By Kathy Hutto
Check Your Heart – a Bible Study for Kids
SHOW a cup that is clean on the inside, but dirty on the outside. – Tell about leaving it on your desk at work over the weekend and what you found inside on Monday! Yuck! (Note-a travel cup with lid would work well for the big reveal of the inside.)
SAY, Did you know people are like that?
READ Matthew 23:25-26, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. (ESV)
TELL the story – I was riding along with my kids and their friends. We passed a house with household items set outside. One of the girls in back said, Look at all that junk! To her it did look like junk and she didn’t realize it was actually a Yard Sale. But, it made me think…It’s mid-week and these people are having a Yard Sale, so they must really need money right now. I need to pray for them. The truth is, sometimes I don’t always initially have a heart of compassion – all I see is junk.
READ Matthew 15:18, But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. (ESV)
Here’s a catch phrase to help us remember – Check your heart! (repeat)
Have everyone stand and run in place for one minute. At the end of the minute, have the kids count their heart beats for one minute. They should count about 120 beats. (Let a few kids tell how many beats they counted.)
SAY, we just checked our physical hearts and today we will learn how to check our spiritual hearts.
Let’s read from the Bible about David. Saul was King over the Israelites – God’s chosen people. He was a good King. (thumbs up) Later, he began to disobey God (thumbs down). God said He had chosen a new king.
READ 1 Samuel 13:14, But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you. (ESV)
ASK, Was God looking for the strongest person to be king? (no) the most popular? (no) the tallest? (no) the best dressed? (no)
What was God looking for in a king? (a man after His own heart)
SAY, God told Samuel – a prophet, who was someone God would speak to and then he would tell the people what God said – that He would choose a new king from Jesse’s sons.
READ 1 Samuel 16:1-13, The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord‘s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest,but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. (ESV)
SAY, God told Samuel he would choose one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king. One by one, the sons came before Samuel. Each time, God said, No-that’s not the one. Finally, after all 7 brothers (count to 7) had been brought, Samuel asked if there were any more. Jesse told him there was just one more-the youngest-out keeping the sheep. When he came before Samuel, God confirmed he was the one! His name was David.
Even to David’s own dad, he didn’t seem like the logical choice. But, God looks at the heart-and David had a heart like God’s!
It isn’t about following a bunch of rules, but in letting Him be the Ruler.
Sure you won’t go out and murder someone. But, the Bible says if you hate in your heart, it’s the same thing! Because the feelings are there with/without the actions. READ 1 John 3:15, Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (ESV)
READ this quote, “Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some bad habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have such dirty hearts that need to be purified.”
So how do you, Check your heart? (repeat)
We strive to have a heart like God’s (a boy/girl after God’s own heart). Let our thoughts and actions stem from a desire to think the way God would think and do what God would do. How do we know what God would think/do? He tells us in the Bible. Read your Bible often and you will begin to know more about God and His character. Ask God to give you a heart like His.
WRITE a check on each child’s hand as they exit – assure them it’s a washable marker. Let it serve as a reminder to check your heart.