Respect, Resilience & Relationships
RESPECT - Daniel in the lion's pit
Darius the King of Babylon saw that Daniel was special. He put Daniel in charge of the most important men in the land. These men were jealous of Daniel and wanted to get rid of him. They knew that Daniel respected God and prayed to him three times every day, so they told Darius: ‘O king, there should be a law that everyone should pray to you alone. Anyone who disobeys the law should be thrown into a pit full of lions.’ Darius liked the idea, and he signed the law.
As soon as Daniel heard about the new law, he went to his house. In front of an open window, he got down on his knees and prayed to God. The jealous men burst into his house and caught him praying. They ran to Darius and said: ‘Daniel is disobeying you. He prays to his God three times every day.’ Darius respected Daniel and didn’t want him to die. All day long he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. But not even the king could change a law that he had already signed. He had to order his men to throw Daniel into the pit of ferocious lions.
That night, Darius was so worried about Daniel that he could not sleep. In the morning, he ran to the pit and called to Daniel: ‘Did your God save you?’
Darius heard a voice. It was Daniel! He called to Darius: ‘God’s angel shut the lions’ mouths. They did not hurt me at all.’ Darius was so happy! He ordered that Daniel be lifted out of the pit. Daniel did not have a scratch on him.
Darius sent out this order to his people: ‘Everyone must fear Daniel’s God. He rescued Daniel from the lions.’
Do you respect and pray to God every day, just like Daniel?
RESPECT - Adam & Eve Disobeyed
One day when Eve was by herself, a snake spoke to her. It said: ‘Is it true that God won’t let you eat from all of the trees?’ Eve said: ‘We can eat from all of the trees except for one. If we eat the fruit from that tree, we will die.’ The snake said: ‘You will not die. In fact, if you eat from it, you will be like God.’ Was that true? No, it was a lie. But Eve believed it. The more Eve looked at the fruit, the more she wanted it. She ate the fruit and gave some to Adam. He knew that they would die if they disobeyed God. But Adam ate the fruit anyway.
Later that day, God spoke to Adam and Eve. He asked them why they had disobeyed him. Eve blamed the snake, and Adam blamed Eve. Because Adam and Eve had disobeyed him, God put them out of the garden. To make sure that they would never go back in, he put angels and a sword of fire at the entrance.
God said that the one who lied to Eve would also be punished. It was not really the snake that spoke to Eve. God did not make snakes that could talk. It was a bad angel who made the snake speak. He did this to trick Eve.
Adam, Eve and the bad angel showed a lack of respect for their creator God.
RESPECT - Rahab hid the spies
Israelite spies, sent by God, went to the city of Jericho, they stayed at the house of a woman named Rahab, who showed them great kindness and respect. The king of Jericho found out and sent soldiers to Rahab’s house. She hid the two spies on the roof and sent the soldiers in another direction. She said to the spies: ‘I will help you because I know that God is on your side and that you will conquer the land. Please promise me that you will save my family.’
The spies told Rahab: ‘We promise that no one inside your house will be hurt.’ They said: ‘Tie a red cord in your window, and your family will be spared.’
Rahab let the spies down by a rope from her window. They went to the mountains and hid for three days before going back to Joshua. Then the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and prepared to take the land. Jericho was the first city they conquered. God told them to march around the city one time each day for six days. On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. Then the priests blew their trumpets, and the soldiers shouted as loud as they could. The walls of the city came crashing down! But Rahab’s house, which was on the wall, remained standing. Rahab and her family were saved because she trusted in God and showed kindness and respect to others.
Joshua 2:1-24; 6:1-27
RESILIENCE - Noah's Ark
The world was filled with bad people but there was a man who was different. He loved God and was determined to do good. His name was Noah. He had a wife and three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and each of his sons had a wife. God told Noah to build a big ark so that he and his family could survive the Flood. An ark is a huge box that can float on water. God also told Noah to bring many animals inside the ark so that they could survive too.
Noah immediately started building the ark. It took Noah and his family about 50 years to build it, they showed great resilience. They built the ark exactly as God told them to. During that time, Noah warned the people about the Flood. But no one listened to him.
Noah, his family, and the animals went into the ark. God closed the door, and it began to rain. It rained so much that the ark started to float. Eventually, the whole earth was covered with water. Outside the ark, all the bad people died. But Noah and his family were safe inside.
Rain poured down for 40 days and 40 nights, and then it stopped. Slowly the water went down. Finally, the ark settled on the mountains. Little by little, the water dried up. Altogether Noah and his family were inside the ark for more than a year. Then God told them that they could go out of the ark into what seemed like a new world. They were very thankful that God had saved them. God promised that he would never again destroy everything on the earth in a flood. As a sign of that promise, he made the first rainbow appear in the sky.
RESILIENCE - They would not bow down!
King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image out of gold. He set it up on the plain of Dura and called the most important people in the land, including Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to gather in front of it. The king commanded: ‘As soon as you hear the sound of trumpets, harps, and bagpipes, bow down to the statue! Anyone who will not bow down will be thrown into a burning furnace.’ Would the three Hebrews bow down to the statue, or would they worship only God?
Then the king commanded that the music be played. Everyone fell down and worshipped the statue except for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Some of the men noticed this and told the king: ‘Those three Hebrews refused to worship your statue.’ Nebuchadnezzar sent for them and said: ‘I’m going to give you another chance to worship the statue. If you do not, I will throw you into the furnace. There is no god who will be able to save you from me.’ They answered: ‘We do not need another chance. Our God can save us. But even if he does not, O king, we will not worship the statue.’
Nebuchadnezzar got very angry. He told his men: ‘Make the fire in the furnace seven times hotter than usual!’ Then he commanded his soldiers: ‘Tie up these men, and throw them in!’ The furnace was so hot that when the soldiers got close to it, they died instantly. The three Hebrews fell into the fire. But when Nebuchadnezzar looked inside, he saw that there were four men walking around in the furnace instead of three. He became frightened and asked his officials: ‘Didn’t we throw three men into the fire? I see four, and one of them looks like an angel!’
Nebuchadnezzar went closer to the furnace and called out: ‘Come out, you servants of the Most High God!’ Everyone was amazed to see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk out of the fire unharmed. Their skin, their hair, and their clothing had not been burned, and they did not even smell of fire.
Nebuchadnezzar said: ‘The God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is great. He sent his angel and saved them. There is no god like theirs.’
Like the three Hebrews, are you determined to be resilient and loyal to God no matter what happens?
RELATIONSHIPS - Ruth and Naomi
During a time of famine in Israel, an Israelite named Naomi moved to the land of Moab with her husband and their two sons. Later Naomi’s husband died. Her sons married Ruth and Orpah, who were Moabites. Sadly, in time, Naomi’s sons died.
When Naomi heard that the famine in Israel was over, she decided to return home. Ruth and Orpah traveled with her, but while on the road, Naomi told them: ‘You were good wives to my sons and good daughters-in-law to me. I want you both to marry again. Go home to Moab.’ The women said: ‘We love you! We don’t want to leave you.’ Naomi kept telling them to go. Finally, Orpah went back, but Ruth stayed. Naomi told her: ‘Orpah is going back to her people and her gods. Return with her, and go to your mother’s home.’ But Ruth said: ‘I will not leave you. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.’ What kindness and love Ruth showed to Naomi.
Ruth and Naomi arrived in Israel at the beginning of the barley harvest. One day, Ruth went to collect leftover grain in the field of a man named Boaz, who was the son of Rahab. He heard that Ruth was a Moabitess who had loyally stayed with Naomi. He told his workers to leave a little extra grain in the field for Ruth to gather.
That evening, Naomi asked Ruth: ‘Whose field did you work in today?’ Ruth said: ‘The field of a man named Boaz.’ Naomi told her: ‘Boaz is one of my husband’s relatives. Keep working in his field with the other young women. You will be safe there.’
Ruth continued to work in Boaz’ field until the harvest was over. Boaz noticed that Ruth worked hard and was an excellent woman. So Boaz married Ruth. They had a son named Obed, who later became King David’s grandfather. Naomi’s friends were delighted. They said: ‘First, God gave you Ruth, who has been very good to you, and now you have a grandson. May God be praised.’
RELATIONSHIPS - The Good Samaritan
ONE day Jesus tells a man that he should love his neighbor. The man asks Jesus: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Well, Jesus knows what this man is thinking. The man thinks that only people of his own race and religion are his neighbors. So let’s see what Jesus says to him.
Sometimes Jesus teaches by telling a story. This is what he does now. He tells a story about a Jew and a Sa·marʹi·tan. Jews do not like Sa·marʹi·tans. Well, this is Jesus’ story:
One day there was a Jew going down a mountain road to Jerʹi·cho. But robbers jumped on him. They took his money and beat him up until he was almost dead.
Later, a Jewish priest came along the road. He saw the beat-up man. What do you think he did? Why, he just crossed over to the other side of the road and kept going. Then another very religious person came along. He was a Levite. Did he stop? No, he didn’t stop to help the beat-up man either. You can see the priest and the Levite in the distance going down the road.
But see who is here with the beat-up man. He is a Sa·marʹi·tan. And he is helping the Jew. He is putting some medicine on his wounds. Afterward, he takes the Jew to a place where he can rest and get well.
After finishing his story, Jesus says to the man who asked him the question: ‘Which one of these three do you think acted like a neighbor to the beat-up man? Was it the priest, the Levite or the Sa·marʹi·tan?’
The man answers: ‘The Sa·marʹi·tan man. He was kind to the man who was beat up.’Jesus says: ‘You are right. So go and treat others the same way as he did.’
The person who proves to be the real neighbor is the one who exercises the love and kindness that the Scriptures command us to show.
RELATIONSHIPS - Timothy
Timothy was a young man who was happy to help people. He traveled to many places to help others. Because of this, he had a very exciting life.
Timothy grew up in a city called Lystra. When he was little, his grandmother Lois and his mother, Eunice, began teaching him about God. As Timothy grew up, he wanted to help others learn about God.
When Timothy was still a young man, Paul asked him to travel with him to preach in other places. Timothy said: ‘Yes!’ He was ready to go and help others.
Timothy traveled with Paul to a city in Macedonia called Thessalonica. To get there, they had to walk a long way and then take a boat. When they finally arrived, they helped many people to learn about God. But some people were angry and tried to hurt them. So Paul and Timothy had to leave and preach in other places.
Some months later, Paul asked Timothy to go back to Thessalonica and see how the brothers were doing. It took a lot of courage to go back to that dangerous city! But Timothy went because he was worried about the brothers there. He came back to Paul with good news. The brothers in Thessalonica were doing very well!
Timothy worked with Paul for many years. Paul once wrote that Timothy was the best person he could send to help the congregations. Timothy loved God and loved people.