Jeremiah was a young prophet of God, full of doubts and fears. In this manner, young readers of the Bible should relate to Jeremiah's journey and to the questions he faced. Though the book of Jeremiah is somewhat dark, warning the people of Judah of impending war and destruction, Christian leaders can take wisdom from it and use the book to teach the youngest followers of the faith with a variety of activities and crafts.
Gifts from God
God called Jeremiah to be a prophet at a young age. In Jeremiah 1:5, God says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." This is a powerful message for children, that God knew them before they were born and chose special gifts to give each one of them. Have the children think about the gifts, characteristics and attributes God might have given them before they were born. They can work together to trace outlines of their bodies on large sheets of paper and then fill their outlines with defining characteristics. For instance, they might draw their physical features such as hair and eye colour and add other characteristics such as kindness or patience to their list of spiritual gifts from God.
Never Too Young
When Jeremiah receives his call to duty, he worries that he won't know what to do or say because of his young age. God responds in Jeremiah 1:7: "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' ... Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you." This is a strong reminder to all followers of the Christian faith that a person is never too weak or too young to accomplish God's mission for his life. Give each child a cutout of a weight, such as a classic ton or a dumbbell, from construction paper. Let them list on that cutout all of the things that they think God gives them the strength to do, such as to share their faith with others or show kindness to people who are rude.
Potter and Clay
In Jeremiah chapter 18, God sends Jeremiah to a potter's house to watch as the potter makes a pot out of clay. Disappointed with his work, the potter essentially smashes the clay in its original form and remakes it into a new pot. God tells Jeremiah that he wishes he could do this with the people; he wishes he could re-form them because they have strayed from his intended vision for their lives. Let the children use modelling clay to sculpt a small pot or vase the way they like it. Encourage them to try again until they get it right. Then teach them that God tries to mould their lives in the same way by teaching them how to be good people and follow the Christian faith.
Idolatry Then and Now
In Jeremiah's time, the people of Judah worshipped idols, which were like miniature figures made from wood and clay. In today's age, most people don't worship statues; however, many Christians put objects high on their list of priorities. They work hard all day so they have money to buy new cars, clothing and homes, but many do not put any amount of effort like that into their faith. Ask the children to think about the objects that are important to them, and to draw a picture of a precious item. Then remind them that God's love should be just as precious in their lives. Let them write the following on their pictures: "Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever" (Jeremiah 33: 11). Younger children can have a simpler message, such as "God Loves Me Forever," to put on their papers to remind them of the most important thing they should always remember.