Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Tree: Week 2

Our first week of Advent has gone really well. The kids enjoy participating. Easton (age 3) announced during the Joseph story, "Wow. This is a Big Story!" I think he's getting the idea!

For week 2, we'll be learning about:
Moses (Ten Commandments)
Ruth (Bundle of Grain)
Samuel (Horn of Anointing Oil)
David (Crown)
Solomon (Temple)
Isaiah (Scroll)
Jeremiah (New Heart)

It should be a great week, moving from the giving of God's instructions on Mount Sinai, through the establishment of the kingship, to the writing of his law on our hearts in Jeremiah. In case you'd like to try it at your house, here are the lessons:

Day 8 - Moses (Ten Commandments) - Read Exodus 19:1-8 and 20:1-17
Even though God’s people had multiplied until there were a great many people, they had a problem. After Joseph died, they had become slaves in Egypt.  But God heard their cries and sent them someone to lead them out into freedom. His name was Moses. Moses’ job was to bring the people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the special land where God had sent Abraham so many years ago. If they obeyed him, they would be able to fill up the whole land and take care of it. In order to obey him, they needed to learn what God expected of them. While they were in the desert God called Moses up a tall mountain so he could give Moses special instructions for his people to show them how to live. Moses obeyed and brought God’s instructions back to the people who were waiting at the bottom of the mountain. God told his people that they were his “treasured possession,” and that he had chosen them out of all the nations to represent him. To do that well, they would need to know how to live rightly. Some of the instructions for living that God gave Israel are called the “Ten Commandments.”

Day 9 - Ruth (Bundle of Grain) - Read Ruth 2:11-20 and 4:9-17
Yesterday we learned about Moses, and how God gave Moses special instructions to give to the people to tell them how to live in a way that would please God. Then God brought the people of Israel into the land he promised them. They were supposed to fill up the land of Canaan, but they had a very hard time obeying him. By the time of Ruth, things had gotten very bad indeed. Almost no one lived the way God wanted them to. And then along came Ruth. Ruth was not an Israelite. She was from Moab, one of Israel’s enemies. But Ruth was a hard worker, and loyal to her mother-in-law, Naomi. God chose her to become the great-grandmother of King David! In this way, God used her to build up the family of Israel.

Why do you think the Bible tells us the story of Ruth?  To show us that anyone can be part of the family of God, no matter where they are from, as long as they trust Him.

Day 10 - Samuel (Horn of Anointing Oil) - Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13
When Ruth’s grandson Jesse was alive, the people of Israel asked God for a king to rule over them. He gave them Saul, a tall and handsome man who was rather shy. But Saul was not a good king. He did what he thought he should do, rather than trusting that God’s way was the best way. So God choose a new king. He used his prophet, Samuel to anoint the new king. Samuel had lived in the tent where people went to worship God almost his whole life. He served God there and learned to listen to his voice. Samuel was the kind of person who did what God asked him to do, even when it didn’t make sense.
Who did Samuel think should be the next king? Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son.
Who did God choose to be the next king? David, Jesse’s youngest son.
Will David obey God? Will he be the one to crush the snake? We’ll have to wait and see!
Day 11 - David (Crown) - Read 2 Samuel 7:8-16
After David became the king, God sent another prophet (named Nathan) to give him a special message. He told David that he was going to give rest to the people of Israel, and let them live peacefully in the land he had given them. And he told David that some day one of his children would build a temple for God, a special place belonging to God where people could come and worship him. David fought many battles against Israel’s enemies. Even before he was the king he fought Goliath, remember? But just like everybody else, David had trouble obeying God all the time. Once he did something very terrible – he stole another man’s wife to be his own wife. That made God very, very sad. It made David sad, too, when he realized what he had done. He told God how terribly sorry he was and asked God to forgive him. But God can even take our worst mistakes and do good things with them. David’s new wife had a baby named Solomon, and tomorrow we’ll get to learn about him.
Will Solomon be the one to build a special house for God? We’ll find out tomorrow!

Day 12 - Solomon (Temple) - Read 1 Kings 8:27-30, 41-43, and 54-61
When David’s son, Solomon, became king it was his special job to build a new temple. The Israelites would come there to worship God and offer sacrifices for their sins! Solomon built a glorious temple, and when all the preparations were finished, God’s glory filled the temple with a thick cloud. God was dwelling with his people again, just like in the garden! Solomon prayed to God, and he spoke to the people, reminding them how important it was for them to listen to God and do what he says. If they obeyed, then Israel could finally start to become what God had planned for them to be – a light to all nations, blessing all the people on the earth by showing them who God is.
What was Solomon’s special job as king? To build the temple.
Do you think the people of God will obey him now that they have a special place to come worship? We’ll see!

Day 13 - Isaiah (Scroll) - Read Isaiah 49:6 and 8-23 (paraphrase if needed)
After Solomon there were many other kings in Israel. Sadly, most of them did not trust God and do things his way. There were people who did listen to him, though. God spoke to them and they gave his messages to the people. They were called prophets. One of them was named Isaiah. Isaiah was a brave prophet. He told God’s people that they had disobeyed God. He told them that God would punish them. But he also had good news for them. Isaiah told the Israelites that God was planning something BIG. He was planning to send a special servant who would obey God and bring the people back to him. That servant would have a very hard time and suffer a lot, but because of him, God would forgive the people and bring light to the whole world!
Who did Isaiah say would come and bring people back to God? God’s special servant
How does Isaiah’s message remind you of God’s promise to Abraham or the job he gave Adam and Eve? Isaiah said that God would bring people from many nations to worship him, and that Israel would have many children. Finally they can fill up the earth with worshippers!

Day 14 - Jeremiah (New Heart) Read Jeremiah 4:22 and 31:31-34
God sent another prophet to give his message to Israel. This prophet’s name was Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a very hard job. He had lots of bad news to give Israel about their sin and the punishment that was coming. But he also made a special promise! Jeremiah told the Israelites that God was going to give them a new heart so that they could finally obey him!
How do you think God will give them a new heart? When will he do it?

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