Our forgiving God

Hey all! Today we talked about the next part of Numbers (chapters 17,20,21). Last year’s lesson and craft can be found HERE.

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The Israelites were following God through the desert on their way to the promised land…but no matter how many GREAT things God did…the people just COMPLAINED! It’s easy for us to complain instead of THANKING God for all the great things He has given us and done for us. Let’s take a minute to think about those things and thank God.

In the book of Numbers there are 3 stories about the people complaining and not trusting God. The first time they didn’t trust God’s choices. Aaron (Moses’ brother was the chief priest–the one who would give sacrifices and pray to God to forgive the people for their sins (bad choices). It was important that the people listen to Aaron because God had chosen him to stand between the people and God. But the people had disobeyed and as a consequence, some of them had died. Instead of telling God they were sorry, instead they said “It’s ALL YOUR fault, Aaron!” They wanted a NEW chief priest. They didn’t like the one God had chosen.

But God told them to bring 12 staffs (one from the leader of each tribe/family) into the tabernacle (the church). The next morning, when Moses went to see the staffs, Aaron’s staff (big stick) had grown some flowers! All the people were amazed and reminded that God would choose who He wanted to lead the people. They put Aaron’s staff back in front to remind everyone not to doubt God’s choosing and to be thankful that He is a forgiving God.

But, it didn’t take long before the people forgot about God’s goodness and again started complaining. They were complaining this time about the food and water. God told Moses to talk to a rock to give the people water. But even Moses didn’t always obey God. Instead of talking to the rock, he bonked it with his staff. It did give water to all the people, but God wasn’t happy. So God told Moses even he wouldn’t get to go into the promised land, only his kids and grandchildren. Even though the people had complained and not obeyed God, He still took care of them and gave them the water they needed. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.

Then later, many years later, the people were still following God around the desert and again, they started to complain. God was very frustrated with the people for not trusting Him and He sent snakes to bite the people. It hurt a lot and some of the people died. Moses asked God to forgive the people and God told Moses to make a big snake statue and the anyone who got bitten by a snake could look at that and get better. If the people believed God and obeyed Him and looked at the snake statue, they got better. If they didn’t obey God, then they died. Was the statue God? No. Did the statue have any powers? No. Only God has the power to make someone better. He just wanted the people to OBEY and look at the snake. He wanted them to TRUST HIM and obey. Even though the people complained and complained, God still gave them a way to get better. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.

Sometimes when we make bad choices, there are bad consequences, but God still forgives us and still loves us. We can always remember that He is a forgiving God. The people did not trust God…instead they complained. When we trust God, we will be thankful. Let’s try to be more thankful and trust God’s plans.

THIS video by Steven Bussell has all three of our mini stories in paper-bag puppet form (very cute and well done).

THIS is a great overview of the book of Numbers from the “What’s in the Bible” series posted by JellyTelly.

THIS is a very thorough overview of Numbers posted by The Bible Project.(Today’s lesson starts at about 3:15 into the video and goes until about 4:35).

Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!

Do not be afraid

Hello again! So last year we did an overview of Leviticus found HERE and then covered the first part of Numbers HERE.

Today, however we are just going to jump in and continue following the Israelites. This story is from Numbers 13/14. Last year’s lesson and craft on this can be found HERE.

So Moses and the Israelites had been freed from Egypt and had been given God’s rules on Mt Sinai and God was leading them to a special place He had for them. This was the land He had promised Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. God was bringing His people back to this promised land.

As they got closer they realized this place (called Canaan) had people living there. So Moses asked 12 guys (one leader from each tribe/family) to go check it out. They were like secret spies. For 40 days (a little more than a whole month) they watched the place. They wanted to see what kind of people lived there and if food would grow well there. They wanted to know what kind of weapons the people had, or if they had a big army.

Well…when they came back to report to all the Israelites they said “Good news! It has LOTS of great food! It’s beautiful!’

“But the bad news is….those are BIG scary people! And the city walls are BIG….it’s too scary…we shouldn’t go in.”

Two of the men, Caleb and Joshua tried to remind everyone that GOD was leading them. They didn’t have to be afraid with God on their side! God was on THEIR team! God had PROMISED them this land! But the people didn’t want to trust God’s promise. Instead…they trusted their fear. They said “It doesn’t matter what God promised us!? This is too scary! We shouldn’t try to take that land.”

And they all decided to NOT obey God. God was not happy and He said “Only Caleb and Joshua (who wanted to obey) and the children will get to go in someday. The rest of you, who didn’t obey Me will never live in the promised land. The grown ups who were too scared to obey Me will be old and die before it’s time to go in to the promised land.”

And even though their trip from should have taken about two weeks….God kept the Israelites in the desert for 40 YEARS!!!

We NEVER have to be afraid to obey God. God might ask us to do some pretty scary things sometimes…but we can always know that God loves us, and protects us, and the best thing we can do is obey God, no matter what. Like Caleb and Joshua said “Do not disobey the Lord, and don’t be afraid…the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid!” (Nu 14:9)

For our craft today we used paper plates to draw a face. Then we traced our arms in a “strong position”. We cut out the arms and taped them to the face. Then we bent them in half so they could cover the eyes of the face OR be bent out to be like strong, muscle arms.

Our text reads: We never have to be afraid to obey God! Numbers 13/14

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!

Balaam’s Donkey

Hi again all!

Today’s story is from the book of Numbers, in chapters 22-24.

God was leading the Israelites (His chosen people) through the desert to the promised land. But they had disobeyed and not trusted Him, so they had to wander for 40 years!! Until the oldest generation had died and only their kids and grandkids would get to live in the land God promised them.

They had to fight a lot of different people along the way. When the people obeyed God and trusted Him, they won. When the people did not listen to God, they would not win.

The king of a people called the Moabites heard that the Israelites were coming and he knew he would have to fight them. So he sent for Balaam, a prophet (someone who speaks the words of God) to come and curse the Israelites. The king wanted Balaam to use God’s words to say bad things about the Israelites so they would lose the fight. He wanted the Israelites to be bad fighters, or to all get sick or die.

The king’s men went to Balaam but Balaam said God had told him he could only speak the words God gave him. But God didn’t say anything against the Israelites, so Balaam told the king….”I can’t curse them, because God hasn’t cursed them.”

The king didn’t like that answer, so he said “Come to me, Balaam and we can work something out.” (He would pay Balaam a lot of money to say bad things about God’s people!)

Balaam got on his donkey and rode to the king. But God knew Balaam would say whatever the king wanted him to, so as he was traveling, his donkey stopped. Just stopped in the rode. Balaam yelled at his donkey, he even hit his donkey. “Hurry up! Why did you stop?!”

And do you know what happened then? The donkey SAID to Balaam “Why are you hitting me?!”

Balaam answered “Because you won’t move!”

Just then Balaam saw an angel of God. He was blocking the road. The donkey had seen the angel and stopped, but Balaam did not. God did not want Balaam to go to the king and say bad things about the Israelites.

Balaam went anyway, but when he got there, he spoke the words of God and he said that the Israelites would be strong and brave and that they would win. He also said that anyone who went against God’s people would lose. This was a good choice…he said the words of God.

The king did not like these words. He was angry and sent Balaam home. But later, Balaam got the Israelites to marry people God didn’t choose for them and to believe in other gods. This was a bad choice. Balaam didn’t really love God. He obeyed God because he was scared of the angel…not because he loved God. He turned the people away from God, and God had a bad consequence for him. God used his donkey…even a donkey! to speak to Balaam. He was very patient with Balaam and tried to get him to do the right thing, but in the end, he didn’t love God and turned the Israelites to make bad choices and then had to have bad consequences.

Sometimes when we have a Bible story, we can see that the people made a good choice and followed God, but sometimes, we see that the people did not make good choices. The Moabite King made a bad choice in wanting to curse the Israelites and Balaam made bad choices in turning the people away from God.

When the Israelites did fight the Moabites, they won, just like God had said, and the king and Balaam (who had turned the people from God) were both killed.

God had promised the land to His people and as long as they obeyed and trusted Him, they would win. Anyone who opposed God and His people would lose.

For our craft, we cut out and glued donkeys on our paper and then drew the angel and Balaam on the donkey.

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Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!

God’s Holiness and Provision in the Wilderness

Hi all! Today we’ll be learning a few more stories from the book of Numbers (these are found in chapters 17, 20, and 21.)

The Israelites were following God through the desert. God was in a cloud over the tabernacle (church tent) and Moses and his brother Aaron were in charge. But even though God had shown Himself to the people and done some pretty amazing things for them, they still complained and complained and they didn’t trust God to take care of them.

One day, the people disobeyed God and some of them died. Then the people got really mad and yelled at Moses and Aaron and said, “It’s YOUR fault those people died! We don’t think you should be the leaders anymore!” Aaron was the lead priest, who would give sacrifices and pray to God to forgive the people for their sins (bad choices). (It was important that the people listen to Aaron because God had chosen him to stand between the people and God.)

But God told them to bring 12 staffs, one from the leader of each tribe/family, into the tabernacle. The next morning, when Moses went to see the staffs, Aaron’s staff (big stick) had grown some flowers! All the people were amazed and reminded that God would choose who He wanted to lead the people. They put Aaron’s staff back in front to remind everyone not to doubt God’s choosing and to be thankful that He was a forgiving God.

Well, it didn’t take long before the people forgot about God’s goodness and again started complaining. They and traveled a long time and were tired and grumpy. The said “now there’s no water and we’re all going to die and HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US?!?!?!” God told Moses to go in front of the people and talk to a certain rock and it would give water to the people. Moses didn’t really obey God, he only kind of obeyed and he hit the rock instead of just talking to it. It did give water to all the people, but God wasn’t happy. Moses didn’t believe God that the rock would just give water by talking to it, he thought he would need to hit it. But is anything too hard for God? No! God can do anything! So God told Moses even he wouldn’t get to go into the promised land, only his kids and grandchildren. Again, the people had complained and not obeyed God and yet He still took care of them.

Again, after many years in the desert, the people were still following God around the desert and again, they started to complain. “There’s no food! There’s no water! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US?!” God was very frustrated with the people for not trusting Him and He sent snakes to bite the people. It hurt a lot and some of the people died because they didn’t trust God. Moses asked God to forgive the people and God told Moses to make a big snake statue and the anyone who gets bitten by a snake can look at that and get better. If the people believed God and obeyed Him and looked at the snake statue, they got better. If they didn’t obey God, then they died.

Again and again as God led His people through the desert they complained and forgot to trust Him. Sometimes things can seem confusing or hard, but we can trust that God is always taking care of us. Sometimes when we make bad choices, there are bad consequences, but God still forgives us and still loves us. Isn’t that wonderful to know?!

For our craft today, we made a picture of the 3 parts of today’s story:

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(water from the rock, aaron’s budding staff and the bronze snake)

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(aaron’s budding staff, the bronze snake, water from the rock)

Thanks for joining us today! Love to you all!

First Glimpse of the Promised Land

Hi again!

This month we are learning stories from Leviticus-Ruth. Today’s story comes from Numbers 13-14.

Moses and the Israelites had been freed from Egypt and led to Mt Sinai where God established the rules for His people. Then they set out and God was leading them to the promised land, Canaan.

When they got there, God told Moses to send one man from each tribe/family (so 12 men) to go look at the land. They looked for 40 days and came back to the rest of the Israelites.

When they came back they said “It’s BEAUTIFUL! It has great grass and trees and lots of fruit to eat! But….there are big scary people there. They are too big for us. We can’t take over that land and live there…they are too big, they will win.”

That night, the rest of the Israelites got scared too. “WHY did God bring us here just so we could fight these people and die?! WHYYYYYYYYY?” (They were whining again!) What should they do? (They should trust God).

Moses and two of his helpers, Joshua and Caleb got up and reminded the people that God could take care of them and that nothing is too big or too hard for God.

Did the people listen?

No.

And God was so frustrated. He told Moses that all the people who doubted Him and didn’t trust Him would NOT get to see the promised land. God told them that their children and grandchildren would get to live in Canaan…but not them. Everyone except Joshua and Caleb would die and only their children would get to live in the promised land. The grown ups who didn’t trust God would have to wander around the desert for 40 years!

It’s ok to be scared, but we can ALWAYS trust God. If He asks us to do something, even if it seems impossible or scary, we can know that He will make it happen. God was giving His people a beautiful new place to live, but they couldn’t trust Him. And now they would have to wander around the dust and sand desert for 40 years!

We drew some pictures to go along with today’s story. We started by using green to draw grass and a blue river. Then we drew big scary Canaanites and some scared Israelites.

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That’s all for today, thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Movin’ On! (Numbers 1-11)

Hi all! Welcome back.

Today’s story comes from the 1st part of the book of Numbers. This is the 4th book in the Bible and as you can guess…it has a lot of numbers. Moses had to count all the Israelites and they were put in their families and the families were put in a certain order and all told where to live around the tabernacle (the church where God lived).

The Israelites had left Egypt, gone to Mt Sinai where God gave them the rules He wanted them to follow and they stayed there a whole YEAR! One day, the cloud of God moved on and the people moved with Him.

BUT…the people started complaining. Again. “God! Why do we only have this manna (special bread)?! Why can’t we have meat!? We need more food! This isn’t faaaaaaiiiirrrrr!”

(image from the brick testament) thebricktestament.com
(image from the brick testament)
thebricktestament.com

They were whining and complaining and God got frustrated. The people had already forgotten how good God had been to them. He saved them from the Egyptians, He provided for them by giving them the bread and water and they were still complaining.

Moses went to God and said “I can’t be in charge of all these people!? They are so unhappy and there’s so many of them!”

So God had 70 guys become Moses’ helpers. They worked in each of the 12 tribes (families) and helped oversee everything. God’s spirit was in the tabernacle and with Moses…and now with these guys too. Just like God’s spirit lives in our hearts when we believe in Him!

Moses said “How can I feed all these people?”

God told Moses He would provide meat for the people. But Moses knew even if they used all the animals they had, it wouldn’t be enough. But God reminded Moses, “Is ANYTHING too hard for God?”

No…of course God can do ANYTHING!!

God gave the people quail…a kind of bird to eat. He was still frustrated with the people for not trusting Him and some of them ate so much they got sick.

Even though the people were whining and doubting God, He still provided leaders for them and meat for them.

God is always faithful, even when we don’t follow Him perfectly. The Israelites had lots of times they didn’t follow God perfectly, but He always keeps His covenant promise with them. Just like we don’t always perfectly follow God, but He keeps His promise to love and save us, not because of our choices, but because it’s HIS choice to love and forgive us.

We’ll see more in Numbers next time. Love to you all!