A victory for Abijah

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

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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

Thanks for joining us!

David and Bathsheba

Hi all! After a break for a long while :0) we are back with some NEW stories. We have had a pretty good overall cover of Bible stories for littles, but this year we have some bigger kids in the house and some extra time in the year so we’ll be delving in deeper and covering a lot more of the Old Testament.

Today’s story is from 2 Samuel 11 and 12. (Some of it will be glossed over a little. If your kids are old enough you can read through the whole thing. In our house, we’ll be censoring a smidge until they’re a bit older. The details aren’t as necessary as the heart David displayed, his disobedience and repentance.)

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David (shepherd, musician, fighter of Goliath and chosen “man after God’s own heart”) was now King. In the spring, David sent Joab (his lead soldier) out with the army. David stayed in Jerusalem while the army was fighting and conquering.

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman taking a bath. (They didn’t have pipes in their houses back then to take a bath in the bathroom.) The woman he saw was VERY beautiful, and David sent someone to find out who she was! The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (My kids found it very funny that David saw her taking a bath and her name is BATHsheba hehe.) Then David sent messengers to go get her. Now, he was the King so she couldn’t say no or else she’d be in BIG trouble?! So she went to David and he decided HE wanted to marry her. (Even though she was already married!!! NOT a good choice, David.) 

David decided to get rid of Uriah. Uriah was one of the soldiers fighting in the army. So David wrote a letter to Joab and said, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then everyone move back from him so he will be hit and die.” He was going to have Uriah killed so HE could marry Bathsheba!

So Joab did what David requested and when it came time to fight again, Uriah did die.

When Bathsheba heard that her husband was dead, she was very sad and cried for him. After her time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and she became pregnant with a baby boy. But God was NOT happy. 

The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to talk to David. (Remember, a prophet is someone who talks to God and then tells people what God wants them to know.) When Nathan came to David, he told him a story that goes like this, “There were two men in a certain town, one very rich and the other very poor. The rich man had a LOT of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. The little baby sheep was like a daughter to him. One day a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man did not want to take one of his own sheep or cattle to cook into a meal for the traveler. Instead, he took the one little lamb that belonged to the poor man and gave it to the visitor.”

David was angry and said to Nathan, “The man who did this must die! He must pay for that little lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “YOU are that man! You had EVERYTHING and Uriah didn’t have much….just a wife that he LOVED. But you who had EVERYTHING, you killed him and took his wife. God says to you: ‘I made you king over Israel, and I saved you from Saul. I gave you your great house, and all of Israel and Judah. And IF all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you do such an evil thing!? You killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own wife. Now, there will be severe consequences for what you have done.'”

Then David realized what he had done and he said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” David was very sorry and wanted God to forgive him.

Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. He will forgive you. BUT because you made SUCH a bad choice and had Uriah killed so you could have his wife, the baby boy you have will die.”

After Nathan had gone home, the Lord made the baby boy very sick.  David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and prayed and cried. Everyone tried very hard to get David to feel better but he cried and prayed and cried and prayed, asking God to help his son get better. 

But, on the seventh day the baby died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “He was so upset BEFORE…how can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something CRAZY now.”

David noticed that everyone was whispering, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.

“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord (like church) and worshiped God. Then he went to his own palace, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

 His servants asked him, “Um….why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you prayed and cried, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!?”

David answered, “While the child was still alive, I thought, ‘Who knows? Maybe God will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? It won’t bring him back. God has punished me.”

Before long, David and Bathsheba had another baby boy, named Solomon. He would grow up to be the king after David and we will learn more about him later.

 

So David, even God’s chosen man David, sinned. Because we ALL disobey God sometimes. And even though God forgave David when he was sorry, David still had consequences for  disobeying God’s rules. It was a really bad thing David did and there was a REALLY hard consequence too! God made some good from it too though, He would raise up Solomon to be the wisest king ever and Solomon would build the temple for God. We must always remember that God’s ways are the best ways and we should always try to obey Him.

Here’s an animated version from LC Lifekids: watch here

See also Veggie Tales: King George and the Ducky

 

 

Thanks for joining us. More to come soon, thanks!

Psalm 105

Hi all! This psalm is a song that remembers all the great things God had done for His people. It’s a history of a lot of the things the Israelites had been through. As you read through this song, see which Bible stories YOU remember about God and His people!

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
    his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.

He remembers his covenant forever,
    the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
    the oath he swore to Isaac.

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10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
    to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
    as the portion you will inherit.”

12 When they were but few in number,
    few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
    for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
    do my prophets no harm.”

16 He called down famine on the land
    and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17 and he sent a man before them—
    Joseph, sold as a slave.

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18 They bruised his feet with shackles,
    his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
    till the word of the Lord proved him true.
20 The king sent and released him,
    the ruler of peoples set him free.
21 He made him master of his household,
    ruler over all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he pleased
    and teach his elders wisdom.

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23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
    Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The Lord made his people very fruitful;
    he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
    to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
    and Aaron, whom he had chosen.

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27 They performed his signs among them,
    his wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark—
    for had they not rebelled against his words?
29 He turned their waters into blood,
    causing their fish to die.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
    which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
    and gnats throughout their country.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
    with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
    and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
    grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
    ate up the produce of their soil.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
    the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
    and from among their tribes no one faltered.

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38 Egypt was glad when they left,
    because dread of Israel had fallen on them.

39 He spread out a cloud as a covering,
    and a fire to give light at night.

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40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
    he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
    it flowed like a river in the desert.

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42 For he remembered his holy promise
    given to his servant Abraham.
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
    his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
45 that they might keep his precepts
    and observe his laws.

Praise the Lord.

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David was remembering all the great things God had done for His people. If YOUR family wrote a song about what God had done, what kind of song would it be? Would you remember when each child was born? When you moved? When someone was sick and God made them better? What kinds of things do YOU remember God doing?

Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!