Here’s a free youth group lesson on delighting in the Lord.
The Big Idea: We can delight in the presence of the Lord as a place of comfort, encouragement, refreshment, and rest.
Bible: Hebrews 10:19-22, Leviticus 16:2, Psalm 23:4,145:14, 147:3, Mark 6:31-32, Matthew 11:28, and Romans 3:23
Enjoy the lesson!
Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
Note: This is a sample message from our “Delight in the Lord” winter camp curriculum that consists of: four teaching messages, four small group Bible studies and four games related to the theme. Theme: Students will discover what it means to delight in the Lord. Can also be used as a teaching series and Bible study series combo.
YOUTH GROUP LESSON – DELIGHT IN THE LORD
- Picture of JFK (attached)
Delight is a word we don’t really use anymore, is it?
It’s kind of an old-fashioned word.
So what does it mean to “delight in” something?
When we delight in something, it means that we find great joy in experiencing it — this could be a person, an event, a place… just about anything.
That thing, whatever it might be, brings us happiness.
It makes us smile.
So when someone says they’re delighted by your company, they’re saying that your company brings them great joy.
Here’s a quick question for you: what are some things that you currently delight in?
[Allow students to answer.]
We can delight in sports, music, and the latest Netflix or Hulu series.
We can delight in our family and friends and other relationships.
Some of us are delighting in school and learning.
Some of us… not so much.
We can delight in food, extra-curricular activities, and YouTube.
There are so many things that we can take delight in, so many things that God has provided us that can bring us great joy!
This weekend, we will discover a few things that we may not have thought of as bringing us delight: God’s presence, God’s teachings, and God’s gifts.
And we’ll finish up with how we can respond when we find our delight in these things.
I can’t wait to dive in, so let’s get to it!
I want to take you back in time to the 1960’s.
America has just elected a president who is young and handsome and who has a wife and two small children.
Does anyone know who I’m talking about?
[Allow students to answer.]
Right, John F. Kennedy.
[Present the attached picture of JFK.]
It was 1961 and, just like today, there were lots of things going on in the United States and around the world that were controversial, unstable, and caused a lot of anxiety and fear.
And our country elected this young, handsome man with a wife and two small children as its leader.
He was the most powerful man in the United States and the leader of the free world.
But, as you can see in this picture, even with all the responsibility, authority, and power that he had, JFK loved to be with his children.
They danced around him with pure delight and joy while he watched and clapped along.
We’ll get back to this picture a bit later, but let’s turn in our Bibles to Hebrews 10:19-22.
Would someone like to read this passage for us?
[Allow a teen to read this Scripture out loud for the group.]
Read Hebrews 10:19-22:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
This passage is pretty complex and can be a bit confusing.
Let’s break it down a bit together.
The author of Hebrews wants the readers to know that God, the most powerful being in all of creation, the Creator of all things, is available to us because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ sacrifice of His perfect life on the cross allows those who trust in Him and what He did to go directly into the presence of God.
God has always wanted to be in the presence of His people.
At the very beginning, with Adam and Eve, God was with us.
But what happened?
[Allow teens to answer.]
Correct, Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God’s instructions.
God, being holy and perfect, cannot be in the presence of anything that is not holy and perfect.
Sin created a separation between mankind and God.
And, unfortunately, not one of us is without sin.
Read Romans 3:23:
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
But God was not satisfied to allow His creation, His image-bearing humans, to slip away from His presence.
God established ways to be with His people, but because of the sin in the world, His presence was limited to specific people who followed very rigid and exact rules.
In Leviticus 16:2 we see an example of this:
The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.
Entering God’s presence without following the exact rules was a death sentence.
God’s presence was a serious matter and was reserved only for a very select few.
But God’s desire was to be with all of His image bearers.
He continued to pursue His people, never letting them slip through the gap that sin caused.
God’s longing to be with His people was so strong that He created a plan to close the gap forever.
His plan was Jesus.
Could someone read 2 Corinthians 5:21 for us?
[Allow a student to read.]
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Jesus, perfect and sinless, took on all our sins and closed the separation between us and God.
Those who have put their faith in Jesus are now covered by His blood and are seen as holy before the perfect and holy God.
Ephesians 3:12 says it like this:
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Because of Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death, and wondrous resurrection, all who believe in Him have access to the presence of God.
So many faithful followers of God throughout history longed for what we can often forget is such an amazing privilege.
But you might be thinking, “That’s great! I can be in the presence of the Lord, but what is so delightful about that?”
I’m glad you asked.
First, it means that each one of us can have a personal relationship with God.
Often, when the Bible talks about the presence of the Lord or God’s presence, it uses a word that can be translated into “face,” meaning this type of presence is a face-to-face, close relationship.
God is not distant.
He’s not watching the world from afar where people are just anonymous specks on a big sphere.
God is not behind a curtain or wall, and no one stands between us and the Lord.
God is up-close and personal, to the point that He knows exactly how many hairs each of us has on our heads.
He wants to hear from us, offer us wisdom, listen to us sing before Him, and watch us dance with delight for all He has done for us.
Jesus’ sacrifice allows us to go directly into God’s presence and talk with Him.
He wants to hear about our pain and joy, our hurts and our celebrations, our heartbreak, and our desires.
God’s presence also provides us with just what we need when life is hard.
I have a few passages that I need volunteers to read for us.
I need someone to look up Psalm 23:4, Psalm 147:3, and Psalm 145:14.
First, let’s read Psalm 23:4:
[Allow a student to read.]
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
Next, let’s read Psalm 147:3:
[Allow a student to read.]
He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.
And finally, let’s read Psalm 145:14.
[Allow a student to read.]
The Lord helps the fallen
and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
Life gets hard sometimes, doesn’t it?
Throughout our lives, we will walk some dark, difficult roads and carry some very heavy loads.
But we can see from these verses that God is with us.
God is walking right next to us, providing protection, comfort, healing, and strength to help us through those hard times.
And best of all, God wants to provide all these things for us.
He wants to help us.
Let’s take a look at Matthew 11:28:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Finally, God’s presence provides our souls with rest.
This kind of rest isn’t the same as sleeping or power-napping.
Instead, this rest involves a break from striving to do more to earn God’s favor.
Sometimes we can get caught up in the idea that we need to perform in order to earn God’s presence in our lives.
It’s tempting to buy into the idea that we must work harder and do better to close the separation gap our sin created between us and God.
We can forget that Jesus is the only One who could close that gap.
And He already did all that was required.
There is nothing we can add to what Jesus has done for us.
Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us…
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
We can rest knowing that there isn’t anything we can do to earn God’s favor.
God’s plan was perfect, and Jesus paid the entire price.
And we can delight in the presence of the God who chased after us when we were completely lost.
Let’s look again at the picture of John F. Kennedy from the start of our time together.
His children are thrilled to be in the Oval Office with their father, dancing and playing in his presence.
And he is thoroughly enjoying them, clapping along as they dance.
Similarly, we can go right into the very presence of God with all our joy and delight, as well as with our hard, difficult, trying moments, knowing God is sitting on the edge of His desk waiting for us.
God’s presence is available to all because God chose to chase after us.
He sent His perfect son to die in our place so that we could regain entrance into His presence where comfort, strength, encouragement, and rest can be found.
There is nothing we can do to keep God from pursuing us.
He longs for us to find delight in His presence.
Instead of avoiding Him when we make mistakes, we should lean in and soak up His grace and mercy for us.
For those who have trusted in Jesus and what He did on the cross, the presence of the Lord is available right now and for all of eternity.
Now that’s something that we can take great delight in!