=STORIES BEHIND THE PSALMS=
Singing the Lord’s Song, Psalm 137
Scripture: Psalm 137:12; II Chronicles 36:15-23
Objects to have:
An oblong sheet of paper or oblong posterboard, the length of which has been divided vertically into seven sections, six sections the same small size, the seventh a large space. In proper order, write in each section a different day of the week.
Have another sheet of paper the size of the seventh section—have written on it seven rows of 10’s, seven 10’s in each row
A song book
Introducing the lesson:
(Hold up the posterboard or paper on which is written the seven days of the week. Point to the names of the days and have the children repeat them with you. Show them on what day of the week we go to church. Tell them that before Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, people went to the house of God on this day, and then point to Saturday.)
Today we’re starting to hear about Bible stories that had songs written about them. There are many, many songs in the Bible—the book of Psalms (show the children the book of Psalms) has words to one hundred fifty songs written in it. Here’s what a song looks like. (Show the children a song book. Point out the lines, the notes, and the words to one song.) The notes tell our voices whether to go up or down. (Have the children sing the chorus of "Oh, How I Love Jesus," or "Jesus Loves Me," and then have them sing it again, this time thinking about whether their voices go up or down, while you motion up and down with your hand as they sing. Also talk with the children about the "beat" of the song—the timing. Sing the song again, this time moving your hand as many beats as each note gets. Tell the boys and girls that this is not a jerking song that has a bad beat to it—this is a smooth song that has good timing in it. Also tell the children that this is a good song because it tells about our love for Jesus.)
Any song that we sing in Sunday school and church is a good song because it either tells about Jesus’ love for us, or about Heaven, or about how we love Him or how we should live. Jesus is pleased when we sing or when we listen to good songs. Jesus is not pleased when we sing or when we listen to bad songs.
Telling the story:
(Pick up your week’s "calendar.") The Israelites loved to sing. They played harps and cymbals and trumpets and sang while they played their instruments. They loved to sing some songs which asked God to help them get the land which He promised to them. They loved to sing some songs which told how much God had done for them—songs which praised God and told how wonderful He is.
The Israelites remembered God especially on this day (point to Saturday). God had commanded that the Israelites not work on Saturday, but that they set aside this day especially to remember Him.
"What day is this?" Abe asked his mother.
"This is the day of the week which is different, Abe," Abe’s mother said. "This is the day when Daddy does not go out into the fields to work. I won’t do any washing or ironing today. Today we will think especially about
God and how He loves us and takes care of us. We will sing songs that show how much we love Him and how much He loves us. We will have a good time on this special day of the week."
That pleased Abe very much. He loved to sing songs about God, and he loved to hear Bible stories. Then it would be this day and this day and this day (point to the other days of the week up to Saturday).
One day Abe noticed his Daddy putting on his work clothes and going out to plow the field. He also noticed that his mother was going down to the river to wash their clothes. Abe felt so funny! He thought, "Isn’t this the special day of the week when we stop everything else to think about God and talk to Him especially?" "Mother, isn’t this God’s special day today; isn’t this the Sabbath Day?"
"Oh, yes, Abe this is that day, but your Daddy has so much work to do in the fields, and I have so much work to do, that today we won’t take time out to think about God and His Word." Abe felt sad and disappointed and kind of sick inside. If God wanted them to have a special day for Him, then they should have that special day!
The next week came and went. (Indicate this by passing your hand over the "week.") It was time for the special day again. Mother and Daddy did not seem to notice at all. Abe did not ask about it this time. Do you know that as soon as they stopped remembering this special day, they seldom even thought about God? Some of their neighbors did the same thing.
Pretty soon most of the Israelite people had stopped obeying God. They seemed to forget all about Him. For this many years (put your section of 10’s over the Saturday section of the "calendar"), ten years and another ten and another ten and another ten and another ten, for 490 years, most of God’s people, the Israelites, did not stop to worship God and to hear stories and sermons from His Word. They stopped obeying Him in other things, too. God had told His people to let the ground rest every seven years, but they stopped obeying that command. God had told His people never to have idols, but they worshipped idols. God had told His people not to let their young men and ladies marry anybody but God’s people, but His people started to let their young men and ladies marry those who did not know God.
Just because the Israelites had forgotten God, do you think that He forgot them? No, He did not. He was very sad because they were disobeying Him.
Abe grew up. He got married and had children. Abe’s mother and daddy died. Abe got old; he died, too. Abe’s children got old; they died, too. Many, many Israelites were born and died and still more were living. Most of the Israelites forgot God and His commandments.
God said, "It is time to punish My people. The Israelites have done terribly wrong. I have been good to them; I have loved them and given them a land for their very own. Now I am going to let an enemy army come to kill the people who have disobeyed Me and to destroy the land. I will let the ones who have remembered My commandments be kept alive and some of them be taken captive to the enemy nation."
The enemy army came. The people who still loved God prayed and asked God to protect them. They were kept alive and were taken captive to the enemy country. The enemy army killed many of the other Israelites and broke all the buildings and walls of the city of Jerusalem. What a sad time it was! The Israelites who were captured were glad that they had been kept alive, but they were sad that they were not home—they were homesick. They did not feel like singing anymore. The ones who owned harps hung them on willow trees because they did not fell like playing them and singing.
The people who lived around them said, "Israelites, play your instruments of music and sing your songs to us. We have heard that you love to sing about your God. Sing to us." The Israelites refused to sing because they were too sad away from their homes to sing.
But, children, God had saved them alive! God was showing them that He still loved them even though He had had to punish them. Well, then, they had a lot to sing about. But, they refused to sing. That’s too bad. Maybe if
they had sung their songs to the people who had captured them, then those people would have learned to love God, too. After this many years (cross out one line of 10’s) God let His people go back to their own country. Then they were happy once more, and they sang their songs.
Jesus loves to have us sing. Even if we are sad, we still have so much to be thankful for. We should sing praises to God.
LEARN OUR BIBLE VERSE: Psalm 137:3b, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."