One of the greatest things we can do as parents is instill a love of Scripture in our kids at an early age. I grew up in a small, country church. I remember each Sunday, going to the front for a “children's moment.” There, sitting on the front two pews, we'd hear a Bible story and see it in action with felt characters on a large blue felt board. It was simple, but it was enough to make the words on a page become real to me.
Despite the challenges we face in today's technological age, we should be thankful for the tools that are at our disposal. Felt, cut-out characters have given way to creative Bible storybooks, websites and apps that make God's Word come alive for children today. (My daughter's favorites: The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Gospel Project's Big Picture Bible, and YouVersion's Bible for Kids app).
When it comes to Bible stories for kids, most of us think about the most common ones: Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Daniel and the Lion's Den, Joseph and his coat of many colors, or Jesus's birth. These stories are wonderful and very exciting for children and adults alike.
But, sometimes hidden in the pages of the Bible are other stories that we can easily miss. These stories have the potential to impact our children in a powerful way if we allow them. In writing this article, I asked my daughter, 7, her favorite Bible stories, just to see what she'd say. The ones she listed were quite surprising; but, I am most amazed at the simple truths they contain that even the youngest can grasp.
The Valley of Dry Bones (Found in Ezekiel 37)
Summary for kids: God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel through a dream. In the dream, Ezekiel was in a valley full of dry bones. God told him to speak over the bones and they would come back to life. Ezekiel obeyed God and did as He commanded. The bones joined together, God gave them flesh and skin and breathed life into them!
Simple truth: God can do the impossible. He can bring hope to a hopeless situation. Trust and obey Him always!
Nehemiah and the Rebuilding of the Wall (Found in the book of Nehemiah)
Summary for kids: Nehemiah had a very important job – the cupbearer – for the King of Persia. One day, he was very sad and the king asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah told him about how the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down. The king allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem, recruited workers and became a great leader. The walls were rebuilt and Jewish people who were scattered throughout the region returned to the land of their fathers.
Simple truth: When there's a need, you should volunteer to help. God will give you the strength and everything you need, when you act according to His will.
Naamen and the Servant Girl (Found in 2 Kings 5)
Summary for kids: Naamen was a general in the Syrian army, and he had a terrible disease called leprosy. One of his servants, a young Israelite girl, knew someone who could help. His name was Elisha. She wanted to help the general, which is unexpected since this girl had been taken from her family in Israel. But, she forgave Naamen and wanted to see him healed anyway. Naamen went to see Elisha, who told him to bathe in the Jordan River seven times. Naamen was upset about this, but eventually humbled himself and did as Elisha instructed. He was healed of his disease.
Simple truth: You should be nice to everyone, even when they are mean to you. You should forgive those who have wronged you. God can use you to show His love to someone else.
A Courageous Queen (Found in the book of Esther)
Summary for kids: Esther was married to King Xerxes of Persia. There was a man named Haman who worked for the king, and he was given the highest role in kingdom. The king made it a rule that others had to bow down to Haman! Mordecai, who was Jewish, refused to bow down to Haman, and Haman was furious. Haman decided to not only get rid of Mordecai, but also all of the Jewish people. Mordecai told Esther (who was also Jewish) about Haman’s plan. Esther approached the King and told him about it. The king wasn't happy, and he demanded that Haman be punished instead.
Simple truth: You should always have the courage to stand up for what is right.
When our kids are young, the most important thing they need to understand is that God loves them and is there for them. He is worthy of their love and trust in return. When we grasp these truths, it impacts how we treat those around us. Many of these stories don't get a lot of attention, but our kids can learn important basics of the Christian faith through them. And that’s the first step to a life story with a happy ending.
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @brentrinehart.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 26, 2017