Key Passage: Daniel 6:27 “He rescues and he saves;…He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

Big Picture Question: What did Daniel do when he was captured? Daniel obeyed God.

Christ Connection: Daniel did what God told him to do. God helped Daniel and his friends. Daniel wasn’t perfect, but he reminds us of someone who was. Jesus always did what God wanted Him to do. God is happy when we know and love Jesus.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next four weeks, we will take a look at the exile through the eyes of Daniel and his friends. Before the exile, prophets had warned God’s people to stop sinning, but the people did not listen. The nation of Judah was consumed by idol worship; the kings did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So God kept His word—He allowed His people to be taken from their land. They became captives in the enemy nation of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, called for the best young men from Judah to be trained for service in the palace—among them, Daniel and his three friends. The boys were given new identities—new names, new education, new culture. They were indoctrinated to be good Babylonians. But Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah stayed faithful to the one true God and did not make themselves unclean by eating the king’s food.

Daniel and his friends chose to obey God no matter what. God blessed Daniel and his friends. They were smarter than all the other young men in Babylon, and the king recognized their gifts. Daniel wasn’t perfect, but he reminds us of someone who was. Jesus obeyed God perfectly and He always pleases God. We please God when we trust in Jesus.

Family Activity: Prepare a meal of nothing but vegetables with only water to drink. Ask who in the Bible ate this type of meal for at least three straight years. Invite each family member to share a time when obedience wasn’t easy.

Key Passage: Ezekiel 37:27 “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Big Picture Question: What was God’s plan for Israel? God planned to bring His people back together in their own land.

Christ Connection: God showed Ezekiel a valley. It was full of dead bones. When we disobey God, we are like those dead bones. But God gave us Jesus to take away our sin. Jesus can give us life so we can be with God forever.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Last week, Ezekiel saw God’s glory leave the temple in a vision. It seemed like all hope was lost. God had removed the people of Judah from His presence. The exiled people of Judah were eager to blame God for their circumstances. “It’s not fair!” they argued. (See Ezekiel 18:25.) Ezekiel told the people that they were at fault for their exile; their faithlessness had provoked God’s wrath. The people were getting what they deserved. “I take no pleasure in anyone’s death,” God said. “So repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32).
God gave Ezekiel a vision of hope. In this vision, God showed Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. The bones represented Israel. Ezekiel prophesied that God would put tendons, flesh, and skin on the bones. He would put breath in them so they would come to life. Ezekiel encouraged the exiles. Apart from God, they were dead. But God was offering them life. He would restore their future. “My dwelling place will be with them,” God said. “I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezekiel 37:27).
We too are dead in our sin. (Ephesians 2:1) Sin separates us from God because He is holy. We are apart from God’s presence. But God does not delight in our death. He is patient and wants us to repent and live! The dry bones of Ezekiel’s vision remind us what we are like when we sin. God had a plan for people who sin. Because Jesus came to earth, died, and was raised to life, He has the power to give us eternal life.

Family Activity: Lead everyone in the family to draw a picture of something they hope will happen in the future. Talk about the word “hope.” Look the word up in the dictionary or read verses in the Bible about hope (examples: Psalm 62:5, Romans 15:13). What does it mean to have hope? Ask kids to think about why God wanted His people to have hope for the future.

Take it further: Peel a banana in the morning and save your banana peel. Show it to your kids later in the day after it has turned brown. Discuss what happened to the banana peel. Talk about God’s power to bring something dead back to life as a way to introduce the story.

Key Passage: Ezekiel 37:27 “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Big Picture Question: Why did God leave His people? God left His people because they kept sinning against Him.

Christ Connection: God did not stay in the temple. He left because the people sinned. God cannot be around sin. Jesus came to earth to take away our sin. When we turn from sin and trust in Jesus, we can be with God forever.

Dear Parents,
Today in The Gospel Project® for Kids, Ezekiel brought God’s message to the exiles in Babylon. God’s messages to Ezekiel came in the form of visions, full of symbols and signs. The prophecies shared by Ezekiel include details of God’s judgment on Jerusalem: the people would lack bread and water (Ezekiel 4:17), die by plague and famine (Ezekiel 5:12), and be ruined and disgraced (Ezekiel 5:14).

In Ezekiel 10, God told a man in linen to scatter coals over Jerusalem—a symbol of both punishment and purification. God had used fire to cleanse the lips of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:6) and to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24). In those days, when something was too dirty to be cleaned with water, it was burned up.

God’s judgment also came to Jerusalem through His departure from the temple. We must not think God was confined to the temple; He is omnipresent. (1 Kings 8:27; Jeremiah 23:24) But the temple was the place God’s people went to worship Him. (See 1 Kings 8:33-34.) When the people refused to be righteous before God, God’s glory left the temple.

God left the temple because He was unhappy with His people’s sin. Sin separates people from God. But we do not have to stay separated from God. Jesus came to earth to fix our relationship with God by taking the punishment of our sin for us. Because of Christ, we can enjoy God’s presence.

Family Activity: Ask everyone to explain how they know when someone else in the family is unhappy. How did God show He was unhappy with Israel? God’s presence left the temple. God left because the people sinned. God cannot be around sin. Jesus came to earth to take away our sin. When we turn from sin and trust in Jesus, we can be with God forever.

Key Passage: Ezekiel 37:27 “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Big Picture Question: Why were God’s people in Judah captured? God punished His people for their sin.

Christ Connection: God was right to punish His people because they sinned. But God still loved them, and He was going to give His people a good king, just like He said He would. Many years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our King forever. Jesus took the punishment we should get for our sin.

Dear Parents,
Warnings had come from the prophets for decades. God patiently waited for His people to turn from their sin. 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 of judgment 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 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.

The people of Judah were unfaithful to God. Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and God poured out His wrath on Judah. 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.

God was right to punish His people for their sin, but He kept His promise to provide a king through David’s family. Ultimately, God punished our sin through His Son, Jesus, and made Him our King forever.

Help your kids understand that God did not abandon His people! The prophet Jeremiah told what would happen next: “The days are certainly coming … when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah” (Jer. 30:3). God was going to save His people from captivity and raise up a new King—a forever King—from the line of David. (Jer. 30:9)

Family Activity: If your family had to move from your home right now, what one item would each person want to take with them? Why would they want that item? Discuss the Southern Kingdom’s capture and exile. Invite family members to think about how it would feel to be forced from your home as a punishment for your sin. Close with a prayer of thankfulness to God for sending His Son to take the punishment for sin.