Through the sanctuary and its services, Israel worshiped and rejoiced in the Lord who lived among them.
Color printer or crayons, heavy paper, adhesive tape, 24x28-inch posterboard, scissors.
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- If time permits, as a group build a replica of the Old Testament sanctuary (instructions can be found at http://www.gospelhall.org/teaching--preaching/sunday-school-lessons-and-activities-for-kids/sunday-school-lesson-219-the-tabernacle-in-the-wilderness.html). Once the replica is finished, discuss the purpose of each piece.
- Divide your group in half and play a sanctuary trivia game. (Make up questions ahead of time by reading Exodus 25-27.) Each team gets only one guess and must discuss each answer before giving it. If they answer incorrectly, the other team gets a try. Make the game fun by keeping score.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Do you find your heart filled with joy in worship? On a sheet of paper, draw a large heart. In the center of the heart, write the word JOY in large letters. Around the outside of the heart, write practical ways to help fill one’s heart with joy in preparation for the Sabbath.
- Thought Questions
God invited Israel to bring offerings to build a sanctuary so that God might dwell among them. Read Exodus 25:1-22. What lessons in worship preparation do you find in these verses?
- Worship is an invitation from God to humanity to come with an offering in their hands (v. 1)
- Worship comes from the heart; it is not a forced act (v. 2).
- Worship offerings fill a practical need (v. 3).
- Public worship is a gathering of God’s people in dwellings made by humans (v. 8).
- The place of worship (sanctuary) had very specific guidelines, each with a very special purpose (v. 9).
In Exodus 29:38, 39, we read about the daily sacrifices made in the sanctuary. Read this passage and ask, “Why does God ask the priests to offer these sacrifices?”
- A lamb is offered morning and evening to remind Israel of Jesus, the sacrificial lamb.
- Offerings twice a day reinforce our constant need of God’s grace to cover our lives.
- Sin is deadly and must be atoned for in order to extend grace to worshipers.
- A pure, spotless lamb is one of the most innocent animals.
- The nations surrounding Israel also sacrificed animals to appease their gods.
Gathering materials for the sanctuary teaches us about worship and how God relates to us. Read Exodus 35:4-29 and look for principles that teach us about worship.
- “From what you have, take an offering for the Lord…” (v. 5).
- “All who are skilled among you are to come and make everything…” (v. 10).
- “And everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came…” (v. 21).
- “Every skilled woman spun with her hands and brought what she had spun…” (v. 25).
- “The leaders brought…gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece…” (v. 27).
The book of Deuteronomy is filled with helpful guidelines on how to worship the Lord. Read the following verses and look for common themes:
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to the larger group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: What if we had to offer a sacrificial lamb every morning and evening? Would it change the way we live? Why or why not?
- Option 2: You have been asked by your church to sit on a committee that will discuss two issues: how to encourage more respect in the sanctuary and how to have a more praise-filled worship service. What ideas would you bring to the table?
- Option 3: When you look around you at church, do you see eager worshipers or do you see people merely going through the motions of worship? Discuss whether or not you like what you see.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- The people of Israel brought offerings to build the sanctuary. What do you bring to your church on a weekly basis? Do you merely observe? Ask God to show you what offerings you can bring that aren’t monetary—gifts you can give to God and others.
- God asked Moses to “have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” Think of ways you can dwell with God on a daily basis—not just once a week in church.