Chapter 12: A King Makes Bad Choices / The Trials of a King
Timeless Truth: God is just . . . and forgiving.
Bible Basis: Psalm 51:1-12 5, 1 Chronicles 29:1-20, Psalm 23
Key Verse: “Wash away all of the evil things I've done. Make me pure from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
The Story Chapter 12
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity will help your family understand the problem with sin (as you eat cookies). The Extra Mile exposes your family to two worship songs based on Psalm 51 and encourages you to get to know the Psalms.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God forgave David's sins. God forgives me when I'm sorry for doing wrong things.
Elementary: God forgave David's sins. God forgives me when I'm sorry for doing wrong things.
Middle School: David made huge mistakes. But when he asked God for forgiveness, David did it from the deepest part of his soul. God forgave David and used him in huge ways.
High School: David lived to the extreme. He messed up extremely bad, but also had a heart extremely committed to God. God loved and blessed David.
- King David was called a man after God’s heart, but made a huge mistake and tried to cover it up. Is hiding sins ever a good idea? Why?
- The prophet Nathan came to let David know that God knew about David’s sin. David was totally embarrassed and felt awful. Have you ever sinned and tried to hide it? What happened? (As a parent, if you have a story to tell about your childhood, please share it here.)
- Talk about what it feels like when you’re trying to hide something bad that you’ve done. How does it make you feel?
- What wrong actions do you battle with the most? (Stealing, lying, anger.)
- What’s the best thing to do when you mess up?
- God forgave David, but there were still consequences for his sin as David and Bathsheba’s first son died. Can you think of any consequences you’ve faced after doing something bad?
- Later, David’s son Absalom rebelled against him. Absalom was very proud of his hair, which ended up getting caught in a tree and led to his death (Can anyone say, “Pride comes before getting your hair stuck in a tree”?) Why is pride such a big deal to God?
- Are there any areas of pride that you need to look at in your life?
- Talk about some of David’s greatest accomplishments and mess-ups. What can you learn from his life?
You’ll need waxed paper, a tube of frosting, a rolling pin and sugar cookie dough for this activity. The slice-and-bake dough from the store will work or you can make dough the night before and have it chilling in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready, gather your family in the kitchen and ask: “Have you ever done something and then said, ‘I wish I could take that back’? David certainly did. Sometimes he did bonehead things and wished he could turn back time.”
Put out the waxed paper, tube of frosting and rolling pin. Ask for a volunteer. Have that family member try to get all the frosting out of the tube and onto the waxed paper. He can squeeze it, crush it and use the rolling pin on it. When he’s finished, say, “OK, now get all the frosting back in the tube.”
Just like it’s impossible to reverse time and take back sin, it’s impossible to get the frosting back in the tube. Talk about the importance of thinking before you act and trying to always follow God’s will and teaching with your words and actions. As you talk, take out the cookie dough. Roll and bake cookies, using the frosting to decorate them. Point out that God can use the mistakes in our life to make something sweet. God will always forgive when we honestly ask him for forgiveness. He wants us to serve him with our whole heart.
David did everything with gusto. He served God with passion, and when he messed up—he did it big time! After one especially painful mistake, David poured out his heart to God in Psalm 51.
Watch these two videos that feature songs based on Psalm 51.
“Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Keith Green
“Create in Me a Clean Heart” by Donnie McClurkin
- Are any specific lyrics especially meaningful to you?
- Have you ever journaled or written a poem about a time you’ve messed up? If it’s appropriate, share it with the family.
- How are these songs different?
Each person’s relationship with God is unique, because he knows our hearts. He knows what will work best to sculpt us to be more like him.
Get to know the Psalms better by reading the one that corresponds to today’s date. Go the extra mile by reading all the Psalms that are multiples of the date (example: 17, 34, 51, 68, 85, 102, 119 (watch out for this one!) and 136. Do this for an entire week as a family.
Chapter 11: From Shepherd to King
Timeless Truth: Total trust in God brings great courage.
Bible Basis: 1 Samuel 16-17; Psalm 59:1-5, 9-10 and 16; 2 Samuel 2:1-6
Key Verse: “I am coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all” (1 Samuel 17:45).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 11
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity will help your family understand how God’s hand helped guide David’s stone. The Extra Mile encourages your family to watch classic “David versus Goliath” moments.
Get the Point:
Preschool: David fought in God's strength. God gives me courage when I am afraid.
Elementary: David fought in God’s strength. God gives me courage when I am afraid.
Middle/High School: David relied on God’s strength, not his own.
- Goliath’s enormous size (about 7 feet tall) and strength intimidated Israel’s army. Why wasn’t David afraid of this big bully?
- Would you have been afraid?
- Are there any bullies at school that scare you? What’s the best way to treat a bully? (Note: The correct answer isn’t to hit him in the head with a rock.)
- Saul thought David should fight Goliath in the traditional way and dressed David in his armor. Why was that a problem?
- How did David show faith by facing Goliath wearing his regular clothes and using rocks as a weapon?
Note: Young readers will enjoy hearing this story in the Jesus Storybook Bible on page 122.
- In King Saul’s eyes, Goliath was a massive, immovable force. What are the Goliath’s in your life? In other words, what areas of your life do you need God’s power to help you overcome?
- Are there any things in your life that mock God? Maybe you’re focused more on video games than God. Perhaps it’s the music you listen to.
- How can you defeat these Goliaths?
- What’s the main lesson you walk away from after reading about David’s faith and trust in God?
How could a teenager defeat the greatest warrior of his era? Two words: God’s power. David trusted God to give him the strength to defeat Goliath. He knew he couldn’t defeat the ultimate soldier in his own power; David needed supernatural power, not to mention great aim.
Goliath was decked out in more than 125 pounds of armor. David probably weighed just a little more than that. Goliath had a 15-pound spear. David had five smooth stones. Odds were David would end up as a shish kabob. Instead Goliath ended up on his back.
Have your family practice its aim by playing this game. Collect eight to ten 2-liter plastic bottles. Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of each bottle for stability and set them up as bowling pins. If you’re playing the game inside, take turns throwing a pillow at the pins. Each person gets one throw. Count how many pins are knocked down. If you play outside, take turns kicking a soccer ball at the pins. Play several rounds, keep a running score and declare a winner.
When you’re finished, talk about the difficulty of knocking down the pins. Now think how difficult it would’ve been for David to sling a stone into Goliath’s forehead. According to historians, military equipment was pretty advanced at this time. Goliath most likely wore a helmet with a thin slit or visor. The giant probably underestimated David and didn’t lower his visor or failed to wear a helmet. With God’s help, David made a perfect shot to give Israel the victory. Ask:
- Do you think people still underestimate God’s power today?
- What are some ways to show God’s power to the people around you?
The contents of the Bible often make their way into the fabric of society. Nearly everyone knows the Golden Rule, which can be found in Luke 6:31. This week’s story also has made it into the English lexicon, especially when it comes to sports. Announcers love to talk about a “David versus Goliath” scenario as an underdog team faces a seemingly unbeatable opponent. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, is famous for its upsets. Watch videos of two of the most well-known David-like victories.
The 1985 finals featured Georgetown and Villanova. Georgetown came into the game ranked No. 1 as the defending National Champion. Villanova was just an eight-seed and had already lost to Georgetown twice during the season. But the Wildcats shot an amazing 78.6 percent from the floor—missing just five shots all game—to win 66-64. Watch highlights of the game by searching YouTube.com for the 10:08 video called “1985 NCAA Championship - Georgetown vs Villanova.”
Perhaps an even more unlikely victory came in the 1983 finals when North Carolina State beat No. 1 Houston. With the game tied at 52-52, the Wolfpack wound down the clock and saw Dereck Whittenburg launch a shot into the air. Check it out by searching YouTube.com for the 5:28 video called “Team of Destiny.”
After watching these two videos, talk about what it took for a “David” to beat a “Goliath.” Ask members of your family if they still believe God gives Davids the ability to do the impossible today.
Advent is almost here and we as a church will be joining churches across Queensland on a Journey to Joy.
A suite of resources has been created by a collaborative team from across the Qld Synod of the Uniting Church to help congregations, communities, and families celebrate Advent together intergenerationally. We will be using the worship resources for the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas Day.
There are also five weeks of materials that have been designed for Families, singles, couples, and groups in congregations and the community which contain discussion questions on the weekly themes, Reflections on Characters of the nativity, challenges, and links to additional resources, including videos and songs, to help young and old to engage and go further in their discipleship journey this advent.
Printed materials will be available this and next week for you to collect and start to use in your homes and small groups. Materials are also available online at https://emmanueluca.org.au/dig-in-at-home.
We would love for you to use and share these with family and friends, and people you are relationship with, in the community as we all Journey to Joy this Christmas.
Chapter 10: Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Timeless Truth: God uses willing hearts to serve him.
Bible Basis: 1 Samuel 1, 3, 8-10:9
Key Verse: “The Lord has filled my heart with joy. He has made me strong” (1 Samuel 2:1).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 10
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity will help your family learn to listen for God. The Extra Mile has your family watch a video about God’s lost ark and understand that the Bible isn’t filled with stories—it’s filled with truth.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God answered Hannah's prayer. God hears me pray, too.
Elementary: God answered Hannah's prayer. God hears me pray, too.
Middle School: With God on the throne of your life, you’ll be able to avoid a multitude of sin and live for Him.
High School: Knowing about God leads to failure. Knowing God helps you stand tall.
- Hannah made a very big promise to God by telling him and she would give her first son to serve him. When Samuel was born, do you think it was hard for Hannah to hand over her son to Eli at the temple?
- Have you ever made a promise so big that you didn’t want to keep it? What did you do?
- How did God reward Hannah? (She had three more sons and two daughters. Plus, she got to see Samuel grow up to mightily serve the Lord.)
- Later in chapter 10, it says the people of Israel wanted a king, even though God was supposed to be their king. God let Samuel anoint Saul to be king. If you were king, what decisions would you make? Would you order dessert to be eaten before dinner? Would you outlaw tests at school?
- Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas grew up in the temple, but didn’t honor God. They took for themselves what was God’s. Is there an area of your life that you’re holding onto, instead of giving it to God?
- Hophni and Phinehas knew a lot about God, but didn’t truly know, love and fear him. How can you show God that you know, love and fear him?
- What do you think it means in 1 Samuel 10:9 when it says, “God changed Saul’s heart?” How has God changed your heart?
- Saul was 30 years old when he became king of Israel. Is that too young to be king? Do you think his age played a part in Saul sinning against God?
God calling Samuel in the middle of the night is one of the most well-known stories in the Bible. When Eli finally figures out that it’s the Lord speaking to Samuel, he tells Samuel to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). What great advice! The Lord wants us to be ready and eager to hear him anytime—day or night.
Construct an old-school “telephone” by using plastic or paper cups, string and tape. Kite string or yarn works well. Once you gather the needed materials, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup with a pencil. Thread the string through each hole, tie a large knot and then tape the knot on the bottom of the inside of the cups. When you pull the string tight, you’ll be able to hear each other when one person speaks softly into the cup and another person listens with the cup to his ear. See if you can say special messages to each other around the corner of a wall or down the stairs. Put the string under furniture or through the banister and see if it works. How long can you make the string and still communicate with each other?
When you’re done experimenting, ask:
- What was the hardest part of communicating using the old-fashioned telephone?
- God doesn’t speak to us through cups (although he could). What ways does God speak to us today? (Through the Bible; through godly advice from parents or pastors; through our prayers; through circumstances.)
- Because of the way that God communicates with us today, does it make reading the Bible and going to church more important? How can you make these two activities more of a priority in your life?
- What do you think you’d do if you heard a voice in the night calling your name?
- What do you think God wants you to do for him?
In this part of The Story, the Philistines defeat Israel in battle, kill 30,000 soldiers (including Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas) and capture the Ark of God (1 Samuel 4:10-11). Although King David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6), it was eventually lost. Movies, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, have been made regarding the quest to find God’s lost ark. To see what the ark may have looked like, go to youtube.com and look up “Ark of the Covenant,” and watch the video by Howard Conder that is 2:01 long. For older children, the 5:46 long video on youtube.com called “Ark of the Covenant -- Lost or Hidden Away” discusses where the Ark is now. Discuss as a family what you learn. Does this video give you more faith that what the Bible says is real?
Chapter 9: The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Timeless Truth: God rewards unselfish love.
Bible Basis: Ruth 1-4:17
Key Verse: “May the Lord reward you for what you have done. May the God of Israel bless you richly” (Ruth 2:12).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 9
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity is designed to show your family the benefits of being kind, even when nobody knows about it. The Extra Mile will get your family involved in the life of a child who’s having a difficult time.
Get the Point:
Preschool: Boaz and Ruth were kind to others. I please God when I am kind.
Elementary: Boaz and Ruth are kind to others. I please God when I am kind.
Middle School: By loving God first, you can better love your family.
High School: God calls us to go beyond ourselves to serve other people, even when it appears that it won’t profit us.
- When Naomi’s husband and sons died, why did she want to move to Bethlehem? (That’s where she was from. She had family there and had heard the Lord was helping his people.)
- Did Naomi want Ruth and Orpah to come with her? (No, she encouraged them to go back to their parents’ homes and marry different men.)
- Why did Ruth stay? (She loved Naomi and wanted to serve her and her God.)
- How did God bless Ruth’s actions? (He provided food for her and Naomi. He allowed her to marry Boaz.)
- How does God bless us when we do nice things for people?
- Boaz and Ruth’s relationship teaches a lot about dating and the characteristics of a future spouse. What first attracted Boaz to Ruth? (She was hard-working. He had heard about the kindness she showed Naomi.)
- What attracted Ruth to Boaz? Was it his awesome biceps? (No. He offered her protection by having her glean in his field. He provided for her.)
- As parents, tell your children what first attracted you to your spouse. Ask them what characteristics are most important to them in a future mate.
- How does Boaz marrying and redeeming Ruth mirror what Jesus did for us?
Have a kindness competition. Depending on the ages of your children, you may have to make teams of two. If every family member is old enough, make it an individual competition. The idea behind this game is to show kindness to each other without expecting anything in return. Ruth showed great love and kindness toward Naomi, even though she couldn’t give her anything in return. In a similar way, Boaz showed amazing kindness toward Ruth. God blessed both Ruth and Boaz for their actions.
Encourage your family to show kindness to each other in tangible ways. Maybe it’s a kind word or a back rub. Maybe it’s something done in secret. You can tape special notes to the mirror in your kids’ bathroom. Your daughter can organize the garage. Your son could offer to baby-sit for free or drive a younger sibling somewhere without complaining. A child could clean up the family room or vacuum without being asked. A husband could buy flowers for his wife. The ideas are endless. At the end of a week, reconvene as a family and talk about what meant the most. Discuss what it was like being the giver and what it was like being on the receiving end of the kindness.
- Did being kind to each other change any family dynamics?
- What was the best part?
- How can kindness and unconditional love be shown all the time?
- How does intentionally showing kindness improve family relationships?
- Read Ephesians 4:32. What does it teach about kindness and how we should treat each other?
Get together as a family and look at the lives of your neighbors and your children’s friends. Chances are you know another family that’s going through a difficult time, whether it’s divorce, serious illness, job layoff or death. If you can’t think of anybody who’s struggling, call your church and ask for the name of a child who needs to feel loved and encouraged. Once you find a child who’s going through a hard time, come up with a plan to show him love and acceptance—just like Boaz showed Ruth love and acceptance. Invite this child over for dinner. Offer to pick him or her up and pay for him to join a sports team or club with your child. Bring her to the amusement park with your family. Make him a consistent part of your family during a difficult time in his life. Be Jesus with skin on for this child. Boaz changed Ruth’s life forever, and your family can do the same thing!
Chapter 8: A Few Good Men . . . and Women
Timeless Truth: Spiritual compromise can be overcome by turning back to God.
Bible Basis: Judges 2:7-8, 4 and 16
Key Verse: [Samson] said, “LORD and King, show me that you still have concern for me. God, please make me strong just one more time” (Judges 16:28)
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 8
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity is designed to help your family understand how following God’s commands keep us safe. The Extra Mile will get your family to laugh as you discuss the importance of discipline.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God helps those who turn to him. I can depend on God.
Elementary: God helps those who turn to him. I can depend on God.
Middle/High School: Just like the Israelites, God calls us to be set apart. Live that way.
- Why did God have to raise up judges such as Deborah and Samson? (Because the Israelites weren’t following God.)
- How does this show God’s love? (God gave Israel a second chance—actually lots of chances—to come back and follow Him. He didn’t give up on the Israelites.)
- How does God show His love to us today? (By sending His Son to die for our sins; by forgiving the bad things we do and allowing us to have a relationship with Him.)
- God gave Samson great strength. What are some gifts God has given you?
- How can you use these gifts to help others follow God?
- • When God allowed the Midianites to rule over His people and treat them badly, he raised up Gideon to get the Israelites back on track (Judges 6-8). What kind of man was Gideon? (He was the least important person in his weak family.)
- Gideon wasn’t popular, strong or a natural leader—he didn’t even trust God at first and made God prove himself. What does this tell you about God?
- Gideon raised an army of 32,000 men, but only 300 went to attack the Midianites. Why?
- How would you like to be more like Gideon? Does he have any character traits that you wouldn’t want to emulate?
Break your family into two teams. Gather masking tape, a package of 100 straws and several eggs. Work in teams to create a casing that will protect an egg when it’s dropped. Each team can only use tape and straws. When you’ve finished your designs, go outside and see which egg protector works best. You may need to get a ladder or chair to stand on as the eggs are dropped on a hard surface. The losing team has to clean up the mess.
Explain that the Israelites followed God as long as Joshua and the elders lived (Judges 2:7). God’s people were like the egg surrounded by the protective casing of God’s commands. The casing protects the egg. Without protection, the egg breaks. Chapter 8 of The Story shows what happened to the Israelites after they strayed from God’s commands by worshipping idols and following the world’s customs instead of God’s. God judged His people and they had to suffer the consequences of their actions.
- Could the egg survive the fall without the protection of the straw casing?
- How does God’s Word protect us?
- Why is it important to know and follow God’s commands?
- What happens to us when we decide to get outside the protection of God’s commands? (We sin and have to suffer the consequences.
Go to godtube.com and search for Bob Smiley’s video called “Spankings.” It’s only a minute and a half long. If you want to watch more of Bob’s comedy, look for a 14 minute and seven second video that talks about being a father and other issues. When you’re done watching the videos as a family, discuss these questions about discipline.
- How is God judging the Israelites like a parent disciplining a child?
- What was God’s purpose in the judges? (To bring His people back to Him, to stop them from sinning and to help them live a more abundant life.)
- Did God’s judgment seem harsh or loving? Was it both?
- Why did God’s children disobey so frequently? (They forgot what God had done. They followed the world’s practices, not God’s.)
- What can your family learn from this chapter of The Story?
- Write down one thing your family will do differently after studying the judges: __________________________________ .
Chapter 7: The Battle Begins
Timeless Truth: God’s power, not our own, wins the battle.
Bible Basis: Joshua 1-6
Key Verse: “Be strong and very brave. Make sure you obey the whole law. … Then you will have success everywhere you go” (Joshua 1:7).
Resource: The Story: Teen Edition, The Story for Kids/Children/Little Ones: Chapter 7
Use the Table Talk questions to start a discussion around the dinner table during the week. The Living Faith activity is designed to help your family understand how God’s power can accomplish things that we can’t on our own. The Extra Mile will get your family involved in encouraging someone in your community.
Get the Point:
Preschool: God sent help for his people. God sends me to help, too.
Elementary: God sent help for his people. God sends me to help, too.
Middle School: God’s power can break down any wall—literal walls and personal walls in your life.
High School: God is strong. He wants His followers to be strong and not make compromises in their lives. He wants them to fight and win the battle within.
- Why do you think the Israelites had more faith this time than when the spies were sent into the Promised Land years before? (All of the people from before were dead; God showed His consistent power in the desert as they wandered.)
- Read Joshua 3:15-17. How did God show His power before the Israelites even got to Jericho? When did God show His power to part the water before this?
- Do you think God’s people felt silly walking around Jericho for six days while being completely silent? How does this show they had faith in God?
- What do you think the people inside Jericho were thinking as they watched the Israelites march around?
- How much confidence do you think God’s people had after they watched the walls around Jericho tumble down under God’s mighty hand?
- God used Rahab, a woman with a sketchy background, to help His people in a big way. What does this tell you about God?
- Rahab lied to the king’s men to save the Israelite spies. Was it wrong for her to lie? (Yes, lying is always wrong. Rahab was not a Jew, but she did have faith that the God of Israel was the one true God—read Joshua 2:11.)
- Will God forgive past sins, such as lying?
- God blessed Rahab for her faith and for helping His people—not for lying. What are some ways you can show your faith in God and help other Christians?
Gather a glass bowl filled halfway with water and a peppershaker or pepper mill. Make sure the bowl is totally clean and free from soapy residue. Put the bowl and the pepper on the kitchen table. Hide some liquid dishwashing soap near the table. Bring your family together at the table and ask one family member to sprinkle pepper on the entire surface of the water.
Say: The pepper is like the wall around Jericho. It protected the city by holding out enemies and couldn’t be broken.
Have a child dip their finger into the bowl. Did anything happen?
Say: There was no way that the Israelite army could break through the wall by its own power. Only with God’s help could they take the city.
As you say this, secretly put some liquid dishwashing soap on your finger and dip it into the bowl. Watch as the pepper is immediately slammed against the sides of the bowl, leaving much of the water clear.
Explain how you did this trick by getting a new bowl or thoroughly washing out the one you used. Show how the detergent lowers the surface tension of the water and forces the pepper to the side. Allow your kids to sprinkle pepper on the water and then watch it being drawn to the sides by adding detergent.
Say: From the beginning of time, God designed the water to react the way it does in this trick. He knew exactly what the reaction would be when the detergent hit the water. In the same way, God’s power brought down the wall around Jericho. He knew it would crumble when the Israelites blew their horns and shouted out to Him.
God brought people together to help the Israelites. In Jericho, Rahab helped the spies and encouraged them by saying, “Everyone in this country is weak with fear because of you.” God used one person, Rahab, to make a big difference for the Israelites. Rahab even shows up in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5), which demonstrates how God had a great plan for somebody who the world may have viewed as a castoff.
As a family, decide to make a difference in one person’s life by showing him God’s love in a tangible way. If you don’t know of anyone to help, talk to your pastor, friends, neighbors, a local charity or community organization to find an individual who needs help. Maybe it’s an elderly person who needs yard work (grass cut, sidewalk shoveled or weeds pulled). Perhaps it’s a single mother who could be blessed by a bagful or groceries or a gift card to a grocery store. Maybe it’s a military family who has a spouse overseas who would delight in a card of encouragement and dinner out. Be creative as you seek to serve one person in your community. Make sure this person knows that God cares for him or her.