Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes us back to Jerusalem where the returning exiles were rebuilding the temple. At this time, Darius was king of Persia. The Persian Empire was vast, so Darius appointed governors over the provinces. A man named Tattenai watched over the province that included the land of Judah. Tattenai noticed the work of God’s people, and he was concerned. He sent a letter to King Darius. “Is this allowed?” he asked. “The people say that King Cyrus said they could rebuild the temple and the city. Please investigate this matter.”
King Darius did investigate, and Cyrus’s decree was located in the Babylonian records. Darius instructed Tattenai to allow the people to rebuild the temple and the city. “In fact,” Darius wrote, “give them whatever they need from the royal treasury. And if anyone gives them any trouble, he will be punished.” God had turned the heart of the king for His people’s favor. (See Prov. 21:1; Ezra 6:22.) The people completed the temple. They dedicated it joyfully and observed the Passover.
God’s people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. God declared in Haggai 2:9 that the glory of this second temple would be greater than the first. This prophecy was fulfilled by the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God. Years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. Now God dwells not in the temple, but directly with His people. Because of Jesus, we don’t need a temple anymore.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story focuses on the prophet Zechariah. Zechariah was a priest who had been born in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel. The returning Judeans were struggling to finish rebuilding God’s temple. In fact, several years had passed without progress on the temple when God called Zechariah to prophesy.
Zechariah’s message was twofold: first, look back and remember the past. Second, look forward and prepare for the future. God wanted His people to learn from the mistakes of their parents and grandparents who had ignored the prophets’ warnings. Zechariah set out to encourage the people.
Zechariah emphasized God’s promise: “A king is coming.” God was going to help His people and give them a different kind of king. Jesus is the King who came and rode humbly on a donkey, just as Zechariah said. Because Zechariah's prophecy came true in Jesus, we can have hope and forgiveness of sins when we trust in Jesus.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. At last! God’s people returned to Jerusalem, the home of their ancestors. Many of God’s people had been born in Babylon, and life in exile was the only reality they knew. Life in Judah wasn’t exactly what they had imagined. It was difficult. Their national wealth was gone. The work of rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem was hard. The land was desolate, and crops failed. Their neighbors opposed their efforts. (See Ezra 4:6,11-16.)
God’s people were disappointed and discouraged. Their enemies forced them to stop building and, rather than fight them, God’s people gave up. The temple of the Lord sat unfinished for 16 years. If that was what God wanted, wouldn’t He make it easier for them? (See Hag. 1:2.) The prophet Haggai stepped onto the scene and brought words from the Lord, commanding them to finish the work they started. God promised to fill the temple with His glory, and comforted His weary people with this promise: “I will provide peace in this place” (Hag. 2:7,9).
God’s people struggled to do what God wanted them to do. God chose Zerubbabel to help the people finish the temple. Zerubbabel was the descendant of King David, and an earthly ancestor of Jesus. Many years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to do God’s will. Jesus died and rose again to free us from sin so that we can do His will.
I’ve made a list of Vacation Bible Schools hosted by different churches in Aiken. I thought this would be helpful information as you plan your summer. VBS is such a great opportunity for your children to learn about God in a fun, cool way! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me.
NEW COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Dates: June 18- June 22
Time: 9:00- 12:00
Age: Entering fall grades 4K- 5th grade
Registration Link: http://www.ncpcaiken.org/vbs2018.php
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Dates: June 25-29
Age: Rising 4K- 4th grade
VBS Mission Camp Age: Rising 5th-6th grade
Registration Link: http://www.aikenpresbyterian.org/childrenfamilies.html
MILLBROOK BAPTIST CHURCH
Dates: June 25-28
Age: Completed 3K- 5th grade
Registration Link: https://kideventpro.lifeway.com/mychurch/?id=47631
SOUTH AIKEN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Dates: July 9-13
Age: 4 years- rising 6th grade
Cost: $5 per child
Register by Monday, June 25th at http://southaiken.org/grow/vbs
ST. JOHN’S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Dates: June 18-22
Age: Rising 4K- rising 6th grade
Registration Link: https://vbspro.events/p/events/b00bfc
ST. THADDEUS EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Dates: July 11-14th
Age: Kindergarten- 5th grade
Register by calling the church office at 803-648-5497
TOWN CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH
Dates: July 9-13
Age: Finished 5K- 5th grade
Registration Link: https://towncreekbaptist.com/adventure/
This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Babylon. God’s people had been living in Babylon for 70 years. Some of God’s people had died in Babylon. Some of their children and grandchildren were born in Babylon and grew up there. But Babylon was not their home.
Before the people of Judah were exiled, God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah. These are the words of the Lord: “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place” (Jer. 29:10). The time had come for God’s people to go back home. Cyrus, the king of the Persian empire, overthrew Babylon. Cyrus took over the kingdom, including the lands of Israel and Judah. In the following year, the Lord did something miraculous in Cyrus’s heart. He prompted Cyrus to issue a decree: All the Jewish exiles are free to return to their ancestral homes.
The exile was over! God’s people were free to return to their own land. The first group of Judean exiles returned home under the leadership of Zerubbabel (zuh RUHB uh buhl). Zerubbabel was the grandson of King Jehoiachin, who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Ezra 2:64-65 says nearly 50,000 people traveled back to Judah. When they got to Jerusalem, they began working to rebuild the temple that the Chaldeans had destroyed.
Zerubbabel led God's people back to the temple to rebuild it. The temple was the place where God met with His people on earth. Jesus came to earth to rescue God’s people. One day Jesus will return to restore a greater home for all of God's people, and we will spend eternity with Him.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story looks at the prophet Obadiah’s message to the people of Edom. Do you remember the story of Jacob and Esau? The twins struggled in the womb, and their mother Rebekah asked why. Read Genesis 25:23 to find out God’s reply.
The nation of Israel descended from Jacob, and the nation of Edom descended from Esau. God reaffirmed His promises to Jacob (Gen. 28:15), but Esau was a godless man who despised God’s promises. (Heb. 12:16) For centuries, the two groups were at odds. When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the king of Edom refused to let the Israelites pass through his country to get to the promised land. (Num. 20:14-21) Edom fought against God’s people on several occasions. (See 2 Chron. 20:2; 28:17; 2 Kings 8:20-22)
The Book of Obadiah is God’s message about Edom in response to their sin. When the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem, the people of Edom didn’t help. Like an envious brother, Edom was glad to see Judah overcome. In fact, Edom was a guilty participant in the action against Judah. Read verse 11 in Obadiah.
God said the people of Edom would get what they deserved. “As you have done, so it will be done to you; what you deserve will return on your own head” (Obad. 15). God used Obadiah to give a message to His people. Even though they were mistreated by the people of Edom, God was still in control. God showed His people that He is ruler of all the earth, and in the end, Jesus will set up His kingdom and make all things right.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place after the Persians defeated King Belshazzar and Darius was made king. By this time, Daniel was an old man, probably in his early 80s. Daniel served the new king as one of the three leading supervisors in the kingdom.
Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and satraps beneath them were jealous; they tried to catch Daniel doing something wrong so they could complain to the king. But Daniel was trustworthy, and they couldn’t find any negligence or corruption in him. They also knew Daniel was devoted to the one true God. If they couldn’t catch Daniel breaking a law, they would convince the king to make a law that Daniel would break.
Under their malevolent persuasion, King Darius passed a law that no one could pray to anyone but him. Daniel continued to pray to God, and the jealous officials turned him in. The king stayed up all night trying to find a legal loophole, but the law couldn’t be undone. (Daniel 6:15) Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, but God shut the lions’ mouths. Daniel wasn’t hurt. His accusers received the very punishment they sought for Daniel.
Daniel trusted the Lord to save him; he knew he didn’t stand a chance fighting off the lions in his own strength. God showed His power to rescue Daniel from the lions, but Daniel was just a small part of a much bigger story. We all have sinned and deserve punishment far worse than a lions’ den: hell—eternal separation from God. God ultimately rescued us from a much bigger problem—sin and death—through His Son, Jesus.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place many years after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign ended. King Belshazzar hosted a grand banquet for a thousand of his nobles. King Belshazzar and those closest to him drank from the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the house of God in Jerusalem. King Belshazzar and his friends drank and praised their false gods.
The party was suddenly interrupted when a human hand appeared; its fingers wrote a message on the wall. The king couldn’t understand the message, neither could the astrologers and wise men. The queen remembered Daniel and his God-given ability to understand dreams and visions. (Daniel 1:17)
Daniel read the words on the wall: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.” These words mean “numbered,” “weighed,” and “divided.” God had evaluated Belshazzar and found he wasn’t good enough. God would bring Belshazzar’s reign to an end—that very night!
God used Daniel’s wisdom to get the king’s attention about his pride. The king acted like he was better than God, so God humbled the king. Jesus humbled Himself by dying on the cross for our sin. God raised up Jesus and gave Him honor. When we humble ourselves and trust in Jesus, God will raise us up too, and we will be with Him forever in heaven.
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.
The Gospel Project for Kids