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

Big Picture Question: Who rescued Daniel? God rescued Daniel.

Christ Connection: God saved Daniel from the lions. God is powerful! God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from something scarier than lions. Jesus rescues us from sin and death.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place after the Persians defeated King Belshazzar and Darius was made king. By this time, Daniel was an old man, probably in his early 80s. Daniel served the new king as one of the three leading supervisors in the kingdom.

Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and satraps beneath them were jealous; they tried to catch Daniel doing something wrong so they could complain to the king. But Daniel was trustworthy, and they couldn’t find any negligence or corruption in him. They also knew Daniel was devoted to the one true God. If they couldn’t catch Daniel breaking a law, they would convince the king to make a law that Daniel would break.

Under their malevolent persuasion, King Darius passed a law that no one could pray to anyone but him. Daniel continued to pray to God, and the jealous officials turned him in. The king stayed up all night trying to find a legal loophole, but the law couldn’t be undone. (Daniel 6:15) Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, but God shut the lions’ mouths. Daniel wasn’t hurt. His accusers received the very punishment they sought for Daniel.

Daniel trusted the Lord to save him; he knew he didn’t stand a chance fighting off the lions in his own strength. God showed His power to rescue Daniel from the lions, but Daniel was just a small part of a much bigger story. We all have sinned and deserve punishment far worse than a lions’ den: hell—eternal separation from God. God ultimately rescued us from a much bigger problem—sin and death—through His Son, Jesus.

Family Activity: Take a trip to a local zoo and pay special attention to the lion exhibit, or look up internet sites that talk about lions. Find 10 facts about them, and share them with the family. Remind kids that no matter how amazing lions are, God is much greater. Read Daniel 6:26-27 together.

Go further: Pray with your family and talk about and pray for people who live in places where it is illegal to worship God.

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

Big Picture Question: How did God help Daniel help the king? God gave Daniel wisdom.

Christ Connection: God made Daniel wise. Daniel told the king God was going to punish him. The king thought he was better than God. No one is better than God. Jesus is God’s Son, and even He obeyed God. Jesus left His place in heaven to come to earth and rescue us from sin.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story takes place many years after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign ended. King Belshazzar hosted a grand banquet for a thousand of his nobles. King Belshazzar and those closest to him drank from the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the house of God in Jerusalem. King Belshazzar and his friends drank and praised their false gods.

The party was suddenly interrupted when a human hand appeared; its fingers wrote a message on the wall. The king couldn’t understand the message, neither could the astrologers and wise men. The queen remembered Daniel and his God-given ability to understand dreams and visions. (Daniel 1:17)

Daniel read the words on the wall: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.” These words mean “numbered,” “weighed,” and “divided.” God had evaluated Belshazzar and found he wasn’t good enough. God would bring Belshazzar’s reign to an end—that very night!

God used Daniel’s wisdom to get the king’s attention about his pride. The king acted like he was better than God, so God humbled the king. Jesus humbled Himself by dying on the cross for our sin. God raised up Jesus and gave Him honor. When we humble ourselves and trust in Jesus, God will raise us up too, and we will be with Him forever in heaven.

Family Activity: Invite family members to tell about a special talent they have. Remind the family that God gives us talents to give Him glory, not ourselves. Talk about how each family member’s talent can be used for God, and help each family member plan a time and place to use it.

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

Big Picture Question: Who was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? God was with them in the fire.

Christ Connection: God saved Daniel’s friends from a fire. Jesus came to save us in a different way. Jesus died so we wouldn’t be punished for our sin. He was punished instead. If we know and love Jesus, Jesus saves us so we can be with God forever.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Babylon during the exile. This week, kids will learn about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—Daniel’s three friends who stayed faithful to the one true God. Nebuchadnezzar built a tall gold statue and issued a new law: “When you hear music, you are to fall down and worship the statue.” Whoever did not bow to the statue would be thrown into a blazing furnace. (Daniel 3:6) So when the music played, all the people bowed down and worshiped the gold statue. Well, almost everyone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the statue. They loved and worshiped the one true God. Only He was worthy of their worship.

The Chaldeans—a group of astrologers and dream interpreters (see Daniel 2:2,4)—told on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. But not even the threat of death could convince the three friends to renounce God. Their trust in God enabled them to stand firm even as they were tied up and thrown into the fire. The Lord not only rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He was with them. Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the fire, walking around unharmed!

Only God could rescue Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire. Jesus is the only One who can save us from our sin. On the cross, people mocked Jesus: “He saved others; He cannot save Himself!” (Mark 15:31). Jesus was not physically unable to save Himself; He chose to do the Father’s will. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross provided the way for us to be rescued and have eternal life.

Family Activity: Review your family’s fire safety plan. If you don’t have one, develop one. Tips and templates are available online. Talk about how God was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire. Share an experience where you had to demonstrate faith during a difficult time.

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.

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 does God want His people to do? God wants His people to stop sinning and turn back to Him.

Christ Connection: John 1 says that Jesus is the Word. Jesus showed people what God is like. God gives us His written Word, the Bible, to tell us what He is like too. The Bible has the most important message: the good news about Jesus. It tells us that God sent His Son, to rescue us from our sin.

Dear Parents,
What do you do when you need to remember something? Do you write it down? This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, kids will learn that the people of Judah had forgotten God’s Word. Jehoiakim was king, and “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestors had done” (2 Kings 23:37). The people of Judah were facing God’s judgment for their sin.

God told Jeremiah to write on a scroll all the words God had spoken about Israel, Judah, and all the nations. God was patient. He gave the people a chance to heed a warning and to turn from their sin and be forgiven. Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, wrote the words Jeremiah received from God. Then Baruch read the scroll. But the people did not heed the warning. King Jehoiakim’s officials brought Jeremiah’s scribe, Baruch, to the king. Jehoiakim rejected God’s Word, cutting it up and throwing it into the fire.

God told Jeremiah to write another scroll. God said He would punish Jehoiakim for rejecting God’s word about the coming judgment. He would punish Jehoiakim’s descendants too. The disaster God warned about would come to the people who did not listen.

Jeremiah told God’s people that God was displeased, that they needed to stop sinning, and that they should turn back to God and obey His Word. John 1 says that Jesus is the Word. Jesus brought the same message that Jeremiah gave to the people of Judah. Jesus came to live among the people, explain their need to turn back to God, and sacrifice His life to make a way for people to turn from sin and to know and love God.

Family Activity: Challenge your family to gather all the Bibles they can find in your house in five minutes. Count how many Bibles you have access to (including mobile devices, computers, and so forth). Ask kids to recall the Bible story. How did King Jehoiakim treat God’s Word? Why does God want us to read the Bible?

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 job did God give Jeremiah? God called Jeremiah to be a prophet.

Christ Connection: God sent Jeremiah to talk to the people in Judah. Jeremiah told them to think about how they were living. He told them to stop disobeying God. Like Jeremiah, Jesus told people to be sorry for their sin. Jesus lived a perfect life for us and took our punishment so we could be right with God.

Dear Parents,
The people of the Southern Kingdom of Judah were afraid. They had seen the Assyrians destroy the Northern Kingdom and now they were not sure if they would be able to survive. God called on Jeremiah to speak to the people.

“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” These words from Jeremiah 1:5 reveal a Creator who is sovereign, working out everything in agreement with the decision of His will. (Eph. 1:11)

Jeremiah 1:5 ends with a specific call for a man named Jeremiah: “I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah the priest. He lived just north of Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s ministry began when God called him. At that time, Josiah was king of Judah. Whom else did God call in the Old Testament? God called Noah to build an ark (Gen. 6); He called Abram to leave his home (Gen. 12:1-4); He called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt (Ex. 3).

Each time God calls someone, He equips him or her to do His work. Like Moses, Jeremiah was hesitant: “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth” (Jer. 1:6). God assured Jeremiah: “I will be with you” (Jer. 1:8).

God called Jeremiah to be a prophet to Judah. Judah was deep in idol worship and other sins. God’s judgment was coming. Jeremiah’s job was to warn them. God gave Jeremiah two visions. The first—a branch of an almond tree—was a sign that God would keep His promise to send judgment, and He would do it soon. The second vision—a boiling pot—meant that God’s judgment was coming from the north. God would bring the Babylonians from the north as judgment on His people. Then God sent Jeremiah out to announce God’s declaration.

God had a plan for Jeremiah before Jeremiah was born. God called Jeremiah to share God’s message about sin. In a similar way, God had planned all along to send His Son, Jesus, to show them what God is like and to rescue them from sin.

Help your kids see God’s love even in the midst of His discipline and help them connect Jeremiah’s ministry to the ministry of Jesus. God called Jeremiah to warn the people of the judgment for their sin. Jesus also came to tell people to turn from their sin. He didn’t just tell them about the punishment, He took the punishment on Himself!

Family Activity: Share about your job and why you chose the profession or trade you are in. You may also share about the jobs your parents (the grandparents) worked when you were a kid. Ask your kids to describe the jobs they want to have when they grow up. Tell what you wanted to be when you were a kid. Remind kids that God has a plan for each of them too.

Key Passage: Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Big Picture Question: Why did God destroy Nineveh? The people of Nineveh didn’t love God or His people.

Christ Connection: Nahum brought a message of comfort to God’s people, reminding them that God loves His people and will protect them from their enemies. Jesus also brought a message of comfort to His people. Jesus assured us of salvation and peace. All of the enemies of God and the enemies of God’s children were defeated at the cross. In the end, all evil will be finally punished.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Nahum was a prophet to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. He wasn’t the first. Remember Jonah? Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh, saying, “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” (Jonah 3:4). The Ninevites immediately repented, and God spared them. So what was Nahum doing in Nineveh?

Well, it wasn’t long after Jonah’s visit that the people went back to their old ways. Assyria had defeated Israel and was a constant threat to Judah. Nahum described Nineveh as “the city of blood, totally deceitful, full of plunder, never without prey” (Nahum 3:1). Nahum went to Nineveh to say that God’s judgment was coming. “The Lord will never leave the guilty unpunished” (Nahum 1:3).

God had shown grace to the people of Nineveh in the time of Jonah, but their sin made them guilty. Nahum echoed parts of Exodus 34:6-7: “Yahweh is … slow to anger … But He will not leave the guilty unpunished.” God was going to judge Nineveh. (See Nahum 1:2.) He would make war against them and defeat them. (Nahum 1:6) When God’s judgment came upon Nineveh, His people would be safe. (Nahum 1:7)

Nahum brought a message of comfort to God’s people, reminding them that God loves His people and will protect them from their enemies. Jesus also brought a message of comfort to His people. Jesus assured us of salvation and peace. All of the enemies of God and His children—sin, Satan, and death—were defeated at the cross. In the end, all evil will be finally punished.

Family Activity: Send each family member or a team of family members on a photo scavenger hunt looking for items that protect people. Provide each team or family member with a camera or cell phone to photograph items. Set boundaries of where the family members may and may not go and set a time limit. Meet back to see who found the most items. Talk about how God protects us much better than any of the items they found.