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.

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 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.

Unit 13, Session 4: Elisha and Naaman

Unit 13, Session 4 BS PictureDear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, we turn our attention to Elisha, Elijah’s friend and successor, and Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army. The Syrians often attacked Israelite cities and took whatever they wanted, including people to work as slaves. One of the slaves carried off by the Syrians has a pivotal role in today’s story.

Naaman was sick with leprosy—a serious skin disease. Without a cure, Naaman would suffer horribly. A young slave girl from the land of Israel, however, knew about the one true God. She told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman.

Naaman told his master, the king of Aram, what his servant said. The king of Aram wrote a letter to King Ahab, commanding him to heal Naaman. King Ahab panicked. He couldn’t heal Naaman—only God could do that! Elisha called for Naaman and told him to wash seven times in the Jordan River. It wasn’t the “cure” Naaman was expecting, and initially he rejected Elisha’s instructions. His servants, however, encouraged him to obey. Naaman washed in the Jordan and he was healed! Naaman told Elisha, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15).

Naaman was sick with a skin problem. His disease went away when he washed in the river. All people are sick with a sin problem. They need a Healer. When we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, God forgives our sin and heals us.

The Bronze Snake

Unit 6 Session 5 BS Picture

Dear Parents,

 

This week in The Gospel Project for Kids, your kids learned about the aftermath of Israel’s sin when they were wandering in the wilderness. God had given the people and opportunity to obey, but again they chose not to. After much grumbling from the Israelites, God sent poisonous snakes into the ranks of the nation. God, in His gracious wisdom, gave them a way of escaping the results of the snake bite. Sin comes with consequences, but God always provides a way of salvation.

 

Because of our sin, we face a huge problem. Our sin leads us to be separated from God, and we deserve to die. Just like the Israelites who were healed from the poison snake bite when they looked at the snake on the pole, those who choose to see Jesus on the cross and trust in Him, will be saved from their sin.

 

Joshua and Caleb

Unit 6 Session 4 BS Picture

The Gospel Project for Kids took on a spy mission this week. Spies were sent into the land of promise. They had finally arrived! The problem was most of the people who went in to spy were having problems believing that they could conquer the people who lived there. Bigger problem … God had told them they could take it, so why worry? Two of those spies, Joshua and Caleb, knew that God was true and that He would lead them to victory. The problem became helping the others see that God was true to His word.

 

The crowd, unfortunately, followed the dissenters who said the people of the land were too large and that Israel could not take the promised land. The people sinned. How does God respond when His people sin? Sin has a price, but God is always willing to forgive when people seek forgiveness.

 

Joshua and Caleb were not perfect, but they lived a life of obedience to God. Joshua would one day lead the people of Israel into the promised land. His accomplishments point to Christ’s finished work on the cross—defeating Satan, setting people free from sin, and making a way into the promised land of eternity.

 

God Gave the 10 Commandments

Unit 6 Session 1 BS Picture

Count to 10 with your kids. Ask them to name one rule that you follow in your house. Ask and see if they know why they have that rule. Help your kids see the importance of rules for keeping order. Ask what they remember about the story they heard in The Gospel Project for Kids about God giving the commandments.

God had redeemed His people from slavery in Egypt. People who have been redeemed demonstrate their love for the Redeemer thorough obedience. By giving the Ten Commandments, God showed His standard for holiness. But the people could not obey the commandments perfectly; God used the law to show that people needed a Savior. God provided that Savior ultimately through the person of Jesus Christ.