We have much to glean from the role models and mentors who have humbly shared their spiritual journeys before us.
Read the Student Lesson as well as the Teacher's Guide. This will provide everything you need to teach the Youth Sabbath School lesson.
If the teens in your Youth Sabbath School were to pass on any words of wisdom to a younger person about to start their teen years, what would they say? Start by putting a few one-liners on a screen or board in your Sabbath School room, then ask the participants to add their own. Give them a few minutes to think about it. After each person has added a phrase of their own to the list, allow them to modify it if they want or even add a second one. Let them know that halfway through Sabbath School, you’ll take a vote on which of these phrases sounds the wisest. (Make sure not to forget about it!)
Here are a few sample phrases to help get them started:
OPTION 2: I’VE NEVER…
Arrange some chairs in a circle and ask a volunteer to sit in the middle of them. If you have three or fewer participants in your class, have one person stand in front of the others in a half-circle. If you have 10+ people, divide them into more than one group/circle.
The person standing in the middle of the circle or in front of the others makes a statement starting with “I’ve never…” and then completes the sentence by filling in something they’ve never done before. Anyone else in the group who also hasn’t done it either must stand up and find different a place to sit than where they were sitting before. Whoever is left standing by the time everyone is done scrambling for a new chair goes and stands in the center of the circle or up front, and makes another statement starting with “I’ve never…” and the game begins again.
Here are some examples of statements your participants could use:
You can come up with many more if you want!
As we consider our lesson for today, keep in mind that it might be difficult for you to identify with Moses since none of us here is 120 years old! We’ve probably all had the opportunity to hear some words of wisdom from someone older than us, however. It’s not always easy to listen to wisdom when we hear it—the Israelites certainly struggled with it in Moses’ time. But perhaps we can be different today and learn from the wisdom and instructions God gave them through Moses prior to his death on the edge of the Promised Land.
This is a short video clip you can show your Youth Sabbath School to illustrate this week’s topic, plus a few follow-up questions to spark discussion afterwards.
Create a video that relates to Moses’ final days and actions on behalf of the Israelites he led through the desert for 40 years. Remember to create a list of follow-up questions based on the video as well.
This 3:35-minute video makes statements about life. You may want to pause it occasionally so participants can jot down notes or comment on it.
This is a 2:33-minute video about the stages of life.
Three Chapters of Life
BASED ON DEUTERONOMY 34:7, 10-12; ACTS 7:20-36
Developmental psychology divides a person’s life into several stages. These include childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, adulthood, and old age (also known as the “senior years”). Some adolescents seem to get stuck developmentally at that point even when they grow to reach 50 years old, and no one is guaranteed to live past retirement!
For the past few months we’ve been following the children of Israel through their experiences in the wilderness. More recently, we’ve focused on the book of Deuteronomy—the second giving of the law—in which Moses passed on God’s instructions to the second generation of Israelites before his eventual death and their entry into the Promised Land.
7 Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.
10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
Hundreds of years later, after Christ had come to earth, a character in the New Testament gave Moses’ entire life a quick overview. The character in question was Stephen—the first Christian martyr—and he gave this overview during a speech just before he was stoned to death. You can read the entire story in Acts 7, but today we’ll just focus on a few verses that deal with Moses’ story. Here’s Acts 7:23, 30, and 36, in which Stephen divides the life of Moses into three stages:
23 When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?” 27 But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?” 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.
30 After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.” 35 This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, “Who made you ruler and judge?” He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.
36 He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.
Line up three empty glasses (or containers) and a pitcher of water (or a larger container) somewhere the participants can see. Pour an equal amount of water into each glass. Then add a different color of food coloring to each one, so all three are a different, distinct color.
Then have the Youth Sabbath School participants pour their own amount of water into three different glasses to represent three different stages in their lives—anywhere from birth to the present moment. Some might only be able to think of one stage, or maybe even two. Others might come up with 5-10 stages. Try to limit them to just three (or adapt the activity to your group, if you prefer). They may also choose to pour different amounts of water into each stage. For example, their first stage might have been just their first year of life, which would make up less than 10% of their live so far. Their second stage might last from ages 2-12, which would be the majority of their life so far. And the last stage might their teen years. When they’re done pouring the water, have them pick the colors of food coloring they want to use for each glass (or stage) of their life so far.
Just as it’s easy to see the many similarities between the different stages of life, it’s also easy to see the differences between each of us. God is certainly creative! And even though he is the sovereign ruler over everything, he still gives us the freedom of choice. No wonder there is both predictability and uncertainty in our lives!
Moses died at the age of 120. That would be quite rare today! We have much more detail about his last 40 years than his first 80 years, and we know very little about his middle 40 years. Abbreviating a person’s life into stages gives us a short and limited perspective on their life, but it does tell us some things about them. It does for Moses, and it does for us. The rest of our lives are still to be lived, so join God and choose to live for him!
Take a digital or physical copy of the book My Stages of Life and use it as a starting point to ask someone who has known you your entire life for input. Ask them to their divide your life so far into three stages. Then ask them to dream with you about what your entire life could look like in those same three stages. Pray together, thanking God for his love and involvement in each step of your life. Ask for his guidance as you live for him.
BASED ON DEUTERONOMY 32:1-43
Music has been important and impactful to people all throughout history. Not only has music always had an ability to resonate with our emotions, it can also make the lyrics in songs more memorable.
And yet, music itself is constantly changing. The book of Psalms even references the phrase “sing a new song” several times (for example, Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 144:9). Music artists are always releasing new songs or making covers of old ones. It’s as if new generations need to come up with their own story to tell through music and add it the collection that the generations before them left behind.
As Moses drew his final presentation of God’s laws to the second generation of Israelites to a close, he shared his own song with them. As is true with all songs in the Bible, we have the lyrics, but no record of the music that accompanied it.
You can read the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:1-43 (it’s pretty long). But it’s not the only one recorded in Scripture. The first Song of Moses occurred when the first generation of Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. You can find it in Exodus 14:1-18.
There’s another found in Revelation 15:3-4, which the redeemed sing after their victory of over the beast and its image. But unlike the other two, this one is called the Song of Moses and the Lamb. Because the book of Revelation begins with “The revelation of Jesus Christ…” (Revelation 1:1 NKJV), this song of victory hearkens back to the victory songs Moses sang in the Old Testament and the victory Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God—accomplished when he took away the sins of the world (John 1:29). This song in Revelation is actually a combination of multiple Old Testament passages, namely Psalm 111:2-3, Deuteronomy 32:4 (which is part of our passage today), Jeremiah 10:7, Psalm 86:9, and Psalm 98:2.
It’s time to name your song! Do you have a song that expresses any spiritual landmarks in your life? It might be a song you heard while you were on a retreat, or a song that epitomizes a spiritual highlight of that weekend for you. It could be a song that you often sing in Youth Sabbath School and has meaning for you. It could be the tune that you like about it, or the words, or even a combination of both.
Keep in mind, your goal is not to convince everyone else here to like your song. Instead, it’s to share a song that’s related to your spiritual life and journey as a form of testimony, just like Moses did with the Israelites. If you have a song like this, feel free to share it with the group now.
As leader, feel free to start by sharing a song of your own. Here are some examples of songs you could use: “The Revelation Song,” “Is He Worthy?” by Christ Tomlin , and “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship . Keep in mind that you might not need to play the entire song for the group. Afterward, follow it up with a few words based on the Holy Spirit’s leading if you want, but try to keep it brief and encourage others to do as well. (If everyone takes a long time to introduce or follow up their song, this activity could take quite a while.)
A note from Steve Case: About eight years ago I rediscovered the book of Revelation in a new and living way. Instead of just seeing beasts and fear like I had before, I began to see a depiction of Jesus as our overwhelming master, king, sacrifice, and loving God I’d never noticed previously. About that same time a song simply called “The Revelation Song” was released. Kari Jobi was probably the best-known recording artist to sing it, but my favorite rendition of it is Meredith Andrews’ live performance at the Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois.
Because it’s a praise-style song and repeats a lot, the video is about six minutes long. For me, the lyrics are references to key phrases from Revelation and build to a worshipful response—a key theme of Revelation. My favorite part happens about 20 seconds around the 5-minute mark. The music builds to a crescendo and punctuates the lyrics that so perfectly reflect the feelings of my heart:
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord, God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise be to the King of kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You!
Music is potent. When Moses gave his final address about God’s instructions to his people, he included the Song of Moses. The first generation of Israelites had already heard a version when they crossed the Red Sea. The second generation heard a new version before they entered Canaan. And the last book of the Bible introduces the Song of Moses and the Lamb. What is your song of testimony—of your journey or some step along the way? Share it with someone else this week.
Today we shared songs that have special spiritual significance to us. Share your song with someone outside of Youth Sabbath School this week. It could be somebody your same age, someone older, and/or someone younger. Then ask them to share a song they would identify with their spiritual journey. If they haven’t thought of one yet, don’t make a big deal of it. Simply invite them to give it some thought and share it with you when they have identified one, whether that will be later that day, week, or even month.
BASED ON DEUTERONOMY 31:9-13
The book of Deuteronomy literally means “the second giving of the law.” In it, Moses shares God’s laws in summary form. Some may wonder why he repeated what he had already told the Israelites previously—like in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. We already studied the Ten Commandments God gave at Mount Sinai (see Exodus 20), so why does Moses give them again in Deuteronomy 5?
One reason could be because the Israelites’ forgot it so quickly when they created and worshipped the golden calf just days after God gave them the Ten Commandments. Another reason could be that everyone who was 20 years old and older had died since Mount Sinai (except for Caleb, Joshua, and Moses). This was the presentation of the Ten Commandments for the younger generation.
One part of the instructions Moses left with the Israelites before he died and before they entered Canaan was to do a public reading of God’s laws every seven years. You can read about it in Deuteronomy 31:9-13 (TLB).
9 Then Moses wrote out the laws he had already delivered to the people and gave them to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the Ark containing the Ten Commandments of the Lord. Moses also gave copies of the laws to the elders of Israel. 10-11 The Lord commanded that these laws be read to all the people at the end of every seventh year—the Year of Release—at the Festival of Tabernacles, when all Israel would assemble before the Lord at the sanctuary.
12 “Call them all together,” the Lord instructed, “—men, women, children, and foreigners living among you—to hear the laws of God and to learn his will, so that you will reverence the Lord your God and obey his laws. 13 Do this so that your little children who have not known these laws will hear them and learn how to revere the Lord your God as long as you live in the Promised Land.”
Moses told the Israelites to read God’s entire law as a community at a national gathering known as the Feast of Tabernacles. That would mean reading at least the entire book of Deuteronomy. That would take some time! If you were to publicly read some of God’s laws, which law (or laws) would you choose, since we have so many more to choose from in the Scripture than Moses did when he wrote the first five books of the Bible?
Invite the participants to give their input on which law(s) they think should be read periodically at a special gathering of God’s people. Here are three short versions for them to choose from. Depending on the size of your group, have them do this individually, then discuss it in small groups. Once they have reached a conclusion, do a public reading of the laws they chose. Then make plans for them to do this in their families and/or with the entire church as well. You can download these three sets of laws below.
God has given his laws to his people multiple times. He instructed Moses to have the Israelites repeat a reading of those laws periodically as a community to strengthen their faith. This practice can be helpful for us today too, but often it can fall on deaf ears even when we do try it. When we hear a rerun of God’s laws, it’s important to keep our minds open to it and allow it to solidify our faith as a community.
Take the choice of the options provided for the “God’s Laws” handout and arrange to have a public reading of it. You could do this in your church, with your family, or both. Afterward, invite individuals to share their own paraphrases of different portions of God’s law, including how they have lived it in their own lives and how they want to continue living it. Conclude with prayers of commitment and request that God’s Spirit activate these laws in all our lives.
This is a bonus just for the youth leader—a quick tip and an illustration to enhance your youth leadership. You may already know this idea, have learned it through trial and error, or just need a quick reminder.
When someone says, “When I was your age…” it usually means they’re about to cherry-pick a memory from their past and hold it over a younger listener’s head. This is called selective memory, and people use it when they select things they want to remember happening in their lives (usually good things they did) and things they don’t (usually bad things they did). While it can be helpful to share one’s experience with young people, we should be careful never to do it in a way that exclusively makes us look good and them look bad. Neither view is completely accurate, and it separates generations rather than bringing them together.
If Sabbath School is just for us, we will spiritually die. We must share what we’ve been given, and we can do this both locally and globally. Listed below are several options you can put into practice over 3-4 weeks of reaching out.
Jesus told his disciples that they would “be witnesses” when they received power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Their witnessing would happen right where they were, and would spread out like rings when you throw a pebble into a pond. Here’s how you can make that happen by taking the words of Jesus and relating them to your Youth Sabbath School outreach and mission.
When you receive power from the Holy Spirit, you will be Christ’s witnesses in:
Jesus’ Day Today
Jerusalem Your Youth Sabbath School
Judea The church where you attend
Samaria The community around your church
To the ends of the world The world beyond your community
Much like Jesus’ love can cover our sins, paint can give many things a finished or fresh look!
Consider how painting the Youth Sabbath School room could help to make it look fresh and clean, as well as give the youth a chance to add their own personal touch. If you share this space with others, you’ll need to work with them to come to an agreement on the color(s), etc. There will be some cost. Often those who pay for the paint have significant say/influence in things, so encourage the youth to step up and earn the money to pay for the paint. And make the painting process a “painting party.” Remind the young people that most of the time spent painting a room is spent in preparation, which includes cleaning, scraping, taping, and covering before you actually paint. And don’t forget the cleanup! You might even be able to include a mural on one wall, or something that can be added to overtime as part of your Youth Sabbath School.
Just as the participants in your Youth Sabbath School can paint their room, they can ask and see if there’s a part of your church that needs a fresh coat of paint as well. Maybe it’s the bathrooms; maybe it’s one of the children’s Sabbath School rooms. If you have a church fellowship hall that gets used a lot, it probably needs fresh paint more often than other areas. Make the offer to paint whatever area is needed. Invite others to join, either by showing up to clean and paint, or by donating, or both. Make this intergenerational if you can, but even if others don’t show up, the youth can still paint other parts of the church. It’s their church, too. But be sure you get permission from the church board, which means going and meeting with them and presenting your idea for their approval. Hint: Work with a church board member in advance and have them present it with you so you have an automatic “in” from the start. Another option is to paint something at a nearby Adventist school. It is usually better to get painting projects done before the school year begins. You have only a week or two until that happens. But even if you don’t get it done now, you still have vacation times in the future to schedule it.
Open your eyes to what spaces in your community need a fresh coat of paint. Check with parks that are run by either the city or the county. They will have specifications and may need to provide supervision. If they’ve had bad experiences with volunteers in the past, they may also be hesitant to have volunteers “help” again. Developing a positive relationship might be the most important part of this endeavor. Park bathrooms often need a fresh coat of paint (remember the need to clean and prep in advance of putting on fresh paint). So might various outside walls of buildings, or parking curbs or playgrounds. If you’re turned down at one place, go in search of another. When you finish at one spot, consider moving to another one next month (or make this freshly painted spot your spot to maintain upkeep).
All over the world there are buildings or simply rooms in buildings that need to be painted. It can be a matter of nobody choosing to paint them, people being too busy, or perhaps nobody having the money to pay for paint and paint supplies. You may know of somebody in another part of the world who needs a little boost to get a building painted or freshly painted. Maranatha Volunteers International (Maranatha.org) has construction projects for short-term mission trips. Some of these are actually devoted to painting newly constructed churches or schools. For example, after putting in a concrete foundation and laying block walls, frequently those walls are stuccoed and then need to be painted. Some groups don’t think this is physical enough to be a mission trip, but it certainly gives a beautiful finished looks to newly constructed buildings. Maybe you can’t actually go on a short-term mission trip, but you could contact Maranatha and offer to donate for the paint supplies for one of the projects. Call Maranatha at 916-774-7700.