Hi all. Welcome back!
We are up to day 21 of our advent calendar, learning about God, God’s son Jesus and Jesus’ earthly family.
Today and tomorrow’s Bible stories go hand in hand. These can be found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the old testament of the Bible. Our complete lessons for Ezra and Nehemiah can be found here and here. (Below is a shortened version of these accounts).
After King David and some kings after him, the Israelites kept on disobeying God, so He let other people come and take over the promised land and the Israelites had to go live in different places (like Esther in Persia and Daniel in Babylon). The Israelites were finally allowed to go back to the land God had given them after 70 years.
Some of the people who helped go back and start rebuild were named Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was one of the leaders of the Israelites (and a great great great great (lot of greats) grandpa to Jesus!)
When Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel got back to the promised land, it was a mess! The temple (the church) had been broken and the walls that kept the city safe were a mess! These men helped lead the Israelites to fix the walls and the temple. (We’ll learn more about this tomorrow). They helped *restore* Israel.
Some people tried to stop them from fixing everything, but God kept them safe. He is the ruler of all things and nobody can stop God’s plans!
Israel was rebuilt…the temple and the walls by the Israelites.
But what Israel (and all of us) really needed was for their HEARTS to be restored. They and we, all make bad choices and sin, but God is the Ruler of all things remember. Nothing can stop His plans…and He had a GREAT plan to save us from the consequences our sins.
When Jesus came as a little baby, He was God’s son, perfect and able to fix the people’s sinful hearts. (Eph 2:8, Col 1:20)
Now there were some wise men from a far away place who had read all the things people had said about this new baby King and they were anxious to meet Him! (Matt 2) They followed that big star in the sky until they found Him. They remembered that in Micah 5 of the Bible, it says, “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rules of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler who will be the Shepherd of my people Israel.” They followed the star to Bethlehem to meet the new Ruler, the new Shepherd.
The wise men traveled and waited a long time (just like the Israelites had to travel a long time to the promised land and then wait a long time to restore it.) They were excited to see the new King. But this King had come to restore not the land, but our hearts.
Bible story: Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel
Attribute of God: Ruler of all, Restorer of our hearts
Jesus’ birth story: the wise men seek Him
For side one of our ornament today, we took a block and dipped it in red paint and made a brick wall. (This works better with a sponge..but we were out of sponges today…so we made do.)
Our text reads: Nehemiah, Ezra and Zerubbabel help restore Israel. Ezra/Nehemiah
For side two of our ornament, we cut out some basic people shapes and opted to decorate them with tissue paper today. (You could make them look any way you like.) We added a star to the top to lead the way (you could just draw it on, or use glitter if you don’t have a star shape.)
Our text reads: The wise men seek Jesus who will restore Israel’s hearts. Matt 2, Micah 5
Thanks for joining us today. Just a few more days to complete our advent calendar. I hope these mini lessons have helped you and your children remember all of God’s goodness to us, before Jesus and through the events of His birth.
More tomorrow! Love to you all!