Children's Lesson Trinity 1

God looks at the heart

Theme: God looks at the Heart

Text: 1 Samuel 15          God and Samuel select a King                 

Props: Various plastic containers (such as juice bottles) filled with dirty water. One of the more “humble” containers should be filled with fresh clean water. A bowl the water can be poured into. (Note: you could use different types of juice or colored water. This would emphasize “different” as opposed to “good vs. bad.”)
Basic idea: Line up various containers (different sizes and shapes) in front of the children. Give them the difficult task of trying to pick which one has the fresh drinking water. It is hard for us to do this because we can only see the outside of the container. Make reference to the O.T. passage where God (and Samuel) anoints David as King. Explain how God is able to see everything about us including the inside. God is able to see the heart.
Full Story: Fill various containers with dirty colored water. Have one container with clean water. Place them in front of the children)
Good morning children! Look at all these different sizes and shapes of bottles (or cups) that I have here this morning. All of them contain liquid but only one of them has clean drinking water. Which one do you think has the best water? (Let the children respond with various guesses. Let the children respond together so you are not forced (by chance) to reveal the clean water container at first guess) OK, let’s see if it’s this one. (pour out the contents onto a catching bowl) Does that look like the good water? Yuk! No. Let’s try another one. How about this big bright colored container. It looks like it would hold nice fresh water. (Pour it out) No, that’s not it. (Continue until you pick the right container)
Transition: That was hard to do! Why was it so hard to choose the right one? (Let the children respond. Agree that we can’t tell what’s inside by just looking at the outside.)
It’s the same with people. We can only see what people are like on the outside. However, the Bible says that God sees the real “us” on the inside – the heart. That’s what God said to the prophet Samuel. Samuel had to pick a new king for Israel. When Samuel saw a big and tall son of Jesse he was sure that this was the one God had chosen to be king. But God said no. God was looking at the heart (our innermost being) and not the outside. He actually chose the young shepherd boy David to be the king. Nobody thought he would be chosen. But God knew he had a heart after God. We always want to stand tall, brush our hair and look nice. But what is even more important to God is what we can’t see. What’s most important to God is the kind of person we are becoming on the inside. God sees the heart.
Pray: God, although others can only see our “outside” appearance we know that you see everything about us. Through your son Jesus, help us to be transformed into the people you created us to be on the inside – in our very heart.
Copyright: Andrew Hewlett
Feel free to use this at your Sunday morning service but please give credit to and do consider linking to this web site. Thank you! A.H.


Another story option:   Theme: God looks at the heart (Option #2 Spontaneous Drama)

Text: RCL Old Testament 1Sam 15:34-16:13

Props: 7 adults and one teen or younger child brought up from the congregation

Basic idea: A short spontaneous drama of Samuel choosing a King. Highlight how God picked the young boy David because he “looked at the heart” and not just the outward appearance. (This is designed to be short, sweet and simple – about 5 minutes max. No prep needed for the helpers)

Full Story: Good morning children! This morning I want to tell you about one of the bible readings that we have for today. It’s the story of the prophet Samuel choosing a new king for Israel. A person named Jesse brought seven of his sons to Samuel to see if one of them would be chosen as the new king. I need 7 volunteer men to help me. (Pick them quickly and get them to line up at the front of the church near the children.) Now, I need one other younger person to help with this story. (This will be David the shepherd. Ask this person to stand further off to the side but in view. – You could get them to hold a home-made shepherd staff.)
(Stand in front of the 7 adults. Stand in front of each one as you consider who is to be chosen. Think out loud as if you were Samuel) First of all Samuel saw one of the tallest and impressive sons and thought to himself “This must be the one who is to be king!” But God spoke to Samuel and said, “No – he is not the one I have chosen.” Then Samuel went to the next son. (Continue down the line letting the children hear Samuel’s thoughts and also God’s direction. Show some disappointment when you come to the end of the line.) So there are no other sons? What! There is the youngest son who is tending the sheep out in the fields? Go get him and bring him to me. (Send one of the “sons” to go get the shepherd boy David. )
When David was brought in front of Samuel God said “This is the one I want to be King.” (Get young “David” to step forward. You might “anoint” David or place a crown cut out of paper on his head. Get the congregation to give him a cheer!)
Isn’t that amazing children. All these other people looked like they might be the one God was going to pick – but God picked young David. God told Samuel why he picked David over the others. God said that people can only see the outside but God looks at the heart. God saw something special in David’s heart that others couldn’t see. That’s important for us to know. We want to wash ourselves, wear nice clothes, and comb our hair so it looks nice, but these good things are still not as important to God as what we are on the inside – in our heart.

Pray. God, you know everything about us. You know what we look like on the outside and the kind of person we are on the inside. Lord, through your son Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to be transformed into people that have a heart that is truly after your own heart. We ask this is the name of Jesus, Amen

Copyright Andrew Hewlett 2009 Feel free to use this story at your Sunday morning service but please give credit to Sundaychildernsfocus