Do you remember the ark of the covenant…that special box of God’s power? It was still away from the church where it was supposed to be. The Philistines had taken it a long time ago and brought it back, but it was just at some guy’s house. (His name was Abinadab and he and his family had been taking good care of it, but it was supposed to be in the tabernacle.)
David, now that he was king, decided NOW was the time to bring it back where it belonged. David and a LOT of helpers went to the man’s house and they very carefully carried the box just the way God wanted. They weren’t supposed to touch the box…only the poles it rested on.
But along the way, they almost dropped it and one of the guys reached out to help the ark so it wouldn’t fall and he died right then and there! That may seem mean, since he was trying to help…but God had been very clear: the people were NOT to touch the ark. David was so so scared and so so sad that he said “No more. We’ll leave the ark right here.” They were right by another man’s house named Obed-edom. The ark stayed there at that man’s house for 3 months and then someone told King David “God has been very good to Obed-edom since he has been taking care of the ark of the covenant.” So David decided maybe they could try again.
This time, they did carry the ark back into the city to the tabernacle and everyone was SOOOOO happy! The special box that showed all the people God’s power was BACK! They played music and danced and sang songs, some people cried! Oh they were SO happy! (It’s like if you lost your FAVORITE stuffed animal, or if you got lost from your mom or dad and then you FOUND your favorite thing, or your mom or dad and all went back home together…how HAPPY that would be!)
Even King David was so happy HE was dancing. But his wife was not happy. “That’s not very dignified. YOU are the king. You shouldn’t be out there being silly like THOSE people. You are supposed to be important….in charge…you should not be dancing.”
But David said, “Ha! I was dancing for God! I remember all the good things God has done for me. He made me king, He chose ME! I don’t care HOW silly I look! I want to praise God!”
Do you know there’s no wrong way to praise God? To thank Him for the things He has done for us? Sometimes at church we talk to God to say “thank you” or we sing songs or play music–you can draw a picture, you can write your own songs or dance as silly as you want. You can celebrate God however you want…and it doesn’t matter HOW silly you look! God LOVES a thankful heart–when we praise Him, it makes Him so happy.
What are you thankful for today? What do you want to celebrate about God? Now take some time with your family to praise God–with music, art, prayer, dancing…whichever way you want!
Hello all! Yesterday we did “Samuel hears God” found HERE. Today’s story is from 1 Samuel 4-7.
The Israelites were living in the promised land (the land God had promised to them). They had a tabernacle (like a church) where they would worship God. Inside the tabernacle, there was a big curtain and behind the big curtain was the Holy of Holies–the special place where God’s Spirit lived and where the chief priest only went one time a year to be with God. There was a box in this special place called an ark. (Not a boat, like Noah’s ark–this was a box). It was called the ark of the covenant. A covenant is like a promise. God had made a promise to always be with His people and to always love them. (He promises us that too!)
This box had a lot of special rules. Only the Levites (the people in charge of the church) could touch it and only in a special way. It was supposed to stay in the tabernacle and stay covered behind the big curtain. If they had to move it, it was supposed to be covered with three blankets so the people couldn’t see it. (The Bible says we can’t look at God because He is so bright and amazing!) God even told Moses EXACTLY how it was supposed to be built. Inside the box they put the rules God gave Moses for the people to obey, they also put Aaron’s staff (his special stick) and they put some manna (that special bread God gave His people). God’s Spirit, His power was over the box. God was very specific in how He wanted it to look and how the people should treat it. They should be very careful and very worshipful. (Because it wasn’t “just” a box–it was God’s Spirit and power.)
Samuel was a grown up now and Eli the priest was now a grandpa. He had two boys who were grown ups too. One day, the Israelites went to fight the Philistines and they decided to take the ark of the covenant with them so they could win. (They did not ask God is they could). They fought and fought…but they lost and the Philistines TOOK the ark with them!
Eli’s two sons died during the fight and when Eli heard they died AND that the special box was gone, he fell over in his chair, bonked his head and he died too.
The Philistines took the special box (the ark) to one of their cities and put it next to one of their pretend gods. The next day, they found the pretend god statue face down on the ground in front of the ark (like it was worshipping the REAL God). They put the statue back up and the next day they found it again on the ground, like it was worshipping God, but this time the statue’s head and hands were broken off. The people in that city were scared and then they got very very sick and they decided to move the ark. “That God must not like us having His ark, we should move it!”
So they moved it to a different Philistine city. And all the people in THAT city got sick. They moved it AGAIN and those people got sick too! So they decided maybe they should just send it back to Israel!
They put the ark on a special truck and had two cows pull it. The cows brought the ark back to Israel. When it got to Israel, the Levites (the people in charge of the church who were allowed to touch the ark) carefully took it off the truck. Some of the Israelites didn’t obey God’s rules though and they peeked into the box and then they died.
Then they took the ark to a man’s house. His name was Abinadab. Abinadab loved and obeyed God. His son was put in charge of watching the ark and taking care of it. And it stayed at his house a looooong time. It SHOULD have gone back to the tabernacle…but it didn’t for a long long time.
The people did not take care of God’s special box. They did not respect God’s power or His instructions. The people in this story did not ask God if they could take the box from the tabernacle, the Philistines didn’t care about moving the box away from God’s people…the Israelites didn’t obey God and they looked inside…everyone thought God’s power was something THEY could move around. But no one is bigger, stronger, or smarter than God.
God is WONDERFUL and PERFECT and POWERFUL, He can be everywhere at all times and He is bigger than everything and He loves us and takes care of us….isn’t that amazing?! That’s why we worship Him! We love Him and pray to Him, we trust only Him…but the people in this story did not. They thought they could do whatever they wanted with God’s things…instead of respecting God and asking HIM what they should do.
God tells us what He wants us to know in the Bible–we can read His words and know what He wants. When God tells us to do something (or to not do something) we should always obey because we know God’s way is the BEST way.
For our craft today, we drew the ark of the covenant. (Instructions from Exodus 25). This is my 5 year olds’ interpretation of what it looked like.
Hi all. We are continuing the story of Easter today. Today’s story can be found in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.
Today is called Good Friday, though the story seems very very sad.
Jesus had been arrested because the leaders didn’t like how much the people liked Jesus. They were scared He would try to be more important than them. They took Him to the Israelite leaders and the Roman leaders and nobody could really decide what to do with Him.
Some of the leaders didn’t like that He said He was God’s son (even though He was.) Some of the leaders didn’t like how powerful He was (but remember, God can do ANYTHING!) Some of the leaders didn’t like how much the people loved Him (and how much HE loved them!!)
It was very confusing. Some of the leaders didn’t see any reason Jesus should die…but some of the others finally got the crowd all worked up and soon the people were yelling for Jesus to die.
(*parents of small children can edit this as needed) They hurt Him. They hit Him with sticks, they spit on Him, they took off His clothes and smacked Him with sharp thorny sticks. It was very very ouchy. But Jesus knew it had to happen. They made a crown from some thorns and put it on His head and laughed and laughed and said “HA! HERE’S YOUR ‘KING!'” They were making fun of Jesus. Finally, they got two big BIG pieces of wood and nailed and tied them together to make a cross. They made Jesus carry that big cross all through the streets. Some of the people in the streets (like the disciples and Jesus’ mom Mary) cried, because they loved Jesus, but most of the people were saying terrible things and were very mean to Him.
Finally, He went up a big hill and they put the cross in the ground standing up. Then they took nails and hammered through His hands into the wood (OUCH!) and they hammered His feet into the wood too. (OUCH!)
Some of the people laughed at Jesus and said, “If you are REALLY God’s son, you’d have enough power to get down off that cross!”
And that was true. Jesus DID have enough power to get off the cross. He could have asked for help from God, or for angels to help, or He could have just walked away, but He didn’t.
While He was on the cross, God put all our bad choices (sin) on Jesus. He felt all the pain and consequences for our choices. He did that so WE don’t have to. Jesus asked God to forgive us. You, your mom, your dad, your grandma, your cousins, His disciples, the Pharisees, “bad guys”…everyone. There were two other people who HAD made bad choices who were also dying on crosses on either side of Jesus. One of them laughed at Jesus, but the other asked Jesus to forgive him. And even though he was about to die, Jesus said, “Yes! I WILL forgive you. Today when you die, you will be with Me in heaven.” (It’s NEVER too late to choose Jesus!)
And the saddest part was, when He was taking our sin, God couldn’t even look at Him. (Because God is perfect, He can’t be around nasty sin…so He couldn’t be near Jesus) and that’s the worst thing…to be apart from God. God is all goodness and love so to apart from God is not feel any goodness, any love or any happiness. Our bad sin keeps us AWAY from God forever. But Jesus took that FOR US on the cross, so our sin doesn’t have to keep us away from God! We CAN live with Him in perfectness forever in heaven, because we are FORGIVEN by God…because Jesus took all that punishment, all those consequences FOR US. THAT is why it is GOOD Friday.
The sky got dark, there was thunder and lightning and an earthquake. God was mad. Do you know why? He was mad that Jesus was in so much pain. Do you know it makes your mom and dad very sad when you get hurt? And if they see someone hurt you it makes them mad. Because they love you! and they want everyone to be nice to you! When someone is mean to you, it makes them angry. God was angry that His son was so sad and in so much pain.
But an amazing thing happened. In the temple (the church) there was a big front room where everyone prayed. Then behind a GIANT curtain was a thing called the Ark of the Covenant (a special box where God’s Spirit was). When Jesus died, that curtain tore into 2 pieces, top to bottom and it was God saying “My Spirit will now live in EVERYONE who loves Me. Not just in the temple, but in everyone’s heart who loves Me and chooses Me.”
Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said “It is finished.” Then He died.
He meant His work of taking our sins was finished. He took it all. Every bad thing you can ever think of, Jesus died for that. It is forgiven if we just ask and decide we want Jesus to be OUR King. (1 John 1:9, John 3:16-17, Isaiah 53:3-5, Romans 5:6-10, Romans 3:22-24, 1 Peter 2:24).
You can talk with your parents/grandparents/pastor about this story and what it means to you. Maybe you’re ready to say “Thank you Jesus for dying for me! Please forgive my sins and be my King.”
We made cardboard crosses today, but mostly the discussion was our focus.
Thanks for joining us. Can’t wait for SUNDAY!! Happy Easter-love to you all!
Our story today is from the second half of Exodus.
While the Israelites were in the desert on the way to the promised land, God gave Moses instructions to build a tabernacle, which is kind of like a church. God gave very very specific instructions on how to build it and what to put in it. He was also very specific in how the priests (people who served in the church) were to dress and how they were to worship Him.
The tabernacle was a tent and God’s cloud lived over the tabernacle and was a cloud by day and a fire by night. When God moved, the people moved. When God stayed over the tabernacle, the people stayed.
Later, a tabernacle would be built (in the promised land) and God also says there is a tabernacle in heaven where He lives. When Jesus came though, God no longer had to live in the tabernacle, He could live in each of our hearts.
(For very young kids, this might be a good place to stop).
The tabernacle had 7 important parts or pieces and they each showed a part of the Israelites’ journey and they each showed us something about Jesus.
The tabernacle was a big tent, with only one way in. Just like the Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to God. “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me.” (John 14:6) It was surrounded by a high fence which made a courtyard (or like a big fenced-in yard).
1. The Altar
Right inside the tabernacle courtyard was a place to make sacrifices. God said the people had to kill their best, perfect lamb as a sacrifice. If they did the way He said, then they could be forgiven for their sins. “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22)
This is like when the angel came and killed all the firstborn boys when they were in Egypt, unless they put the blood of the lambs on their doors.
It also makes us look forward to Jesus, because He would die once and for all for all our sins. No more animal sacrifices, because Jesus would be the perfect lamb.
Next, there was a basin of water. The priests were to wash their hands and feet before going in.
The water reminded them of God leading them through the red sea and providing for them in the desert.
The water represents to us being clean before God. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [with blood] to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
Next was the lamp stand. It was in the first room of the tabernacle. It was the only light in that room and God told the priests to keep it burning always.
This reminded the Israelites of the fire of God leading them always.
It also tells us about Jesus. He is the light of the world. There are dark, yucky things in the world (satan) who want to keep us from God, but Jesus is the light. He shows us the way to God. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) When we believe, the Bible says we are “children of the light.” (Ephesians 5:8)
Also in that first room was a table with bread. The priests would bake bread each week and it would stay out a week, then they would eat it in that room. This showed God wanting to be with His people and for them to enjoy good things in His presence.
This reminded the Israelites of the manna God provided for them.
It tells us of Jesus because
A. He loved to eat with others and be with them, getting to know them and love them
B. The Bible says that man can not live just by bread, but that we need the words of God, we need Jesus
C. Jesus, before he died, sat down with his disciples to eat bread and drink wine and He told them that His broken body on the cross would be like the bread and His blood would be like the wine and whenever we get together to eat or drink, we should remember Him and what He has done for us. (Matthew 26:26)
5. The Altar of Incense
This is the last object in the front room. The priests had to burn special spices each morning and evening and leave them burning as a sweet smell to God. It was a sign of the prayers going to God. God wants us to come to Him with our prayers.
This reminded the Israelites of Moses going up the mountain to speak with God on their behalf.
It tells us about Jesus because He is now the one who comes between us and God. He speaks on our behalf and He is certainly sweet to God. God wants to hear from us and Jesus says “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
6. The Holy of Holies
There was a big curtain between the first room and the second, most inside room of the tabernacle. The inside room was called the Holy of Holies. The most special of all places. Only one day each year, only one person (the high priest, the head priest) could go in to the room where God was in the Holy of Holies. The big curtain separated sinful man from the Holy, perfect God. There were very special things the high priest had to do to be in God’s presence, like an extra sacrifice and shielding his eyes.
The Israelites could not see God, were not allowed to see God. Even Moses when he asked to see God on the mountain was not allowed to look right at God. This reminded the Israelites that man used to live in paradise with God, in Eden, before we sinned. Now they were separated from God by their sin.
This place and curtain tell us of Jesus though! When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the tabernacle was torn in two….the barrier between God and man was broken! We now had access to the Holy God through Jesus. Just like Jesus’ body was broken, the curtain was broken. Jesus is the high priest who takes us before God and makes us right before Him. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body …let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
The Holy of Holies tells us of heaven too. “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. …But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:24-26)
7. The Ark of the Covenant
Inside the Holy of Holies was an ark (not like the boat), more like a box. God told Moses to put in manna, Aaron’s staff and the ten commandments. On top of the ark was a lid called the mercy seat. God lived here.
The bread reminded them of how God took care of them and provided for them in the desert, even when they complained. The staff reminded them of their disobedience to God (making the golden cow) and questioning God. The tablets were a reminder that God had picked the Israelites to be His people. He made the covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel. He chose to lead these the promised land. God CHOOSES to love us and forgive us. And even still, the people did not keep the commandments well or follow God much of the time.
The reminders of their sin, would also tell us about Jesus. The bread God gave them kept them alive, but “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.’” (John 6:32, 48-50)
Jesus obeyed God’s authority and was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, because He always obeyed God. “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:20-22)
God lived among the Israelites and they worshiped Him. He led them forward to the promised land as a cloud by day and a fire by night, in His temporary earthly home. Now we know Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in heaven, serving on our behalf as the high priest and we can come to God any time we wish because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
That’s all for today and for July! Join us next time when we start Leviticus-Ruth in August!