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    The Bronze Snake: Be thankful for what we have.
    Numbers 21:4-9, Aesop's Fables as mentioned in the Talmud
    Written By Rev. Elder Lucinda Parker
Sunday School Menu

The NV ULC Board of Directors has granted permission for members of our congregation to make copies of, and use this lesson.


Numbers 21: 4-9
Aesop's Fable The Camel and Jupiter
Coloring Sheets, the snake and the camel


Today's lesson is about being thankful for what we have and not complaining about what we don't have. Who can tell me what complaining is? (Get several definitions)
What kinds of things do we complain about?
How does it make you feel when you hear other people complain?
How do you think your parents feel when you complain?
Vocabulary: complain, whine, grumble, carp, gripe

Lesson: PART I

Complaining or whining about our life has been around for a long time. When Moses led his people into the desert, they weren't happy. The Bible tells us a story about complaining in the Book of Numbers, also called the Fourth Book of Moses, in Chapter 21, verse 4-9. (Either read together aloud or have one person read)

Why were the people complaining? Did they have enough food and water to live?
Why did God tell Moses to have the brass snake made?


In the Talmud, the Rabbis also remind of us about another very old story about complaining. This one is an Aesop's Fable and is called the Camel and Jupiter. Jupiter was a Greek God. This story is very, very old. (Have a student read the story)
Why did the camel complain?
Was he as strong and great as all the other animals?
What happened to the camel when he complained?
Why do you think the Rabbi's remind us of the camel in the Talmud when they teach us "The camel desired horns, and his ears were taken from him"?

Activity: Color sheets the snake or the camel. Have students print, "I AM THANKFUL FOR WHAT I HAVE or I HAVE ALL THAT I NEED" their choice on their color sheets.

Extension: We still have snakes and camels in our world. Some snakes still bite, and we need to be careful around them. We shouldn't chase them or try to pick them up. We shouldn't be afraid of them either, for they are very important. We still have camels. Do they have horns? (no) Do they have ears? Not big floppy ears, just little ones. What else do we know about camels? (Usually the hump). The hump is to help the camel store water because he lives in the dry desert.

How does a snake move? If space allows, students can crawl like a snake. Otherwise use their arms to slither. What does a snake sound like?

How does a camel move? If there is room, walk on all fours, keeping feet on ground so that the back make a camel's hump, or simply point arms downward and lift one foot, then move an arm like a leg, etc. Where does a camel live? Where here could we see one?

Play snakes in the grass (tag game) Divide class up one third as snakes, two thirds as people. Teacher or one student leader says "Snake" . The snakes tag the people. Once tagged, the people sit down. The people team tries to get to the other side without being tagged. When teacher or leader says "Brass" everyone stands still, stands up if already tagged. and says "thank you."

Switch teams and play another short round.

God told Moses to make a brass snake to remind everyone to do what?
Why did the camel lose his ears?
Is it a good thing to complain?
When we feel like complaining what should we do instead?
This week, our lesson was about being? (Thankful, happy for what we have)
Go around class and ask each student to name off something S/he is thankful for before dismissing.


Numbers 21:4-9 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

The Bronze Snake

4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, [a] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way;

5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"

6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

7 The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.

8 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."

9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

Footnotes: Numbers 21:4 Hebrew Yam Suph ; that is, Sea of Reeds

The Camel and Jupiter (Aesop's Fables)

The camel, when he saw the Bull had pretty horns, was jealous of the bull. The camel wished that he could have pretty horns. He went to Jupiter, and begged him to give him horns. Jupiter was upset the camel asked for horns. Jupiter was upset the camel was not happy with his size and strength of body, but wanted more. Jupiter not only refused to give the camel horns, but even took away from the camel a portion of his ears.

Moral: The bounties of heaven are in such manner distributed, that every living creature has its share. To desire things against nature, is to blame the very Creator of nature it self.

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