Fire power

Science with a twist

Let your children examine the flame from a candle (with close supervision) and talk about a time when God used fire to punish sin.

Discussion point: God takes sin very seriously.

For this activity, you will need six candles and a lighter.

Before lighting each candle, read aloud one of these fire safety rules:

  1. Fire is a tool, not a toy! Never play with fire, matches or lighters.
  2. Matches, stoves, lighters and lanterns are to be used by adults, not kids! Never use these tools unless you have your parent’s permission and supervision.
  3. Stay away from anything hot! Never run, play or fool around near a fire or a hot stove.
  4. Never light a candle, strike a match or start a fire without your parent’s permission and supervision.
  5. The fire department is for your safety, not for fun. Never call in a false alarm.
  6. If your clothes catch on fire, do not run! Instead stop, drop, and roll to put out or “smother” the flames.

Give your children time to sit and admire the beauty of the candle flames. With careful supervision, allow those who are interested to put a finger near a flame to feel the intensity of the heat. Depending on the interest level of your children, share some information about heat and combustion.

Next, read the story of Nadab and Abihu from Leviticus 10:1-5, a miraculous story of God’s “fire power,” then use the questions here to prompt discussion.

Questions for discussion
  • Would you ever put your finger all the way into the flame? Why not?
  • What things can you think of that burn hotter than a candle?
  • What can fire be useful for?
  • Did you know that the sun is a big ball of fire?
  • Who made the sun?
  • What did Nadab and Abihu do wrong?
  • Why do you think God punished Nadab and Abihu so severely?
  • Why do I often remind you not to play with fire?
  • What are some ways fire is helpful?
  • When is fire scary?
Key concepts

Fire can be safe, beautiful and helpful if it’s used carefully, but if it gets out of control it can be scary and harmful.  The flame from a candle is hot enough to really hurt a person. Campfires and barbecues are even hotter. The sun is hotter yet, but God is even more powerful than the heat from the sun.

In the story of Nadab and Abihu we learned about two men who did not revere or obey God. They were both priests, and as God’s priests, they were supposed to set an example for the people by being very respectful of God. But instead they insisted on offering incense to God, even though God had said only their father, Aaron, was allowed to do that job. As Nadab and Abihu rebelliously lit their incense, fire from the presence of God came down from heaven and killed them.

This story might make someone think that God is like a fireball in the sky, looking for bad people to burn up. But that’s not what God is like at all. God doesn’t want to hurt people. He is slow to get angry; He is loving and He is willing to forgive sin (Psalm 103:8-13, 2 Peter 3:9). However, stories like this help remind us that God is very powerful and He is very serious when He says we should keep sin out of our lives.

The Bible tells us that God will bless and care for those who love and obey Him (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). His commands are like “life safety rules.”

In closing, invite your children to list some sins that disappoint and anger God. Extinguish a candle each time one is shared. Pray this prayer together, or a similar one:

Dear God, You are patient with us and slow to get angry. We are thankful that You don’t pay us back for the wrong things we do. Instead You pour tons of love on us and forgive us. The sky is far, far away from the earth and we thank you for taking our sins that far away. We want to learn to live in a way that honours You. Please teach us to obey and respect You and to love You lots and lots! Amen.

Relevant Scripture

Deuteronomy 4:35-36,39-40 “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might discipline you. And on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. . . . know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep His statutes and His commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.