Key Passage: 1 Samuel 2:35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind.”

Big Picture Question: Why was the ark of God important? The ark reminded God’s people that God was with them.

Christ Connection: The ark of the covenant reminded the Israelites that God was with them. God gave His people something even better to remind them that He was with them. God sent His Son, Jesus. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

Dear Parents,

In our last story, Samuel shared about the sin Eli’s sons were committing at God’s temple. The story this week, “The Ark Was Captured,” is one example of the things they allowed to happen to the tabernacle and its furnishings. The ark of the covenant was a symbol of God’s presence with the people. As the Israelites battled the Philistines, they lost a battle quite substantially. Instead of asking God what happened, they decided it would be a good idea to go get the box of God, the ark of the covenant, and bring it into battle with them.

When confronted with this message from the battlefield, Eli’s two sons thought it was a great idea and sent the ark from the tabernacle to the battle. Not only did the Israelites’ strategy not work, but the ark was captured by the Philistines and both of Eli’s sons were killed during the battle. When the news of their deaths reached Eli, he fell off the stool he was sitting on and died as well. God’s punishment for their sin had been exacted. Samuel’s words had come true.

As priests in Israel, Eli’s sons were responsible for leading the nation in its worship of the one true God. Part of their responsibility would have been seeking God’s desire for going into battle. Instead of seeking God’s direction, Eli’s sons took it upon themselves to send the ark into the battle. God proved that He was the one true God and let the Philistines kill many of the Israelite soldiers.

God’s presence was always with the nation of Israel. The ark symbolized God’s dwelling with and among His people. The Israelites mistakenly thought that if they had the ark with them in battle, God would be there to fight for them. As the ark in the Old Testament symbolized God’s presence with the people, later God gave His people something much greater than a sign: He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus is called Immanuel which means, “God is with us.”

Family Activity: Play hide-and-seek sardine-style. One family member will hide alone. As each family member locates the hiding player, she will join him in the hiding place until the last person arrives. Play several rounds. Discuss the difference between hiding alone and hiding with someone. Remind kids that God is with His people today. Invite everyone to think of a time they need to remember that God is with them.

Key Passage: 1 Samuel 2:35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind.”

Big Picture Question: Who spoke to Samuel? God spoke to Samuel, and Samuel listened.

Christ Connection: Samuel told people what God is like. Jesus came to earth as a human. His life showed the world what God is like.

Dear Parents,

The Gospel Project for Kids story this week is about a woman named Hannah. Hannah had a good life but one thing was missing. Hannah wanted a child. As her family went annually to Shiloh to worship at the tabernacle, Hannah became distressed and prayed to God that He would give her a son. Hannah wanted a son so badly she promised to give him back to the Lord to serve Him. God granted Hannah’s prayer and a year later she gave birth to a son named Samuel.

Later Samuel lived in the tabernacle with Eli the priest. One night God spoke to Samuel, who didn’t understand the contact. Once Eli explained to Samuel that it was God calling him, Samuel went back to bed. When God called the third time, Samuel told the Lord that he was listening. God gave Samuel a harsh message for Eli and his family. Eli had allowed his sons to disrespect God and the elements of the tabernacle, and God was sending a warning that Eli and his family would be punished for their sin.

Eli awoke in the morning and urged Samuel to share God’s message. Samuel shared the message, and from that day on, Samuel grew and was known throughout the land as someone who was honest. Samuel shared God’s word with Eli the priest, but also with others from Israel. Samuel was used by God to share His word, but the Book of John tells us that Jesus is the Word. Samuel told people what God wanted them to do, but Jesus showed people through His life how God wanted them to live. Jesus ultimately freed people from the power of sin by dying on the cross.

Family Activity: Instruct one family member to close his eyes while another family member says, “Samuel, Samuel!” Allow the family member with the closed eyes to open his eyes and guess who spoke. Take turns playing the game. Explain that God speaks in a variety of ways. Ask family members to name different ways God reveals his plan to us.

Go further: Pray for couples you know who have not been able to have children. Pray for the kids who need to be adopted.

Key Passage: 1 Samuel 2:35 “Then I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever is in My heart and mind.”

Big Picture Question: Who is our Helper? Jesus is our Helper.

Christ Connection: Boaz helped his close relatives. Boaz was a family redeemer. He bought back what his relatives lost. Jesus is our Redeemer. He bought our salvation from sin by dying on the cross.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project for Kids our journey is taking us for a look at stories that hint of a coming Savior, Jesus Christ. Today’s story is about Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was the daughter-in-law of Naomi, a woman from Bethlehem who had moved with her husband and sons to escape a famine in their town. After the husbands of both Naomi and Ruth died, the two women moved back to Bethlehem to Naomi’s family’s land.

Ruth went to gather grain in the fields of a man named Boaz, who turned out to be a family redeemer. The role of the redeemer was to take care of close family members when they were in trouble. Since Ruth and Naomi were both women, they would not be able to inherit the land previously owned by Naomi’s husband. As family redeemer, Boaz had the right to marry Ruth and claim the property and responsibility for himself. Boaz did just that and took care of Ruth and Naomi.

Ruth and Boaz soon had a son whom they named Obed. Obed was the grandfather of King David. Through David’s line, God sent the perfect Redeemer in the person of Jesus Christ. We need help because we sin; Jesus bought our salvation for us by taking our punishment when He died on the cross.

Family Activity: Draw names to assign each family member another family member to serve secretly during the week. At the end of the week, record the ways family members served one another. Discuss Boaz’s role as a family redeemer. Celebrate that Jesus redeems us from our sin.

Go further: Collect items for a homeless shelter or conduct a yard sale and donate the proceeds to one.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: What should I do when I sin? I should ask God to forgive me.

Christ Connection: God chose Samson to help save the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines. When he died, Samson killed many Philistines. God sent Jesus to save people from sin. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to rescue us from sin.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story is about Samson. Once again, the Israelites had turned away from worshiping God, so God gave them over to the Philistines. The beginning of Judges 13 states that not all Israelites worshiped false gods, though. Manoah and his wife worshiped the LORD.

The Angel of the LORD came to Manoah and his wife to tell them that the barren couple would have a son. The baby boy would be a Nazirite from birth. He could not eat raisins, grapes, or drink wine; he could not cut his hair. (See Num. 6:1-6.) God gave Samson incredible strength to deliver His people from the Philistines.

Special calling, check. Special strength, check. Samson appeared to have all the makings of an impressive leader. Samson had terrible taste in women, though, and he took his special calling for granted. Though Samson disobeyed God, God used Samson to accomplish His purpose of delivering the Israelites from the Philistines. Jesus came as the last Deliverer, saving through His life and His death those who would trust in him.

Family Activity: Samson was a strong man. God used Samson’s muscles against the enemies of Israel. Have a family strong man competition. Try arm wrestling, thumb wrestling, push-ups, or sit-ups. Modify the requirements for younger kids.

Go further: Take bottled water or sports drinks to a local park where people run or exercise and give them away for free.

Key Passage: Judges 2:18 “Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies.”

Big Picture Question: How does God help us obey Him? God is always with us.

Christ Connection: The people of Israel needed help. They asked God to help them. God used Gideon to help the people, and God fought for them. We need help too. We need God to save us from sin. We cannot save ourselves. God sent His Son Jesus to save us.

Dear Parents,

This week’s Bible story, “Gideon,” starts out the same way the previous stories have started: The Israelites once again turned away from God. This time, God handed the Israelites over to the Midianites. The Bible says the Midianites would swarm the Israelites like locusts, devouring all of their livestock and crops. The Israelites hid in caves and were reduced to poverty.

The Angel of the LORD personally delivered a message to Gideon as he was threshing grain in a wine vat to hide it from the Midianites. God called Gideon to deliver His people from the Midianites. Gideon told the Angel that he was the youngest son of the weakest house in the tribe of Manasseh. God had a solution, though: “I will be with you,” He said. (Judg. 6:16)

Not only did God choose an unlikely hero for today’s Bible story, but God also reduced Gideon’s army to only 300 soldiers. People would know God defeated the Midianites, not the might of the Israelite army. In battle, God turned the Midianites’ swords against each other. Gideon and his army pursued the enemy troops. Gideon alone could not defeat the Midianites. In the same way, we aren’t able to save ourselves from sin. Jesus came to save us from our sin because He is enough. Only God, through Jesus Christ, can save us.

Family Activity: Gideon needed God’s help to trust God’s plan and obey Him. Gideon asked God to prove His plan. God reduced Gideon’s army from 32,000 soldiers to 300 soldiers. Read Joshua 7:2 and talk about why God did that. When Gideon did what God said, he showed that he trusted God. Share with your children at least one way God has proved that your family can trust him.

Go further: Research various phobias and what the Bible says about fear.