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.
The Gospel Project for Kids