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!

David dances

Hi all! Tonight’s story is from 2 Samuel 6.

daviddances

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.

ark

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!

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!