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 learned about the first 6 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: Exile - Return - Silence
During the EXILE era, God let the Israelites be defeated and taken as prisoners by the Babylonians because they sinned against Him and were not sorry about it. God used people like Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to remind the people about His faithfulness and love for them. God kept His promise to bring the Israelites home after 70 years of living in exile and the RETURN era began. While in exile, their land got destroyed, so there was much to rebuild. Although the people got to work rebuilding the Temple, wall, and law, they forgot that God wanted their hearts above all. The SILENCE era lasted 400 years and is called that because God did not speak to His people through prophets during this time. But just because God wasn’t speaking didn’t mean He wasn’t working behind the scenes. He used Greece and Rome to prepare the way for the Messiah He had promised His people. I bet you know who that Messiah is... but that is where the New Testament begins, so stay tuned.
- Why did Israel go into exile? (The Israelites sinned against God and weren’t sorry about it. God wanted to remind them that His way is always best, and this was the consequence for their sin.) Did God still love and take care of His people? (Absolutely!)
- READ Ezra 1:1-4 How did God keep the promises He made to Israel? (He let them come back to Jerusalem and their homes so they could rebuild.) What was God most concerned about rebuilding when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem? (Their hearts)
- READ Malachi 3:1 Who did Malachi promise was 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)
- What is your favorite story from the Old Testament? Let your family share (or even act out) their favorite stories with each other.
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
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.
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.
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, and ultimately point to Jesus.
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.
Next week we will begin a new character trait, CONTENTMENT!
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