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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Joel, Prophet to Judah

This week, kids at Antioch will take a look at the people in the land of Judah and find quite a mess! The land had been invaded by locusts; swarms of the insects had devastated the plants and the food supply. There was also a severe drought in the land of Judah. This meant there was no food and no water in the land of Judah.

These disasters were a wake-up call. Joel told the people of Judah to repent—which means to express sincere regret for sin. He knew that sometimes repentance can be a show to get out of trouble. But that is not what God is interested in. He wants genuine change! He wanted the people of Judah to stop their selfish and evil ways.

Joel then explained why the people should repent— he said, “Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love.” (Joel 2:13 ”) God’s mercy and love is more powerful than His wrath and anger.

God’s response is beautiful. He said that He would reverse the affects of these disasters—He promised to restore the devastated land, bring it back to life, and make it abundant once more. With a God of mercy, there is always hope!

The book of Joel explores profound ideas. First, Joel shows that sin causes devastating destruction in our world. Then, Joel reminds us that God longs to show mercy. Last, Joel leads us to hope, reminding us that God will one day defeat the evil in the world and also the evil inside of us! His healing presence will make all things new. Joel gives us hope for the restoration of all creation— a new Eden! In the mean time, God’s own spirit will empower his followers so we can truly love and follow Him.

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

  • Joel was a prophet with a message from God.
  • The people of Judah were not obeying God.
  • Joel wanted the people to repent.
  • God is full of love and mercy.
  • God loves people.
  • One day, God will make all things new!

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Elisha and Naaman

Everyone gets sick at some point in his or her lifetime … often many times! Illness is probably no stranger to your kids. This week, kids will learn about a commander for the Syrian army—he was really sick. He had leprosy, a skin disease that was likely disfiguring and isolating. Without a cure, Naaman would face great suffering. But help came from an unlikely source: a young slave girl.

The people of Israel and Syria were often at odds with one another. The Syrians sometimes attacked the cities in Israel and plundered them. They took what they wanted, including people to work as slaves.

The young slave girl who served Naaman’s wife had been taken from her home in Israel.

As an Israelite, the girl knew about the one true God. She was familiar with God’s prophets, including Elisha, who had performed miracles to help and heal people. The girl told her mistress that Elisha the prophet could heal Naaman. So the king of Syria sent a letter to the king of Israel, asking him to cure Naaman of his leprosy. But the king of Israel had no power to heal Naaman. The power to heal comes only from God.

Elisha called for Naaman. But what happened next was not at all what Naaman expected. Naaman expected Elisha to call upon the name of God, wave his hand over Naaman, and miraculously heal him. Instead, Elisha instructed Naaman to go wash in the river.

Naaman was upset! He could have washed in a river back home! But Naaman’s servants urged him to wash. He did, and God healed him.

Naaman was sick. He had a problem with his skin. When Naaman washed in the river, his skin got better. It was a miracle! We are all sick with a sin problem—but when we trust in Jesus, He heals us. It’s a miracle! God forgives us and gives us new life.

Help your kids understand that not all sick people will be healed on this side of heaven, but our physical maladies are symptoms of an even greater illness–sin. Life is not how it was designed to be, but God plans to make it good! Jesus’ death and resurrection provided healing—forgiveness and eternal life—for those who trust in Him. As you talk, reinforce these truths:

  • There is one true God.
  • The servant girl teaches us to always want the best for others–even people who treat us poorly.
  • God healed Naaman.
  • Naaman learned that obeying God is always best.
  • There is no one like God.
  • How many gods are there? There is one true God.
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Solomon’s Sin Divided the Kingdom

This week we will see how despite King Solomon’s great wisdom, he still made bad decisions and his sin divided the people of Israel. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king, the people asked for him to ease up on them, but Rehoboam listened to the bad advice of his peers and actually demanded more from the people. Because of this, the kingdom split into two: the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

King Solomon did not lead God’s people as God desired. God’s people needed a better king! Through David’s family, God would send His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be a perfect King over God’s people forever.

This week, you can help your child understand that Jesus is our perfect King. When we love Him, follow Him, and do what He says, we will give glory to God and participate with Him in his plan to reconcile all things to Himself. As you talk, remind your child that:

  • God knows everything.
  • David’s family were kings of Judah.
  • Jesus was born into Solomon’s family.
  • Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.
  • God split Israel into two kingdoms.

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Solomon Built the Temple

King David had wanted to build a temple for God, but God had a different plan. God wanted Solomon to build a temple where God could dwell with His people and where they could worship Him. So God told Solomon to build a temple and Solomon obeyed.

Because God is holy, only the priests could approach God—and only if they followed specific instructions. Ordinary people had no direct access to the holy presence of God. Jesus changed all that! When Jesus died on the cross, he took away our sin. We can approach God when we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Help your kids see how the temple shows the holiness of God and how we are separated from Him because of our sin. Remind them that the temple also points toward Jesus who came to bring us to God when we trust in Him. As a family, talk about these truths:

  • God knows everything.
  • Solomon built a temple for God.
  • Solomon told the people to love God with all their hearts.
  • We can worship God wherever we go.
  • Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.
  • God chose Solomon to build a temple.


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Wisdom for God’s People

Last week we learned how King Solomon asked God for wisdom and God made him wise. This week we will explore some of Solomon’s wisdom that he was guided by God to write in the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs provides God’s people with great principles for living.

Wisdom comes from God. He made the world and knows it works best when we trust and obey Him! God wants us to respect His authority and live in daily awareness of His presence and love which we know because of Jesus.

Invite your child to think about God making him or her. It was no accident that he chose your skin color, hair texture, personality, and energy level–and more! When God made us, he knew that life would go best when we trust and obey Him. True wisdom comes from God and transforms us. That is the nature of the gospel.

We invite you to talk about these truths with your kids throughout the week:

Babies and Toddlers
God knows everything.
God made Solomon very wise.
Solomon wrote that wisdom comes from loving God.
Jesus spoke with God’s wisdom because He is God’s Son.

Preschool and Elementary Kids
Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.
Wisdom is loving God and obeying Him

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Solomon Asked for Wisdom

This week we pick up our journey through the big story of the Bible with God inviting King Solomon, David’s son, to ask Him for whatever he wanted. Did you catch that? He could ask God for anything! Solomon could have chosen riches, or power, or waffles…but he did not. He asked God for wisdom so he could lead God’s people well. God was pleased with Solomon’s request and granted it and also blessed Solomon in other ways.

Solomon was a king who wanted to participate in God’s plan. God planned to give His people a greater and wiser king—His Son, Jesus. Jesus left his throne and came to us to die on the cross for our sin. Jesus is a good King!

This week, you can help your kids understand that true wisdom comes from God. Teach them that God wants us to know Him, love Him and trust Him. Two ways we can do that are by talking to God and reading the Bible. This can help us understand God better and live with wisdom. Use the suggestions below to begin appropriate conversations at home and review truths learned in the Antioch Kids classroom on Sunday:

Babies and Toddlers:
God knows everything.
King Solomon asked God to make him wise.
God gave Solomon wisdom to lead God’s people.
When Jesus lived on earth, He was wiser than Solomon.

Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.
Solomon asked God for wisdom.

Elementary Kids: 
Where does wisdom come from? Wisdom comes from God.
Solomon asked God for wisdom to lead God’s people.

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“Love Your Enemies”

Have you taught your kids “The Golden Rule”?

You know, that famous one-liner that says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

It’s definitely easier said than done! Most kids can quote this well-known aphorism, but most have a hard time applying it within conflict. In fact, many adults even struggle to treat others with the love Jesus calls us to, when they have been wronged themselves. We are in need of some practical advice. How can we treat others the right way?

We invite you into a deeper understanding of the words of Jesus: “Treat others the way God has treated you.” That is, let our behavior toward others be dependent on and reflective of God’s behavior toward us, which is ultimately the way we want others to treat us.

The way kids see it:

“She hit me, so I hit her back!”

“He stole my puzzle first—that’s why I took his book!”

“I’m eating her Cheerios because she always eats mine!”


In the age of Batman and Ironman—a culture that emphasizes fairness, earning what you’re worth, and exercising a sort of vigilante vengeance—it is only natural to children that they should avenge themselves when wronged. In fact, there is a degree to which this intuitive sense of justice is healthy and necessary. Wrong-doing should be acknowledged and behaviors corrected. However, there is more to it than simply punishing the wrongdoer. We can invite kids to strive to make things good instead of simply making things even.

In Exclusion and Embrace, Miroslav Volf explains, “The trouble with revenge… is that it enslaves us.” When we treat others based on how they have treated us, we are letting them control us. This is reacting. Our actions toward them are completely controlled by their actions toward us. Volf says that we can become “shaped in the mirror image of” people who are unkind to us.


Responding, on the other hand, is a process of taking the time to formulate a response based on information outside the other person. Knowing that God ultimately promises to remove all that has gone wrong with the world, we know there is hope for things to be made right again. Volf says that, knowing God’s promise that one day everything will be made right again, we are freed to see people the way God sees them, and treat them with the love and kindness God shows us. We can invite our kids into the same type of response—instead of choosing to react in anger, they can choose to join God’s plan to make everything in the world good again.

There is freedom in this! When we refuse to do what is expected—that is, to retaliate—we choose a different, better path. When I choose to respond lovingly to someone who has been unkind to me, I am empowered to choose God’s path—instead of following the path my offender has chosen for me.

Jesus was the best example of this; as Volf writes, “… Christ, the victim who refused to be defined by the perpetrator, forgives… the enemy.” One time, some soldiers and religious leaders approached Jesus, holding weapons. They already didn’t get along with Jesus, because he had disagreed with them in public many times (Luke 5:27-32; 6:1-11; 14:1-14; 20:1-8; 20:20-26), plus since they were carrying weapons it was clear they wanted to harm Jesus! Jesus’ friend Peter tried to protect him, cutting off someone’s ear in the crowd, but Jesus told Peter he didn’t want to fight, and healed the injured man. When Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross to die, Jesus prays for the people who hurt him. The Bible says God has a never-stopping, always and forever love for people. This is the example we are invited to follow when we make it our goal to treat others as God has treated us.

In this lies a compelling opportunity for our children: Choose God’s path instead of the wrongdoer’s path—treat others the way God has treated you! This requires that kids learn to be in charge of themselves. We do not mean that kids need to be in perfect control of their body—after all, kids are still learning fine motor skills and self-control as a normal stage in their development. Rather, we invite kids to intentionally choose how they react in different situations, knowing that God longs for the situation to be transformed into something good—for both them and the other people involved! We can help kids name the emotion they are feeling, think of a way God has been kind to them, and choose a similar response to how God has treated them.

Let’s invite kids to be agents of change, treating others the way God has treated them. Remind kids that bullies and mean girls are not in charge of them. Each person is in charge of him or herself. And as Christians, we choose to let God be in charge of us. In the Bible, the apostle Paul encourages us to let God’s love and peace control us, and to “overcome evil with good.”

Not only does this path free us from being controlled by another person, but it also breaks the cycle of sin, bringing God’s redemptive love into a situation. When a person treats me poorly, so I treat them poorly back—or if I even treat a third person poorly because the person who offended me put me in a grumpy mood—this simply spreads negativity.

We can invite kids to see everyday situations in a different way:

“She hit me, so I told her, ‘That hurts my body and I don’t like it. I don’t want you to feel hurt either. Let’s keep each other safe!’”

“He stole my puzzle—so I asked if we could share it and do teamwork together!”

“She ate my Cheerios, so I asked if she was hungry, then told her about the snacks she could have.”

Don’t give unkind people the satisfaction of reacting exactly the way they think you will—instead, be intentional about showing God’s love to them. This frees you from their control, breaks the cycle of badness, and even gives them a glimpse of the power of God’s love—which truly “covers a multitude of sins.” Good really can defeat evil—and not by punching it and throwing it in a prison cell—but by overcoming it with the greatest Love that has ever been known.

Hugging For Peace

God Speaks Through His People {Unit 9}

Hello Church Family!

Summer is nearly here, and so is our next unit! In Unit 9, kids will learn about some different people that God used in special ways, as part of His Big Story, to encourage others to trust and follow God.

Big Picture Question: How does God accomplish His plan? God uses people for His glory and our good.

Key Passage: “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our King. He will save us.” (Isaiah 33:2)

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The First Judges • Judges 3:7-31 | God’s people turned from Him to worship idols.
Judges saved people from the consequences of their sin, but not the cause of it. God’s plan was to one day send a true Deliverer—Jesus, His own Son—to be the King of His people. Jesus saves people from sin forever.


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Deborah and Barak • Judges 4-5 | God’s people needed someone to rescue them from their enemies.
God does what is for His glory and our good. (Psalm 115:3; Romans 8:28) God fought for the Israelites and used Deborah, Barak, and Jael to defeat Canaan. In a similar way, God uses people and events to not only save us from our enemies, but to bring about our ultimate good: salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.


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Gideon • Judges 6-8 | God used Gideon’s weakness for His glory.
The Israelites cried out to God because they knew they could not save themselves. Even Gideon was not able to save them; God used Gideon to save the people, but God fought the battle for them. The people needed someone who was mighty to save. Jesus Christ came to save us from sin because we cannot save ourselves. Only God, through Christ, can save us.


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Samson • Judges 13-16 | God gave Samson power.
Samson had an important job—to deliver Israel from the Philistines. He ultimately did this, but he forgot to trust and obey God along the way. We also forget to trust and obey God, but Jesus came to deliver us from our sin!


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Ruth and Boaz • Ruth 1-4 | God provided a redeemer for Ruth.
Boaz was a family redeemer. That means he would help his close relatives who were in trouble. Boaz cared for Ruth and Naomi because their husbands were no longer alive. In a similar way, Jesus is our Redeemer. We need help because of our sin. Jesus redeemed us by defeating our sin on the cross.


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Eli and Boy Samuel • 1 Samuel 1-3 | Samuel was made to tell others about God’s plan.
Samuel used God’s words to tell the people what God is like. John 1:1 says that Jesus is the Word. Jesus showed the world what God is like, and He told people to trust God and obey Him. Jesus freed people from the consequences of sin and his spirit gives us power to do what is good!

Check out these Big Picture Cards for Families to keep the conversation going at home!

Trust God {Unit 7}

Happy Spring! (It’s finally starting to feel like it!) In our next unit, we will be following the Israelites to the edge of the wilderness, on the brink of entering the promised land! As they enter the promised land, Joshua—Moses’ successor—reminds the people to trust God, because He is good and faithful.

Big Picture Question: Whom can we trust? We can always trust God.

Key Passage: “Be strong and brave. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIrV)


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Joshua and Caleb • Numbers 13:1–14:38 | The Israelites did not trust that God would give them the promised land.

Joshua was not perfect, but he trusted God. We, also, are not perfect, but God wants us to trust Him—believing that Jesus loves us and that His way is best!


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The Bronze Snake • Numbers 20:1-20; 21:4-9 | God told His people to look at the bronze snake to be healed.

The Israelites had a huge problem: they had become big complainers! They had forgotten to trust God. Because of their sin, snakes came to Israel, but anyone who was bitten could look at the snake on the pole and live. Because of our sin, we have a huge problem: our actions cause us to move away from God. Anyone who looks to Jesus and trusts in him will be forgiven and live with God as He intended.


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The Promised Land and Jericho • Joshua 2; 4–6 | God defended His people and led them into the promised land.

God led the Israelites to the promised land, just as He promised. God will also keep His promise to everyone who believes in Him—His spirit will be with us here, then we will spend eternity with Him, too!


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Achan’s Sin and the Defeat of Ai • Joshua 7-8 | Achan experienced the consequence of his sin. Then God defended His people at Ai.

God created a good world, but the choice to not trust God causes ruin to His creation. Achan didn’t trust or obey God, and that was the cause of his ruin. We, also, cause harm to ourselves when we choose to not trust God. When we repent and trust Jesus, we are forgiven!


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Joshua’s Final Encouragement • Joshua 23:1-24:28 | Joshua encouraged the people to worship God alone.

As Joshua grew old, he left a legacy of obedience to God. God longs for us to obey Him, too. Jesus teaches us to obey by following His instructions found in the Bible!


Click HERE for this unit’s Big Picture Cards for Families.