Have any of you ever woken up in the night because you heard a sound? What noises wake you in the night?(Share your own story if you have one) In today’s story we are going to learn about someone that was sleeping so deeply that they did not hear someone walk right beside where they were sleeping. They didn’t even wake up when someone took something away from a spot right beside their head!
David travelled all around the country trying to stay away from King Saul. Even though David had run away from King Saul, the king continued to try to find David to hurt him. At first David was alone but soon people began to come and follow David. One time King Saul gathered 3,000 soldiers and went looking for David. Some men came to Saul and told him that they knew where David was hiding. Saul decided to take his army and make a camp near that place. David had heard about Saul and his army. He had sent scouts out to see where Saul was camped. David wanted to go and see Saul’s camp so he asked his friend, Abishai, to go with him. David and Abishai waited until night and then the snuck up very closely to King Saul’s camp. They saw all of the camp and decided to go down and get a closer look. All of the King’s soldiers were sleeping so soundly that not one of them woke up. David and Abishai walked right up to the place where King Saul was sleeping. Abishai wanted to kill Saul. That would mean that Saul could never hurt his friend David again. David and Abishai could have killed the King and no one would ever have known. Everyone was asleep so no one could have stopped them. Even though David could have hurt the king, he decided to show the king mercy. Mercy means choosing to show someone kindness even though you are stronger than them and could hurt them if you wanted to. David decided to show kindness (mercy) to King Saul. David reminded Abishai that Saul was still the King that God had chosen. Some day Saul would die and David would be king, but David wanted to wait until God thought it was the right time. David noticed that Saul’s spear and water jug were right beside him. He told Abishai to take those with them. David and Abishai then walked away from the camp. Still no one woke up. God had caused a deep sleep to come upon the whole camp. David and Abishai kept walking until they reached the top of a hill. They were far enough away that Saul’s army could not reach them quickly. David called out to Saul’s camp. He especially called out to a man named Abner. Abner was the commander of Saul’s army. Abner was supposed to protect the king but he had never woken up even when David and Abishai walked right beside him. “Wake up, Abner!” David yelled out. “Why didn’t you protect your king?” At first Abner did not understand. Then David yelled, “Have you noticed that King Saul’s spear and water jug are no longer right beside his head?” When Abner looked down he saw that the spear and jug were missing. Then he knew what David was talking about. David must have been right inside the camp. How else would he have known about the spear and water jug? Abner knew that David could have hurt Saul but had chosen to show mercy instead. David had not hurt the king. When King Saul heard David’s voice he told him he was sorry. He invited David down to the camp but David knew he could not trust King Saul. David left Saul’s spear and jug on a rock where Saul would find it. Then David went on his way again.
God wants us to love everyone, even if they are mean to us. Luke 6:27-28 says “But here is what I tell you who are listening. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who call down curses on you. And pray for those who treat you badly." We can show God's love to the people that are mean to us by being nice to them no matter what.
1. Who was David running away from? 2. Why were David and Abishai able to get so close to King Saul? 3. What could David and Abishai have done to King Saul without him realizing? 4. Why didn't David and Abishai kill Saul? 5. How should we treat someone that is being mean to us? 6. What are some nice things we can do for people that are mean to us? 7. What does being nice to mean people show them?
Grab the Jar: Have one child face away from the rest of the children and place an object (like a pot, water bottle, bowl, etc) behind them. Have the other children try to sneak up and grab the object away without making a sound. If the child whose back is turned hears someone moving, they try to turn around and catch whoever made the noise.
Extreme Rock Paper Scissors: Split the group into two teams. Make sure there is a halfway point that is recognizable. In the back of each team's side, make sure there is another "end zone" area that is recognizable. Teams will huddle up and decide which of the rock, paper, scissors moves they will do. When both teams have decided, they approach the center line and with the help of the facilitator, they all say "Rock... Paper... Scissors... shoot" together and perform their action (it can be fun to have the actions much bigger than normal - such as their whole bodies turning into rocks, or giant scissors, or big pieces of paper). Whatever team wins can immediately begin chasing the other team, trying to tag them. The team that lost tries to run back to their "end zone" as quickly as possible. If they make it there without being tagged, they are safe. If they get tagged, they must join the other team.
Paper Plates: Sit comfortably in a circle and relax in a room. Each person is given a paper plate and some markers. That person then writes their name on the paper plate. After everyone has their name written, everyone passes their paper plate one person to the left. Each person writes a note (or one positive adjective) on that person's paper plate that they think describes the owner of the plate. Then then pass the plate to the left again and the process continues. This continues until everyone receives their own paper plate back, filled with encouraging messages from their peers.