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Introducing Hezekiah, the Old Testament King
Challenge your students to think of God, learn about His works and also identify behaviors pleasing to Him by introducing the youngsters to role models that do not necessarily get a lot of play in the average Sunday school classroom. A prime example is Hezekiah.
His story is told in 2 Kings 18-20. A king at the relatively young age of 25, he eradicated idol worship that was supported by his father, King Ahaz. While he is held up as following God through unwavering obedience, the 14th year of his reign shows a lapse in judgment that had Hezekiah bargain with an opposing king rather than rely on God for guidance. Sure enough, the proposed payoff did not work, and before long the opponent sought to alienate King Hezekiah’s people from trusting in their leader and ultimately in God. Coming to his senses, the besieged king visits the temple of God to pray for guidance while sending officials to beg Isaiah the prophet for help. As you might expect, this strategy worked out a lot better than trying to buy off his enemies.
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Preschool Craft Applications
Brooms to Clean and Restore the Temple
You need hay, twine, sticks as tall as the children holding them, little figurines as idols and sand. Declare one area of your classroom to be the temple. Liberally spread sand over chairs, the floor and tables. Place idols all over the designated temple area. These idols could be little chess figurines, fast food kids’ meal toys, or even plush dragons or monsters. Make sure it’s not too graphic or scary for the preschoolers!
Explain that it is time to clean out the temple of the Lord and get rid of the junk that has accumulated, since nobody took care of it. Each child receives a stick, straw and twine. Teach the children how to make brooms by placing the stick into a thick handful of straw and tying the twine very tightly around it. Encourage the children to sweep out the temple area and get rid of the sand, idols and dirt.
Keep a close eye on kids, who might get a bit overenthusiastic with the sticks. A class aide could help the kids to sweep out the temple without batting the idols.
Listening Ears to Hear God’s Voice
You need ear templates, scissors, glue, crayons and cheap dime store sunglasses for each child.
Have the children make oversized “listening ears." You can get creative and have the kids make the ears in any kind of shape they like, or you may make templates of oversized human ears, and allow the children to color them, cut them out and then glue them to the sunglasses.
Explain how these oversized listening ears symbolize King Hezekiah’s willingness to listen to God’s voice and advice rather than the opposing king’s lies and taunting. Go on to state that the sunglasses show how Hezekiah sought to see what God sees, rather than the bleak outlook that his enemies painted.
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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Any preschool crafts – Hezekiah, Old Testament king or Jesus Christ, New Testament Messiah – have the potential of backfiring, unless you familiarize yourself intimately with the scriptures at hand and adapt the wording for use in the preschool setting. Remember that you are dealing with adult scenarios, and in some case death and destruction. While this is part of the Bible lessons from which children may derive learning, it can also set up your classroom for creating fears and unreasonable dread.
Make sure to limit your scripture use to only cover the lesson you are teaching. Change the wording to be age appropriate. Apply your success to other themes, such as mobile making for a preschool Bible story on "Loaves and Fishes."
Skip over subject matter that is simply too gruesome for a room full of preschoolers. Focus on the conflict and the resolution, and do not waste a lot of time on ancillary facts. Make sure you have sufficient help to supervise children, who work with craft materials or may finish ahead of others.
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- Author's personal experience