Memory Verse: Genesis 49:18
Vocab or Key Words: famine, covenant, offspring, sovereign, oath, shekels, fodder, birthright, treaty, mandrakes, sheaves, rebuked
Because we’re delving into creation’s beginning, we’ll need to address science. We are told regularly through secular media that the Earth is millions of years old. Based off Biblical fact, we know that it's thousands not millions. In an age appropriate, child specific way, address this in your own words, your own way.
Adam & Eve are staples in Genesis. Carefully explain how their sin caused their banishment. Younger children may misinterpret this to mean that God will abandon a sinner. Mention that Eve chose to sin- She could’ve & should’ve fled temptation. Tell the children how you flee temptation- turning the channel, etc.
Cain & Abel will strike a chord with siblings. Include how Cain chose to give less than his best & how quickly his sin snowballed. You can do an object lesson here. Write the word sin on a piece of paper. Make lines jotting off of the word. Anger, jealousy, envy, lying, etc. - show the children how 1 sin can become many.
Every child loves Noah’s Ark. Having the children name animal pairs in a timed race, playing memory with duplicate animal pictures, or for older children, have them try to build a scale model replica- these can all add additional motivation for the story.
As you discuss The Flood & God’s rainbow promise, you could always draw rainbows or see who can name all the colors in one.
If you own the game Jenga, use it as an object lesson for The Tower of Babel. Have the students play it regular by the rules or see how high they can get it before it falls. Use it to point out the silliness of trying to build to Heaven.
As Genesis moves its focus to Abraham, have the children discuss how hard it is to mover especially to a foreign land. Explain Abraham’s devotion to God & how by allowing God to direct him, he experienced countless blessings.
When discussing Lot’s wife, remind them that she was directed NOT to look back on her sin. When she looked, she basically showed how she’d miss her old life. Sin has consequences even as severe as hers.
There is a lot of mention of animal sacrifice. Remind them that we don’t continue this because of Jesus, The Lamb of God being the last sacrifice for our sins
The birth of Isaac was Abraham’s gift from God. Mention why this was so amazing given Abraham & Sarah’s ages by equating it to their grandmother (or another elderly relative) having a baby at their age. The part about Isaac almost becoming a sacrifice may cause alarm for younger kids. You may want to preface that the story has a happy ending. Explain that God only wanted Abraham to be willing. Isaac was fine.
Regarding Jacob & Essau, make sure they understand why Esau’s birthright was so important. In those days, it was a huge deal. He was the oldest. He was also impulsive & not a clear-headed thinker. It was dishonest for his mother to trick his father into blessing Jacob, but what’s done cannot be undone. But because of the lie, Jacob had to hide away from home.
While Jacob was on the run, he had a dream. You can get artsy with it. Make a variety of crafts regarding the stairway to Heaven.
At this point, you may want to have them memorize the names of Jacob’s 12 sons. This will be useful throughout the Bible as they are also the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel.
When Jacob & Essau meet again later in Genesis, they hug. Use this to stress forgiveness.
Joseph is also a huge part of Genesis. I recommend that the adult teaching read Charles Swindoll’s ‘Joseph’ in preparation. Explain that God allowed Joseph a glimpse of things to come in his dream. No one had dreams like he did so they didn’t understand. For younger kids, the Veggietales movie, The Ballad of Little Joe is an excellent resource. Old viewers may like the version from Under God’s Rainbow. It is extremely cheap on Amazon.
Explain how rough Joseph had it as he was sold, bought, & sent to prison. He had no clue what God was doing but never turned his back on God. Even when he could’ve taken credit for dream interpretation, he gave God the glory.
Joseph didn’t hate his brothers for the betrayal. He ends up helping them. God used Joseph mightily to save Egypt & his own family.
As you end the lessons, however you wish to stretch them (minimum of 3 days), pray that you will stay with God through the good & bad times, that He’ll be glorified through you, & that you’ll be quick to forgive. Thank Him for His creation.