Timeline Weekend: Exile, Return, Silence

Did you know that the Bible is really telling one big story? That means that the stories about Daniel in the lion’s den, Noah’s ark, Jesus being born in a manger, and more are all connected!! Understanding the different eras of our Bible timeline helps us to understand how it all fits together. So far this year, we’ve been learning about the eras of the Old Testament, and this weekend we learned about the final three: EXILE, RETURN, and SILENCE.

BIBLE TIMELINE: Exile-Return-Silence

MEMORY VERSE: “But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are!" Nehemiah 9:31

This Week’s Finish Line: Discipline & Restoration - Exile, Return, Silence

During the EXILE era, God lets the unrepentant Israelites be defeated and taken prisoners by the Babylonians. Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were some of the Israelites who were taken captive. God used them to remind the people about His faithfulness despite their unfaithfulness. God kept His promise to bring the Israelites home after 70 years of living in exile, thus the RETURN era began. While in exile, their land got destroyed, so there was much to restore/rebuild. God used Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple, Nehemiah to rebuild the wall and Ezra to restore the hearts of the people through His law and love. The SILENCE era lasted 400 years and is called that because God did not speak to His people through His prophets during this time. Alexander the Great, Greek culture, Roman rule, and other things taught in social studies class happened during this time. The Israelites suffered under strict Roman rule and harsh laws made up by their own religious leaders, all the while hoping for the promised Messiah to rescue them. And, I bet you know who that Messiah is... but that is where the New Testament begins, so stay tuned. For now, let's review our Old Testament timeline one more time!


Family Questions:

  1. READ Jeremiah 29:10-14 Why did Israel go into exile? (God is perfectly justice and exile was Israel’s consequence for rebelling against Him. ) What promises did God make to the Israelites in these verses?
  2. READ Ezra 1:1-4 How did God keep the promises He made to Israel in Jeremiah? What did God help the Israelites rebuild when they went back to Jerusalem? (The temple, walls, and their hearts)
  3. READ Malachi 3:1 Who does Malachi promise is coming? (first a messenger and then the Lord Himself, the Messiah, would come) What was God doing between Malachi and Matthew? (setting up everything in history to be just right for Jesus to come)
  4. What is your favorite story from the Old Testament? Let your family tell their favorite stories with each other and say what they learn about God thru them

Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:

* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.

Teacher: After Dinner

Read Daniel 3 How did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego respond when they were pressured to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gods and the idol he set up, instead of the One True God? (see v.16-18 – “even if He does not”) Have you ever been pressured to do something that didn’t honor God? (Mom & Dad, share examples, too!) What did you do in that situation? The next time you’re in a sticky situation, how will you respond? Talk about how you can have an “even if” kind of faith.

Friend: Drive Time

At a red light, try to get through the whole Bible Timeline with hand motions before the light turns green! At the next stoplight, have the driver pick one era from the Old Testament and try to list as many stories from that era as you can until the light changes.

Counselor: Bedtime

Pray: Thank God for being the same God in both the Old and New Testaments. Thank Him that even when He seems silent or things aren’t going well, He is still good, loving and faithful.

Coach: Anytime

Check out the whole Bible Timeline by clicking here! Have your child(ren) teach you the hand motions for each era and come up with a family challenge for memorizing the eras with motions! As you review the Old Testament eras, talk about what happened in each era and how they connect as part of God’s story.


Thank God for being the same God in both the Old and New Testaments. Thank Him that even when He seems silent or things aren’t going well, He is still good, loving and faithful.

Looking Ahead

Next week we will begin the month of May with the Godly characteristic of HUMILITY. We will learn that Jesus is the perfect example of humility.

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