Joy: The Flip Side of Justice - Week 2 | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
July 2019

Joy: The Flip Side of Justice - Week 2

Week 2: August 18
Isaiah 5:1-7, Hebrews 12:1-2

Note to the Teacher

The key emphasis this week (for this lesson from Isaiah 5, Hebrews 11 and 12) is that God has called God’s people to be agents of justice, and when they fail to do so it may disappoint God. The Ice Breaker invites youth to build a creation from popsicle sticks. The Discussion encourages students to reflect on what scripture says about God’s expectations for humanity’s call to justice. The Activity allows youth to work in groups to identify people of the world who may lack justice and what they can do to help.

Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.

10 min. 1. Ice Breaker – Build Your Own Tower

SUPPLIES – a large number of popsicle/craft sticks. Divide the students up into equal sized groups, preferable around three to four students per group, and give them a large number of popsicle sticks.

Say: “In our readings this week, Isaiah 5 mentions the people built a watchtower, so all of you are being challenged to build your own tower. You have five minutes to build the most impressive tower you can—you aren’t allowed to use any additional resources—then you have to step back and show and describe your tower to the rest of the class.

5 min. 2. Read Scripture

Our Scripture reading today will focus on Isaiah 5:1-7 and Hebrews 12:1-2. Isaiah 5 is the song of the vineyard in which God expresses frustration that the vineyard isn’t producing good fruit. The start of Hebrews 12 focuses upon the joyful race which is the Christian journey.

Read Isaiah 5:1-7
Read Hebrews 12:1-2

15 min. 3. Discussion

  • Isaiah 5:1-7 reads as sort of a parable, who can describe what a parable is?
  • Who does verse 7 say is the owner of the vineyard? Who are the people of the vineyard?
  • Why in verse 4 is God frustrated with the people? What do bad/good grapes represent?
  • What does God plan to do as a result in verses 5 and 6?
  • The end of verse 7 serves as a conclusion to this section – “God looked for justice but saw bloodshed; (looked) for righteousness, but heard cries of distress” – ultimately how had the people failed to live out what God wanted? What should the people of God have been doing?

From Hebrews 12:1-2

  • These verses describe the Christian life as sort of a race that God has marked out for us – why compare the Christian journey to a race?
  • What does verse 1 say is needed to run the race? Why is perseverance necessary?
  • Why is it important to “fix our eyes on Jesus” as we run the race?
  • Why do you think verse 2 uses the word joy to describe what Jesus endured?
  • While the journey of faith isn’t always easy how can we always seek to find it filled with joy?

20 min. 4. Activity and Discussion – Where is Justice Needed?

Take this lesson to the next level with this activity from the Youth Worker Collective that gets students thinking about where justice may be needed in the world and ways they might make a difference. You can find more activities like this at

SUPPLIES - You will need a large piece of paper for each group and markers for this group activity.

Tell the group: “Like the people of the vineyard in Isaiah, you all have been charged with doing justice and seeking righteousness for the people of the world. Get a large piece of paper and markers and take seven minutes to get into small groups of students to make a justice list with two columns. On the left side it should say, ‘Where Justice is Needed,’ and on the right side, ‘What We Can Do To Help.’”

Where Justice is Needed | What We Can Do To Help

On the left side think of people in the world, and even in our own community or your schools, who may need justice; who need someone to help be their champion or advocate.

On the right side beside each group of people listed write down ways that you/the church/Christians can act to make a difference in their lives in practical ways

After seven minutes have passed, ask each group to share their ideas and allow the group to ask any follow-up questions.

Final question after all ideas have been shared: “Are there any ideas that have been shared today that you think we as a youth group might be feeling called to act upon as a place where we might be in mission and service together for God?”

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

50 min


  • Large number of popsicle/craft sticks for students to build structures in groups
  • Large sheet of butcher/flipchart paper for each group
  • Markers or crayons to write on the paper

Click to download a formatted PDF of this lesson.