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!

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.)

uriah

 

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!

Lamentations

Hi all! Today will be our last lesson in the “song books” and then we’ll do a brief study on the nativity to finish out the month.

lam-3

Today’s lesson is about the book of Lamentations. The Bible doesn’t say for sure who wrote this book, but most people who study the Bible think Jeremiah the prophet is the author. (For this lesson, we will assume Jeremiah is the writer).

For most of this book, Jeremiah is writing about how sad Jerusalem (the capital city in Israel) has become. After the people disobeyed God, Babylon came in and destroyed Israel and moved most of the people away. Everything was ruined and it was very sad. People were dying, their homes were gone, there was trash and fires, no food, and sadness all around. It was very very sad. Jeremiah was also so sad because the people had disobeyed God. He wasn’t just sad about the consequences, but he was sad that the people had disobeyed.

BUT…Jeremiah remembered that God is loving and forgiving. Let’s read some of what he said…

3:19-33: I remember my suffering and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is sad within me. Yet this I remember and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not done for, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!
I say to myself, “The Lord is all I need; therefore I will wait for Him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LordIt is good for a man to be disciplined while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust for all the wrong things he has done—there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy bring sadness or grief to anyone.

40-42: 40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LordLet us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven us.”

55-57: I called on Your name, Lordfrom the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”

Jeremiah said it’s important for God to teach us right from wrong. And it is important for us to be really sorry when we disobey God. But when we pray and call out to God, He is there. He forgives us, He loves us…He loves us enough to sometimes give us consequences and teach us how to be more like Him. When we are scared, He says, “Do not fear.” God does not forget us, even when we disobey Him…He listens to us because He is good…everyday He loves us and cares for us. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, He is there and we don’t ever have to be afraid, because we know WHO God is and HOW God is and that He will help us through any sad or hard thing. It is OUR job to obey Him, and when we DO disobey, to make it right with God–to take the consequences and to tell Him sorry and ask Him to forgive us and the Bible says He will. Even when we are not faithful and disobey God, He is ALWAYS faithful and stays with us and loves us.

Lamentations is a good place to end our old testament study because of the reminder that God is with us. After the Israelites came back, they were still being ruled by other people, but they were back in Israel. They continued to only half-way obey God and they let other people tell them who to worship or who to put in charge…for 400 years….but God was there. And He was about to send His son Jesus (Immanuel-which means “God with us”) to make things right once and for all. He was with His people, ready to forgive them and love them every day.

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all!

Psalm 51

Hey all! Welcome again!

This month we are learning about Psalms–a book of songs. We’ve already learned about songs that praise God and songs for when we are frustrated with God. Today’s song is a song to tell God I’m sorry.

King David had done a bad thing. He wanted to marry a lady but she was ALREADY married to someone else! So he sent her husband to war so he would die and then David could marry her. God was not happy that David wanted to kill her husband and the priest (church leader) named Nathan said “God is NOT happy with you. You sinned and disobeyed God’s words, David!”

David realized he had done a terrible thing and he wrote this song asking God to please forgive him and help him do better.

 

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

 

When we write this in simplified kid-version it reads like this:

Please don’t give me the consequences I deserve, O God,
 but because of  Your love;
and because of how much You care about me, 
wipe away the bad things I have done.

Wash away all my bad choices
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know what I have done wrong,
I think about it all the time.
Against You, God, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight;
so You are right in whatever you decide to do with me.

I was sinful since I was a baby,
even when I was inside my mom’s belly.

If YOU cleanse me I will be clean;
 wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
It’s like my bones are crushed to pieces because of my sin….let my body celebrate again.
Hide your face from my sins
and wipe away all my bad choices.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and give me a right spirit within me.
Do not send me away from you, or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Bring back to me the happiness of You saving me,
 and help me always follow you.

Then I will teach other people who disobey You, Your ways,
so that lots of sinners will turn back to You.

Save me from the guilt of killing that guy, O God,
You who are God who saves me from my sins,
and my tongue  will sing of Your righteousness (all the perfect things you do and are).

Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will yell Your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in gifts.
What I give you, O God, is a broken heart;
You, God, will not forget me.

May it please You to prosper us, your people,
to keep us safe and protect us.
Then you will be happy with the gifts we bring, when we bring them to You with hearts that love and obey You.

For today’s craft, we cut out and decorated hearts with verse 10 written on them. Then we learned THIS SONG.

img_0571

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all.

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.

bronzesnake

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!

Joseph and the famine

Hello again all!

The next part of Joseph’s story can be found in Genesis 41-46. For last year’s lesson see HERE.

Recap: Joseph had been sold by his brothers (because they were jealous of him, not because he had been bad) and he was living far away in a place called Egypt. He worked for the king’s helper but got thrown in jail (again…he hadn’t done anything wrong). But he was eventually released from jail. He was now in charge of  Egypt… only the king was higher up than he was.

His job now was to collect food. They were going to have 7 years of lots of rain and good food and then 7 years of not much rain and no food (called a famine.) Joseph was very organized and he did a really good job collecting and saving up the food.

Sure enough, the rain stopped and the famine came. And the people were HUUUUNNNGRRRYYY! But the people in Egypt had enough food because of Joseph’s hard work.

All the other countries did not have much food and people came from very far away to buy some of the food Joseph had. Do you know some of the people who came? Some of Joseph’s brothers!

When the brothers met with Joseph, they didn’t even recognize him!

He pretended not to know them either. He tested them to see if their hearts were still yucky. He tried to trick them and said he would keep the youngest, Benjamin for a servant. But the brothers said, “Oh please no! Our father has already lost one son…he can’t lose another one! We are so sad about our brother who is gone and our father Jacob is so sad. Please please don’t let us lose another brother!”

Then Joseph knew they were sorry and that their hearts were no longer so yucky. He told them who he really was and they all stood…mouths wide open….and said, “HUBBA WHAAAAAAAAT?” (not really…but they WERE VERY surprised!)

He told them everything that had happened…and he told them he forgave them. He was not going to stay mad…he was going to love them and asked them to go get Jacob, the daddy. They all hugged and cried happy tears and then the brothers, their families and Jacob all moved to Egypt. Joseph was in charge of them now, just like his dream had showed. And even though his brothers had meant to do bad things to him, God had used it for good!

God had good plans for Joseph all along. It didn’t always seem like it…but even in the sad and hard things, God was putting Joseph just where He wanted him.

For our craft today we made paper dolls. We started by cutting out a man shape. Then we traced him on three smaller pieces of paper. From that, we cut out a coat (with some tabs on top and on the sides), a jumpsuit shape (with tabs) and a skirt and necklace (with tabs). You could edit these to look anyway you want..but below are the shapes we cut out.

IMG_7262

 

We drew a face on Joseph,  then we started with his coat. We made it a colorful coat as in the story.

IMG_7264

Next, we took the jumpsuit and added stripes to be his jail outfit.

IMG_7266

Lastly, we colored the skirt blue and added glitter to the necklace (to be his “in charge of Egypt” outfit)

IMG_7269

 

Our finished products:

 

Now they can retell the story–one outfit for each part of the story.

Thanks for joining us again. Love to you all!

Adam and Eve

Hi all! Welcome back…today’s lesson is from Genesis 2 and 3. Last year’s lesson and craft can be found HERE.

Yesterday we learned about God creating everything and on His last day of work, He created man. The Bible says God said “Let us make man in OUR own image.” (the Father, son and Holy Spirit–isn’t it great to know God made us like Himself??) God took some dirt from the ground and made man from the dirt. God breathed into his nose and gave him life. He put the man in charge of everything else He had made–which meant man could name everything and be in charge, but also that he needed to take care of everything. God named the man Adam.

God knew it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone so he put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs (the bones near your heart) and from that bone He made a woman, named Eve. (Isn’t that kind of a silly way to make people? It kind of seems funny…but God knew exactly what He was doing!) Adam and Eve would be partners, and work together and keep each other company.

God had made a perfect garden for Adam and Eve to live in. Only perfect things were there and it was wonderful with no sadness or fear or anything yucky. In the middle of the garden were two trees–the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said Adam and Eve could eat any of the food in the garden EXCEPT for the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “If you eat from that tree, you will die,” God told them.

One day, a serpent (a snake) came to Eve and said “Did God REALLY say you can’t eat from any tree in this garden?”

“Oh! We can eat from ANY tree–except THAT one…if we eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God says we’ll die!”

“Really?” said the snake. “You won’t REALLY die! God just knows if you eat the fruit from THAT tree that you’ll be as smart as He is and you’ll know what’s good and evil…He just doesn’t want you to be as smart as Him. Really…it’s ok. You can eat the fruit.”

The snake lied. God DID tell them they would die if they ate the fruit. But Eve didn’t listen to God. She listened to the snake. She disobeyed God. That’s called sin. It was the first time someone sinned. And then she got Adam to eat some too..he sinned too. God knew right away.

When they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve DID suddenly know the difference between good and bad and they KNEW they had done something bad. So they tried to hide from God…but of course you can’t hide from God. He found them.

God knew they had to leave the garden. Now that they had sinned and knew good from bad, they couldn’t stay and eat from the tree of life–they couldn’t live forever, because they were no longer perfect and God never wanted people to live forever in their yucky sin. So He came to them and told them they couldn’t stay in the garden anymore. They had to leave and they would have to work hard now to get their food. And they would be away from God.

Adam and Eve left the garden and began a much harder life away from God…but God was always watching, always providing and He had a plan. HE, perfect God, would provide a way for Adam and Eve (and all of us who sin) to come back to Him and live forever. He would send His son Jesus to be a man like us and die INSTEAD of us. Jesus would be perfect and able to give us the fruit from the tree of life. He would take our consequence of dying and instead, give us back to God to live forever. ISN’T THAT WONDERFUL?!

 

For our craft today, we made puppets! We used three socks, some tacky glue (you could also use hot glue or super glue), some googly eyes and some old ribbons (but get as creative as you like!)

We made an Adam, an Eve, and a snake. Then we took turns being the characters and retelling the story.

 

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!