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Archive for The Gospel Project

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

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

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

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