Category: The Gospel Project

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

By | August 8, 2015

smaIn Daniel, chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar is given a dream about an image with a head made of gold. The image also consists of silver, bronze, copper, iron, and clay. When God gives Daniel the ability to interpret the dream, he tells Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold represents Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom. Daniel reveals that it is God who has given Nebuchadnezzar dominion, power, might and glory. Daniel makes it very clear that Nebuchadnezzar has power only because God has allowed it. Daniel then proceeds to tell Nebuchadnezzar about his future. Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom will be destroyed, and God will set up a kingdom that will never end. The Bible records Nebuchadnezzar as falling prostrate before Daniel, but it’s not for the reason that you might think.

Nebuchadnezzar is giving praise to this God of Israel who can interpret dreams. He did not show any remorse or fear about the future. It seems that he did not hear anything Daniel said past the golden head representing himself, for in the very next chapter he builds an image of gold. There is no name given to the image, so we can assume it was not made to honor any god. Nebuchadnezzar most likely built the image to honor himself. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride gets the best of him. The fourth chapter of Daniel provides a vivid description of how God dealt with Nebuchadnezzar’s pride.

Review: Last week we learned about how Daniel and his three friends remained faithful to God. Daniel and his friends were chosen to be in the king’s service. They were to be given a portion of the king’s food and wine. Daniel requested that they only be given vegetables and water. God blessed them by making them healthier than all the rest who ate food from the king’s table.

Why did Daniel and his friends not want to eat food from the king’s table? Much of the Babylonian food is offered to idols and it would be wrong for them to eat it..

Scripture Reading: Daniel 3

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Divide into pairs.

  • With their backs facing each other, tie the pairs together at the waist.
  • Tell the pairs that they are not allowed to communicate with each other in any way.
  • With all pairs participating at the same time, give the pairs directions to do various activities: sit on the couch, spin in a circle, walk to the other room, lie on your back, or any other simple activities you create.
  • After attempting to do the activities, discuss the difficulty of doing the tasks when the partners are unable to communicate to tell each other what they are thinking. It’s like having two minds that are often in opposition to each other.
  • Now give the same directions to the pairs, but this time let them communicate with each other.
  • Discuss how much easier it was to accomplish their tasks when they were of the same mind.
  • When our minds are in tune with God’s mind, we can be determined that we will serve God in spite of what others are doing around us. We will be able to accomplish God’s plan because we will be working in unison with Him instead of doing the opposite of His plan. James 1:8 says that a man who doubts God is double-minded and “is unstable in all he does.” It is important that we be single-minded, focusing on serving God, so that when temptation does come, we can be strong to stand against it.

 

Pray:

Adoration: Give praise to an almighty God who is able to save, even from a fiery furnace.

Confession: Ask God to forgive you for putting other things over Him; for having idols.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that He is a loving God that watches over His children.

Supplication: Ask God to help you take a stand for what is right even though others around you may not be doing what is right.

 

Lesson: August 9th

Daniel and His Friends Obeyed God

By | July 25, 2015

dan 1YAHWEH: THE LORD

The book of Daniel was written during the time that the nation of Israel was in exile. It would have been a common belief among the Babylonians that Israel’s defeat was an indication that they served a weak god. The Jews may have had such thoughts themselves as they were living in exile. They may have thought that God had not kept His promises to them.

God used the lives of four teenagers to prove that not only is He the one true God, but that He had not forgotten about His people or His promises to them. The account of Daniel and his faithfulness proves the sovereignty (one who has supreme power and authority) of Israel’s God. Daniel and his friends trusted the Lord, and He showed Himself able to protect and deliver them.

As a result, His power is made known to and proclaimed by the nations of the world. Our Memory Verse for this unit sounds like it could have been the words of Daniel giving praise to God, but these words were actually stated by a pagan king of Babylon.

 

Review: In the last lesson we learned how the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. God took His prophet Ezekiel to a valley where he was instructed to prophesize to dead bones—telling them that God would breathe life into them again.

What was God promising His people who were now in exile through this prophecy? God would put His Spirit back in them and they would be made new. He would settle them back into their own land.

Scripture Reading: Daniel 1

Memory Verse: Daniel 6:27: “He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

 

Family Activity:

Supplies: paper, pencil or pen

To help review the lesson, divide into two teams and play a game of Tic-tac-toe. One team will be “X” and the other team will be “O”. Using the review questions below, ask one team a question. If the team gets the right answer, they can put either an “X” or an “O” in a spot on the board:

 

  • Why did God have to punish the Jewish people? They chose to worship false gods.
  • How did God punish the Jewish people? They were captured and taken into slavery.
  • What kind of men did the king want Ashpenaz to look for? Ones who were handsome and smart.
  • Why didn’t Daniel want to eat the king’s food? Much of the food was used for idol worship and God had specifically told the Israelites not to eat certain foods.
  • What did Daniel ask that he be fed instead of the king’s food? Vegetables and water.
  • Why did Ashpenaz not want to give Daniel vegetables? He was afraid that Daniel would not look very good and the king would be upset.
  • For how many days was the official to test Daniel and his friends? Ten days.
  • How did God bless Daniel and his friends for taking a stand for what was right? They looked even better than those who had eaten the king’s food.
  • How much better were Daniel and his friends than all the magicians in wisdom and understanding? Ten times better.
  • What special gift did God give to Daniel? The ability to understand dreams and visions.
  • Why did the Babylonians change the names of Daniel and his friends? They wanted them to forget about their home land and their God, and to worship the false gods.

Pray: Ask God to help develop you into people who please Him no matter what. Give thanks to God that He is able to protect and deliver us from the enemy’s temptations.

 

Lesson: July 26th

Zephaniah, Prophet to Judah | Zephaniah 1–3

By | May 20, 2015

OLD TO NEW

The writings of the prophets gave warnings and pronounced judgment on a sinful people, but they also gave messages of hope for a new beginning. This was a ray of light during a dark time for Israel; something they could look forward to happening in the future. As believers in Jesus Christ, we also look forward to a new beginning when Jesus returns to earth as promised.

Although their restoration was a future event, Israel always had the opportunity to make things new in their current situation. They were encouraged by the prophets to repent and turn to God. If they did this, God would forgive them and purify their hearts; God would make them new. They would no longer follow the old ways of worshipping false gods. They would be renewed.

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” The return of Christ will be a wonderful time for believers, but we do not have to wait until that time to be made new. When we accept Christ, He enters our lives and makes us new.

Review: Last week we learned about the boy king Josiah. He became king when he was only eight years old, but right from the beginning he did what was right in God’s eyes. He tore down all the altars and false idols, and he restored the temple of God. While the temple was being restored, the Book of the Law was found. Josiah had it read to the entire nation of Judah, and he renewed the covenant of God.

What event did Josiah celebrate which reminded the people of God’s deliverance? The Passover.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.13.27 AMScripture Reading:  Zephaniah 1:1–2:3; 3:1–20


 

TALK

Zephaniah was sent to prophesy against Judah. He prophesied during the reign of King Josiah, and his message was possibly the reason behind Josiah’s reforms.

  1. What are the names of the false gods Judah is guilty of worshipping? (1:4–5) Baal and Molech. The nations around Judah were known for worshipping numerous false gods. Why do you think God specifically men- tioned these two gods in this passage? Read Leviticus 18:21 to see what followers of these gods practiced. Sacrifice of children. Although Judah was told not to worship any false gods, the worship of these gods was blatant rebellion against God as they were specifically told not to worship Baal or Molech.
  2. Webster’s dictionary defines rebellion as “opposition to one in authority or dominance.” To be in opposition
    to someone means that you want the exact opposite of what the other person wants. Judah was in direct opposition to God, yet they thought that God would do nothing, almost as if God did not see what they were doing (1:12). How often do our actions reflect those of Judah? Every time we sin we are rebelling against God, going in direct opposition to Him, acting as if God does not see what we are doing. Read Hebrews 4:13. What does the last line say about our actions? We must give an account. Just as Judah was to be judged, we too will be judged for our actions.
  3. The final verses of chapter 1 describe the Day of the Lord as one of great judgment. What does Zephaniah plead with the people to do in Zephaniah 2:1–3? Seek the Lord; humble themselves; obey His commands; seek righteousness and humility.
  4. Zephaniah dedicates the entire third chapter to a message of hope for Judah’s future restoration. What hope does verse 17 give to the people? God is with them; He takes great delight in them; they will have His love and He will rejoice with them.
  5. Read the following verses and rejoice in God’s promises to us as recited in our Memory Verse: God is with us: Isaiah 41:10 God takes pleasure in us: Psalm 149:4
    God loves us: 1 John 4:10 God rejoices over us: Luke 15:7,10

 

PRAY

Using the Memory Verse as well as the verses in the Talk section, question #5, use your time to

  • Praise God for being a promise keeper.
  • Claim the promises that God has made to us.
  • Ask God to help you keep away from worshipping false idols.

Memory Verse:

Zephaniah 3:17: “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Use the following motions to teach this unit’s memory verse, or make up your own motions:

The Lord your God (point both hands to heaven)
Is with you (draw arms in to a hug)
He is mighty to save (raise both arms in strength)
He will take great delight in you (use fingers to draw a smile on your face) He will quiet you (use finger over mouth)

With His love (cross arms over heart)
He will rejoice over you with singing (jump up and down in celebration)


DO

Supplies: Coffee filter; red food coloring; rubber gloves (optional)
Take a white coffee filter and hold it in your hand. Tell the kids that the filter represents them. Say, “At the beginning of life, children commit no knowledgeable sins, but we all have sin, even kids.”

Take a pencil and write on the coffee filter the name of common sins. Let the kids give suggestions like lying or stealing.

Next, use the red food coloring and explain that this item represents the blood of Jesus. When God forgives us, He uses the blood of Jesus to wash away our sins. Squirt the coffee filter lightly with the food coloring. Continue to squirt until the red color spreads around the filter covering all the penciled letters.

The prophets brought God’s message of judgment on His people, but they also ended their messages with words of hope. God would always forgive His people if they repented, and He would always restore them back to Him. Since the beginning of time, God has had a plan for our salvation. He sent His Son to die in our place. Jesus shed His blood, and when we ask God to forgive us the blood of Jesus covers our sin. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Lesson: May 24th

Josiah’s Reforms | 2 Chronicles 34–35

By | May 15, 2015

When you check out a book from the library, how many authors are credited with writing the book? Some books may list two or three authors, but the vast majority have just one. Imagine how difficult it would be to have several authors from different backgrounds each write a chapter of a book and still have the story make sense. Strangely enough, this is exactly what God chose to do.

The Bible is comprised of 66 books written by over 40 different people over a period of 1,500 years. The authors lived in different places, spoke different languages, and had different walks of life: kings, physicians, fishermen, tax collectors, priests, royal servants, and slaves. The Bible addresses many topics: faith, love, family, government, education, good vs. evil, money, and law. None of the authors knew what the other authors were writing, yet each book of the Bible points to one big story—God’s plan for mankind. In 2 Peter 1:21, we read, “For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God may have used various authors, but He orchestrated the whole thing. There is no part of Scripture that did not originate from heaven.

The priest, Hilkiah, ran with joy to tell Josiah that he had found the Book of the Law. God’s Word to His people had been found, and they wasted no time in having it read. Even though you may have multiple copies of the Bible in your house, it’s lost until you spend time reading it.


Review: Last week we learned about the prophet Micah and his message from God to Judah. The leaders of Judah were responsible for leading the people astray and worshipping false gods. They refused to believe they were guilty of sin and blindly expected God to save them from destruction. Micah gave Judah the formula to a righteous relationship with God.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.05.01 PMWhat three things did Micah say the people should do to live righteously? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

 

Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 34-35

 

Memory Verse: Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Use the following motions to teach this unit’s memory verse, or make up your own motions:

The Lord your God (point both hands to heaven)

Is with you (draw arms in to a hug)

He is mighty to save (raise both arms in strength)

He will take great delight in you (use fingers to draw a smile on your face) He will quiet you (use finger over mouth)

With His love (cross arms over heart)

He will rejoice over you with singing (jump up and down in celebration)


TALK

Josiah is the third boy king. Joash became king when he was seven, and Manasseh became king when he was twelve. Joash started well, but ended terribly. Manasseh started terribly but repented and ended well.

  • How old was Josiah when he became king?
    • 8 years old.
  • In 2 Chronicles 33:22, how does the Bible describe Josiah’s father, Amon?
    • He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
  • How does the Bible describe Josiah?
    • He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. Since Josiah’s father was wicked, how do you think Josiah learned how to do what was right? How important is it to listen to godly teaching even when you are young?
  • When Josiah was only 12 years old, he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem. What things did he do?
    • Took down the Asherah poles, idols, and cast images; tore down the altars of Baal; cut down the incense altars. Josiah could have thought that because he was so young he couldn’t make a difference. It would have been much easier for him to have just left things the way they were. Read 1 Timothy 4:12. What does it say about being young? Paul is encouraging Timothy that he can still be a godly example in spite of his young age. We, too, can be examples at any age in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. How can you be an example in these ways to family, classmates, or neighbors?
  • While Hilkiah, the high priest, was supervising the repair of the temple, he found something. What was it?
    • The Book of the Law. This was possibly the first five books of the Bible. The Bible says it was found, which means it had been lost. The actual book had not only been lost to the people, but the God of the book had been lost to them because they were not living according to His commands. The Book of the Law was just laying around somewhere collecting dust from lack of use. Where is your Bible? Is it on the shelf collecting dust, only to be brought out on Sunday? Whether or not we read God’s Word, whatever God said will still happen, because God’s Word is eternal. (Psalm 119:89)
  • What did Josiah do when the Book of the Law was read to him?
    • He tore his robes and sent Hilkiah to the prophet to interpret what was written in the Law.
  • What did the prophet say would happen?
    • The prophet told Hilkiah that judgment was coming to Judah because of their sins against God. This would not happen until after the death of Josiah because he humbled himself before God, and God promised to spare him the grief.
  • What event did Josiah celebrate?
    • The Passover. The Bible says that it had not been observed to such an extent since the days of Samuel; no other king celebrated the Passover as did Josiah. This brought the people back to the time when God had delivered them from Egypt; back to their covenant with God.

 


 

PRAY

Adoration: “Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). Give praise to God that He is unchanging and that His Word is forever.

Confession: “. . . they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:21). Confess to God specifically when you have not acted according to His Word.

Thanksgiving: “So at that time the entire service of the Lord was carried out for the celebration of the Passover . . .” (2 Chronicles 35:16). The Israelites celebrated what God had done for them when He delivered them from the Death Angel. Give thanks to God as a celebration of a specific time when He helped you.

Supplication: “The king renewed the covenant of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep His commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, and to obey the words of the covenant written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:31). Make a covenant with God to keep His commands. Ask God to give you the strength to keep your covenant.



DO

Supplies: Any set of blocks that can be used to stack and build; stopwatch Place the blocks in a pile on a hard surface.

Divide into 2 teams.

When you say “Go” the first person on Team 1 runs to the blocks and sets one up, then runs back to tag the next person in line. Continue the relay for one minute to build a tower as high as the team can. The second team now has one minute to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 (the building team) now has 30 seconds to go back and rebuild as much of the tower as possible. Then Team 2 has 30 seconds to take apart the tower one block at a time. Team 1 rebuilds as much as possible in 15 seconds (one block at a time), then Team 2 has 15 seconds to take apart as much as they can one block at a time.

Use this activity to discuss the wicked and righteous kings of Judah. A wicked king would reign and build up the idols and altars to worship false gods. Then a righteous king would reign and tear down the altars. A wicked king would reign and build the altars again. A righteous king would again tear them down. The people of Judah were in a cycle which would eventually lead them into captivity.

Do you remember the kings Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Amon? Were they were wicked or righteous?

Hezekiah—righteous

Manasseh—wicked and then turned to God

Amon—wicked

 

(Lesson: May 17th)

Micah, Prophet to Judah | Micah 1–7

By | April 28, 2015

When you love and respect someone, the best way to show it is by trying to be more like him or her. For example, while you may get annoyed when your younger brother copies everything you do, it isn’t because he’s trying to annoy you (okay, maybe sometimes he is), it’s just that he thinks you’re so cool that he wants to be more like you.

God desires us to be like Him. He loves it when we copy Him. In fact, He purposely gives us examples of how He wants us to copy Him. In Micah 6:8, God gives us three ways that we can copy His example: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God is just when He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). God shows mercy when He does not abandon His people (Nehemiah 9:31). God showed humility when He sent His perfect Son, Jesus, to earth as a man to die in our place (Philippians 2:6–8).

Charles Caleb Colton, a 19th century cleric, penned the phrase, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” It is a way of showing adoration toward the one you are imitating; a desire for him or her to be your role model. Who are you trying to imitate; who do you want to be like? Phillipians 2:5 tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

 

Review: Last week we learned details about the promised Messiah. Isaiah described the pain and suffering the Messiah would suffer, but he also prophesied that the Messiah would be killed and then raised from the dead. Isaiah’s message was one of hope to an exiled people. God wanted them to know He had not forgotten about them and that He always keeps His promises.

As believers who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, what should we do with the message of the Messiah? We should be passing along the Good News to others who do not know Jesus.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.38.24 AMMemory Verse:  Zephaniah 3:17: “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

 


 

Talk:

Micah was a prophet during the same time as the prophet Isaiah. In the first verse of the first chapter of Micah, we learn that Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah in Judah.

  • In Micah 6:1–5, God reminds Israel what He has done for them in the past. What are some of the ways God had saved them?
    • Delivered from slavery in Egypt; delivered from King Balak and the evil prophet, Balaam; showed His righteous acts in Gilgal.
  • Who does Micah say is responsible for the judgment being brought on Judah? (3:9–12) The leaders were leading the people astray. What does he say will happen to them?
    • They will be completely destroyed.
  • Micah is one of the few prophets who comes right out and explains why he has come. What two things does Micah explain about his message in Micah 3:8?
    • Micah is empowered by God’s Spirit and his message is to declare the sin of God’s people.
  • Verse 11 says that the leaders are under the false impression that God is still among them and that no harm will come to them. Read 2 Peter 1:5–10. How does it describe people who have forsaken righteousness and have instead chosen to do things their own way?
    • They have become nearsighted and blind. In this passage nearsighted means “to shut the eyes.” It is a willful choice. The leaders of Judah chose to shut their eyes to the truth of their sin and forget the God of their salvation. We are often like the leaders of Judah: we tell a “little white lie” and don’t confess it as sin; we call somebody a name; we don’t spend daily time with God. Each time we don’t acknowledge the truth of our sin, we become a little more nearsighted and forgetful of the God who cleansed us from our sin.
  • Micah 6:8 makes it clear how God expects His people to live. What are the three ways Micah mentions? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Can this description be used for the way we live? Do we act fairly? Do we show compassion and kindness to everyone around us? Do we walk carefully or wisely with our God, making Him and His commands more important than our own desires?
  • As with Isaiah, Micah gave a message of hope. What does he say in Micah 7:18–20?
    • God delights in showing mercy; He will have compassion again; He will hurl their iniquities into the sea; He will remain faithful to His covenant.

 

Pray:

Use 2 Peter 1:5–6 and Micah 6:8.

Ask God to increase righteous qualities in your life. Put your name in the verse, and mention the qualities by name. (For this very reason, I, (your name), will make every effort to . . . ) Commit to God that you will be imitators of Him; “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly” with Him.

 


Do:

Supplies: Bible Memory Verse for this unit

Use the following motions to teach this unit’s memory verse, or make up your own motions:

The Lord your God (point both hands to heaven)

Is with you (draw arms in to a hug)

He is mighty to save (raise both arms in strength)

He will take great delight in you (use fingers to draw a smile on your face) He will quiet you (use finger over mouth)

With His love (cross arms over heart)

He will rejoice over you with singing (jump up and down in celebration)

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