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Bible stories

Bible stories

This section provides a collection of stories with the theme of confidence, along with questions you can use to guide family discussions. Choose one or more stories that are appropriate for your children.

If the Bible passage is too complex for your children, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”

Created in God's image

Read Ezekiel 1:1,4-9,22-28.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did Ezekiel do when he had a vision of God? (A vision is a dream that you have when you are still awake.)
  2. How did Ezekiel describe what God looked like?
  3. If you had a vision of God, what do you think you would do?

Read Genesis 1:26-28.

  1. The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. What do you think this means?
  2. What was the important job that God gave to man?
  3. Do you think God would give this job to just anybody or anything?

Read James 3:9-10.

  1. Who has been made in God’s likeness?
  2. Is it okay to say bad things about others or ourselves?
Key concepts

When Ezekiel had a vision of God, he fell face down on the ground. He couldn’t even stand up and look at the vision. Ezekiel described God as having a figure like a man, and from His waist up He looked like “glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down He looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded Him” (Ezekiel 1:27). Ezekiel also said the radiance around God was like a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. It would have been an incredibly magnificent sight! You can understand why Ezekiel bowed down before his vision of God.

The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. To be made in God’s image, or to be created to be similar to Him, is a big honour. It means we have been made to live forever and made with the ability to know, to love, and to serve God. We have also been given the ability to make choices.

God loves people and He wants us to treat each other with care and respect. In the Bible, it tells us that it is wrong to use our tongues to praise God and then say bad things about people, who have been made in God’s image. When we say negative things about other people or negative things about ourselves, we are insulting God’s amazing creations.

God is incredible. Being made in His image means we are extremely valuable. When we see ourselves and others as valued creations of God, it helps us to remember to treat each person (including ourselves and His other creations) with love, kindness and consideration.

Relevant Scripture

Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

Bought with a price

Note: This story fits well with the hands-on option “you're a treasure.”

Read Matthew 18:12-14.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever lost something that was important to you?
  2. How hard did you search to find it?
  3. What was lost in this story?
  4. How many sheep did the farmer leave behind in the sheep pen while he looked for the lost one?

    Read Matthew 13:45-46.
     
  5. In these stories, who do you think the pearl is?
  6. Why do you think Jesus told these stories?
  7. Can you think of anything that is worth a lot of money?
  8. What is the highest price you can think of – $100, $1000 or a million dollars?
  9. How much did the merchant who bought the fine pearl pay for it?

    Read John 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
     
  10. What price did Jesus “pay” for us?
  11. Are we worth that much?
  12. What does God think?
Key concepts

Jesus told these parables because He wants us to realize that we are valuable to Him, like the pearl and the lost sheep were valued by their owners. Jesus is like the merchant or the shepherd. He was willing to pay a very high price for us. The price Jesus paid was His own life (Corinthians 6:20, Matthew 20:28, Revelation 5:9-10). Jesus died to “purchase” us (or pay the penalty for our sins) so our sins could be forgiven and we could have the honour of living as children of God.

Note: For an interactive explanation of salvation, see “the parable of the lost sheep” in the Bible stories section of the forgiveness lesson, or the “lost and found” hands-on option in this lesson.

Relevant Scripture

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Angels watching over us

Note: As you read these Psalms, have your children listen standing up so they can perform their own actions to go along with what you are reading.

Read Psalm 91:11-12 and Psalm 121.

Questions for discussion
  1. What does a guard do?
  2. Why does something need to be protected?
  3. Who does God say will guard us or watch over us?
  4. Why would God want to take care of us?
Key concepts

People keep many items locked up in order to keep them safe. If something is very valuable, the owner of an item may even have a guard or guard dog put in place to watch over the safety of the item day and night. God considers us so important that He sends His angels to watch over us and to keep us from harm. In the Bible we read that God never sleeps and that He watches over us day and night. We can be confident, knowing that God values us so much that He provides protection for us all the time.

Relevant Scripture

Proverbs 12:21 “No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.”

Luke 4:10-11 “For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

We are more precious than anything

Read Luke 12:22-26 and Luke 12:32-34.

Questions for discussion
  1. What are some things people are tempted to worry about?
  2. Why don’t we need to be anxious about these things?
  3. What does Jesus say about these things?
  4. If people are worried that they will not have enough money to take care of themselves, do you think they will give any of their money away to help others?
  5. What does Jesus say about worrying?
Key concepts

Having enough money is a common worry for people, because money is used to buy food, shelter, electricity, transportation and clothing. Jesus said that people can’t even add an extra hour to their lives by worrying. Jesus assures us that because we are worth more than the birds, He will care for us too. He also encouraged the disciples to be generous by sharing with those who had less.

Jesus prays for us

Note: As you read the verses below from John 17, have your children listen for the things Jesus asked God for.

Read John 17:9-11,22-24.

Questions for discussion
  1. Why did Jesus pray for His disciples?
  2. Who did Jesus pray for next?
  3. When Jesus prayed for us, what did He ask God to do?
  4. What do you think it means to live in unity?
  5. Imagine a family that lives together without fighting. Can people do this just by trying really hard, or do you think they would need God’s love in their hearts in order to be able to live in harmony? (For more practical information on living together in unity, see the Harmony lesson.)
Key concepts

Jesus prayed for us because He loves us! These are the things Jesus prayed for us:

  • Jesus asked God to protect us.
  • Jesus asked God to teach us to live in unity with Him.
  • Jesus asked God to take us to be with Him in heaven.
  • Jesus asked that the world would know that God loves His children as much as He loves Jesus.

Tell your children you are going to pray for them too, because you love them. Pray a “prayer of protection” for your children, as Jesus prayed in John 17:22-24. Here’s a sample prayer you can use:

Father God, thank you for giving me these precious children, ________, ________, and ________ to care for. It comforts me to know that You love them and consider them as valuable as I do. I cannot be with them and watch over them all the time, but I know You do!

In the powerful name of Your Son, Jesus, please protect ________, ________, and ________. Please send Your Holy Spirit to fill our family with Your love so that we can live in complete unity so others will know that we love You and that You love everyone as You love Your Son Jesus. We look forward to being in heaven with You someday. Amen.

Asa has an A+ attitude

Note: For children who may be frightened by references to death, omit reading 2 Chronicles 15:13 and skip question 10.

Read 2 Chronicles 14:1-2,8-15 and 2 Chronicles 15:1-19.

Questions for discussion
  1. What does the Bible tell us about Asa?
  2. What kind of an army did Asa have?
  3. How big was Zerah the Cushite's army?
  4. What did Asa do before going to battle against the other army?
  5. What or who did Asa trust in?
  6. Who came to help Asa win the battle?
  7. Who did Asa listen to?
  8. What did Azariah, son of Obed, tell Asa?
  9. What did Asa do after he listened to Azariah, son of Obed?
  10. What happened to those who refused to seek God?
  11. How did the people of Judah seek God?
  12. What did Asa do to his grandmother? Why?
Key concepts

The Bible tells us that Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God and that his heart was fully committed to the Lord his God all his life (2 Chronicles 14:2, 15:17). Asa had a pretty big army, but Zerah the Cushite who was coming to fight against Asa had a much bigger army. Asa’s army had bows, swords and shields, but Zerah’s army also had chariots. Before going into battle, Asa prayed asking for God’s help and saying, “Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty.” Asa relied on God, not on His own army or strength.

After God helped Asa win this battle, the prophet Azariah came and spoke with Asa. He said, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” Azariah also encouraged Asa by saying, "But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:1,7).

Asa listened to Azariah and removed the idols from the land and led the people in seeking God. Those who were not willing to follow God were put to death. The Bible tells us that the people of Judah sought God eagerly. Asa even removed his grandmother from her position as queen mother because she made an Asherah pole (another idol). Asa also broke up and burned the Asherah pole. God rewarded Asa’s faithfulness by giving the country peace from war. God is pleased when people recognize His sovereign strength, seek Him and put their trust in Him. This is called having “confidence” in God, rather than in ourselves.

Relevant Scripture

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded. He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

Moses feels mousey

Read Exodus 4:1-22.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did God ask Moses to do?
  2. What did Moses say?
  3. Then what did God say?
  4. And how did Moses reply?
  5. How does the Bible describe God’s disappointment with Moses?
  6. How did God solve the problem?
  7. Why do you think Moses didn’t want to speak out loud?
  8. Was Moses putting his confidence in God?
  9. Is there a job that you would be afraid to do? If so, what is it?
  10. Who should you ask for help if this happens?
Key concepts

God picked Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Even though Moses had just watched God demonstrate His great power by turning Moses’ staff into a snake and by making Moses’ skin full of leprosy and then curing it, Moses still had trouble believing that God would help him lead Israel.

Moses tried to get out of it by saying, “I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). God challenged Moses to trust Him by saying, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11).

But Moses still asked God to send someone else. As you can imagine, God wasn't very happy with Moses’ request. In fact, the Bible says God’s anger burned against Moses (Exodus 4:14). God solved the problem by having Aaron, Moses’ brother, speak to the people for Moses.

We can make guesses as to why Moses did not want to speak out loud and lead Israel. Oddly enough, we read in Acts 7:20-22 why Moses was an ideal person to lead Israel out of Egypt: he was familiar with the Egyptian traditions and people because he had been raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. The Bible also tells us that Moses was “powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22).

Sometimes God prepares people in advance to do special jobs for Him. If God asks you to do a job and you are frightened or worried about doing it, instead of making excuses, remember to pray and trust that God can help you do it. Let’s pray a prayer like that now:

Dear God, if you ever give me a job that I am scared to do, please remind me that I can depend on You for confidence. I don’t want to disappoint You by making excuses to get out of any jobs You want me to do. Amen.

Relevant Scripture

2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”

I call shotgun!

Read Luke 14:1-11.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever seen kids argue about who gets to sit in the front seat of a vehicle?
  2. Which are the better seats at a ball game / hockey game / concert / play?
  3. Which seat did everyone want in this story?
  4. Where did Jesus say people should sit?
Key concepts

Ticket prices for seats that are close to the action at sporting events or near the front for concerts or plays are more expensive. You pay more for the honour of sitting in those seats.

When kids are getting into a vehicle, sometimes one will yell, “I call shotgun!” This means they are saying, “I get to sit in the front.” While He was at a dinner party, Jesus noticed guests were “calling shotgun” by choosing the best places for themselves. He told them that it was better to sit in a poor place and then be asked to move to a better seat, than to sit in a seat of honour and be asked to move to a seat of lesser honour.

The Bible tells us that if we think of ourselves as very important, God will choose to humble us. The opposite is also true: if we think of ourselves humbly, God will honour us (Luke 14:11).

Relevant Scripture

Matthew 23:12 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

1 Peter 5:5b “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ ”

Ahab's foolish confidence

This story contains references to blood and death. You may want to read it ahead of time and paraphrase it for your children.

Before reading 1 Kings 22:29-37, share this summary of the preceding events:

Ahab, the king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, were considering joining forces and going to war against a shared enemy. Jehoshaphat agreed to go if they first asked for God’s direction. Ahab brought together many prophets, and asked them if he should go to war. (A prophet is someone who speaks the word of God, as directed by the Holy Spirit [2 Peter 1:20-21].)

None of the prophets whom Ahab asked were honest prophets. These dishonest prophets spoke their own words instead of God’s words and told the kings to go war and that the Lord would help them win the battle.

Jehoshaphat recognized these men were not honest prophets and asked if there was a true prophet of the Lord they could ask about going to war. Micaiah really was one of God’s prophets and he told Jehoshaphat and Ahab that Israel would be like a flock of scattered sheep without a shepherd if they went to war. Both kings decided to go to war anyway (1 Kings 22:1-28).

Read 1 Kings 22:29-37.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever ignored the advice of your parents and gone ahead and did something anyway? If so, what happened?
  2. If you were Jehoshaphat, would you have agreed to go to war with Ahab even though the prophet of God advised you not to go?
  3. What kind of plans did Ahab and Jehoshaphat make to try and fool the army of Aram?
  4. If you were Jehoshaphat, would you have agreed to go into battle pretending to be Ahab?
  5. What went wrong with their plans?
  6. Did Ahab put his confidence in himself or in God?
  7. What happened to Ahab in the end?
  8. What lesson you can learn from hearing about the two kings’ mistakes?
Key concepts

Sometimes children think they know better than their parents and they ignore their parents’ advice and do something their parents have advised them not to do. The story of Ahab and Jehoshaphat ignoring God’s advice is similar.

When Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war (even though the prophet Micaiah had advised them not to), it was as though they were telling God, “We don't need You. We will go into this war and win it on our own.” Ahab chose to go into battle disguised as a regular soldier, but he was still killed in the battle, just as Micaiah had prophesied (1 Kings 22:28).

Considering God’s promise in Deuteronomy 20:1-4 that God would be the one who always gives the Israelites victory in battle, it was complete foolishness to go into battle without God. Deuteronomy 28:25 contains a warning for those who choose to disobey God. It says, “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies.”

We can learn a lot from the story about Ahab and Jehoshaphat. They ended up defeated because they tried to win the war trusting in their own strength. If we follow God’s commandments and advice, He will be with us and provide guidance and victory. However, if we choose to be “wise in our own eyes,” doing things according to our own plans and in our own strength, we can expect defeat.

Relevant Scripture

Deuteronomy 20:1-4 “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Deuteronomy 28:25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.”