Nahum, Prophet to Nineveh

Unit 17, Session 5 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Nahum was a prophet to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. He wasn’t the first. Remember Jonah? Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh, saying, “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” (Jonah 3:4). The Ninevites immediately repented, and God spared them. So what was Nahum doing in Nineveh?

Well, it wasn’t long after Jonah’s visit that the people went back to their old ways. Assyria had defeated Israel and was a constant threat to Judah. Nahum described Nineveh as “the city of blood, totally deceitful, full of plunder, never without prey” (Nahum 3:1). Nahum went to Nineveh to say that God’s judgment was coming. “The Lord will never leave the guilty unpunished” (Nahum 1:3).

God had shown grace to the people of Nineveh in the time of Jonah, but their sin made them guilty. Nahum echoed parts of Exodus 34:6-7: “Yahweh is … slow to anger … But He will not leave the guilty unpunished.” God was going to judge Nineveh. (See Nahum 1:2.) He would make war against them and defeat them. (Nahum 1:6) When God’s judgment came upon Nineveh, His people would be safe. (Nahum 1:7)

Nahum brought a message of comfort to God’s people, reminding them that God loves His people and will protect them from their enemies. Jesus also brought a message of comfort to His people. Jesus assured us of salvation and peace. All of the enemies of God and His children—sin, Satan, and death—were defeated at the cross. In the end, all evil will be finally punished.

Family Devotion:
Materials: candle, matches

Play a game of hide and seek with your family with a different twist. Direct your kids to hide in the spot where they feel most safe when life is chaotic. After giving them time to hide, go find your family members and bring them back as a group.

Ask each child, “Why did you choose the spot to hide in?”

Light the candle and review the Bible story. Recall how God had sent Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh once before, but they returned to their evil ways. God sent another prophet, Nahum, to warn the people of Nineveh that they would be destroyed because of the evil things they had done. Remind your kids that God hates evil and will punish it. Even though the Ninevites thought they would be safe within their city walls, God is more powerful than His greatest enemy.

Direct your kids to look at the candle and estimate how long it could burn. Even though God hates evil, He is patient and will wait a long time for people to return to Him—but not forever. Those who love God can run to Him and find protection from the Enemy because the Enemy was defeated at the cross. We can find comfort in the fact that all our enemies will be defeated in the end.

Pray, thanking God, that we can find comfort and protection in Him.

Ask God to protect your family and keep them safe.

Habakkuk, Prophet to Judah

Unit 17, Session 4 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. How much time do you spend waiting? Think about it. Waiting for a traffic light to turn green, waiting in line at the post office, waiting to check your bags at the airport, waiting for coffee at the drive-thru, waiting for a phone call, waiting for a birthday, waiting on someone else. Why do we wait? We know something is coming.

A major factor in waiting is faith—”the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This is precisely what the prophet Habakkuk addressed. He found himself in a period of waiting, first for judgment and then for revival. All around him, people were oppressed and violence escalated. “How long, Lord, must I call for help?” Habakkuk asked. “Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?”

God answered Habakkuk. God was going to raise up the Babylonians, and they would hold captive the people of Judah. Habakkuk prayed again. Yes, Judah deserved to be punished, but the Babylonians were even more wicked than Judah; how could God, in essence, bless them? God answered Habakkuk. He said the Babylonian captivity would not last forever. After some time, God was going to rescue His people and punish the Babylonians.

Habakkuk lived at a time when evil seemed to be everywhere. By faith, he trusted God’s promise that God would deliver His people. Injustice, violence, and wickedness surround us today, but we can live by faith and trust that Jesus will return to make all things right. Those who are in Christ are waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s return. Until then, we live by faith. (See Hebrews 10:35-38.)

Family Devotion:
Materials: current newspaper, large pot of water
Heat a large pot of water on the stove. Periodically, choose a child to see if the water is boiling. While you wait, locate a newspaper and paraphrase stories that reveal the sinfulness of people or nations. Direct your kids to give a thumbs up or thumbs down in relation to the action taken.

Recall the Bible story from Habakkuk.

Ask: “What was Habakkuk complaining about to God?” Even though God used a wicked nation (Babylon) to punish the Israelites, Habakkuk trusted what God was doing. He trusted God, knowing He is a compassionate and loving God. Even though today we see wickedness all over, we can trust that God is in control and is still compassionate and faithful toward those who love Him.

Ask: “How does it make you feel to know wickedness continues to thrive in our neighborhoods and world?”

Remind your children that God wants people to love Him and hate sin. It may seem He is slow in punishing our enemies just like the water is slow to boil, but because of Jesus’ death on the cross, a day is coming when there will be no more evil, war, or famine; rather, all will be right in the world.

End your family time with a song of praise remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Pray, thanking God that He is faithful, good, and loving toward your family.

Zephaniah, Prophet to Judah

Unit 17, Session 3 BS PictureDear Parents

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place during the early years of King Josiah’s reign, before he made his reforms. Zephaniah was a prophet to Judah during that time. Zephaniah prophesied about the Day of the Lord, when God will judge the world for its sin and Jesus Christ will return and make everything new.

Zephaniah’s prophecies were intended to get the attention of Judah. Read Zephaniah 1:14-18. Who could ignore those types of descriptions? The Day of the Lord will be universal and intense. Zephaniah made a call to action: turn back to God.

Zephaniah also described God’s promise of future restoration. A new day is coming—a day when God will bring us home. (Zephaniah 3:20) The new day dawned with Christ’s first coming, but will one day come in fullness. On the day that Jesus gathers His people and reigns in victory, this promise will ring true over us: “The Lord has removed your punishment; He has turned back your enemy. The King of Israel, Yahweh, is among you; you need no longer fear harm” (Zephaniah 3:15).

The final Day of the Lord is coming. Do not ignore the warnings of Zephaniah. Respond to Zephaniah’s admonition: “Seek the Lord … Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:3). If you are in Christ, you will be concealed from the Lord’s anger and experience the joy of a new day. We can look forward to and prepare for that new day. (See 2 Peter 3:13-14.) Jesus will be among us, a warrior who saves. “He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Family Devotion:
Hold a family court. Direct each of your kids to find a stuffed animal, action hero, or doll. Guide the kids to think of something each of the “guilty persons” could have done wrong, and then bring each one before the judge (dad or mom). As judge, ask: “What did you do wrong? Are you sorry for what you have done? Will you do it again?” Allow each child to respond for his “accused person.” The judge can then decide if the “person” is guilty or not. After “court” is out of session, recall what Zechariah prophesied about the Day of the Lord. Remind your kids that the Day of the Lord was coming to Judah because of the people’s
continual sin and refusal to return to the Lord. On the Day of the Lord, those who do not follow Jesus will be judged, but those who believe and follow Jesus will be safe.

Ask: “How does that make you feel that some will be punished but those who know Jesus will be rewarded?” (See Rev. 11:18.) Know that Jesus loves all people and wants them to follow Him. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are now His and safe from His judgment. Jesus invites everyone to believe He loved us and died for us.

Pray, thanking God for sending Jesus that we can live forever with Him. Pray for those who do not know Jesus.

Josiah’s Reforms

Unit 17, Session 2 BS PictureDear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, we take a look at Josiah. Josiah was 8 years old when he became king. His father, Amon, had been assassinated by his own servants, and the people of Judah made Josiah king. (2 Kings 21:23-24) Think of the 8-year-olds you know. Are any of them suited to rule over a kingdom?

Josiah did well as king of Judah, and he didn’t step into the easiest of circumstances. His father had been a wicked king, and Judah was corrupt with idolatry. Josiah was not like his father, though. When he was a teenager, he began to seek God—the God of his ancestor David. Then Josiah made changes in Judah. He tore down the altars and idols of false gods, and he began repairing the Lord’s temple.

During the temple repair, the high priest found the book of the law of the Lord. The court secretary read the book of the law to Josiah, and Josiah tore his clothes. He knew the Lord’s righteous requirements, and the people of Judah fell short. Josiah gathered the people and read the law aloud. He made a covenant to follow God and obey His commands, and then those listening vowed to do the same. Josiah had great respect for God’s law. He allowed God’s word to control what he did as a king. Josiah wanted God’s people to love God and obey the law too.

When we stand before the law, we too should mourn over our sin. We have fallen short of God’s standard and are cursed. (Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:10) But the gospel is good news. When Jesus came to earth, He fulfilled the law by obeying it perfectly. He died on the cross to pay for our sins. When we trust in Him, His righteousness is credited to us. Our debt is laid on Him, and He redeems us. (Galatians 3:13)

Family Devotion:
Materials: family Bible
Hide the family Bible, and then give your kids time to find it. If you have a competitive bunch, hide a Bible for each child. Once kids retrieve the Bible, recall the story about King Josiah.

Ask: “What were some of the reforms or changes Josiah made during his reign as king?”
The Bible says Josiah “did what was right in the Lord’s sight” (2 Chron. 34:2). Even at a young age, in the midst of many foreign gods, Josiah took a stand for God. He did not worry about what other people thought, but he sought and obeyed God. Josiah tore down carved and cast images, repaired the temple, and—in the process—discovered the book of the law written by Moses.

Remind your family that as good of a king as Josiah was, even he could not keep all the commandments and neither can we. Only Jesus kept the law perfectly. Because Jesus never sinned, He is the only way to have a relationship with God the Father.

Ask: “Do you know friends who follow a different religion?” Talk about how following Jesus is different than following a religion. Remind your family that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Pray, thanking God that your family knows Jesus never sinned, and He died on the cross so you could have a relationship when you put your faith and trust in Him.

Micah, Prophet to Judah

Unit 17, Session 1 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In this unit, kids will be learning about prophets sent to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. In today’s Bible story, the prophet Micah—whose name means “Who is like Yahweh?”—poses that very question: “Who is a God like You, removing iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of His inheritance?” (Micah 7:18)

Micah was a prophet from Moresheth, a city in the foothills of Judah. He testified to God’s character. God’s message to Micah came hundreds of years before Jesus was born—in the days when Jotham was king of Judah, through the time of King Ahaz, and up to the rule of King Hezekiah. God’s message was about the current state of affairs in Samaria and Jerusalem. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and Jerusalem was the capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Israel and Judah were corrupt. A period of economic wealth gave way to idolatry, theft, false prophecies, and a love of evil.

Micah addressed the sins of the people—specifically the mistreatment of the poor—and warned of the Lord’s coming judgment. One day, Micah said, God would send a Messiah, have compassion on Israel, and preserve a remnant by which He would keep His promise to Abraham. (See Micah 7:20; Genesis 22:15-18.) The prophet Micah gave God’s people a message of hope: a leader was coming who would free God’s people. He would be a shepherd and a king. The righteous ruler promised through Micah is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Adult Connection Point

The Bible is a historical book. The events it describes took place in history. The Bible does not contain theological truths unrelated to history. History matters! We have many reasons to believe the Bible is what it claims to be—the very Word of God. Here is just one way: we trust the Bible because of its unity. The biblical story is one grand story from Genesis to Revelation. This story unfolds through multiple plots and subplots. In the midst of all the themes, all the people, and all the stories, there is one central theme through the Scriptures—the promise and fulfillment of a messianic King who is establishing an eternal kingdom for God. This grand story points to one Person, Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27). In the Old Testament, Christ is promised to the people of God. In the New Testament, He arrives (Matt. 5:1718). The detailed nature of the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus is one of the clearest signs that the Bible is no ordinary book.

Family Devotion

Direct your family to tell about their favorite book. Who are some of the characters? Why do they like the book? If the book is easily accessible, bring the book back to the group and show it. Challenge your family to find the Book of Micah. (Use the table of contents, if necessary.) Then recall the story. Ask: “What wrong things were God’s people doing that deserved His punishment?” Micah told the people that they did not love and obey God, worshiped idols, took what was not theirs, and listened to false prophets. Remind your kids that God is always providing a way for His people to come back to Him. God sent Micah to warn His people of their punishment, but He also gave them a message of hope. Micah said a ruler would come out of Bethlehem, and He would shepherd the people. Jesus is the only Person who fulfilled this prophecy in Micah. Jesus is the One Micah spoke of who would free us from our sins.

Ask: “What makes the Bible different from our other favorite books?” We can know the Bible is true because it is the very Word of God. When we find prophecies spoken in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we can know the words in the Bible are true.

Pray, thanking God for sending a ruler and shepherd.

Unit 15, Session 4: Isaiah Preached About the Messiah

Unit 15, Session 4 BS PictureDear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in the The Gospel Project® for Kids focuses on the four servant songs in the Book of Isaiah. These songs describe the working out of God’s plan of redemption through the innocent substitute—the Messiah—who would suffer for the sake of sinners. Through the Messiah, God would bring sinners back to Himself.

The fourth and final Servant song is found in Isaiah 53. Isaiah provides an answer to the question, How can a just God justify the ungodly? How can He declare innocent those who are guilty? How can He love people like us? A just God can’t just look the other way. That’s cheap grace. Sin against God is a big deal. God didn’t just forgive our sins, He dealt with them. The price? God’s own Son.

Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecies of a suffering servant. People assumed God had cursed Jesus for His own sins, but Jesus was sinless. “He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him.”

God planned a very long time ago that Jesus would die on the cross for our sins. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote that this would happen! Jesus was the servant who suffered so that those who trust in Him could be forgiven.

Unit 15, Session 3: Hezekiah, Judah’s Faithful King

Unit 15, Session 3 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible study continues to look at Isaiah’s prophetic ministry, this time during the reign of King Hezekiah, the son of King Ahaz.

King Ahaz had not been a good king. Ahaz had not respected God’s law, or God’s prophets. Ahaz worshiped idols. King Hezekiah, however, “did what was right in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestor David had done.” (See 2 Chron. 29.) The Lord was with Hezekiah, and Hezekiah prospered. Over time, Hezekiah’s wealth and success led to pride. How did Hezekiah react when God said everything in His house would be carried off to Babylon? “Who cares? I’ll be dead by then.”

Hezekiah was a faithful king who led the people of Judah to worship God like they were supposed to. But even good kings are sinners. Jesus is our faithful King who never sinned. One day He will return to make all things the way they are supposed to be. Jesus is our King forever.

Unit 15, Session 2: Isaiah Confronted Ahaz

Unit 15, Session 2 BS Picture

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids follows Isaiah’s message to King Ahaz. During King Ahaz’s reign, the king of Assyria was expanding his kingdom by taking over other nations. The Northern Kingdom of Israel and the king of Syria formed an alliance against Assyria and invited King Ahaz to join them. King Ahaz was in a difficult position. If he joined the alliance and they lost, the Assyrian king would destroy him. If he did not join and the alliance won, he was as good as dead.

King Ahaz said no. Israel and Syria attacked Jerusalem. Isaiah 7 opens with the armies of Israel and Syria approaching Jerusalem. King Ahaz was terrified. God sent Isaiah and his son, Shear-Jashub, to give Ahaz a message. God would be Ahaz’s ally. All God asked of Ahaz was to trust Him. God gave Ahaz a sign: “The virgin would conceive a son, and name him Immanuel.” God could do the impossible. What would Ahaz have to fear with God on his side?

Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised to send Immanuel, which means “God with us.” Jesus fulfilled this promise when He came to earth and was born of a virgin. Jesus is our Immanuel, God with us.

Unit 15, Session 1: God Called Isaiah

Unit 15 Session 1 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. During the next four weeks, kids will learn about the prophet Isaiah and his message of the coming Messiah. Today’s Bible story focuses on Isaiah’s calling by God to prophesy to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In the year King Uzziah of Judah died, Isaiah was worshiping God in the temple when he had a vision. Isaiah saw God sitting on a throne. God’s robe was long; its edges filled the temple. Seraphim—heavenly beings—stood above Him, each with six wings, calling out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!” The magnitude of God’s holiness made Isaiah realize the magnitude of his own sin. His response? “Woe is me!” A seraph touched Isaiah’s lips with a piece of coal, an outward sign of God removing Isaiah’s sin and preparing Isaiah for the next step. Isaiah would eagerly take God’s message of hope and the coming Messiah to the people.

God extended His grace to Isaiah and took away Isaiah’s guilt. God passed over Isaiah’s sins because He was going to send Jesus to pay for them. In His death on the cross, Jesus paid for the sins—past, present, and future—of those who would trust in Him. When we trust in Jesus, God says to us, “Your guilt is taken away. Your sin is atoned for.”

Unit 14, Session 4: Joel, Prophet to Judah

Unit 14 Session 4 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. In today’s Bible story, God called Joel to prophesy to the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the middle of a crisis. Judah was experiencing an invasion of locusts, on top of a drought. Joel made it clear the people were not undergoing bad luck—God was judging them for their sin.

In Deuteronomy 28, God told His people that if they did not obey Him, “You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it” (vv. 15,38). That is exactly what happened. These disasters were a wake-up call. Joel told the people to repent. He told them to fast. He told them to cry out to God and ask Him to show them mercy. Then Joel looked ahead to the future. The Day of the Lord was coming, a day when God would show His strength through an invading army. God’s power would be against them. So Joel implored them, “Return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.”

God would rather forgive His people than punish them. God used locusts and drought to get Judah’s attention. They had turned from God, and the prophet Joel called them to repent. Like Joel, Jesus calls sinners to repent. Jesus died and was resurrected so repentant people could experience forgiveness. (Luke 24:46-47)