Obadiah

Hello again! Today we’ll be discussing the book of Obadiah.

obadiah

Obadiah was a prophet–that’s someone who talks to God and then tells the people what God wants them to know. Sometimes it’s good news, sometimes…it’s not.

The people of Israel (God’s people He chose to set apart to show as an example of His love) were made up of twelve tribes, or kind of like big families. Most of them had left and followed a different king and Israel split into two parts. Israel fought many wars and the people of most of the tribes of Israel were overtaken and had to move far away. The last family left was the family of Judah.

But even they eventually were captured by the Babylonians. The capital city of Jerusalem (where the temple was and where the king lived) were taken over too. The people who lived nearby were from a place called Edom. The people of Edom came and took all the people of Judah’s stuff–when the city got taken over they took their cows, their houses, their jewelry, their other animals, their toys and beds. The people of Judah ran away but some of the people from Edom would capture them and give them to the king of Babylon so he could put them in jail or even kill them.

This did NOT make God happy.

So Obadiah told the people God’s words. His message was short, but it has two parts. In the first part, he yells at the people of Edom for being mean to the people of Israel. He tells them they should NOT have taken the peoples’ things, they should not break and destroy their towns and that no matter how far they try to hide, God will find them and punish them for the things they did.

The second part of his message was to tell the people of Israel that even though things seemed terrible, that God still had a plan for them. God would bring them (at least some of them) back to Israel. God would restore their things and the land He promised to them. He would give that land back to them.

God is faithful. That means when He says something, He means it and He sticks by it. God promised that land to His people and He was going to make sure it stayed with them. We know if we make bad choices, that God sees those and wants us to make it right. And then sometimes we might face scary or hard times, but we can remember the promises of God: that He loves us, He has good plans for us, and He is in control.

 

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!

A victory for Abijah

Hello again! Today’s story is from 2 Chronicles 13.

2-Chronicles-13.18

 

Abijah, Rehoboam’s son began to rule over Judah after Rehoboam died. If you remember, God took most of Israel away from King David’s family because Solomon had disobeyed God. Now only the family (tribe) of Judah stayed with David/Solomon/Rehoboam/Abijah. 

Then war broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. Jeroboam was king over the rest of Israel. Judah, led by King Abijah, had 400,000 warriors, and Jeroboam had 800,000 warriors.

When the army of Judah arrived in a place called Ephraim, Abijah stood on a mountain  and shouted to Jeroboam and all the soldiers of Israel: “Listen to me! Don’t you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant (promise) with David, giving him and his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren the throne of Israel forever? But Jeroboam is the son of one of the servants of Solomon, who rebelled against his master. Then a whole bunch of people joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them. Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the children of David? You may have a great big army, and you have pretend golden gods. But you have chased away the priests of the Lord and you let anyone be a priest for your pretend gods! But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forgotten Him. We obey God and worship Him as He told us to. We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned Him. So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests will blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, for you will not succeed!”

While he was talking though, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah. When the warriors of Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the back, they cried out to God for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and scared them away.

The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime, and finally he died.  Meanwhile, Abijah of Judah grew more and more powerful.

Judah was small, but they trusted God and served Him like He told them to and the consequence was a good one for them. God protected them and gave them victory.

 

Here is a song posted by Cedarmont Kids to help us remember that victory lies with God.

 

Thanks again for joining us!

King Solomon Disobeys

Hello again! Today’s story is from 1 Kings 11.

choices

For all of King Solomon’s wisdom and good decision-making, he had a big problem. He LOVED the ladies. And he didn’t just love one lady…he got married a whole bunch of times, which God said you’re not supposed to do. The ladies he married also didn’t love the One True God, they worshipped other pretend gods.

After a while, one said, “Solomon, hunny…please build a statue of my god!” And he did. Then another said “What about me?! Please build a place for me to worship MY god.” And he did. He built places for them to worship their pretend gods and he even worshipped them too sometimes. His heart was not faithful to God like King David’s had been. And God was NOT happy. 

So the Lord said to him, “Since you have disobeyed my rules and not been faithful to Me, I am going to tear this kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But because of how much your father David loved and served Me, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son.  And even then, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe.”

King Solomon’s choices were going to affect a lot of other people. When we make decisions, we need to think about how it might help or hurt others. Especially people in power…like kings, presidents, moms and dad, teachers, pastors…the things you do and say don’t just have good or bad consequences for you, they can help or hurt others. When we try to follow God’s laws and live a life of love (because of how much He loves us), then our choices will have good consequences for others. But Solomon wasn’t thinking about that. He was only thinking about what HE wanted…not what God wanted and not about what might happen to other people.

The funniest part is that King Solomon wrote a whole chapter of the Bible about this exact thing. Proverbs 29 talks all about how children’s actions affect their parents and how parents affect their children. How bosses and kings and neighbors all affect the people around them. But in the end, Solomon did not follow his own advice. He chose to live the way HE wanted, not the way God wanted…and the people of Israel would soon pay a big price for his poor choices.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17 (ESV)

 

Thanks for joining us again, love to you all.

 

The Queen of Sheba

Hello again!

 

sheba

Today’s story can be found in 1 Kings 10.

The Queen of Sheba heard about how famous Solomon was and she heard about his relationship with God, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great caravan—camels carrying expensive spices, LOTS of gold, and precious jewels—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When she saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, all the food on his table, how many servants he had, and all the burnt offerings he made at the temple for God, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The reports I heard in my country about you are true! But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. And your wisdom and wealth have far exceeded what I heard! How happy your people must be! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. 

She was so impressed, she gave King Solomon lots of presents including gold, spices, and jewels. King Solomon also gave the queen of Sheba lots of gifts and then she left and returned to her own country.

 

The Queen of Sheba had heard of how different Solomon was. He knew God well and had asked God for wisdom. Even from very far away, the Queen had heard about this. When we follow God and love others the way He loves us, it will make an impression on others. People will say “that boy or girl is different and i want to know why!” Then we can be ready (1 Peter 3:15) to explain why we give so much, love so deeply, are patient, humble, kind or just different. She was so intrigued about the things of God BECAUSE of the life Solomon lived. At the end of their time together, she wanted to give gifts to Solomon and he gave some to her too. When people see us living different, God-filled lives, they will want to be a part of that too! And we can continue to show them God’s love and share His riches (like joy, peace, patience, gentleness etc) with them.

 

 

Thanks for joining us again!

Absalom’s life

Hello again! Today’s story is pieced from 2 Samuel 15-23.

pride

 

Absalom, David’s son had killed his brother and run away. After a long time, David brought him back. But Absalom was not happy. He wanted more power. He was a very fancy guy. He had big flow hair, and he loved fancy clothes and big chariots. He was a smooth talker and he started acting as a judge and helping the people with their problems and arguments. All the people began to love how cool he was.

After several years, he decided HE wanted to be king! He took David’s palace and servants and many many people followed him and decided he SHOULD be king!

David was worried. He took a few men with him, and David ran away (so Absalom wouldn’t kill him!) The priests sons worked as spies. They stayed near Absalom and would report back to David what was going on. David had a special servant go to Absalom and confuse him. Absalom asked his best advisors what he should do about David and they told him to go ahead and attack David, but David’s spy went in and confused Absalom and told him to wait. That gave David the chance to attack instead! But he made the men promise NOT to hurt his son, Absalom. (Because even when kids make BIG mistakes, their moms and dads still love them and want the best for them!! And especially like how God loves us even when we sin!)

David’s men didn’t want David to get hurt, so they told him to stay behind. The armies went to fight and as Absalom was riding his donkey, his big, flowy hair got stuck in a tree and he was just hanging there. Two of David’s men found him and the first one would not kill Absalom, like David had said…but Joab, David’s lead soldier decided HE would kill Absalom. So he did and when David found out, he was very very sad.

Absalom thought he was the best and coolest ever. He only cared about shiny, expensive things and doing what HE wanted. He did not listen to wisdom…from his father or his advisors. He just took the advice that he WANTED to hear. He was not very wise.  Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride comes before a fall.” Or in the message version it says “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” That is certainly Absalom’s story. But it doesn’t have to be ours. We can remember to put God first!

Here is a video from PursueGOD Kids.

Thanks for joining us again!

Absalom part 1

Hello again. We’re starting a few days on Absalom, David’s son. For the ages this blog is intended for (preschool/early childhood) i will be adjusting a few things while trying very hard to not alter the words of God. The intent of the story/God’s heart will still be present though i am leaving out/softening a few details.

2-Samuel-14

The first part of this story is from 2 Samuel 13 and 14.

King David had a daughter named Tamar. David had many children, and two of Tamar’s brothers were named Amnon and Absalom. One day, Amnon attacked his sister Tamar. (This was a horrible choice of course. If your kids ask why, i explained because he loved her and was mad he couldn’t marry his sister.) Tamar was very sad and told her brother Absalom who promised to protect her. Absalom was so mad he didn’t speak AT ALL to Amnon again.

Until…one day….it was time to take all the sheep and shear them (like give them a haircut and then they turn the wool into clothes and blankets and things). Absalom took some helpers with him and he also wanted to take Amnon. David said, “He doesn’t need to go?!” But Absalom insisted and while they were gone, he had his helpers kill Amnon.

King David was so sad when he found out Amnon was dead and Absalom got scared of what David or others might do, so he ran away. He was gone a very long time until Joab (King David’s lead soldier) knew the King missed Absalom and he came up with a plan to get Absalom back. Joab found a old woman and told her to go the king and say this:

“Oh your majesty! I need your help! My husband died and i only had two sons left, but one killed the other! Now i only have one son left, but everyone is so mad that he killed his brother that they want to kill him too!? Please make an official ‘King Decree’ to keep him safe so i won’t be ALL ALONE!”

King David agreed.

Then the woman also said “But haven’t you done the same thing with Absalom? He is running for his life! People want to kill him because he killed Amnon. You should forgive him too! God doesn’t want banished people to stay banished! He always makes a way to bring them back home!”

David knew Joab had put the woman up to it, so he sent Joab to get Absalom and bring him back. It took a long time for David and Absalom to speak again. Even though Absalom was allowed back into town, he was not welcomed with a big hug. David, unlike God who is always merciful and ready to forgive, was still pretty upset about the whole thing. (Remember everyone in the Bible except for God and Jesus, even good leaders are not perfect and do not do everything the way God would want them too. David was not very forgiving, but he did understand that God WANTED him to bring Absalom back and that he SHOULD forgive him.)

God DOESN’T want banished people to stay away. When Adam and Eve had to leave the garden because they sinned, He taught them about sacrifices and how the blood of a pure animal could cover their sin so they could be right with God again. And then, we too sin and are supposed to be separated from God forever, but God made a way! (Not us, but our King, God, made the way!) He sent Jesus to die on the cross to take the place of our sin so we could be with Him forever, clean and perfect and without sin because Jesus took all the yucky sin. God, like a good king, makes a way to bring us to back to Him, no matter what ugly things we do. And He welcomes us to Himself right away.

 

This is not the end of the story for David and Absalom. Their story is very up and down, full of bad choices and selfish interest, but we see the love of God through it all. Keep reading the next few days as we learn more. Thanks for joining us!

Psalm 51

Hello again! This Psalm was a song written by David after he killed Uriah and married Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. His heart was not obeying God. God was not happy and He sent His prophet Nathan to tell David to ask God to forgive him.

create

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Make me perfectly clean from my sin.

For I recognize my disobedience;
    it haunts me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is fair.

For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment i started growing in my mother’s belly.

But you desire honesty,
    teaching me wisdom from the beginning.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.

Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

13 Then I will teach your ways to others,
    and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.

15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

 

Back before Jesus, people would make a sacrifice when they did something bad. They would find the best sheep they could. Then they would kill it and give it to God. (This was partly because that was one of the most important things to the people back then. The best sheep got them the most money. They could eat the animals or sell them. They were very important. To give them to God meant God was the MOST important.) God would see the blood from the best animal and forgive the people for what they had done wrong.

(When Jesus came, He was God’s own perfect son and He died as a sacrifice too on the cross. Instead of an animal, He was the PERFECT sacrifice because He never sinned…He was the “spotless lamb.” Once He died, we never had to sacrifice animals again. God will forever look on Jesus dying and see that He took away our punishment for us. His blood covers us forever as long as we believe in Him.)

David knew what was most important to God, more than the animal sacrifice, was what was in his heart. We can’t just say “oh, i messed up, but Jesus died on the cross so it’s fine.” Just like people in David’s day couldn’t say “oh i messed up, i’ll just kill a sheep and God will forgive me.” God forgives because of the sacrifice AND because we ask His forgiveness and have a heart that WANTS His forgiveness and a heart that WANTS to follow Him. (We are saved by the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice though faith.)

David was very sorry and he wanted God to forgive him and give him a new, clean heart and he asked God to help him obey from now on. He promised to rejoice and sing praises to God for his fair punishment and for God forgiving him.

 

Keith Green song 

Rend Collective song

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