Family Resources - June 13
We wanted to share with you some highlights from our curriculum, so that your child will be able to follow along with the lessons they are being taught in Children’s Ministry. This blog post contains information about this week’s lesson from our Gospel Story curriculum, which is being taught to 3 & 4 year olds, up through 3rd grade, as well as this week’s lesson from our New City Catechism that is being taught to 4th-5th graders. May it brighten your week and bless you!
The lesson from the Gospel Story Curriculum for this week is called Good King/Bad King, about kings Hezekiah and Manasseh. There are about 5 chapters used to put this lesson together, 2 Chronicles 29-33. To get the main gist of the story, you could read 2 Chronicles 29:1-11 and 33:1-5. If you would like to read the child-friendly version of this story from the Gospel Story Bible, you may click here. To access the weekly coloring sheet, click here, then scroll down to the last page.
For this first activity, you will need an inexpensive picture frame with a family picture inside. Make some mud and rub it on the glass over the picture, then show it to your child. Does this look like a nice family picture, or like something is wrong with it? Use a glass cleaner and a cloth to wash the mud off as you talk about how Hezekiah came in and cleaned up the Lord's Temple. But then, after he died, his son Manasseh came back in and trashed it again. Wipe more mud on the picture. Ask your child if they enjoy you smearing mud on their picture, disrespecting them and their family? God was also angry at the filth and disrespect being shown to His name.
Another way you can teach about the cleansing of the temple involves printing off several pictures of false idols and taping them up all around a room in your house. Move some of the furniture around as well, with chairs tipped over and cabinet doors left open, to give the room a trashed and disregarded feeling. Invite your child into the room, and have them tear down the pictures of idols and right the messed up furniture, restoring the room to order as Hezekiah restored the Temple of the Lord.
Get some percussion instruments for you and your child to play, or improvise with pots and pans and spoons, etc. Play a song of worship to the Lord, keeping time to the music with your instruments, as you talk about how Hezekiah didn't just clean up the physical temple, but also helped to restore worship. 2 Chronicles 29:30 talks about how the people sang praises to God in the words of David and Asaph. To illustrate what the words of David and Asaph would sound like, read Psalm 108:1-5 and Psalm 73:25-28 with your child, maybe even creating music to go along with them, as you worship the Lord together.
In 2 Chronicles 30, we see Hezekiah inviting all of Israel and Judah to return to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover. Ask your child what they remember about the original Passover in Exodus. Make a list of all the things they can think of about it. Then go back and read Exodus 12:11-30 with them, adding onto your list whatever else you see that was missed. Why do you think it was important for the good kings to bring back the Passover and help God's people to celebrate it? There is no clearer picture in the entire Old Testament of Jesus' sacrifice for us to save us from death and destruction than the Passover lamb and the angel of death that passed over the houses marked by the blood.
If you have an older child, this is a great time to do some real digging into the scriptures. There is much that can be learned about Hezekiah in our Bibles, and not just in this passage in 2 Chronicles. He is written about in 2 Kings as well, and in parts of Isaiah, since Isaiah was prophet during Hezekiah's reign. As an extended Bible study, help your child read through different passages of scripture, learning about Hezekiah's early reign by reading 2 Chronicles 29-30, learning about his middle reign by reading 2 Chronicles 32:1-23, 2 Kings 19, and Isaiah 37:1-32 as well as chapter 38, then learning about his later reign by reading Isaiah 39 and 2 Chronicles 32;24-33. Help your child see how important it is to study the whole Bible.
There are a couple of teaching points that are good to draw out to your child as you go through this lesson. First of all, it may be helpful to ask what made the good kings good and the bad kings bad? Were they going around hitting people or not sharing their stuff? No, it's bigger than that. The bad kings were the ones who turned away from following the Lord. Without God in our lives, we are left with only wickedness. The good kings were the ones who put God first. Hezekiah was a good king because he cleansed the temple, took care of God's house, and helped the people return to sacrificing to the Lord and honoring His name. God is good, and He is why the good kings were known as good kings. Another helpful point to make is about what I will call, for lack of a better term, generational obligation. Ahaz was evil. His son, Hezekiah, was good and loved the Lord. His son, Manasseh, was evil, until God changed his heart and then he also loved the Lord. His son, Amon, was evil. His son, Josiah, was good and loved the Lord. It's good to have parents who love the Lord, who teach us to go to church and worship God and pray, but they can't save us and make us love God just because they love Him so much. Believe me, if they could, they would do it! But then we wouldn't need Jesus to have died on the cross for us. Nope, only Jesus can save us, and each generation, each person, must "choose this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15). Finally, help them to see that no one is perfect but Jesus alone. Manasseh became a "good" king, but he did some really evil stuff in his life. Hezekiah, our "good" king that we've been learning about, made some selfish and wicked choices towards the end of his life. David, the man after God's own heart, committed some truly terrible sins. There is only One Good King, and that is our King, Jesus. Look to Him, cast your eyes on Him, He is righteous and good and holy!
Our Sword Bible Memory Verse for June comes from 1 John 1. For preschoolers, they are learning 1 John 1:5. For K-3rd grade, they are learning 1 John 1:5-7. To see the verses printed out, you can click here and go to Sword Verse #16.
Our New City Catechism question for this week is question #46 - “What is the Lord’s Supper?” Answer - “Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of Him.” The biblical passage for this lesson comes from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. The weekly memory verse for this age group is 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
In introducing a discussion about the Lord’s Supper, it is always good to go back to the story of the first Passover in Exodus. Ask your kids if they remember that story and can tell it to you. Make sure to emphasize with them the death of the firstborn, the blood of the lamb, and the unleavened bread. (Isn’t it neat how the younger children’s curriculum keeps tying into the older children’s curriculum so well?! God’s word is living and active!) Jewish people celebrated, and continue to celebrate, the Passover every year, to remember how God saved them from death. As Christians, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember how Jesus’ blood (the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world - John 1:29) saves us from death and sin.
To help emphasize this point, there is a memory activity you can do with your kids. You will need to collect various items from the story: bread, juice/wine, plate, tray, cup, possibly a toy table, etc. Place the items out on the counter and let the kids come up and look at them for 5-10 seconds. Then cover them all with a cloth and see if the kids can remember all that they saw. This game is about remembering what we saw, and the Lord’s Supper is about remembering what we have not seen, yet know to be true, that Christ died for our sins on the cross.
For a quiet, introspective sort of activity, give your child a blank piece of paper and some utensils to draw with (pencils, crayons, markers). Play the song by Ketih and Kristyn Getty, Behold the Lamb. As the music plays, have your child draw some of the things that stand out to them from the song, from the story. Pictures, words, ideas, colors, etc. Let it be a contemplative time of reflection and worship for them as they express their thoughts and feelings before God.
If you’re looking for other resources for ideas and activities you can do with your children to help them use their time to invest in God’s kingdom, here are some we recommend:
https://youtu.be/e2qzxY5a37o (A song that goes along with the Sword Bible Memory Verse for this month. If you’re familiar with this song, it’s probably already been in your head as you read through these verses!)
https://pin.it/7yuG9n4 (There is a song here you can sing with your young children to teach them about King Hezekiah)
https://pin.it/1tqE2dR (Some fun ways to help your child memorize scripture)