Lesson

Sunday School Lesson Review

God Brought His People Home

Sunday, January 7, 2018

This week we began a 3 ­session story arc spanning much of Daniel’s life. God’s people  had been warned by the prophets: “Turn from your sin, and turn back to God!” But the  people did not listen. The nation of Judah was consumed by idol worship; the kings did  what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God kept His word—He allowed His people to  be taken from their land.    Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, the strong and powerful nation that overtook  Judah’s capital of Jerusalem and brought God’s people from Israel to Babylon. Daniel  was a young man in Judah when this happened. He might have heard about the prophet  Isaiah’s warnings; now he witnessed their fulfillment. (See Isa. 39:5­7.)    King Nebuchadnezzar called for the best young men from Judah to be trained for service  in the palace. Among these teens were Daniel and three of his friends. The chosen boys  were given new identities—new names, new education, new culture. But Daniel,  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stayed faithful to the one true God and refused to make  themselves unclean by eating the king’s food.    God blessed Daniel and his friends. Daniel’s obedience to God led to his favor with King  Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel’s life would be a testament to God’s control over all things.  God remembered His people during the exile and promised to bring them back to their  homeland and set up a new kingdom.

Daniel chose to obey God no matter what, and God blessed Daniel and his friends.  In an even greater way, Jesus always obeyed God. He came to earth and followed  God’s plan to save sinners. Jesus never sinned, but He died the death we deserve.  Jesus rose from the dead, and those who trust in Him receive God’s forgiveness  and blessing.   Help your kids understand that obedience is not always easy, but we trust God to give us  strength to obey Him. Point out that Daniel lived about 600 years before Jesus—the  perfectly obedient promised One. We can trust that Jesus will return someday to set up  His kingdom forever.

Daniel was Rescued

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The fifth chapter of Daniel ends with the death of King Belshazzar when the Persians  took over Babylon and Darius was put on the throne. Babylon was on the decline—no  longer the powerful, prosperous empire it once was. By this time Daniel was an old man,  probably in his early 80s. He served the new king as one of the three leading supervisors  in the kingdom.    Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in  charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and governors were jealous of  Daniel. They watched for him to do something wrong so they could complain to the king.  Read Daniel 6:4. Daniel was “trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in  him.”    Through the malevolent persuasion of the king’s leaders, King Darius passed a law that  no one could pray to anyone but him, the king, for 30 days. Daniel continued to pray  boldly to God. Even the king’s threat of death did not stop Daniel from praying. The  jealous officials turned him in, and Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den.    Daniel was in the lions’ den all night long. When morning came, the king rushed to find  out what happened to Daniel and discovered that Daniel was alive and unharmed! God’s  protection of Daniel served to show all the people that the God of Daniel “is the living  God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion  has no end” (Dan. 6:26).

God showed His power to rescue Daniel from the lions, but Daniel was just a small  part of a much bigger story. God ultimately rescued us from a much bigger  problem—sin and death—through His Son, Jesus.

Help your kids understand that God also calls us to trust and obey Him no matter what.  God sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from something much more dangerous than lions.  Jesus rescues us from sin and death. Pray that through your faith, and that of your kids,  “may the name of God be praised forever and ever” (Dan. 2:20).

Jesus was Born

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Do you think it was just by chance that Caesar Augustus called for a census? Did it just  so happen that Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem—the very place the  Messiah was prophesied to be born? (Micah 5:2) God is in control of all things, which He  showed by using a pagan emperor to bring about His plan.    After Jesus was born, Mary laid Him in a manger. A king in a manger! It was so unlikely.  But Jesus was no ordinary baby. He was God’s Son, sent in the most humble of  positions, “not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt.  20:28).    Imagine the shepherds’ surprise when an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared. The  Bible says that they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I  proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior,  who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David” (Luke 2:10­11).    What a relief! This angel had come to bring good news. First, he proclaimed a Savior.  The people of Israel were well aware of their need for a Savior. They made sacrifices  daily to atone for their sin. Finally, a Savior had come who would be the perfect sacrifice  for sin, once and for all.    This is the best news ever! An army of angels appeared, praising God and saying: “Glory  to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors” (Luke 2:14).

The birth of Jesus was good news! Jesus was not an ordinary baby. He is God’s  Son, sent to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to save people from sin  and to be our King.

Help your kids understand that Jesus came because we needed him. The purpose of  Jesus’ birth was twofold: to bring glory to God and to make peace between God and  those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Anticipating the Coming King

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This week and next week, we step out of the Bible’s big story chronology to celebrate  Christmas. This week we remained in the Old Testament to learn about Jesus’ birth from  the prophet Isaiah.     Isaiah’s name means “Yahweh is salvation.” God called Isaiah to be a prophet when  King Uzziah’s reign was ending—more than 700 years before Jesus was born. At the  time Isaiah spoke to the people of Judah, the kingdom of Judah was very wealthy. But  the people did not follow God. They worshiped false idols, cheated one another, and  mistreated the poor.    Isaiah spoke to the people of Judah at a critical time in their history. After King Uzziah  died, the people were afraid. They were vulnerable to their enemies, and unlike Uzziah,  their new king was less than ideal. Isaiah’s prophecies warned the people that God  would judge them, but Isaiah also spoke words of hope. He told of how God would one  day rescue those who were faithful to Him.    Perhaps the most amazing of all are Isaiah’s detailed prophecies about Jesus—His birth  and His suffering and death. Jesus Himself read from the Book of Isaiah, telling the  people that He was the One the Scriptures spoke of.    Jesus fulfilled God’s promises spoken by the prophet Isaiah. God kept His promise to  send a king from the family of Jesse, the father of King David (Luke 3:23­32). The Spirit  of the Lord rested on Jesus (Matt. 3:16­17). He was filled with wisdom and
understanding (Luke 2:40). He came to bring salvation to all the nations (Acts 13:47­48).

Isaiah and many other prophets in the Old Testament told about a King who would  come and rule forever. Jesus is the promised Messiah. He will make all these  words come true.

Help your kids understand that Isaiah’s prophecies from God did not speak just to the  people of his time; they also speak to us. Hundreds of years before it happened, Isaiah  told of how Jesus would be born and how He would suffer and die to take away the sins  of His people. Because of Isaiah’s prophecies, and those of the other Old Testament  prophets, we have great confidence in the Bible and that Jesus is the Messiah.

Shadrach, Meshach and

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Nebuchadnezzar built a tall gold statue and issued a new law: “When you hear music,  you are to fall down and worship the statue.” The penalty for defying this law was severe.  “Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of  blazing fire” (Dan. 3:6).    So when music played, all the people bowed down and worshiped the gold statue. Well,  almost everyone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship  the statue. They loved and worshiped the one true God. Only He was worthy of their  worship.    The Book of Daniel says that the Chaldeans—a group of astrologers and dream  interpreters (see Dan. 2:2,4)—took this opportunity to go to the king and tell on  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But not even the threat of death could convince the  three friends to renounce their loyalty to God. The friends’ trust in God enabled them to  stand firm no matter what—even as they were tied up and thrown into the fire.    Then something miraculous happened. Nebuchadnezzar saw ​four
​  men in the fire! They  were walking around, unharmed! The Lord not only rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and  Abednego, He was with them.

God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. Only He could rescue  them. God rescues us too, through His Son, Jesus. Only Jesus can save us from
our sin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided the way for us to be rescued from  sin and have eternal life.

Help your kids see that God was good and loving to rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and  Abednego, but He was also good and loving ​not
​ to rescue Jesus. On the cross, people  mocked Jesus: “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!” (Mark 15:31). Jesus was not  physically unable to save Himself. He chose to do His Father’s will, and His love for  sinners kept Him there. Jesus chose not to save Himself ​so that
​  He could save others.

 Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God

Sunday, December 3, 2017

This week we began a 3­ session story arc spanning much of Daniel’s life. God’s people  had been warned by the prophets: “Turn from your sin, and turn back to God!” But the  people did not listen. The nation of Judah was consumed by idol worship; the kings did  what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God kept His word—He allowed His people to  be taken from their land.    Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, the strong and powerful nation that overtook  Judah’s capital of Jerusalem and brought God’s people from Israel to Babylon. Daniel  was a young man in Judah when this happened. He might have heard about the prophet  Isaiah’s warnings; now he witnessed their fulfillment. (See Isa. 39:5­7.)    King Nebuchadnezzar called for the best young men from Judah to be trained for service  in the palace. Among these teens were Daniel and three of his friends. The chosen boys  were given new identities—new names, new education, new culture. But Daniel,  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stayed faithful to the one true God and refused to make  themselves unclean by eating the king’s food.    God blessed Daniel and his friends. Daniel’s obedience to God led to his favor with King  Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel’s life would be a testament to God’s control over all things.  God remembered His people during the exile and promised to bring them back to their  homeland and set up a new kingdom.

Daniel chose to obey God no matter what, and God blessed Daniel and his friends.  In an even greater way, Jesus always obeyed God. He came to earth and followed  God’s plan to save sinners. Jesus never sinned, but He died the death we deserve.  Jesus rose from the dead, and those who trust in Him receive God’s forgiveness  and blessing.   Help your kids understand that obedience is not always easy, but we trust God to give us  strength to obey Him. Point out that Daniel lived about 600 years before Jesus—the  perfectly obedient promised One. We can trust that Jesus will return someday to set up  His kingdom forever.

Ezekiel Told of a Future Hope

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Ezekiel had a tough job: ministering to people who had rejected God and suffered the  consequences. The exiled people of Judah were eager to blame God for their  circumstances. “It’s not fair!” they argued. (See Ezek. 18:25.)    Ezekiel told the people that they were at fault for their exile; their faithlessness had  provoked God’s wrath. The people were getting what they deserved. “I take no pleasure  in anyone’s death,” God said. “So repent and live!” (Ezek. 18:32).    God gave Ezekiel a vision. In this vision, God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The  bones represented Israel. Ezekiel prophesied that God would put tendons, flesh, and  skin on the bones. He would put breath in them so they would come to life.    Ezekiel encouraged the exiles. Apart from God, they were dead. But God was offering  them life. He would restore their future. “My dwelling place will be with them,” God said.  “I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezek. 37:27).    We too are dead in our sin. (Eph. 2:1) Sin separates us from God because He is holy.  We are apart from God’s presence. But God does not delight in our death. He is patient  and wants us to repent and live!     Hundreds of years after Ezekiel died, God’s presence came to His people through Jesus  Christ, ​ Immanuel
​ —meaning, “God with us.” Jesus is the source of life; He offers us living
water. (John 4:10,14) If we do not drink of it, we will become like the dry bones. No life  will be in us.    Christ changes that. Evangelical Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias  wrote, “Jesus does  1 not offer to make bad people good but to make dead people alive.” Indeed, He does.  God saves us by grace, making us alive with Christ through the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 2:4­5)    God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The dry bones remind us what we are  like when we sin. God showed Ezekiel His power to make dead people alive. We  see God’s power at the cross. Jesus died to save sinners. God raised Jesus from  the dead, and He gives us eternal life.    Help your kids understand that God is the author and giver of life and just as He pictured  bringing dead bones back to life, He brings us to life when we trust in Jesus.

Judah was Taken Into Captivity

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Warnings had come from the prophets for decades. God patiently waited for His people  to turn from their sin. The prophet Jeremiah spared few details when he warned Judah  what would happen if they did not turn from their evil ways. (See Jer. 25:1­14.)     But the people of Judah did not change their ways. The kingdom had been declining for  years, despite King Josiah’s efforts to prompt nationwide repentance. When King Josiah  died, the people went back to their old ways, worshiping idols and disobeying the Lord.    The time of judgment had come. God used Nebuchadnezzar—the king of Babylon—to  deport the people from Judah to Babylon where they would live in exile for 70 years.     Nebuchadnezzar went to Judah when Jehoiakim was king. He put Jehoiakim in chains  and took him to Babylon. Jehoiachin became king, and Nebuchadnezzar came back for  him too. Many of the people in Judah were taken, along with treasures from the Lord’s  temple. Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne in Jerusalem.    The people of Judah were unfaithful to God. Zedekiah rebelled against  Nebuchadnezzar, and God poured out His wrath on Judah. Nebuchadnezzar showed no  mercy to the people of Jerusalem. The Babylonians set fire to the Lord’s temple and the  king’s palace. They destroyed the wall around Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies  carried most of the people away to Babylon as prisoners; only poor farmers were  allowed to stay and work the land. The people were held captive in Babylon, serving the  king for 70 years.

God was right to punish His people for their sin, but He kept His promise to  provide a king through David’s family. Ultimately, God punished our sin through  His Son, Jesus, and made Him our King forever.     Help your kids understand that God did not abandon His people. The prophet Jeremiah  told what would happen next: “The days are certainly coming … when I will restore the  fortunes of My people Israel and Judah” (Jer. 30:3). God was going to save His people  from captivity and raise up a new King—a forever King—from the line of David. (Jer.  30:9)

Jeremiah Prophesied a New Covenant

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Shortly after God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, He made a covenant  with them at Mount Sinai. The terms of the covenant are found in Exodus 19.    God said through Moses, “If you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you  will be My own possession out of all the peoples, … and you will be My kingdom of  priests and My holy nation” (vv. 5­6). God’s people responded, “We will do all that the  L​ ORD​  has spoken.”

But the people did not do all that the Lord had spoken. The people had God’s law, but  they were not able to obey Him because of the sinfulness of their hearts. God punished  His people for their unfaithfulness, eventually sending the Northern Kingdom into exile.  But God was faithful; He preserved two tribes, keeping His promise to establish David’s  house forever.    The Israelites in Jeremiah’s day broke the covenant just like their ancestors before them.

The prophet Jeremiah told about a new covenant. He prophesied about a coming day  when God would forgive sin and write His law on the hearts of His people. This prophecy  is fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus did not come to get rid of the law. (See Matt. 5:17.) Through  His sinless life, Jesus fulfilled the demands of the old covenant.

Jeremiah told about a day when God would forgive sin and change people’s  hearts. Jesus made these words come true. God forgives our sin through His Son,  Jesus. He changes us and gives us power through His Spirit to obey His
commands.

Help your kids understand that obedience only comes from a heart changed by God and  it is always a response to God’s goodness and love for us.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS  

● Babies and Toddlers

○ God helps me love Him.

○ People do not always love and obey God.

○ God made a new promise to forgive His people.

○ God sent Jesus to forgive His people forever.

● Preschool

○ Why should we obey God?

We obey God because He loves us.

○ God promised a better covenant.

● Kids  ○ Why should we obey God? We obey God because He loves us.

○ God promised a new and better covenant.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE  ● Ezekiel 11:19­20 ​ (Preschool: Ezekiel 11:19)

NEXT WEEK   ● “Judah Was Taken into Captivity” ​ (2 Chronicles 36:1­21)

God Called Jeremiah

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah were afraid. They had seen the Assyrians  destroy the Northern Kingdom and now they were not sure if they would be able to  survive. God called on Jeremiah to speak to the people.

“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.”  These words from Jeremiah 1:5 reveal a Creator who is sovereign, working out  everything in agreement with the decision of His will. (Eph. 1:11)    Jeremiah 1:5 ends with a specific call for a man named Jeremiah: “I appointed you a  prophet to the nations.”    Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah the priest. He lived just north of Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s  ministry began when God called him. At that time, Josiah was king of Judah. Whom else  did God call in the Old Testament? God called Noah to build an ark (Gen. 6); He called  Abram to leave his home (Gen. 12:1­4); He called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt  (Ex. 3).    Each time God calls someone, He equips him or her to do His work. Like Moses,  Jeremiah was hesitant: “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am  only a youth” (Jer. 1:6). God assured Jeremiah: “I will be with you” (Jer. 1:8).    God called Jeremiah to be a prophet to Judah. Judah was deep in idol worship and other  sins. God’s judgment was coming. Jeremiah’s job was to warn them. God gave Jeremiah
two visions. The first—a branch of an almond tree—was a sign that God would keep His  promise to send judgment, and He would do it soon. The second vision—a boiling  pot—meant that God’s judgment was coming from the north. God would bring the  Babylonians from the north as judgment on His people. Then God sent Jeremiah out to  announce God’s declaration.

God had a plan for Jeremiah before Jeremiah was born. God called Jeremiah to  share God’s message about sin. In a similar way, God had planned all along to  send His Son, Jesus, to show them what God is like and to rescue them from sin.

Help your kids see God’s love even in the midst of His discipline and help them connect  Jeremiah’s ministry to the ministry of Jesus. God called Jeremiah to warn the people of  the judgment for their sin. Jesus also came to tell people to turn from their sin. He didn’t  just tell them about the punishment, He took the punishment on Himself.

Joel, Prophet to Judah

Sunday, October 29, 2017

This week we turned our attention back to Judah and picked up the big story with God’s  people in quite a bind. The prophet Joel spoke to the Southern Kingdom of Judah at a  time when the nation faced a crisis. The land had been invaded by locusts; swarms of  the insects had devastated the plants. Judah was also affected by a severe drought.    Joel looked back on these events and announced that these were not mere natural  disasters the Lord was judging the people for their sin.    In Deuteronomy 28, God told His people, “If you do not obey the Lord your God by  carefully following all His commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses  will come and overtake you … You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little,  because locusts will devour it” (vv. 15,38). That is exactly what happened.    These disasters were a wake­up call. Joel told the people to repent. He told them to fast.  He told them to gather and repent together, crying out to God and asking Him to show  them mercy. Then Joel looked ahead to the future. In essence he said, “You think this is  bad? This is only the beginning!”    God’s judgment of Judah was not over. The Day of the Lord was coming, a day when  God would show His strength through an invading army. For those who were not right  with God, this was bad news. God’s power would be against them. So Joel implored  them, “Return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.”    God had pity on His people and promised to restore them. God would rather forgive His  people than punish them.   

Joel warned God’s people about the Day of the Lord – a day when God will judge  His enemies, free His people, and make the world right again. Those who trust in  Jesus will escape God’s punishment for sin. Jesus was punished in our place, and  we share in His righteousness.    Help your kids see that God takes sin seriously, but at the same time, He showers grace  upon those who trust in Jesus. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for sins so people could  be right with God. An ultimate Day of the Lord is coming, and everyone who calls on the  name of the Lord will be saved. 

Jonah, Prophet to Ninevah

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Last week, we saw Hosea’s amazing love for his unfaithful wife, Gomer, that provided a picture of God’s greater love for his unfaithful people. This week, we looked at Jonah’s lack of love as a contrast.

The Book of Jonah is not primarily about Jonah and a big fish. While those elements are important, Jonah’s account centers around the compassion of God, not only for the people of Israel, but for people throughout the earth –  even Israel’s worst enemies! God spoke to Jonah, “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted me!”(Jonah 1:2)  God is the judge of all the Earth (Gen. 18:25) and he is Sovereign over all the nations. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. No wonder Jonah ran the other way! No one can flee from God’s presence.

Through a storm and sometime in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention. Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city.  His message to the Ninevites was brief “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!” The people of Nineveh immediately repented, and God withheld his judgment. He passed over their sins and did not demolish the city.  How did Jonah react?” Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. (Jonah 4:1). Jonah refused to love the people of Nineveh, even when God did.

God rebuked Jonah and prompted him to examine his heart. He left Jonah and the reader with the question to consider:  “Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh?” (Jonah 4:11)  God called Jonah to go to his enemies and call them to turn away from their sin, but Jonah refused. Instead, he ran away. Later, God sent Jesus to his enemies to call us to repentance. Jesus willingly obeyed. Jesus died on the cross to rescue us from sin.

Help your kids see that God’s love extends to the Nations and that like Nineveh, we are all enemies of God, undeserving of grace and mercy. Jesus is greater than Jonah (Matt.  12:41). Jesus came calling all sinners, Jews and Gentiles, to repentance. He didn’t only bring a message, he truly loved us. He submitted to God’s will with joy and laid down his own life for our sins. God shows his mercy in the gospel, forgiving those who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. God sent us out, like Jonah, to share the good news of salvation.

Hosea, Judah’s Faithful King

Sunday, October 15, 2017

This last week, we encountered the curious instructions God gave the prophet Hosea. God sent the prophet Hosea to speak to Israel a message of God’s hatred towards sin and of his coming judgment. God also sent Hosea to bring a message of love – A Love that never gives up. God used Hosea’s own life to show Israel what a never-gives-up-kind of love looks like. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He told Hosea that his wife would not be faithful to him. She would give birth to children who were conceived with other men. Still, Hosea obeyed God. He chose Gomer as his wife. Just as God said, Gomer was not faithful to Hosea. She went after other lovers. Can you imagine Hosea’s grief each time he found his wife with another man? It would have been easier for Hosea to throw up his hands and say “Enough! I am done with you!”  God’s people were no different than Gomer. They were spiritual adulterers. Their hearts chased after other lovers. They loved and worshipped Idols, people and things that were not the one true God. It would have been easier for God to throw up his hands and say “Enough! I’m done with you!”  But God’s love never gives up. He gave Hosea a love for his wife that compelled him to buy her back from the slave market after all she had done. In the same way, God sought after his unfaithful people even after all they had done. God paid a high price – the life of his son, Jesus to bring them back to himself. Hosea’s relationship with Gomer reminds us of God’s relationship with the people of Israel and with us. Even though God’s people are unfaithful and love other things more than they love God, He still loves us. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin and bring us back to him. Help your kids understand what God’s amazing love is like and make sure they see that the price God paid to bring us back to him was Jesus. God gave Hosea a deep love.  Hosea was willing to buy back Gomer even after all she had done. God’s love is deep, and it never gives up. He goes after his people and loves them back to himself.

Hezekiah, Judah’s Faithful King

Sunday, October 8, 2017

*This lesson was not taught due to the missionary update given in Sunday School. Read the review to your child and discuss.

He’s a chip off the old bloc.  Like father, like son.  The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  These idioms exist because sons tend to look and behave like their fathers.  When it came to Hezekiah and his father, Ahaz, however, the two were far from similar.  When Ahaz was king of Judah, he did not respect God, God’s law, or God’s prophets. He worshiped idols.  Ahaz “did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God” (2 Kings 16:2).  He led the people away from God, provoking God’s wrath and anger.  Hezekiah, on the other hand, “did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor, David had done.  “Hezekiah destroyed the places of idol worship and cleansed the temple. (See 2 Chron. 29).  The Lord was with Hezekiah, and Hezekiah prospered.  Hezekiah was a faithful king who led the people of Judah to worship God like they were supposed to, but even good kings are sinners.  His wealth and success led to pride.  How did Hezekiah react when God said everything in his palace would be carried off to Babylon?”  “Who cares?  I’ll be dead by then.”  Jesus is our faithful King who never sinned.  Check out some of these definitions for the word faithful:  “strict or thorough in the performance of duty”; “true to one’s word, promises, or vows”; “steady in allegiance or affection”; “loyal”; “constant”’ “reliable, trusted, or believed”; “adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original”; “accurate.”

Jesus completed His work – the redemption of sinners.  He said on the cross, “it is finished!” (John 19:30).  Jesus is faithful over God’s house as a Son.  (Heb 3:6) His obedience is steadfast (Isa. 50:4-10) “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).  One day, Jesus will return to make all things the way they are supposed to be.  (Rev. 1:1-6)  Hezekiah prayed that God would save His people from their enemies so that everyone would know that He is the one true God.  God answered Hezekiah’s prayer.  Jesus also prayed for His people to be saved.  Through His death and resurrection, Jesus brought glory to God by rescuing people from sin and death.

Help your kids see that Jesus is the greater Hezekiah.  Hezekiah interceded for his people to ask God to save them from their enemies, but Hezekiah was a sinner and needed to be saved himself.  Jesus was sinless and He interceded for His people to save us from sin and death!

Isaiah Preached About the Messiah

Sunday, October 1, 2017

 

The book of Isaiah contains four Servant songs – poems about the servant of God. (See Isa 42:1-4; 49:16; 50:49; 52:12 – 53:13).  In these poems, the prophet Isaiah describes god’s plan of redemption.  We see a vision of the promised Messiah, the innocent substitute who would suffer for the sake of sinners.  Through Jesus, god brings sinners back to Himself.  The fourth and final Servant song is found in Isaiah 53.  In this passage, Isaiah provides an answer to these questions:  How can a just God justify the ungodly?  How can He declare innocent those who are guilty?  How can He treat bad people as though they were good?  How can He love people like us?  A just God cannot just look the other way.  He does not say, “Don’t worry about it,” no big deal.”  That’s cheap grace.  Sin against a big God is a big deal.  God didn’t just forgive our sins, He dealt with them. And this grace was costly.  The price?  God’s own Son.  Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecies of a Suffering Servant.  People assumed God had cursed the Suffering Servant for His own sins.  But no; Jesus was sinless.  So why did He suffer?  Isaiah wrote that He was pierced because of our transgressions and crushed because of our iniquities.  His punishment is what brought out peace. 

The Suffering Servant died the death we deserve.  When we trust in Jesus, our sins are wiped away – pain for by His blood – and His righteousness is credited to us.  When Christ’s work on the cross was finished, God rewarded Him.  “For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

God planned all along that Jesus would die on the cross for our sins.  Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote that this would happen!  Jesus is the Servant who suffered so that those who trust in Him would be forgiven.

Help your kids appreciate what Jesus endured during His earthly ministry.  Talk about how Jesus hurt and died because of His love for people and His desire to please His Father.  Because of Jesus’ suffering and death, our sin punishment has been paid and because of His resurrection, we have victory over death. 

God Called Isaiah

Sunday, September 24, 2017

King Uzziah’s death marked the end of an era.  His reign had been long and prosperous.  Uzziah became king when he was 16, and he reigned over Judah for 52 years.  Uzziah had listened to the prophet Zechariah; he feared God, and God made him prosper.  But Uzziah’s pride got the best of him.  (See 2 Chron. 26:16)  God struck Uzziah with leprosy.  Then Uzziah died.  Under Uzziah’s leadership, God’s people had turned away from the promises of God and trusted in the promises of the world around them.  God had promised to bless the entire world through Abraham’s family, but God’s people were rebellious.  Instead of blessing, they set themselves up to receive God’s judgment.  But God’s plans and promises were not thwarted.  God sent the prophet Isaiah to preach a message of hope.  Even though God was going to correct His people through judgment, His purpose was one of grace through which God would receive glory.  God planned to send a Messiah who would bring salvation to the world.  Isaiah 6 opens with Isaiah worshipping in the temple.  Then God gave Isaiah a vision.  Isaiah saw God sitting on a throne.  Yes, in the year that King Uzziah died, God was sitting on the throne.  God was reigning over the universe.  The magnitude of God’s holiness made Isaiah realize the magnitude of his own sin.  His response? “Woe is me!”  God extended His grace to Isaiah.  He took away Isaiah’s guilt.  God passed over Isaiah’s sins because He was going to send Jesus to pay for them.

Isaiah had a vision of God’s glory and realized his own sin.  God forgave Isaiah’s sin.  Like Isaiah, when we see how holy God is, we see how sinful we are.  God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sin.  We can find salvation only in Him.  Help your kids understand that God is perfectly holy – He is pure and without sin and He is unique form anything and everyone else.  God is also loving and full of mercy and grace.  God sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for the sins – past, present, and future – of those who would trust in Him.  When we tr5ust in Jesus, God says to us the words Isaiah heard:  “Your guilt is taken away.  Your sin is atoned for.”

 

Elisha and Naaman

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Everyone gets sick at some point in his or her lifetime . . . Often many times! Illness is probably no stranger to your kids. In Sunday’s Bible story, Naaman – a commander for the Syrian army – was really sick. He had leprosy, a skin disease that was likely disfiguring and isolating. Without a cure, Naaman would face great suffering. But help came from an unlikely source: a young slave girl. The people of Israel and Syria were often at odds with one another. The Syrians sometimes attacked the cities in Israel and plundered them. They took what they wanted, including people to work as slaves. The young slave girl who served Naaman’s wife had been taken from her home in Israel. As an Israelite, the girl knew about the one true God. She was familiar with God’s prophets, including Elisha, who had performed miracles to help and heal people. The girl told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman. So the king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel, asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy. But the king of Israel had no power to heal Naaman. The power to heal comes only from God. Elisha called for Naaman. But what happened next was not at all what Naaman expected. Naaman expected Elisha to call upon the name of God, wave his hand over Naaman, and miraculously heal him. Instead, Elisha instructed Naaman to go wash in the river!

Naaman was upset! He could have washed in a river back home! But Naaman’s servants urged him to wash. He did, and God healed him. Naaman was sick with a skin problem. His disease went away when he trusted God’s instruction from Elisha and washed in the river. All people have a sin problem that leads to death. We all need a Healer. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, God forgives our sin and heals us. Help your kids understand that not all sick people will be healed on this side of heaven, but our physical maladies are symptoms of an even greater illness – sin. Jesus’ death and resurrection provided healing – forgiveness and eternal life – for those who trust in Him.

Key Bible Passage: Hebrews 1:1-2

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