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.
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.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story immediately follows Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab and the false prophets of Baal. Elijah saw God send fire from heaven. God showed King Ahab, the Israelites, and all the people who worshiped the false god Baal that God is the one true God. Elijah probably felt very happy and victorious, but he was about to face trouble.
King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, was furious with Elijah. Jezebel had already killed many of God’s prophets. After Baal’s defeat at Mount Carmel, Jezebel sent a message to Elijah: she was going to kill Elijah like she had killed God’s prophets. Elijah was afraid! He ran away from Jezebel and hid in the wilderness. Overcome with despair, Elijah begged the Lord to take his life. (See 1 Kings 19:4.)
God sent an angel to bring food and water to Elijah while he rested. Then Elijah traveled to Mount Horeb—another name for Mount Sinai—to have a personal encounter with God. God revealed Himself to Elijah in a voice, a soft whisper. Elijah’s circumstances were difficult, but God didn’t leave him. God gave him Elisha, a friend and successor. God assured Elijah that he was not alone; there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not turned to worship Baal.
Elijah was God’s prophet, but Jezebel wanted to kill him. God was in control, and He protected Elijah. Jesus is the true and final Prophet. People hated Jesus and wanted to kill Him. God was in control. He used Jesus’ enemies to fulfill His plan to save people from sin.
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to a power-encounter between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, a false god. King Ahab was a very evil king. In fact, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1 Kings 16:33).
God sent Elijah the prophet to get Ahab’s attention. God prevented rain in the land for three years. For Ahab, a man who worshiped Baal—the false Canaanite god of rain and fertility—the drought sent a strong message about the one true God. When God was ready to send rain to the earth, Elijah appeared to Ahab and told him to gather all the people and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. Elijah issued a challenge to the people: Follow God or follow Baal.
Imagine what it must have been like to watch the thousand prophets of Baal face off against the one true God and His prophet. The prophets of Baal shouted to their false god. They cried out. They even cut themselves. Where was Baal? Why didn’t he answer? When it was Elijah’s turn, Elijah drenched his altar with water. Then Elijah called out to God, and God answered with fire from heaven that consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water in the trench Elijah dug. The people fell facedown, shouting “Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh, He is God!”
Elijah called on the power of God to prove to the worshipers of Baal that God is the one true God. By sending fire from heaven, God displayed His great power. God would use His power years later to raise Jesus from the dead, showing that Jesus is the Son of God.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, our journey takes us to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, created as a result of King Solomon’s sin. King Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom, created two golden calves for his people to worship. Needless to say, his kingdom wasn’t starting out very well.
The Northern Kingdom was plagued by evil kings who led people away from worshiping the one true God. Baasha (BAY uh shuh), Elah, Zimri (ZIM righ), and Omri (AHM righ) each reigned as evil, sinful kings of Israel. Each king led the Israelites further away from worshiping God.
Then Omri’s son Ahab (AY hab) became king of Israel. Ahab was more evil than the kings who were before him—more evil than Omri, more evil than Zimri, more evil than Elah, and more evil than Baasha! If that wasn’t enough, Ahab married Jezebel, who encouraged him to serve and worship the false god Baal. Ahab built an altar for Baal in Samaria. All the things Ahab did made God very angry.
God’s people asked for a king to lead them, but no king led them perfectly. Was there any king on earth who would be faithful? God would send a king from heaven—His own Son—who would lead God’s people back to God. He would be the King of all kings—Jesus Christ.
This weeks story in The Gospel Project for Kids is a little different from most other stories kids hear in Bible study. This week, your kids learned about three entire books of the Bible. To wrap up this section of Scripture concerning David and his son Solomon, we learned about the poetry and wisdom the Bible offers from Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
King David wrote many of the 150 Psalms included in this book. Remember Psalm 51? David prayed to God for repentance. Many other Psalms are words of praise, expressions of joy, thanksgiving to God, and a listing of the importance of God’s Word. Take a few minutes and read Psalm 119 and praise God for His eternal Word.
King Solomon wrote much of the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs are short sayings that teach a truth. Since God had granted Solomon great wisdom, much of his writing centered around ways to live a holy life to God. Solomon also wrote in Ecclesiastes why God created the world—so people would worship God and see how good He is.
Wisdom in the Bible is not just words about how to live. God gives us wisdom because He wants us to be like Jesus—in how we live, how we speak, and how we think. We become wise by knowing and loving Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
The Gospel Project for Kids continues to follow the life of Solomon today but gives another story of sin and its result. Solomon, with his God-granted wisdom, still made many mistakes. Solomon had married many foreign women and was led away from worship of the one true God to follow the gods of his foreign wives. God told Solomon that for the rest of his life he would be king of Israel, but once he died, Solomon’s son would have all but one tribe ripped out of his hands.
Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s servants, turned against Solomon. Once Solomon died and his son, Rehoboam, took the throne, Jeroboam led most of the nation of Israel to follow him north, where he set up his kingdom in Samaria. Rehoboam didn’t like being king of only one tribe and decided to attack the northern kingdom. God stopped his plans and the nation was divided.
Jeroboam formed two golden calves and told the people of the northern tribes that they could worship the golden calves instead of having to go to Jerusalem to worship God at the temple. From that point forward, the northern tribe of Israel started a steeply declining spiral into sin that they would never recover from.
King Solomon’s sin led to the division of Israel. Every king failed to lead God’s people perfectly. God’s people needed a better king, a perfect king! Through David’s family, God would send His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be King over God’s people forever. Jesus would lead the people perfectly back to God.
This week’s story is about the fulfillment of David’s desire to build a permanent place for the ark to reside. David’s son Solomon built the temple to house the ark and the other important elements of the tabernacle, the temporary moveable house of worship for the Israelites. God had given Solomon wisdom and in the fourth year of his reign he began building the temple. Workers cut logs and stones and began to build the temple, a process that lasted seven years until it was finally completed. God promised Solomon that He, God, would inhabit the building and never abandon the people of Israel.
With the temple complete, Solomon and the Israelite leaders moved the ark of the covenant and the other holy items from Mt. Zion into the temple. Solomon sacrificed offerings before God. Once the items were placed inside the temple and the people left, a thick cloud came down on the temple and the place was filled with God’s glory!
Solomon prayed a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God. The people witnessed Solomon’s prayer and were encouraged by his words. In the temple, only the priests could approach the glory of God. Jesus changed that situation when He came to earth. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple was ripped, giving people direct access to God when they trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Moving on from David, this week our journey in The Gospel Project for Kids takes us to David’s son Solomon. Solomon was the second son of Bathsheba and the next king of Israel. Remember God made a covenant with David in which his sons would always rule on the throne. David was very old and Solomon had become the king. David encouraged his son to always follow God and to walk in His ways.
Once David died, Solomon had a dream in which God told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon told God that he was a young man and that what he wanted most of all was the wisdom needed to be a good leader for the people of Israel. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it. God told Solomon he would have more wisdom than any person yet to live. Because he had not asked for selfish desires, God also granted that Solomon would be rich, live a long life, and receive honor from others. God told Solomon that he would be greater than any other king who had ever lived.
Solomon could have asked for anything, but he chose to ask for wisdom to accomplish God’s will. God created people to do His will. Jesus provided for us the perfect example of doing God’s will when He willingly died on the cross for our sins.
In this week’s story from The Gospel Project for Kids, your kids heard about sin and its consequences. David sinned against God, but even through that, God, in His grace, restored David when he repented. It was spring and the king usually went out to war with his troops. This spring however, David stayed at home in the palace and sent the army out under the leadership of Joab. One night David was on the roof of the palace and saw Bathsheba, bathing. He called for her and the result was that she became pregnant. David now had a serious situation to deal with.
Instead of choosing honesty, David tried in vain to get Bathsheba’s husband to come home and be with his wife, but Uriah, one of David’s soldiers, refused. In a desperate attempt to cover his sin, David ordered Joab to place Uriah in the hottest part of the battle and then leave him alone so he would be killed. Joab followed David’s order and Uriah died during the battle. David married Bathsheba and she soon gave birth to a son. God considered David’s actions to be evil!
The prophet Nathan paid David a visit and told him a story about a man who had great riches and many animals. The rich man was visited by a traveller, but instead of offering one of his own lambs to feed the traveller, he took the only lamb from a poor man and prepared that for his guest. The story infuriated David and he demanded that the rich man be killed for this atrocity. Nathan revealed that David was that man. David took something that didn’t belong to him. David knew he deserved to die, but God relented and instead the baby Bathsheba gave birth to died.
In response to this sin, David wrote a beautiful prayer of repentance. Read Psalm 51 and feel along with David the remorse of sin. After David’s sin and repentance, God forgave him, but sin always comes with a price. God spared David, but instead the son Bathsheba bore died. When we sin, we can receive God’s forgiveness because God sent His Son Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Jesus died the death we deserve so that we could be made right with God.
The Gospel Project for Kids