Ezekiel Told About a Future Hope

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This week at Antioch, kids will learn about Ezekiel. Ezekiel had a tough job: he had a message from God to give to people who had chosen not to worship God–in fact, they were worshipping other things instead! Because of this, there were consequences. The people of Judah had been exiled–meaning they were taken to a foreign land. Unfortunately, the people of Judah blamed God for their circumstances. “It’s not fair!” they argued. (See Ezek. 18:25.)

Ezekiel told the people that exile was their own fault; God longed for His people to love and obey Him.  God does not enjoy punishing people… in fact, He told them to, “repent and live!” (Ezek. 18:32). He wants good things for His creation.

Then God gave Ezekiel a vision. In this vision, God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The bones represented Israel. Then something amazing happened! God showed Ezekiel that He would put tendons, flesh, and skin on the bones. He would put breath in them so they would come to life.

Ezekiel encouraged the people of Judah. Apart from God, they were dead. But God was offering them life– good life!  God said that His dwelling place will be with them and then said “I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezek. 37:27).

We, too, know that life is not as it should be. We choose to do our own thing over and over again instead of trusting and obeying God. This is called sin. Sin ruins things! God does not want this for His creation–He wants us to repent and live!

Hundreds of years after Ezekiel died, God’s presence came to His people through Jesus Christ, Immanuel—meaning, “God with us.” Jesus is the source of life; HE has come to give us the fullness of life and to join Him in His work of making things as they ought to be.

As you review this story with your child, help him or her understand:

  • God showed Ezekiel dry bones–then gave them life.
  • God is the  giver of life.
  • God gives us new life when we trust Jesus!
  • We obey God because He loves us.

 

 

 

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Jeremiah and the Kings of Judah

Warnings had come from the prophets for decades. God patiently waited for His people to change and return to Him. The prophet Jeremiah spared few details when he warned Judah what would happen if they did not turn from their evil ways. (See Jer. 25:1-14.)

But the people of Judah did not change their ways. The kingdom had been declining for years, despite King Josiah’s efforts to prompt nationwide repentance. When King Josiah died, the people went back to their old ways, worshiping idols and disobeying the Lord.

The time had come. God used Nebuchadnezzar—the king of Babylon—to deport the people from Judah to Babylon where they would live in exile for 70 years.

Nebuchadnezzar went to the land of Judah when Jehoiakim was king. He put Jehoiakim in chains and took him to Babylon. Jehoiachin became king, and Nebuchadnezzar came back for him too. Many of the people in Judah were taken, along with treasures from the Lord’s temple. Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne in Jerusalem.

Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar showed no mercy to the people of Jerusalem. The Babylonians set fire to the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace. They destroyed the wall around Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar’s armies carried most of the people away to Babylon as prisoners; only poor farmers were allowed to stay and work the land. The people were held captive in Babylon, serving the king for 70 years.

Through this story, the people of Judah learned that they should love and obey God. We can learn the same lesson from this story: we should love and obey God! As you review this story, remind your child of these key points:

  • The kings of Judah were not obeying God.
  • God gave Jeremiah a message for the people: obey God!
  • The people learned they should love and obey God.
  • We obey God because He loves us.

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God Promises a New Covenant

Coming up this week in Antioch Kids we will discover God’s exciting plan for a newer and better covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two or more people. God has been making covenants with His creation since the beginning of time. These covenants  always require obedience. But throughout history, people choose to do what they want instead of what God wants.

As you probably know, it is impossible to always get God’s rules right. The people of Judah were no different. They decided to worship things that were not God. God sent Jeremiah to remind the people of Judah to worship God and then gave a warning. If they did not listen to this warning, God would allow His loved people to go into exile. Exile was like a long timeout for the people of Judah. But good news! God is good and He did not plan on leaving His people in timeout forever.

Jeremiah had more to tell the people of Judah–and it was good news. God would send His son Jesus to keep all of the rules for us. Jesus was going to live a perfect life and be a perfect sacrifice so that God would see us as good, too.

As you review this story with your child, we encourage you to reinforce these truths:

  • The people of Judah could not keep God’s rules.
  • God put the people into a time out called exile.
  • God made a new promise to keep His rules for us.
  • Jesus was the one who kept God’s promise.

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