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)

Unit 14, Session 3: Jonah, Prophet to Nineveh

Unit 14 Session 3 BS PictureDear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids is one that many kids have heard before, and we often lose sight of the central message. The message isn’t so much about Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, although that is certainly amazing. Jonah’s account centers around the compassion of God, not only for the people of Israel, but for people throughout the earth—even Israel’s worst enemies!

Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, and the rulers of Nineveh were notoriously evil and cruel. Check out how the prophet Nahum described the city in Nahum 3: “Woe to the city of blood, totally deceitful, full of plunder, never without prey” (v. 1). No wonder Jonah ran the other way! Through a storm and some time in the belly of a fish, God got Jonah’s attention. Jonah went to Nineveh. For three days, Jonah walked around the city. His message to the Ninevites was brief: “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!”

The people of Nineveh immediately repented, and God withheld His judgment. Jonah was furious. God rebuked Jonah and prompted him to examine his heart. God displayed His mercy and grace by forgiving the people of Nineveh when they repented of their sin. God showed His love to the rest of the world by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross. God saves those who trust in Jesus and repent of their sin, and He sends them out, like Jonah, with the good news of salvation.

Unit 14, Session 2: Hosea, Prophet to Israel

Unit 14 Session 2 BS Picture

Dear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids reveals what true, unconditional, godly love looks like. God told Hosea to show the people of Israel how much God loved them but in an unexpected way. God told Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, and to raise her children who were conceived with other men.

Hosea obeyed God. He married a woman named Gomer, and she was unfaithful just as God said she would be. God’s people were no different than Gomer. They loved and worshiped idols, people and things that were not the one true God.

It would have been easier for God (and Hosea) to throw up His hands and say, “Enough! I’m done with you!” But God’s love never gives up. He gave Hosea a love for his wife that compelled him to buy her back from the slave market after all she had done.

Hosea’s relationship with Gomer reminds us of God’s relationship with the people of Israel and with us. Even though God’s people are unfaithful and love other things more than they love God, God still loves us. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sin and bring us back to Him.

Unit 14, Session 1: Amos, Prophet to Israel

 

Unit 14 Session 1 BS PictureDear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next four weeks, our Bible stories will focus on four prophets whose messages to God’s people foreshadowed Jesus Christ. In today’s Bible story, Amos was a regular, hard-working man who raised sheep in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God called Amos to prophesy to the people of Israel.

On the outside, the Northern Kingdom of Israel looked good. They were prospering economically, their borders were expanding, and sure, King Jeroboam was an evil and ungodly man, but he could have been worse. But God was not pleased with His people. Their hearts were far from Him. They ignored God’s laws, worshiped idols, and mistreated the poor. They were greedy, hypocritical, and prideful. So God called Amos to tell Israel that God was going to judge them for their sin.

Taking God’s message to the people of Israel was no easy task. When Amos told Israel through three sermons that God’s judgment would also fall on them, they told him to go away. The Israelites’ refusal to turn back to God eventually led to their exile and brought an end to their time of prosperity.

God is holy and just, but He is also loving and gracious. God wanted His people to turn back to Him, but they refused. Israel faced the punishment for their sin. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin. God accepts anyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Unit 13, Session 5: The Northern Kingdom Was Destroyed

Unit 13, Session 5 BS PictureDear Parents,

Today’s Bible story in The Gospel Project® for Kids focuses once again on the Northern Kingdom of Israel. God’s people in the Northern Kingdom had a long history of disobeying God. God sent His prophets to the people of Israel. The prophets told the people of Israel to repent and worship God again. Many times, the prophets told the people what would happen in the future if they continued to sin.

Sometimes God’s people listened to the prophets, repented of their sins, and followed God. But many people did not. God had been very patient with the Israelites. He had helped them in times of trouble and had delayed their punishment because He is gracious and compassionate. (2 Kings 13:23) But many years passed, and God knew His people would not love Him with all their hearts.

God had had enough of His people’s sinning. They wouldn’t listen to Him, so He allowed their enemies to send them into exile. The king of Assyria attacked Israel and laid siege to Samaria. Assyria captured Samaria and forced the people to leave the city. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed and the people were scattered, just as God had said it would be. (1 Kings 14:15)

When the Israelites disobeyed God, God judged their sin and punished them by removing them from His presence. Jesus took the punishment for our sin upon Himself. He unites and restores those who trust in Him. Jesus brings us into God’s presence and keeps us there.