Though these lessons are formatted and structured to be understandable to children, they contain timeless and priceless truths from Scripture that are profoundly rich and important for all believers. It is the prayer of the leadership at Radiant that children will not simply hear the truths from adults, but more importantly SEE the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in bringing these truths to Life in the hearts and lives of their parents and teachers. True disciples of Jesus never stop learning and maturing!
Please see the documents that attempt to describe the goals and precepts of the Family Ministry:
Three words into Genesis 1:1, God introduces himself as 'Elohim,' (God). This name is the plural form of the name El. Both of these names are primarily used in Scripture in reference of The One True God ('Big G' God)
Both El and Elohim will sometimes refer to 'small g' god or gods. For example in Exodus 20 when God commands His children to have NO gods (elohim) before Him. And throughout the Old Testament, God routinely warns his newly redeemed children to beware of and avoid the 'small g' gods of His enemies inhabiting the Promised Land. The noun Elohim occurs over 2,600 times and of those, over 2,300 are in reference to the One True God.
Whenever the name Elohim is used in reference to God, it is clearly monotheistic, because the associated verb is in singular form. Yet, because it is a plural noun and sometimes occurs in sentences with plural pronouns, it definitely has overtones of a multi-dimensional Creator and certainly paves the way for His revelation of Himself as a Trinitarian God.
In Scripture, God reveals several names that give testimony to His attributes, and in Genesis 1:1 introduces us to Himself God - Elohim; a singular-plural Creator!
Check out the Blue Letter Bible for a complete list of all the occurrences of the Hebrew word Elohim in scripture:
God's act of creating the heavens and the earth boils down to this: God is Glorious, and he chose to show off His Glory in creating the universe! The Genesis account of creation doesn't say this explicitly, but ALL of Scripture supports this notion.
In fact, in Scripture, when God explicitly states His motive for actions, it is to bring Glory to Himself either through miraculous deeds that focus on Him, or through discipline and/or punishment that bring low those who oppose Him. God's direct purpose to Glorify Himself is crystal clear in His dealings with the children of Israel. For example Exodus:
The English word 'glory,' occurs over 300 times in Scripture (varying somewhat between different translations), and over 150 times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word most commonly translated as 'glory' comes from the Hebrew root word transliterated 'kabad,' which means 'weightiness.' A good synonym for weightiness is 'substance' (the opposite of hollow), or massiveness. Important synonyms for glory used in scripture for this same root word are: glory, honor, glorious, abundance, splendor, dignity, reputation.
Theologians categorize God's attribute of Glory as a 'summary attribute' (meaning that this word embodies All of God's Nature - sort of like "love God and love others" summarizes God's law for us (and of course, brings Glory to God!!)).
So when we think of God's glory, we need to do whatever we can to appreciate the sheer massiveness of this attribute of God, to look for it in all of Scripture, and pray that God's Spirit in us would guide us in bringing more and more Glory to Him in every aspect of our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Attributes of God - Light
God is Light.
Stars are Amazing. Astronomers estimate that there are about 10 billion galaxies in the observable universe, each containing on average 100 billion stars, which means there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe! They are massive, dynamic and beautiful. And we depend 100% on one star in particular (our sun) in providing heat, light and food for the ENTIRE planet.
Yet to God, the stars are mere candles compared to the greater LIGHT which He introduced on day 1 of creation. Throughout Scripture, God uses the Hebrew word 'ֹאור' (pronounced 'ōre' and means 'light' or 'shine') and the Greek translation of the same word 'φῶς' (pronounced 'phōs') to represent God's light. God's very first act in preparing the universe for habitation was His command to 'let there be light' thereby establishing it as HIS dominion It wasn't until the 4th day that God created the sun and the moon by which he describes as the Hebrew word ('mä·ōre'), which literally means candle light!
Check out the following verses, which use these two words (ōre and phōs) to represent God’s Dominion, Presence, Protection, Provision, Favor and ultimately His Kingdom.
And as you might expect, it starts with God, ends with God, and ALL hinges on Jesus, the Living Word who is the light of the world, to restore us into the unquenchable light of the Father.
Gen 1:3-5; Exodus 13:21-22; John 1:1; John 8:12
God's Provision,Protection and Favor:
Exodus 10:22-23; Psalm 36:9; Numbers 6: 22-27; Psalm 4:6 and 80:3,7,19
Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:16-17; Colossians 1:13-14; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 21:22-25; Revelation 22:3-5
In chapter 1, verse 1 of Genesis. We learned of one of God's names - Elohim, a plural form of the word God. In Chapter 2, God introduces us to His personal name - 'YAWEH.' (also translated 'YEHOVAH'). And it shouldn't be a surprise that we learn of God's personal name in the same chapter that details the creation of humans with whom He planned to have a personal relationship! God put Adam and Eve in the Garden and hung out with them. This is a foreshadowing of what God intends for eternity for those who put their faith in Jesus!
In Exodus 3 God informs Moses what His name means. And even later, Jesus explicitly claims the same name much to the chagrin of the Jewish leaders of the day! So we'll have many opportunities to study and contemplate the weightiness and amazingness of God's Personal Name, YAHWEH!
Note Regarding Various English Translations: The ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (small caps). An exception to this is when the Hebrew word adonay appears together with YHWH, in which case the two words are rendered together as “the Lord [in lower case] God [in small capitals]." The NIV always renders YHWH as Lord (small caps). Thus when adonay appears together with YHWH, NIV renders the phrase 'Sovereign Lord'. The KJV usually renders YHWH as Lord, but with adonay renders the phrase 'Lord GOD(all caps).'
God's Relationship with Man - Image bearer
God created Adam and Eve very differently than how he created all other living organisms. First, rather than simply speaking them into existence, He lovingly and tenderly created them by His own hand and breath. Second, and far more profound, He created them both Adam and Eve, in His own image. That means that individually EVERY person on earth is an image-bearer of Creator God.
But He also created man and woman to be a matched set who COMPLETE one another! Notice in Genesis 1:26, God emphasizes His plurality when He proclaims "Let Us make man in our image, in our likeness." In Scripture, as God reveals Himself as a Trinitarian God, we see that each person of the Godhead complements the other. In the same way, God created man and woman to complement each other; hence two persons 1 flesh! (Genesis 2:24)
This is not to say that God commands all men and women to get married; we all are image-bearers. However it is a clear and undeniable indicator of the importance God places on marriage between one man and one woman!
Here is a good link to a short description of Godly Marriage looks like from gotquestions.org:
God created space and time which we experience as the physical world/universe that we can interact with. Note however, in Genesis 1:5 that 'day' is not a thing, it is a name. The Hebrew word 'yôm' is the name given to light, that God established, and made separate from the darkness (which God named 'laylâ' or night) in His first act of creation.
The word yôm is also the common name for a physical day, and thus is the standard unit for marking time. However 'Day' bears far deeper Spiritual meaning, being directly tied to God's light as opposed to physical light (see Lesson 1 devotional 'God is light' for further details), and therefore beyond time.
In context of , God specifically intertwines the physical and Spiritual significance of time, making it clear that HE is Lord of the 24-hour day. In Genesis 1, He affirms day and night as a standard measurement of time, and reaffirms it in Genesis 8:22 in His promise that the pattern of time He created will continue as long as the earth endures. This promise made in Genesis 8 may be the 'covenant with time' that Jeremiah refers to in Jer. 33:19-26.
In Gen. 2:1-5, God also affirms that He is Lord of the seven-day rhythm of time. Note that His finished work happened in the span of six days. These days are not given specific names, only numbers 1-6 which lead to the 7th which God establishes as a day of rest (sabbath) unto Him.
As we continue in the Story God, we'll see how He utilizes the progression of days, weeks and months to establish His calendar meant to help draw us closer to Him, and we should be careful to be aware of the patterns in time that God gave us as long as physical time exists (see Zech. 14-7, and Revelation 22:1-5).
Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil Craft
Consider putting it up before and ask the kids to think of some of the things they are tempted to do and put them on the tree?),
then afterwards cut out a cross and put it over them all
Why were BOTH Cain and Abel making offerings to God? Because BOTH Cain and Abel had a heart condition called sin that they inherited from their father Adam. God's acceptance of Abel's offering, is NOT because Abel was sinlessness; Scripture is Absolutely clear, that ALL people sin, and therefore NEED to make things right with their Righteous Creator, and Abel was no exception!
Sin literally means "miss." Any deviation from God's Perfect Moral Law is an act of sin.
IN FACT, we don't actually know why God accepted Abel's gift. The Bible only tells us that God showed FAVOR (grace) to Abel! It alludes to the there being a difference between the two offerings, but all we know for sure is that God told Cain that doing what is right is what makes one acceptable before God. We conclude that though Abel wasn't righteous in his own strength, God chose to accept Abel's offering as a righteous act. As the Story of God unfolds, scripture clarifies that true righteousness is evidenced by a submitted heart wholly conformed to God's Perfect Moral Law in act, attitude and nature which can only come through a heart change offered through the Cleansing Blood of Jesus - the ultimate and final sacrifice.
As a follow-up with the bigs, could ask them to think about the parallels/contrasts between the two stories? Who needed to be rescued? How were they rescued? etc...
Theological Themes For Further Study:
Attributes of God - Sovereignty, Part 1 - Altars
The first reference to any form of altar is Genesis 4, where Cain and Abel were making offerings to God. Though the Bible doesn't explicitly state, these offerings were likely presented to God on an altar.
An altar is any structure that is used to present sacrifices and offerings in a religious ceremony. Scripture is clear that Altars unto the Lord serve two purposes: First and foremost, altars are an act of worship; a physical way to proclaim God as Sovereign Lord. Altars also act as physical monuments to God in sacred places.
In the Mosaic Law, altars are central to worshiping God in His Temple. But they were also highly significant prior to the formal presentation of the Law, as God was building His chosen people Israel. Read the following verses to see how altars represented both reverent worship and memorial to God prior to the Exodus:
Gen 12:7; Gen 12:8; Gen 13:18; Gen 13:4;Gen 22:9; Gen 26:25; Gen 33:20; Gen 35:1; Gen 35:3; Gen 35:7; Gen 8:20
Covenants of God - Noahic Covenant
The word 'covenant' means a formal, binding agreement between two parties. In the broad sense, a covenant may be formed between two people (marriage (Malachi 2:14), friendship treaties (Ge. 32:44, etc)), or two people groups (for example between strong and weak nations (Ex. 23:32; Jer. 34:8; 1 Kings 20:34; Hos. 12:1)).
But the most common use of the word covenant in Scripture in in reference to promises God made with human parties. Many (myself included) believe that the promises God made with Adam before and after the fall represent Covenants, even though the word covenant isn't expressly used in the text. Before the fall, God promised a consequence (death) for disobeying His instruction not to eat from the tree of good and evil. After the fall, God promised curses as the result of sin and ALSO a future salvation from sin.
Genesis 8 and 9 record the covenant God made between himself and Noah. Through this covenant, God made a promise to all of humanity that He would never again destroy all life on earth with a Flood, and gave the rainbow as the sign of the covenant.
We will discuss each of the covenants God made with His people in the process of establishing a Kingdom of Priests chosen to represent Him on Earth, culminating in (spoiler alert) the Messianic Covenant which you can preview in the following passages:
Isaiah 59; Jeremicah 31, Ezera 36,37 and Hebrews 8-10
Doctrine - Original Sin, Part 2
Sin spread quickly. This is a picture of hearts that don't know God.
(it would add an extra layer and make the lesson stick more if you gave the instructions in another language (or babbel) ;) first and then in English... the kids could see how much harder it is when they don't understand)
In the previous lesson, we learned first of all, right after Noah and his family did after disembarked and set foot on dry land, Noah built an altar unto the Lord. Altars, and the offerings that go on them, are physical symbols for worshiping God and professing/confessing His position as Lord over all - particularly our own lives.
Second of all we learned that though God sent a flood to wipe out nearly all of humanity, it was not enough to wipe out sin because the curse of original sin lived on through Noah's family. God affirms this in Genesis 8 when He promises not to curse the ground ever again because of man "even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood." God knew that the battle between light and darkness was not yet over.
We are fundamentally worshipers; we can't NOT worship someone or something. The stark reality is that if we're not worshiping God Almighty, then we are worshiping SELF; sin and brokenness make us bent towards wanting to be the boss of our own lives. The focus of our worship may be anything other than God - whether it's false gods or personal pursuits (money, fame, power etc), but the seat of of the worship is our own hearts desiring to make ourselves more important than God.
And that is exactly what we see in this account of the Tower of Babel. Men were so impressed with themselves, that they abandoned God's instruction and began doing what they wanted to do. And the tower is a form of an altar that they built unto themselves! It was to be a physical memorial to man's greatness instead of God's! This is only a start of the theme of humanity replacing God's right position as Lord with something other than God. This is called idolatry, and here is what Scripture has to say about that:
1Sa 15:23; Eze 23:49; 1Co 10:14; Gal 5:20; Col 3:5; 1Pe 4:3
The Covenant God made with Abraham is the next MAJOR covenant with humans. Like the Noahic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant is a promise that will affect the whole world. Unlike the Noahic Coveant, which was concisely laid out in one meeting between God and Noah, the Abrahamic Covenant had many promises/dimensions that came about through multiple meetings with God. The actual formal declaration of God's Covenant with Abrahm occurs in Genesis 15, but the promise made at the first meeting recorded in Genesis 12 is the most important and profound: God promised to bless Abram to be a blessing to the whole world! And in this God was alluding to a Salvation Plan that would be for ALL NATIONS!
Read the following verses in Genesis to see the FULL Covenant in all of it's dimensions:
Gen. 12:1-3 - The Call of Abram
Gen. 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:18-21 - Geographical scope of the promise
Gen. 15:1-17 - The formal Covenant established
Gen. 17:1-14 - The sign of the Covenant
Gen. 18:17-19 - Man's response to the Covenant - 'doing what is right and just'
Gen. 22:15-18 - God gave Abram an important role to play through all of it: FAITH!
An explosion of Theological Themes emerged in the life and times of Abraham.
First, we are introduced to 6 new names of God each with nuances that provide insight into His communicable and incommunicable attributes these names show up in the following Scriptures, and most are prevalent in the rest of the Old Testament:
Gen. 14:18 - El Elyon (The Most High God)
Adonai (Lord, Master, Almighty, Sovereign)
El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty) Attributes: Omnipresence, and omnipotence
El Roi [el-roh-ee] (God who Sees) (unique, in that this name was conferred by a gentile woman (Hagar) who gave birth to a son named Ishmael (meaning God who hears) Attributes: Immanence, Goodness, Love, Mercy
El Olam (The Everlasting God) Attributes: Immutability, Aseity
Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide) Attributes: Wrath, righteousness, Mercy, Love etc (THE GOOD NEWS)
Second, the Biblical places are exploding! We go from a few named places (Eden, Mt. Arorat, Babel etc) to whole civilizations replete with Kings and wars!
Mix in with that, the first Theophany (Gen 18), another full blown display of God's wrath (Gen 19), and the birthing of two major people groups (Israel and Arab nations through Isaac and Ismael) (Gen. 21) ...
.. We've got a lot of Theological ground to cover!
As a starting point, here are lists of Scripture in which Names of God introduced in Abraham's lifetime occur elsewhere in Scripture. I've found it to be a great way to pray to God by His different names, and praise Him for the attributes each name points to!
In regard to God's relationship with man, this is perhaps the single most important name, in regard to the hope that we have in God.
First however, it is infinitely important that we understand that the name YHWH Yireh, which means "the LORD will provide" applies to provision in the SPIRITUAL, not the physical sense. While the Bible does teach us how we depend on God for our physical needs, and and he is faithful in providing, the Name YHWH Yireh tells us He is faithful in providing for our deepest need - to be rescued from death by providing a substitutionary atonement!
In the account of Abraham's test of faith, God affirms that the life of every person is in His Hands. He further affirms the central importance of blood sacrifice as the ONLY means of cleansing us from sin. And most important of all, God's name - YHWH Yireh - (which is used NO WHERE ELSE in Scripture). Is a GOLDEN promise that His Love for His People is SO great that HE will PROVIDE the blood sacrifice to cleanse us from the penalty sin, thus restoring relationship with Father God.
Here are some key verses that shed light on the profound importance of God's name - YHWH Yireh - in providing what we NEED MOST.
Read the following verses to better understand the centrality of blood sacrifice for the atonment of sin:
Consider the multiple theophanies that occurred during Abrahm's life. The word theophany literally means 'God appears' (either visibly or audibly). And in Abraham's lifetime, there are no fewer than 5 specific Theophanies, with the last one occurring on Mount Moriah (which by the way is the future site of Solomon's Temple). A key phrase that alerts us to a theophany in the Old Testament is 'The angel of the LORD' (as compared to 'an angel of the LORD'). There is not universal consensus on how many physical appearances God made prior to His incarnation as Baby Jesus, but usually the context in Scripture gives it away.
Theophanies in Abraham's life:
Check out Blue Letter Bibe to see the full list of occurences of the phrase 'The angel of the LORD'
Though God is far bigger and above our thoughts and minds (transcendent) than we can ever know or imagine, that does not mean He is not detached or dissociated from us. Quite the opposite actually! The Bible teaches quite clearly that God is immanent in His creation. He is active in the world AND in our daily lives, and CARES about His Creation for HIS GLORY. In Genesis 21, we read that God's presence and direction in Abraham's life was evident to Abimilech when he proclaimed “God is with you in all that you do."
And in this story of Isaac and Rebecca, God's leading obvious to the point of causing Abraham's servant to pray a prayer of praise worship to the LORD proclaiming God's kindness, faithfulness and direction in leading the servant on the mission set forth for him.
Read the following Psalms with an ear for the ways God is immanent in His creation:
In a room not set up with chairs, choose various kids to act out v. 3-11 and 23-28 in an abbreviated way and then "interview" them and ask them how they would feel if they were Joseph or the brothers, Jacob etc... and ask them if they thought God had a plan in the middle of it all.
Preview next week a little and bring it back to the gospel to say that God was going to preserve his people (and Jesus) by feeding them and that was through Joseph. There are strong parallels with Jesus- abused by his own people, but God had a plan!