We’re sticking to our format and giving ourselves another day to work on the same part of the memory verses.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
How is it going for your kids? Wow, guys! My kids really impressed me today. As soon as I asked who remembered our memory verse my 5-year-old said it. Correctly, to boot! Then my 6-year-old said she remembered it too and also said it correctly. Woohoo! My 3-year-old is still being her usual stubborn self. She’s absorbing something though, I’m sure of it.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”Luke 1:8-17, NIV
What should you teach them?
This is what I told my kids:
- The priests were separated into different groups and each group took turns serving in the Temple. This way everyone had a turn to serve and no one group of men had to do too much of the work.
- There were a lot of priests and a lot of different jobs to do in service of the Temple. One way the priests decided who got to do which task was by casting lots.
- Casting lots was a way of making choices similar to what we do when we flip a coin, roll a dice, draw straws or play “rock, paper, scissors.”
- The casting of lots done in the Bible was different from those things because it was something that God had specifically told the priests to do. It gave the priests a way to know God’s will without taking into account their own, human ideas and preferences.
- The Bible tells us that God is in control of the outcome of the casting of lots. (Proverbs 16:33) Does this mean that when you play “rock, paper, scissors” that God chose the winner? Yes, it does. It doesn’t, however, mean that it is always wise to make choices by casting lots. It was wise for the priests to use this method, because God told them to. (Nehemiah 10:34)
- In this story it was Zechariah’s group’s turn to serve in the Temple. His group cast lots and Zechariah ended up being given the task of burning incense before the altar.
- Zechariah was before the altar, burning incense when an Angel of the Lord appeared!
- What was the first thing the angel said to him?
- The angel told Zechariah that he and his wife were going to have a son. His name would be John. John would be a very special person. He would prepare God’s people and turn their hearts back to God.
- Many people were waiting for the promised Messiah to come save and rule over Israel. They didn’t know yet that the Messiah is Jesus!
- Many people also believed that the prophet Elijah would come back to prepare the way for the Messiah. They did not realize that this would be John the Baptist.
- The angel quoted a prophecy from Malachi 4:5 and very plainly stated that John would be the one to fulfill that promise.
- Now it is time for the prayer! We decided to draw straws to see whose turn it would be to pray today. It is no longer required that we burn incense in the temple, but our prayers are like incense! (Psalm 141:2, Revelation 8:4)
- I took four straws from our pantry and cut one of them short. Then I held them in my fist in such a way that the kids couldn’t tell which straw was shorter. We each picked a straw. My 6-year-old ended up drawing the short straw so she lead our prayer. I will admit that my 5-year-old was very disappointed that she didn’t “win” this “game,” but learning that we don’t always win is a good life lesson.
- Oh, one more thing. To cheer up my 5-year-old and so as not to waste plastic straws, I had the idea to make necklaces out of them. My 5-year-old went from tears to “I’m having such a fun day!” in no time. And guys, this is a seriously simple craft that I thought of on the fly.