their people and stole all of their goods, that city still had not changed their ways to honor and obey the One True God.

Many years later, Ezekiel wrote about Sodom, and his writing is in our Bible — Ezekiel wrote that Sodom had been full of arrogance; they had lots of food and riches, but they were greedy and did not help the poor and needy people. (Ezekiel 16:48-49.) They were doing lots of evil things, and they did not care about each other.

When God tells somebody what He is going to do, He is giving that person the gift of prophecy. God told Abraham that He was going to investigate Sodom and Gomorrah, so Abraham was a prophet… and like many prophets, Abraham pleaded with God for the sake of the people.

Abraham pleads with God — [intercedes for Sodom]

The two angels left to visit Sodom, but Abraham stayed with God.

Abraham came closer, and said, “Will You destroy any good people who might be in Sodom along with the wicked? You are not like that, God!”

“Suppose,” Abraham continued, “that there are 50 good people in Sodom city — will you destroy the entire place and not save it for the sake of the 50 good people? Surely you will not kill the righteous along with the wicked! You are the Judge of all the earth, and you only do what is just.”

God answered Abraham, “If I find 50 righteous people in Sodom, I will not destroy the city — I will spare Sodom for the sake of the 50 good people.”

Abraham spoke again to God. “I feel very small talking to You, God. I am just like dust compared to you,” he said. “Now, suppose there are only 45 good people. Will you still destroy the entire city of Sodom?”

God answered, “If there are 45 good people there, I will not destroy the city.”

“What if there are 40 righteous people?” Abraham asked.

“For their sake, I will not destroy the city.”

“Please let me speak again,” Abraham said. “What if there are thirty righteous found there?”

“I will not do it, if I find 30 there.”

Abraham spoke again. “I have committed to speaking to You, God. Now, suppose the angels find 20 good people there?”

“For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

“Please do not be angry,” Abraham said, “Please let me speak just once more. Suppose 10 are found there.”

“For the sake of 10, I will not destroy it.”

God and Abraham finished talking, and Abraham returned to his home.

4. Lot hosts Two Angels — Justin

His insistence/hospitality

The two angels who went to visit Sodom arrived in the evening and found Lot sitting at the gate of the city. Lot stood up and bowed before them, and said, “My lords, please come to my house and spend the night. After a good sleep, you can leave early in the morning.”

“No,” answered the angels. “We will spend the night in the town square.”

Just as Abraham wanted to be kind to the visitors, so did Lot. Lot insisted with the angels: “Please do come to my house and spend the night there instead of in the town square.”

The angels finally agreed, and went with Lot to his house.

Remember, the people in the city of Sodom were a wicked bunch. Many of them watched these two visitors go with Lot to his house.

Just as Abraham prepared food for the visitors, so did Lot. Lot made them a feast and baked fresh bread for them, and they ate.

By now, news had spread throughout the city that there were two strangers, and that they were staying at Lot’s house. All of them, young and old, came and surrounded Lot’s house. They wanted to torture the two visitors. Perhaps they did not realize that these two men were angels! It is always evil to treat people wrongly, but it also a very stupid plan to mistreat angels!

Imagine, there was nobody in that city of Sodom who would treat the visitors with kindness, except for Lot and his family.

Peter, one of the 12 apostles of our Lord Jesus, later wrote that Lot was upset every day that he lived in Sodom — upset over all the wicked things he heard and saw in that city. [2 Peter 2:8]

Peter explained that what happened to Lot in Sodom is a good reminder that God will rescue the godly from their troubles, and to save evil men for the day of judgment.

Wicked men were surrounding Lot’s family and the visiting angels, trapping them in their house. Would God rescue them?

Treacherous men struck blind

From outside the house, the wicked men shouted to Lot: “Who came to your house tonight.”

“Bring them out here so that we can torture them for our fun!”

Lot went out his door and closed it behind him, with the two angels still inside his house.

Lot begged the evil men to leave them alone. “Please, my brothers,” he said, “Please do not be so wicked!”

“Leave these men alone, because they are my guests — they are under my roof tonight.”

Some of the men shouted at Lot: “Get out of our way!”

Another man said, “Imagine, this man Lot came here from some strange faraway place, and now he thinks he can tell us what to do!”

“After we have finished torturing your two visitors,” they threatened Lot, “We will do even worse things to you!”

The wicked men near the doorway charged at Lot, pressing him against the house and others got ready to smash the door down so that they could get in.

But as this was happening, the two angels opened the door, pulled Lot inside the house, and shut the door behind him, so that all the evil men were still outside, but Lot, his wife, and his two daughters were indoors with the angels.

Then, using the power they had from God, the two angels struck all the men blind! These were not just any two men — they were the angels of God, and those are violent with God will suffer God’s violence.

All these blind evil men of Sodom, from the youngest to the oldest, were all tripping on each other outside of Lot’s house, still trying to open the door, until they tired out. They really did not fear God or care about what was right, to the point that they really didn’t even care about themselves. Selfishness is like an ugly snake turning itself inside out; selfishness is not kind to anybody, and in the end it isn’t even kind to itself.

5. Flight of Lot and Family — Rita

The angels then asked Lot, “Do you have any other family in Sodom? If so, bring them all here, because we are going to destroy this place. God has heard your suffering; God has heard how terrible this place is, so He has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot left his house and visited the two young men who loved his two daughters, and had asked for their hands in marriage.

“Hurry,” Lot urged his two sons-in-law. “Get out of this place! God us about to destroy the entire city!”

The two young men thought Lot was teasing. They would not listen to him.

The night was gone — the morning sun was rising. The angels said to Lot, “Quickly, get up! Take your wife and your two daughters out, so that you will not die with the rest while God punishes Sodom!”

Lot was hesitating and not acting quickly enough, so the angels took the four — Lot with his wife and two daughters — by the hand, and took them outside the city. Even though Lot was lingering, God was kind [merciful] to him, by having the angels take them all out.

We are just like Lot — none of us really deserve for God to save us from death, and none of us can save ourselves. We are only saved because God chooses to be merciful with us, because Jesus Christ has loved us from before we were even born.

One of the angels said to Lot’s family, “Save yourselves! Escape this place. Make sure that you do not look back at the city while you are leaving, and do not stop running until you get up into the hills.”

Lot was afraid of hills, so he asked the angels, “Instead of escaping into the hills, is it okay we if we instead go to Zoar — the little village that is not too far from Sodom?”

“Zoar is just a little village,” Lot said. “You don’t need to destroy it, right? It’s just small.” [Note: Zoar even means 'little.']

The angels were kind again. “Okay,” one of them said to Lot, “I will let you go to this small village, and I will not destroy it along with Sodom city. But please go there quickly, because I can’t do anything until you get there.”

6. Sodom Destroyed — Justin

By the time Lot and his family got to the village of Zoar, the sun was fully risen over the earth — the new day begun. At that time, the LORD God rained sulfur and fire on Sodom, down from the sky.

Maybe you have seen the great yellow sulfur piles on barges in the Fraser River? Sulfur stinks, and it is inside gun-powder and matches. (Another word for sulfur is ‘brimstone.’)

Such a lot of sulfur would burn people’s eyes and lungs. Mixed with fire, this was not a happy rain falling from the heavens. It is a smelly poison, and as it mixes with other chemicals, it turns into acid. Other by-products of the sulfur would make the fire burn hotter and faster.

Lot’s wife was still thinking about Sodom, the city they had called ‘home’ for so many years, so she looked back at Sodom. But the angels had warned the family to not look back.

As quickly as Lot’s wife looked at Sodom, just as quickly she turned into salt! There she was, a pillar of dead salt, right near that Salt Sea, which we call the ‘Dead Sea’ today.

Archaeologist are scientists who study history, not by reading old books, but usually by digging in dirt and looking for clues. Archaeologists find sulfur powder at the southern part of the Salt Sea where Sodom was. Some of the sulfur powder is in ash-covered ball-shapes. Archaeologists have found caves with these ash-balls inside. These types of powdered sulfur balls coated in ashes have not been found anywhere else in the world — only in the southern region of the Dead Sea. Some scientists think that God used an earthquake to mix sulfur and tar that started on fire when gases from the earth exploded in the earthquake.

We cannot understand everything that happened in Sodom that day, but we know that it was God’s judgment, and we know that we would not like to be there that day.

The part of the Bible that we are reading explains that God destroyed Sodom and several other cities in that valley, but was kind to Lot and his family because He remembered His covenant with Abraham. This was the second time that God had rescued Lot because of Abraham!

Abraham went early the next morning where He had stood with God before. This time, when he looked down at Sodom in the valley, all Abraham saw was terrible smoke like what might come out of a giant furnace.

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