Walk Your Family Through The Bible: Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther
How can we be intentional about our kids' faith during the lazy (or crazy!) days of summer?
Summer is upon us and it would be so easy to set our Bibles on a shelf and forget about them while we spend our days hanging around by the pool. Yeah, I'm one to let things go without to-do lists and schedules but this summer, we're working hard to be intentional with many things, most of all our family faith.
We packed up the car and headed out on vacation this past week. We had a wonderful time together as a family splashing in the waves, exploring on the beach and remaining mostly unplugged for 7 days. It was magical.
We used our down time though, in the car and resting in the condo after long days of exploration, to reconnect with the Word and spark important conversations about our faith.
We'll be picking up the pace as we walk through the Bible this summer, covering two volumes each month. We'd like to encourage families to use these resources throughout their summer break. Afternoon movie time, weekend movie nights and vacation road trips are the perfect context to watch together and engage in conversation.
We enjoyed learning about Israel's Exile and Return in volume 7 this month. These episodes are full of incredible history, inspiring heroes and enlightening truth. There's so much to unpack in volume 7, from having courage, trusting the Bible and how God can use us do great things. Thank goodness I got our bags unloaded so I can now focus on discussing what we learned about the Bible on our trip.
What is Exile and Return all about?
- Trusting the Bible
- God as Loving and Holy
- Israel's Exile
- King Cyrus
- Rebuilding Jerusalem's Walls
- Feast of Purim
What can we learn from Exile and Return?
As our children get more comfortable with the process of studying the Bible this way, questions may come up. My daughter said the other night, "Sometimes it's hard to believe the stories of the Bible are true. Some of them are so weird." Her seven year old response to the crazy stories of the Bible opened the door for a great conversation. At first I wasn't sure how to respond but through honesty and open dialogue we both came away inspired and enamored by the Word of God.
The stories of Nehemiah and Esther are wonderful for teaching kids how they can be used by God to do great things. As we share these stories we'll continue to remind our children that they too can do great things for God as they remain faithful and connected to him.
The concept of God as both loving and holy is foundational for every Christian. The question and explanation by Phil and the gang in this episode was eye opening for me and my husband. We will continue to unpack this important truth for our kids as they grow to understand the character of God.
Talking to our kids about trusting the Bible and 3 more conversation starters...
1. Why We Can Trust the Bible - It's true, the Bible is full of crazy people with crazy names and equally crazy tales about them. But God can help us look beyond those details to find the truth that lies within each story. We can trust the Bible because it's God's Word. When we focus on what God wants to teach us through each book we will be changed by the truth we find.
2. The Faithfulness of Nehemiah - The story of Nehemiah is one of courage and faithfulness. Nehemiah risked his life to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. When things got hard, he kept working faithfully to finish the job God had given him. Just like Nehemiah, God may ask us to do a hard job for him - something that might seem impossible. But with his help and our faithful, hard work, we can do what he's called us to do. Is God calling you to do a hard job?
3. The Courage of Queen Esther - Speaking of courage. . .brave Queen Esther knew it was risky to ask King Xerxes for a meeting. But she also knew she had to help save the Jewish people. With great courage and God's help, Esther saved her people for generations to come. Once again, we see a great hero who inspires us to do brave things for God. What's one brave thing you can do for God this week?
4. Living Up to God's Standard - Living up to God's standard - being "good enough" for God, is impossible. Clive and Ian ask a great question after hearing this - "Why did God let the Israelites try for 1000 years to live up to his standard if he knew they couldn't do it?" God allowed all of those crazy people with crazy names who did crazy things to keep on doing them because he wanted us to learn from them. He wants us to learn from studying the Old Testament, who he is and who we are. Through the journey of the Israelites we learn that God is incredibly loving but that he is also incredibly holy. If we only knew God as loving, we wouldn't take him very seriously. If we only knew him as holy, we'd be afraid of him. God is both loving and holy. He loves us so much and he deserves our love and respect too.
Towards the end of volume 7, Phil and friends go through a wonderful summary of the Historical Books of the Bible. They remind us of the important things these books tell us about God.
God keeps his promises and
God is always with his people.
These books and their stories, the journey of the Israelites who tried and failed to live up to God's standard, show us how far we are from God and how we can never reach him on our own. This truth might seem depressing. But we have the hope of knowing what happens next. It's not quite time for our savior to appear on screen but you and I know it won't be long now.
I cannot wait to share this good news with my children.
Have you been following along our journey with your family? What are some of the interesting conversations you've had so far this summer?
Don't forget to purchase your own copy of Israel's Exile and Return in volume 7!
Old Testament Heroes Devotional and Activity Pack
Learn even more about kings and prophets in the Old Testament Heroes Devotional and Activity Pack!
This printable pack features 25 days of devotionals and 10 new activities including a Kings of Israel crossword puzzle.
Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. After 15 years in the music and publishing industries, Jessica came home to be with her two small children. Although the transition from the corporate world to the playground has been an adjustment, she is learning every day to access the grace available to us through Christ as she navigates the full time job of motherhood. She is the co-author of The Pregnancy Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey to Motherhood and The Baby Companion: A Faith-Filled Guide for Your Journey Through Baby's First Year. Jessica lives in Nolensville, TN with her husband, Dave and two miracle babies, Hope (6) and Joshua (3).