Ingredients Alone Are Not Enough

Scripture: 1 Sam 4-7

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn the story of the Philistines capturing the Ark.
  • Students will learn that even if they have all the right things and do good works, we need God to be successful.
  • Students will learn how to tell if a chemical reaction has taken place.

Guiding Questions:

  • How can we cause a chemical reaction to take place?
  • How can we know that a chemical reaction has taken place?
  • Why do we need God involved constantly in our lives and not just on Sundays?

Materials: cake ingredients (cake mix, milk, eggs, oil), mixing bowl, cake pan, spatula, spoon, oven

Procedure: Review the story of the Philistines capturing the Ark focusing on how the Israelites were unsuccessful because they did not have God with them. Emphasize that God needs to be in every part of our lives because without him we cannot live our fullest, most exciting life that he has planned for us. Living without God is like trying to cook without a key ingredient.

Explain to students that they are going to bake a cake. Follow the instructions on a cake mix box. Let each student take a turn doing one of the steps: tearing the bag, pouring, measuring, stirring, greasing the pan, etc. Encourage students to do the reading of the recipe and decide for themselves what to do as much as possible. Do not do it for them. Once the cake batter is made, ask students if they are ready to eat it! When they object, dramatically pretend to not understand since you have all the ingredients together. Then agree that the batter needs to turn into a fluffy cake. Trying to live without God is like trying to make cake batter, without it turning into cake. We need his power to transform our lives just like we need an oven to transform our cake ingredients.

Have students make a list of observations that will tell them the cake is ready. Examples: darker color/brown, hotter, drier, stronger smell, rises/gets “puffy”, air bubbles.

After students have made their list, tell students the 5 indicators of a chemical reaction:
1. Smell
2. Color change
3. Temperature change
4. New substance is formed
5. Gas is produced.

Tell students that they get to decide how to make a chemical reaction to make the cake. Let students choose 3 different things to do to the cake batter to see if it will cook or change. Examples: put it in a freezer, put it in light/dark, stirring fast, place it in the sun. After each trial discussed how/if the batter changed. Finally, bake the cake. While the cake is baking, discuss the results and life application.
Generate questions based on the students’ trials. Examples: Why did the heat from the sun not cause a chemical reaction, but heat from the oven does? Explain that God is like our oven. We can do all the right things and have all the right ingredients, but unless we have God on our side and obey him, we will not get the best end result. You can mix the cake’s ingredients and have everything prepared perfectly, but you cannot force the chemical reaction to take place no matter how hard you try. God can take our efforts and the “ingredients” in our life and transform them into something completely new and wonderful. In the story, the Philistines had the Ark, but did not respect God so even though they had the right “ingredients” their lack of worship and disrespect of the Ark caused them to suffer.
When the cake is ready, observe the changes. Have students place their hand over the cake to feel the steam (gas production). Make sure that they do not touch the hot pan. Point out how each of the 5 indicators of a chemical reaction was fulfilled.

Additional Questions:

  • What are some good practices that you can do each day to keep inviting God to be involved in your life?
  • Can the sun ever cause a chemical reaction? How? (Yes, intensify the heat with metals. Sun-burn is another examples of a reaction.

Supplemental Activity: Have advanced students work in groups to make a list of other changes that they see in their everyday life. You may want to prepare a chart that has a blank space for the “change” on the left column and then the 5 indicators listed beside each change. Then they can check off if the change meets the criteria of the indicators.
(Change, Color, Smell, Heat, Gas is made, New substance)