Wk 21.5 “Old Testament” recap:
Video -Bible project video on the Old Testament “TaNaK” (run time of 12 minutes)
Ice Breaker - What are the key themes that we see throughout the story in part 1 and 2?
The two movements from the Story which we have covered so far -
1) The Story of the Garden
In the garden Human beings are made in God image and have a perfect and intimate relationship with God; the test is about ‘whether they will trust God’s interpretation of Good and Evil or seize autonomy and decide for themselves’ , whilst the sin of Adam and Even brings about a break in relationship – and exile from the garden - the picture of perfection from the beginning is - human beings at peace with God and the creation.
In every sense, the bible is a story about Human beings needing to be restored to their place with God and how God will redeem his people from their exile due to the problem of sin.
In the creation, God creates human beings as the way in which he ‘wants to bless the world and rule it through humans’, as image bearers of the Himself (the divine). Of all things God has created – stars, planets, animals, mountains and seas, the things which most likely represent God’s likeness – is us. In what sense then, does worshipping a created thing (idolatry in the O.T) show a lack of understanding as to what it means to be ‘made in God’s image’?
Movement 1 of the story encompasses creation, fall, flood (with a deliverer in Noah who has intimate relationship with God) culminates in Babel (Babylon). Human beings are at enmity with each other engaging in violence and oppression and people trying to exalt themselves to the place of God (Gen 11). The account of Babel (we revisited this with our Pentecost study) where humans try and build a tower up into heaven culminates in another curse; fractured humanity exiled into the world and at enmity with God and each other.
2) The Story of Israel
The Story of Israel centred on the figure of Abraham, called out of exile from Babylon, and into a new Garden-like-land, promised by God to his family. In short, restored relationship and blessing. Yet Abraham’s family – Israel and his 12 sons end up exiled in Egypt. At their best, the show signs of trusting God’s promise – faith.
In Egypt (exile) God raises up a deliver (Moses)– to restore the people to himself and enter into a covenant relationship with himself.
In the video we see Moses described as a prophet (who speaks God’s word), a priest (who intercedes / makes sacrifice for the people) and a king (leader and deliverer in time of need). Moses said – as recorded in Deuteronomy 18:15 that “God will raise up a prophet like me from among you”. Yet ‘never do we see another one like Moses… how do we see that pointing to a future hope that isn’t fulfilled in the Old Testament?
Joshua starts out like Moses – meditating on God’s law, but fails … beginning Israel’s descent (before they even reach ‘the new garden-like-land’.
The story of the Israelite Kings: Saul, David and Solomon, all start with highpoints, calling people into right relationship with God, maintaining covenant faithfulness, yet the march towards exile continues with the successive failure of kings, priests and prophets; culminating in the splitting in half of the kingdom and the exile of the Northern tribes (Assyria) and then Jerusalem itself, with the family of Abraham ending up back where it began, as exiles in Babylon. The highpoints of this period are when God’s people – prophets priests and kings, trust God and live according to his covenant. Yet the promise of God to bless humanity with a new human – a king in the line of David (2 Sam7), remains unfulfilled. How are these stories point to a future hope ? (hint like David, Solomon and Moses…)
The latter prophets who operated during the time of the fall of Israel and Jerusalem called people to repentance operating with accusation and warning, yet they spoke of God’s promise andpurpose, “to purify his people and recreate a new Israel who would be faithful [like Abraham] and live in covenant relationship with God”. How was this fulfilled through the returning of exile and restoration of the temple and Jerusalem? Yet how did it remain unfulfilled, what future anticipation was there ?-
The chronicles a retelling of the whole Tanak (O.T.) talk about God’s promise to David, “of a future king who will reunite God’s people in a new Jerusalem and bring divine blessing to the nations”.
How is this a remedy to the situation which we arrive at the end of parts one (the garden-babylon) and two ( Israel) of the Story ?
The end of the story parts 1 and 2 is looking for a future hope – of a new humanity in which God restores the hearts of people, giving the gift of the spirit and redeeming people from exile, that they might experience relationship with God and enjoy him forever.
Can you think of one or two key verses which name that ?
Homework (for Sunday!) In your own words, tell the story parts 1 and 2 so that you can give someone who has no idea what the bible says, a sufficient summary of the entire O.T. in say 30 seconds. Think about what to include from these words – or explaining what they signify.
Creation, relationship with God, sin, evil, exile, Babylon, promise, covenant, moses, king, priest, prophet, David, Spirit, Heart, hope.
Between Pentecost (28 May) and the Uniting Church Anniversary (22 June) this year, we’re calling the whole Uniting Church to join in prayer. Sign up now! https://www.act2uca.com/unitinginprayer
Uniting in Prayer is 26 days of prayer and connection in the middle of the Act2 Project, which is currently grappling with the ferment and change we are experiencing as the Uniting Church like many other Christian communities around the world. As we seek to discern the outlines of our future life, this is a chance to pause, holding our Church before God and upholding each other in love and prayer.
All who call the Uniting Church home are invited to join together in thanksgiving and hope to pray and seek the leading of the Spirit for the years ahead.
During these days of prayer we’ll give thanks to God for our past, reflect on our present, and listen to God’s calling and each other.
Click here for six ways to get involved through these 26 days, including…
- sharing together in prayer and worship (resources below on this page)
- praying with us daily
- praying for others through the national prayer chain (download below on this page)
- joining our online prayer gathering on Thursday 15 June - register below
Let’s join together as we seek the outpouring of God’s Spirit on us and the Uniting Church, and dream dreams together for the future.
Below is a video message from Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis which you can use to launch Uniting in Prayer in worship on Pentecost Sunday. Read more and download it directly here.
Chapter 21: Rebuilding the Walls
Timeless Truth: God keeps his covenant with those who love him.
Bible Basis: Ezra 7:1, 7, 10-11; Nehemiah 1:2-6, 11, 4:4-6, 13-23, 8:1-12
Key Verse: Don’t be afraid of your enemies. Remember the Lord. He is great and powerful (Nehemiah 4:14).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 21
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity takes your family to a Web site to play a classic “wall breaker” video game. The Extra Mile encourages your family to do something to make God’s people safer.
Get the Point:
Preschool: Nehemiah was sure of God’s power. God is on my side.
Elementary: Nehemiah was sure of God’s power. God is on my side.
Middle School: When God’s people work together for what God wants, they can accomplish amazing things quickly.
High School: When God’s people work together for what God wants, they can accomplish amazing things quickly.
- When the walls around Jerusalem were completed, the people celebrated. Ezra, the priest, read God’s law to them from sunrise to noon (Nehemiah 8:3). Why do you think he did that?
- Do you think the people got bored?
- What’s the longest you’ve ever been in church? What did you do?
- What’s the longest that you’ve listened to somebody talk about God? What do you remember most?
- After Ezra spoke, the people went away and celebrated with great joy, because they now understood God’s word. Why did they react this way?
- Do you react the same way when you hear God’s Word? Why?
Note: Young readers will enjoy “Get Ready” in the Jesus Storybook Bible on page 170.
- Rebuilding the wall was a monumental task. God’s people got help from a powerful king and were pestered by nearby rulers. To protect his people and still get the work done, Nehemiah told the workers to carry supplies in one hand and a sword in the other. What does that tell you about the working conditions?
- Does God want you to be helpful, on one hand, and ready for battle with the other? How could you do that in your daily life?
- In the beginning of this chapter of The Story, God’s people are making some decisions that go against God’s law. Why don’t they learn?
- Are there areas of your life where you need constant reminders to follow God’s standards?
- Is reminding people through godly role models or writing a new thing or has it been the way God worked with his people for a long time?
- How did Ezra help the Jewish people get back on track with God? Do you think knowing God’s Word better would help you, too?
- How does it feel to know that you’ve just read through the Old Testament? Do something to celebrate.
Nehemiah was brilliant in getting all of God’s people to work together in rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall. By working together, they completed the project in 52 days! Before that, the Jews had languished in their attempts to protect and rebuild Jerusalem. King Cyrus first allowed God’s people to return to Jerusalem in 560 B.C. Then the second temple was completed in 516 B.C., but for 70 years the city was vulnerable to attack. In fact, many of the surrounding rulers made sure to keep the Israelites weak. But when Nehemiah showed up in 445 B.C., it took just less than two months to secure the walls and give God’s people a safe place to live. In all it took 115 years for God’s people to rebuild and fortify Jerusalem.
Have your family pretend to be raiders on Jerusalem by playing a classic “breakout” video game. You can go to www.silvergames.com/game/break-it/ or go to Google and search for “Breakout games.” See which family member is best at breaking down the walls. Let everybody take a couple of turns and then give a prize to who scores the highest.
When Nehemiah learned that God’s people were having a hard time and that people were making fun of them, he wept. He didn’t want God’s people to suffer. He wanted them to be safe and protected.
Sit down with your family and brainstorm ideas on what you could do to make God’s people safer in your area. Maybe there’s a project at your church that needs to get done. You could:
- Help build a walkway at church.
- Paint or mark the handicap spaces more clearly.
- Put up signs to better direct people to classrooms or the sanctuary.
- Volunteer to help care for babies in the nursery.
- Shovel snow off the sidewalk in winter.
There are tons of other ideas. Concentrate on ideas that will keep God’s people safe, and then ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to make these ideas a reality. You may need to include another family from church or the whole congregation. Dream big. Nehemiah did, and God helped him accomplish his goal extremely fast.
Chapter 19: The Return Home
Timeless Truth: Putting God’s business first brings prosperity.
Bible Basis: Ezra 1:1-7, 3:10-13; Haggai 1:2-11; Zechariah 8:2-22; Ezra 5:14-17, 6:14-18
Key Verse: “They will be my people. I will be their faithful God. I will keep my promises to them” (Zechariah 8:8).
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity shows your family how to build an edible temple. The Extra Mile looks at a video about what’s happening in the Holy Lands regarding the third temple and peeks back at the second temple.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God’s people promise to follow his ways. God wants me to follow him.
Elementary: God’s people promise to follow his ways. God wants me to follow him.
Middle/High School: Serving God can take hard work and effort—but it’s worth it.
- The first people to move back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple became frustrated at its progress and concentrated on building houses for themselves instead. The prophet Haggai told them if they served God first by building his house, then their crops and work would be blessed. Why do you think it’s important to put God ahead of your personal needs?
- Do you believe God controls everything?
- Name some things that God controls and how that affects your life?
- God’s people pitched in their gold and silver to make God’s temple magnificent. Talk about a time when you worked together with friends to accomplish a big task. Did it work better when everyone shared?
- How does it make you feel when you give something of value to another person?
- Cyrus, the king of Persia, encouraged God’s people to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the Lord’s temple. About 50,000 people went back to start the project. When the foundation was laid, some of God’s people cried and others shouted with joy. Talk about a time when you cried tears of joy. Can you remember a time that you shouted with joy?
- People in the surrounding areas didn’t want the temple rebuilt. They tried to stop the building. Have you ever known God wanted you to do something and had others stand in your way? What did you do? What was the end result?
- In the ultimate backfire, governors in nearby areas went to King Darius to see if King Cyrus had truly decreed that God’s people could rebuild the temple. They hoped Darius would stop the building. Instead he found Cyrus’ decree and made these governors give money and supplies to build the temple. Obviously, God’s plan trumped the governors’. How do you think the governors felt?
- Have you ever had a plan backfire?
- What does this story teach about God’s plans?
God’s second temple wasn’t as awe-inspiring as Solomon’s temple, but its majesty was renown. As a family, build your own temple using graham crackers and icing. You’ll need a small piece of poster board, a couple of boxes of graham crackers, icing and candy to decorate it.
An effective icing consists of one pound of powdered sugar, one teaspoon of cream of tartar and three egg whites. These ingredients need to be beaten on low speed until the mixture becomes stiff.
Begin by setting up the foundation by smearing a lot of frosting on the poster board. Set several crackers in it as walls. Keep adding walls with a good amount of frosting on the bottom until you’ve finished your base. Now start building up. Look online for artists’ renderings of the second temple or have fun making up your own design. Remember to use plenty of icing as “glue” to hold everything together. Once you’re finished building the structure, let it dry before decorating the outside with frosting and candy. You can add food coloring to the frosting to create different colors. Use your favorite candy to decorate the temple and remind yourself of the great worth of God’s house.
As you build the temple, talk about your church.
- What is your favorite part of your church?
- What’s the most memorable thing you’ve learned about God in the last month?
- Is there somebody at church that you should send a special thank-you to? If so, do it.
It is fascinating to think of the existence of the temple Ezra built, known as the “Second Temple.” Today, archeologists are uncovering clues as to where the massive stones came from for the construction, and what types of activities took place in the temple shortly before its destruction.
- On YouTube, look for the 2:15 video called “Discovery of a Second Temple Period quarry in Jerusalem”
- On YouTube, look for the 3:23 video called “Exclusive – Second Temple Treasure Discovered In The Hills”
Watch these videos together and talk about how archeology always proves that the Bible is true.
Chapter 20: The Queen of Beauty and Courage
Timeless Truth: By showing faith, God can change the hearts of rulers.
Bible Basis: Esther 2:10-12, 16-18, 3:1-12, 5:1-7, 7:1-6
Key Verse: “Show me your favor. . . . Please spare my people. That’s my appeal to you” (Esther 7:3).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 20
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity encourages your family to make some foods popular in Persia. The Extra Mile highlights a song called “Such a Time As This.”
Get the Point:
Preschool: Esther gets her heart ready for a hard job. God helps me when it’s hard.
Elementary: Esther gets her heart ready for a hard job. God helps me when it’s hard.
Middle School: God elevated Esther “for such a time as this.” In the same way, I need to be sensitive to God’s plan for me.
High School: God elevated Esther “for such a time as this.” In the same way, I need to be sensitive to God’s plan for me.
- What do you think Esther made for the big dinner with King Xerxes and Haman?
- What’s your favorite food?
- Queen Esther was King Xerxes favorite, but she took a risk by speaking to the king without being invited. Did she just barge in and demand to be heard? Why not?
- By being respectful and humble, the king granted Esther’s wish. Tell of a time where respect and humility helped you.
- Have you heard the saying, “Attitude is everything”? How would you describe Esther’s attitude?
- If you were in Esther’s place, what would you have asked the king to do?
- Esther kept it a secret from King Xerxes that she was Jewish. Do you think it was good for her to keep that secret?
- When is it okay to keep secrets? When is keeping secrets a bad idea?
- At first Mordecai encouraged Esther not tell anybody she was Jewish, then he told her to go before the king and beg for mercy for her people. Have you ever had a family member tell you to do something for God?
- Esther prepared for her meeting with the king by fasting and encouraging others to fast with her. What does it say about Esther that she went to God with her request first?
- Have you ever fasted?
- Talk about a time when you went to God in earnest prayer before making a decision. What happened?
Persian kings were famous for the lavish banquets. So when Esther invited King Xerxes to a “big dinner” (Esther 5:8), the pressure was on. Make a big Persian dinner in honor of Queen Esther, although you may not want to break out the solid-gold dinnerware. During the Achaemenid empire, Persian kings could get nearly any food they wanted. Fruit was very common, especially cantaloupe. A spinach salad may be an authentic touch for your meal. Fish was also popular.
Have fun as a family planning out the menu early in the week. Set aside one night where everybody can be together to prepare the big dinner. Try something new. Use an exotic spice. As everybody’s working together or when everyone sits down, you can go through some of the “Table Talk” questions. Queen Esther’s story is truly remarkable, and Esther is only one of two books in the Bible named for a woman.
For dessert, your family may want to bake Hamantaschen (ha-man-tosh-en), a traditional Jewish cookie made for Purim (see Esther 9:18-32), a celebration that honors Esther and Mordecai for saving the Jewish people from extermination. These triangular cookies look a little funny, and the name Hamantaschen means "Haman's ears." But they’re fun to make and taste delicious. Look in a cookbook or go online and search for Hamantaschen.
One of the most well-known verses from this chapter of The Story comes when Mordecai tells Esther that God may have raised her to be queen “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
Go to YouTube and watch the 4:16 video called “Mandisa: “Born For This (ESTHER)” – Official Lyric Video.”
Have a piece of paper and pencil ready as you listen to the song and watch the lyrics. Ask family members write down phrases that have special meaning to them. When the song is over, give family members the chance to explain why they chose their specific line from the song. Also ask:
- How does this song relate to Queen Esther’s story?
- How is this song meaningful in your life and in your relationship with God?
- What will you do to “stand apart from the crowd”?
Chapter 15: God’s Messengers
Timeless Truth: God is more powerful than any other god.
Bible Basis: 1 Kings 17:1-6, 18:1-39, 19:3-18, 2 Kings 2:1-15, Amos 3:1-11, 4:2-10, 5:14-15, 9:8
Key Verse: [Elijah said] “I serve the Lord. He is the God of Israel” (1 Kings 17:1).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 15
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity lets your family make rain and thank God for his provision. The Extra Mile encourages your family to get out and run—just like Elijah did.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God encouraged Elijah in hard times. God encourages me.
Elementary: God encouraged Elijah in hard times. God encourages me.
Middle School: God raises up mighty people—such as Elijah and Elisha—in hard times to point people to him.
High School: God raises up mighty people—such as Elijah and Elisha—in hard times to point people to him.
• Elisha was an awesome man of God. He did many miracles, including making the blind see and raising a child from the dead. In 2 Kings 2:23-24, it tells of a time that some young people made fun of Elisha’s bald head. Elisha called down a curse on them, and two bears came out of the woods and attacked 42 of the young fellows. What do you think is the main point of this story?
• Has anybody ever made fun of you?
• What did you do?
• How do you think God would want you to act when other kids make fun of you?
• Is it ever a good idea to make fun of people?
• Elijah often felt alone—maybe because Ahab and Jezebel killed all of God’s other prophets and birds fed him when he lived alone in a valley. Have you ever felt alone in your stand for God?
• Have you ever prayed for God to show his mighty power, like Elijah did? What was the result?
• There are a lot of temptations that pull teens and tweens away from God—drinking, drugs, rebellious music, sex—what area is the biggest problem at your school or among your friends?
• What area would you like to make a difference in? Pray to ask God to help you make a difference in your world in one of these areas. Then find teachers, parents and adults who can help you.
When Ahab became king of Israel, he did more evil things than any of the kings who had ruled before him. God sent Elijah to tell Ahab that he was judging the land because of the king’s poor choices. Elijah told Ahab that the living Lord is the God of Israel and to prove it “there won’t be any dew or rain on the whole land” (1 Kings 17:1). For three years it didn’t rain.
Have your family make it rain by gathering a clean glass jar with a metal top and ice cubes. Begin this activity by filling the jar half-full with super hot tap water. Put the lid upside-down on top to trap the heat. Place several ice cubes in the lid. In about 15 minutes, raindrops will start to splash inside the jar.
As it starts to rain, ask these questions:
• What would the biggest problems be if it didn’t rain for three years?
• What was God’s point in stopping the rain?
• What are some ways mentioned earlier in The Story where God showed his power in mighty ways?
• Rain is one way that God provides for our needs. What are some other ways that God provides for us?
• Have family members talk specifically about an area of their lives where they’re especially grateful of God’s provision.
At the end of the draught, Elijah had a showdown against the 850 prophets who worshiped false gods. He challenged the false prophets to pray and have their god send fire down to earth. The false prophets tried and tried, but nothing happened. Elijah had the altar doused with water three times. Elijah prayed and God sent fire from heaven that burned up everything—even the water! The people of Israel turned back to God and he sent rain.
Do you like walking in the rain? How about singing in the rain. Elijah enjoyed running in the rain. In fact, he outran Ahab’s chariot from Mount Carmel to Jezreel—and that’s over 20 miles!
In honor of Elijah’s amazing feat mentioned in 1 Kings 18:46, go jogging as a family. Run around your neighborhood or a local park. You may even want to race each other. God gave Elijah amazing power to beat Ahab to Jezreel. You could put somebody on a bike and have him stay on the sidewalk as another family member sprints across a field. See who wins to a predetermined point.
Make an effort to get outside and exercise as a family a few times this week. It could be jogging, running, biking—anything. And it doesn’t have to be for long, even 15 minutes can be beneficial. Maybe it’ll become a habit. As you exercise, use the time to talk about what’s happening in your life and how you see God moving.
Chapter 16: The Beginning of the End
Timeless Truth: God’s saving power is great.
Bible Basis: Isaiah 3:1-13, 14:1-5, 49:8-9, 53:1-12
Key Verse: “When it is time to save you, I will help you. I will keep you safe” (Isaiah 49:8).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 16
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity allows your family to explore the probability of Jesus fulfilling the prophecies found in Isaiah. The Extra Mile looks at a YouTube video about Jesus’ sacrifice foretold in Isaiah 53.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God doesn’t give up on his people. God won’t give up on me.
Elementary: God doesn’t give up on his people. God won’t give up on me.
Middle School: God punishes, instructs and guides his children to help them grow more like him.
High School: God punishes, instructs and guides his children to help them grow more like him.
• Israel and Judah followed other gods and ignored the one true God. The sins of the people of Israel caused God to allow them to be taken to Assyria. The prophet Isaiah warned the people of Judah about what would happen if they continued their bad decisions. He told the people the truth, even though the truth was difficult. Have you ever told the truth, even though it was hard?
• Have you ever stopped a friend from making a bad decision?
• What did you say or do to change your friend’s mind?
• Why is it so important to always speak the truth?
Note: Young readers will enjoy hearing this story in the Jesus Storybook Bible on page 144.
• Isaiah’s name means “God to the rescue.” What does your name mean? (Parents share with your children how you chose their name.)
• Isaiah tried to rescue the people by telling them God’s truth. What would you have to do to live up to your name?
• How does it feel when people try to change you by telling you things that you’re doing wrong?
• Is it easy to take advice? Is it easier to follow if you know it’s from God’s Word?
• What is the best way to share difficult truths with people?
God gave Isaiah great insight to write about the future and the coming of Jesus the Messiah. Test your ability to predict the future by playing this game as a family. All you need is a coin. Have family members pair up. If there’s an odd number of people, the person who sits out automatically wins and advances to the next round. Have one person flip and the other person call “heads” or “tails.” The winner is the one who guesses the best three-out-of-five flips correctly. Continue playing until there is one grand champion. When you’re finished, read this:
The book of Isaiah is filled with prophecies about Jesus.
• Isaiah 7:14 says Jesus will be born of a virgin.
• Isaiah 35:5-6 says when Jesus comes the blind will see and the deaf will hear.
• Isaiah 53:12 says Jesus will die with criminals.
There more than ten different prophecies recorded in Isaiah. The chances of guessing a flipped coin correctly are 50 percent. That means you have a 1 in 2 chance of being right. Mathematician Peter Stoner figured out the chances of one man in all of history fulfilling just eight prophecies. The probability is 1 in 1017, or a 1 with 17 zeros behind it. Stoner wrote that if you took 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and put them in Texas, it would cover the state two feet deep. “Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly,” Stoner says. “Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man."
Jesus is truly amazing. He didn’t fulfill just eight prophecies written hundreds of years before his birth—he fulfilled nearly 50! That’s an awesome God. It didn’t happen by chance. It was all part of God’s plan.
Isaiah 53 says a lot about Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Watch this 4:49 video on YouTube: “Jesus the Messiah – Via Dolorosa - Isaiah 53.” Some of the illustrations may disturb younger children. But if your children are old enough, have them watch the video as you read Isaiah 53 out loud.
The power of Isaiah’s words and the images will bring home Jesus’ sacrifice in a tangible way. God gave his only son and Jesus gave everything for us.
Ask the following questions:
· Why Jesus was willing to go through all that?
· How was Isaiah able to write these words more than 700 years before Jesus was born?
Chapter 17: The Kingdoms’ Fall
Timeless Truth: The Lord’s plans always come through.
Bible Basis: Jeremiah 1:4–10, 2:21–28, 5:1–2, 13:17–19; 2 Chronicles 36:11–16;
2 Kings 25:1–12; Lamentations 1:1, 2:17, 3:21–26; 5:1 and 15–21;
Ezekiel 1:1–2:7, 36:22–36
Key Verse: I say to myself, “The Lord is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him” (Lamentations 3:24).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 17
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity encourages your family to have fun drawing some of God’s amazing creations. The Extra Mile looks at an all-star baseball player who rejected God, but then repented and found mercy.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God’s people suffer because of their sin, but God still loves them. His love for me will never end.
Elementary: God’s people suffer because of their sin, but God still loves them. His love for me will never end.
Middle School: God’s judgment isn’t pretty. But he also stands ready to give mercy to those who show remorse.
High School: God’s judgment isn’t pretty. But he also stands ready to give mercy to those who show remorse.
• Have you ever done something that you were told not to? What happened?
• God told the people in Judah and Israel many times to not worship idols. He sent prophets who warned them about what would happen. So the people turned from their wicked ways and worshiped God, right? Wrong! What did the people really do?
• Do you like it when your parents warn you about your behavior?
• Do you usually change your behavior before you get in trouble?
• God’s people got in big trouble. Do you think that was fair?
• We’ve all heard the saying, “Like father, like son.” What are some ways that you’re like your parents? (Parents share about similarities with their parents.) Be sure to talk about some positive attributes and some negative.
• In this chapter of The Story, it’s like the kings tried to be the opposite of their parents. It was “like father, not like son.” It was good king, bad king, good king. . . . Why do you think that happened?
• Are there any things you’re doing to be set apart from your parents?
• Why do some people work hard at not following the positive character qualities of their parents?
• How can you work to embrace the good and reject the bad from the role models in your life?
God opened up the heavens and gave the prophet Ezekiel amazing visions. Gather your family around a table. Make sure to have an assortment of paper, crayons, colored pencils and other drawing utensils. Read all of Ezekiel 1 out loud. When you’re finished, take some time to draw the creatures that he described. You can even draw the scene with the heavenly sapphire throne and glowing metal figure (Ezekiel 1:26-28). Have fun critiquing each other’s work. When you’re finished, ask:
• Is it possible to describe heavenly creatures or heaven with words?
• Why can’t words do God justice?
• What do these creatures say about the creativity of God? Can’t you just picture these creatures in a movie or comic book?
• These creatures are called cherubim. God specially made them for a purpose. Think about other things that God made that might look weird but have a special purpose. What about ears? star-nosed moles?
When you’ve finished talking, read more about this scene in Ezekiel 10. Make any additions or changes to your illustrations that you want to. Hang the final products on the refrigerator for a week to remind your family of God’s power and creativity.
God’s people knew the truth, but they turned their back on it and followed their own ways. But even as God judges his people, he looks to their redemption (see Ezekiel 36:22-36). God is a God of mercy and healing. For a personal, modern example of God’s grace, watch Home Run Derby King Josh Hamilton: From Addiction to Salvation on YouTube. (Some of the video footage has been removed.)
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton accepted Christ at 18, and shortly after he was picked No. 1 in the Major League Baseball draft. In the minor leagues, he got addicted to drugs and nearly lost everything: Money, fame, a beautiful wife. After years of drug abuse, Josh rededicated life to God, and God gave it all back. At the 2008 All Star Game, Josh hit a record-breaking 28 home runs in one round of the home run derby.
Watch Josh’s story and then talk as a family about the similarities between his story and what happened to God’s people.
• What was Josh’s idol?
•How did God give everything back to Josh?
• What does this say about God’s character?
Chapter 18: God Watches Over Daniel / Daniel in Exile
Timeless Truth: The Lord’s plans don’t harm, but bring hope and success.
Bible Basis: Daniel 6:1-23; Jeremiah 30:1-3, 8, 10-11, 31:23-25, 29:10-14
Key Verse: “[Daniel] went to his room three times a day to pray. He got down on his knees and gave thanks to his God,” (Daniel 6:10).
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity encourages you to have a family sleepover. The Extra Mile looks at a video about God’s protection through his angels.
Get the Point:
Preschool: Daniel is loyal to God and God protects him. I can be loyal to God.
Elementary: Daniel is loyal to God and God protects him. I can be loyal to God.
Middle School: God’s loving protection and godly relationships carry me through trying times.
High School: God’s loving protection and godly relationships carry me through trying times.
• Daniel followed God’s rules, instead of the king’s, and got in trouble. Have you ever got in trouble for doing the right thing? If so, what happened?
• Daniel prayed even though he knew it could cost him his life. What are some things you pray about?
• Daniel’s punishment for praying to God was to be thrown into the lions’ den. Everybody take turns doing their best lion’s roar (even parents). Who protected Daniel from the lions?
• King Darius knew Daniel served God. The king even said, “You always serve your God faithfully. So may he save you” (Daniel 6:16). Daniel showed King Darius true faith in God with his actions (by praying and trusting him for protection) without saying a word. What are some actions you can take to show others you serve the one true God?
Note: Young readers will enjoy hearing Daniel’s story in the Jesus Storybook Bible on page 152.
• Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (or Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) were taken from Judah and brought to Babylon. But they refused to give up God’s rules and follow new customs. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you had to abandon God’s standards to fit in?
• Daniel and his friends ate vegetables and drank water, instead of eating the king’s food. What happened?
• How else did Daniel and his friends stand out?
• Do you think Daniel was a goody-two-shoes?
• Is always doing things God’s way a bad thing? If not, why is it so hard to make the decision to always follow God?
• How was Daniel able to make the decision to always follow God?
Daniel was forced to have a sleepover with some hairy, scary friends. Follow his example—sort of—by planning a family sleepover. You can do it in your bedroom, or in a living or family room. Pick either a Friday or Saturday night and plan ahead to make it fun. At the beginning you can pray, “God you protected Daniel during his sleepover with the lions, and we know you’ll be with us tonight, too. Amen.” Try these ideas or make up some of your own to create some family memories.
• Play “Simon Says.”
• Play one of your kids’ favorite board games.
• Put together a puzzle.
• Rent a kids’ video and make popcorn.
• Have everybody write down a tongue twister (or make one up). Fold up each paper and put it in a hat. Take turns drawing one and trying to say the tongue twister five times fast.
• Play charades. Have family members act out the title to a favorite song, movie or TV show.
• Hide the thimble. Take turns hiding a thimble (or other small object) in the room with nobody looking. As everybody searches, the “hider” gives clues by saying, “You’re getting warmer” (if a person is close to finding it) or “You’re getting colder” (if a person is going the wrong direction).
• Share characteristics of each person that you appreciate.
• Make a yummy dessert or snack as a family.
Go to bed a little later than normal (for younger kids); then wake up in the morning, cook breakfast and clean up as a family.
God’s protecting angels show up a couple of times during this chapter of The Story. First, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar sees four people in the flames—instead of three. He exclaims, “The fourth man looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25). Then when Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den, he tells King Darius, “My God sent his angel. And his angel shut the mouths of the lions (Daniel 6:21).
• Do you think God sends his protecting angels today?
Watch the 1:30 video, “Who are our guardian angels?” on YouTube.com
Angels are specially created beings by God. They serve the wishes of their heavenly father. Look at these other verses about angels: Exodus 14:19-20 (with Moses and Israelites fleeing Egypt); Judges 6:12-22 (with Gideon); Matthew 2:13-20 (with Joseph, to help protect the baby Jesus). God’s angels are mentioned throughout the Bible!