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Do we claim him as our shepherd? Do we truly belong to the shepherd? Are we content to be led by the Shepherd, rather than heading out on our own? Shepherds keep track of the sheep in their flock by branding them with a notch on their ears. This makes the sheep easily recognizable to the shepherd and to others if the sheep should wander off. Are we easily recognized as belonging to our Shepherd? Do others recognize us as Christian?

What notches do we have in our lives that clearly show we belong to the Shepherd? The meaning of the word want here is that we have what we need, we are not lacking, we are satisfied. The underlying thought is that when we claim the Lord as our shepherd, we are content. We do not crave or desire more. This does not mean that God promises us wealth and prosperity. In fact, Jesus promised the opposite to his believers. There is a cost to following Jesus. But contentment means our greed lessens and that we no longer have a constant desire for more material things. It is hard to make sheep lie down.

According to Keller, four things are necessary for sheep to relax enough to lie down. They must be:. Only the shepherd can provide freedom from these situations. Sheep are by nature fearful and vulnerable animals. One startled sheep can cause a whole flock to blindly bolt without ever understanding what the threat is! The presence of the shepherd is calming to the sheep.

For Christians, the presence of the Shepherd is calming as well. Knowing the shepherd is nearby helps us deal with our anxiety, calms us down during panicky times and helps us cope with the fear of the unknown and the unexpected. When the shepherd is present, this behavior ceases. When we are in the presence of Christ, our selfishness, snobbery and rivalry will stop. Insects and parasites torture sheep, especially during certain seasons of the year. The shepherd applies insect repellants, provides shelter and shade to protect the sheep from these irritations.

Sheep tend to thrive in hot, dry climates because there are less parasites and health hazards.

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Preparing a pasture for sheep requires diligence and care on the part of the shepherd. Rocks are removed, soil must be prepared and seed sown. God provides green pastures for us by removing the stony rocks of unbelief in our lives, breaking up our hard hearts and sowing his Word like seed in the soil of our hearts. All living things require water.

If clean water is unavailable, sheep will drink from any mud hole or ravine. Cool, clear water is what sheep need. They are afraid of fast-moving water. Sheep scare easily so shepherds search for calm, still waters where the sheep can be refreshed. Sheep can get all the water they need from grazing on dew-soaked grass in the early mornings. Wise shepherds make sure the flock is out early. Then once the hot sun comes up, the sheep can rest quietly in the shade content, well-fed and well-watered. Many strong Christians recognize the wisdom gleaned from the shepherd.

They depend on the shepherd to come and set them on their feet again. Once found, the shepherd gently lifts the sheep onto its feet, massaging its legs to restore circulation and helping it regain its balance. There are some important principles to recognize. Just like sheep, we can roll over and find ourselves stuck! Just when we think we have it made, we may actually be in the most danger!

Sheep can get weighed down with too much wool. The shepherd then must hold the sheep down and shear it for its own good. Sheep struggle against this, even though, once sheared, they feel much better. Are we weighed down with our accumulation of stuff? Do we also struggle with accumulating too many material things? Sheep can get too fat. We can get complacent. Do we allow our sense of material success to determine our well-being? Do we equate this with spiritual well-being? The Good Shepherd may require us to go on a diet!

Sheep are creatures of habit. Left alone, they would happily follow the same trails, quickly turning paths into deep ruts and ravines. They will overgraze their favorite spots, even digging out the roots and killing the grass. A wise shepherd keeps his sheep on the move, shifting from pasture to pasture and working out a pattern of grazing that allows the pastures to thrive. But Christ calls us to follow him, to be willing to deny ourselves and to put others first. He calls us to be willing to go against the flow and to set aside our desire to be the boss.

Shepherds lead their sheep to different pastures depending on the time of year. In the summer months, the shepherd takes his sheep to upper pastures, in winter they return to lower elevations. The path to the mountaintop takes the sheep through the valleys. The valleys can be a dangerous and dark place for sheep and for us. The shepherd does not expect his sheep to pass through the valleys alone. The shepherd guides his sheep. God is with us as we pass through the valleys also.

Passing through the valleys leads us to higher ground. But they are a necessary part of our spiritual growth. God uses the valley experiences in our lives in mighty ways. Often it is in the darkest places that we find closeness to God. The rod for us can be the Word of God, whose authority will guide and protect us. It is specifically designed for use with sheep. Shepherds use their staffs to draw their sheep closer to check them, to comfort them and for gentle correction.

High country plateaus are called mesas or tables. Before sheep head to the high country, the shepherd goes ahead — checking out the pastures, pulling out the poisonous weeds, removing any dangerous objects. He brings salt and minerals to set out in the pasture.

Psalm 23 for Kids by Louise Lee

Only after the table is prepared are the sheep brought in. We humans want to try out everything, to taste this and that even if it is destructive to us much like the little lambs love to eat the poisonous weeds. Just like the shepherd, we know that Christ goes before us in every situation. Because of all Christ has done — he was tempted as we are, he suffered, he grieved, we are confident that he understands us through and through. He experienced it! Christ has gone before and prepared a table for us — in plain view of our enemies. It came at great sacrifice and cost to him.

Sheep desperately butt their heads against trees, shake their heads violently and sometimes even kill themselves in a frenzied attempt to rid themselves of these pests. This immediately calms and soothes the sheep. We face many irritations and aggravations in our day-to-day lives. Sheep eat the largest variety of plants of any grazing animal. They feast on weeds that can easily choke out the vegetation of a field when left unchecked.

They can restore balance to fields. What do we leave behind? Do we see even if it is in hindsight blessings and kindness and mercy? Wherever we are — the pastures, the high places, the valleys, wherever we dwell with the Shepherd is home. We are content to follow the lead of our loving and caring shepherd. Bullock, C. Chicago: Moody Press,.

Richards, Lawrence O. Vine, W. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, Walton, John H. Mattews and Mark W. Children will use the technique of "wet felting" to create felted illustrations of the psalm. K-1 graders will use cookie cutters to make their wet-felted sheep. Resources for the Workshop. Important note for Art workshop leaders:. In the Art workshop, the Bible story is reinforced through creative and hands-on art activities.

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The children may make something that they can take home to help remind them of the monthly theme or they may work together as a team to make something for the church to display. During this rotation children practiced signing the psalm each week before class began. This was presented in worship service at the end of the rotation. Welcome all children and introduce yourself. Make sure each child is wearing a nametag. Briefly describe and overview of the day's activities. Dear Lord, We thank you for this day and for all the people who guide and protect us.

Teach us as we read your word and allow it to guide us also. Important Teacher Notes:. Each workshop includes the Bible story. If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the Background Information to help you introduce the story. Remember that as the Rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.

When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know. The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.

One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth. Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session. Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks! Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity. What is a shepherd?

A person, who takes care of a lot of sheep, guides or leads the sheep, and keeps them safe. Throughout the lives of the sheep, the shepherd walks with them as they travel from one place to the next. The sheep are never asked to guide themselves or find their ways alone. Who was King David? If David lived long before Jesus, where would we find the stories about him in the Bible?

Does anyone know what job David held before becoming king? He was a shepherd. That meant he understood how to lead and protect those that he was in charge of. Additionally, during the time he spent with the sheep, he became very close to God. He had a lot of time to think about life and all the gifts that God had given him. He learned patience and kindness and was able to see how God worked in his life. As David learned more about God, he realized that God is our shepherd. He is the one who should guide us. He is the one we should depend on every day of our lives for safety, for answers and for all that we need.

David had such a wonderful relationship with God that he wrote about it. He wrote songs for people to sing. In the Old Testament, they were called psalms. David wrote many psalms during his life. His most famous is probably Psalm They must follow a shepherd and trust him if they are to be safe. If the sheep follow a shepherd, he will ensure that they change their path if it is not the best one for them. The shepherd would use it to gently guide the sheep, check for parasites on the sheep that would irritate them, and to gently scold them if necessary.

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  4. Have the children turn to page in The Picture Bible. Read "The Chosen One" from page to the top of page stop after the first frame. This reviews David being chosen by God to be the new king and briefly mentions his work as shepherd and creating psalms. Next pass out the handout of Psalm Read as the children follow along. Have the children close their eyes as you read the psalm a second time asking them to try to imagine every image described in the psalm. Have the children locate Psalm 23 in their Bibles. Children with Bible ribbon bookmarks can use their blue ribbon to locate the books of poetry.

    The book of Psalms is found in about the middle of the Bible. Hand out the copy of the 23 rd Psalm and read it to the children. Read it a second time and ask them all to close their eyes. Ask them to try to visualize every image described in the psalm. Encourage the children to memorize as much of the psalm as they can at the minimum, K-1 graders should memorize the first line of the psalm. Older children should memorize several lines and hopefully the entire psalm.

    Children who participate in Worship Arts this month will learn to sign the psalm -- which will greatly help them with the memorization process. Children will present the signed psalm in worship! Younger children will wet-felt sheep using a cookie cutter. True woolen felt not acrylic is actually made from wool from sheep. Show a piece of the wool roving. When a sheep is sheared its fleece is washed and brushed to clean it. Then it can be spun into yarn and used to knit clothing. Before the wool is spun into yarn it is called roving. It is fluffy and soft.

    It can be dyed into different colors show the different colors of roving. Wool looks and feels soft, but the fibers actually have little barbs or hooks that help it stick together. Wetting the wool and adding soap helps it stick together and turns the fluffy wool into a solid mat of wool felt. Anyone who has mistakenly put a wool sweater into the washing machine knows how water, soap, wool plus friction make felt! What are some images that you remember from the psalm? We will use the different colors of the wool roving to create a picture.

    Then we'll add water and soap to turn it into a felt picture. You can hang it in your room as a decoration or use it as a coaster for drinks. To view pictures of this process, click on the attached pictures at the bottom of this lesson. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned. Gather the children together before leaving.

    Review with them one word or concept that they learned sheep, shepherd, lead, guide, love. Ask for prayer requests and pray together. A representative of Rotation. Children will learn about Psalm 23 with special emphasis on following right paths by playing several games. Includes two games each for Grades K-1 and two games for Grades The games are not frills and fluff! Playing games helps to cement the knowledge and reinforce the skills you introduce during the Bible lesson. Children learn best when actively involve, so please do not skimp on the games portion of the lesson! Follow the time guidelines to help you stay on track.

    As children arrive, play the matching game to encourage the children to commit the psalm to memory. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their name tags. Always begin each class with introductions. Dear God, Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today.

    Be with us today as we study and play together. Help us to learn more about you. Long, long ago, before Jesus was born, there was a shepherd named David. David became a famous king in Israel one day, but first he was just a simple shepherd. What do you know about sheep? About shepherds? David loved to play his harp and make up poems and songs to sing to the sheep. Many of his poems are found in the Bible. They are called psalms. Psalms means song or poem. David spent a lot of time with the sheep. It was hard work to care for sheep and David was a good shepherd. He took good care of them.

    David also loved God. David wrote a psalm to tell us that God is just like a good shepherd. This is called Psalm Where would we find a psalm that was written many years before Jesus was born? Old Testament. Have children locate Psalms in their Bibles. A quick trick to find Psalms is to open the Bible to about the middle — they should find the Psalms or be very close.

    Psalms is an Old Testament book of Poetry. Help the children find Psalm Read or ask for a volunteer to read as the children follow along in their Bibles. Note that the translation we are asking them to memorize is slightly different. This is because Psalm 23 is so well-known. The version we are memorizing is more familiar to most people.

    Help the children locate the memory verse in their Bibles. Children graders with their own Bibles should highlight the verse using the Bible highlighters provided or a colored pencil. Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles. Encourage children to take home a verse card available at the sign in desk and tape in their yearly Memory Verse booklets.

    The Memory Verse booklet gives them a convenient place to store the year's verses and to review them regularly. Use the Background Information to talk with the children about sheep. Left to their own devices, sheep will use the same path over and over again until it has been turned into muddy ruts with deep holes. They will also eat from the same spot of grass until the grass is completely gone. They even dig up the roots! Left alone, sheep would ruin their pasture and probably fall and hurt themselves on the paths they take!

    Fortunately, a good shepherd leads the sheep on the right path — a path that takes them to different spots to graze. Right paths for sheep are paths that lead them away from danger and to good, green pastures and quiet still waters.

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    Choose one or more of the games below to play with the children. Note the recommended age groups for each game. Sheep like to do the same things over and over again. Then the sheep might fall and get hurt or even die. God guides us like a shepherd to take right paths, too. How do we know what is the right thing to do? What happens when we take the wrong path — do the wrong thing?

    Sometimes other people can confuse you. They may not always want you to do the right thing. Everyone else is doing it. Nobody will see you do this. You can decide the right thing to do by thinking about what God wants you to do. Your parents and teachers and other trusted adults can help you do the right thing, too.

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    When you are unsure about what to do, first STOP and think. Think about what God says in the Bible. Think about what Jesus did and said. Think about what your parents have told you. Pray for God to help you make good decisions. Remember, God will always lead you in the right path! I wonder how the shepherd feels when the sheep follow him and stay on the right path? Adapted from an idea from Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, www.

    Thinking about what God says in the Bible, thinking about what Jesus taught and remembering what trusted adults like parents and teachers tell us will help you make good decisions. When you face a difficult choice, you can pray and ask God to help you and guide you. God will always lead us in the right path!

    Change the yarn path so that it is different this time. Remember, God will always lead us in the right path!

    Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm - a complete lesson set from State Street UMC | Rotation.org

    But the more right choices we make, the better we become at making them. Many times, if we make a right choice, we can set an example for others and they will decide to do the right thing, too. But whether or not others follow along with us, it is important for us to choose to do the right thing. God promises in Psalm 23 to be our shepherd and guide, and to help us choose the right path. The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.

    Gather the children together. Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite a friend, especially friends who do not belong to a church. Remind them to bring their Bibles. You have invited a friend to your house to play and spend the night. Another friend calls and wants you to go to the movies. What will you do? You would really like to stay. Your friend wants you to stay. What do you do? You and your best friend are playing together. Another person comes along and wants to join you. After thinking about a shepherd I thought about sheep and how they completely rely on the shepherd for food, shelter and safety.

    Just like we need to rely on God. You might think that your parents provide all this for you but your parents rely and trust in God to give them a job, money and blessings so they can give you what you need. Another important point is that sheep don't know as much as a shepherd. If you really think about it sheep are pretty dumb compared to a shepherd. Compared to God we don't know too much either! God knows our future, He made us and the whole world. The first part of the psalm David talks about God being his shepherd and he is the sheep. The shepherd makes sure his sheep has everything he needs like nice green grass and clean water.

    God gives him peace and rest because he can trust Him. God keeps him on the good path. Even when there's rough times he doesn't have to be afraid. God is always with him and He can make him feel better when he needs it. Then David talks about a banquet that God the King would prepare. There were lots of important, fancy banquets for kings and since David was a king he was thinking how God would treat him.

    Activity: Have each of the children write either a prayer, a song, or a poem to God. For more ideas, compare this lesson with our free Sunday School Lesson on Psalm Tony, thank you very much. This site is very helpful and free. I pray the LORD continue to bless you for this ministry. Your email address will not be published.

    Please use our curriculum material for any ministry purpose that brings honor to Jesus. We never charge or ask for donations. Psalm 23 Lesson for Kids This lesson introduces the Psalms to children. Comments Tony, thank you very much. Thank you, I am glad you find this site helpful for your ministry! Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.