Bible stories

The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of hearing and obeying God and others. Use the following Bible verses and questions to help your children understand how the truths in each reading apply to them.

If the Bible verses are too complex for your children, paraphrase them yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”

Listening to parents and wise teachers

Read Proverbs 4:1, 5-6, 20-22.

Questions for discussion
  1. If a baby were born deaf, do you think that he/she could learn to talk?
  2. How can you learn about God?
  3. Why should children listen to their parents?
Key concepts

Children can learn about God through listening to their parents. The Bible says that learning about God and His Word is as important as life and health. God’s Word also says that when children listen to their parents, they gain wisdom. This wisdom will protect you and help you stay out of trouble.

Mary and Martha learn from Jesus

Read Luke 10:38-41.

Questions for discussion
  1. Who did Jesus say “chose what was best”?
  2. What did Martha do wrong?
  3. What things make us too busy to listen to Jesus?
  4. Other than being too busy, what else can distract us from listening to God or others?
Key concepts

Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to what He had to say. She valued His teaching and focused her attention on spiritual things – listening to what Jesus was saying. But her sister Martha was preoccupied with all the things she had to do – getting the meal ready and the house clean. She asked Jesus to send Mary to help her. But Jesus said that listening to Him was more important than all the other things Martha wanted to get done. Just like Martha, we can become too busy with day-to-day activities to read our Bibles and listen to what God wants to teach us.

God gets mad!

Read Jeremiah 32:30-34 (verse 35 for older children only).

Questions for discussion
  1. What did the Israelites do to make God mad?
  2. What did they do instead of listening to or responding to God’s discipline?
  3. What makes your mom or dad angry with you?
  4. What can you do to let your parents know that you want to obey them?
Key concepts

The people of Israel made God mad because they refused to listen to His advice or to change their ways when He disciplined them. They set up idols and worshipped them, even though God had commanded them not to. Just as it makes your parents angry if you turn your back to them – or cover your ears or ignore them when they are trying to talk to you – it makes God angry when we choose not to listen to His commands. God is pleased when His children listen and obey, and so are your parents.

Eager listeners

Read Mark 6:30-35 and Psalm 25:12-14.

Questions for discussion
  1. How can you tell that the people were eager to listen to Jesus?
  2. Why do you think that so many people were eager to listen to Jesus?
  3. Do you think that Jesus still speaks to people? If so, how?
  4. How can Jesus tell if you are an eager listener?
  5. Who does God speak to? (See Psalm 25:12-14.)
Key concepts

The people were so eager to hear Jesus teach that they went to a very remote place to catch up with Him. The Bible says that they ran to where He was going to be. They left their toys and games and their work and food to go and hear Jesus talking.

God still speaks to people today. He speaks to people who “fear him.” To fear God means to treat Him with great honour and respect. We can show God that we honour and respect Him by putting away our toys, turning off the television and choosing to spend time talking with Him, listening to Him and reading our Bibles. God is pleased when we honour Him in this way.

Knowing the Shepherd – Jesus

Read John 10:22-30.

Prior to reading, talk with your kids about their pets, or about a friend or relative’s dog, cat or horse. Remind them that animals know their owners because they are familiar with their owner’s voice.

Questions for discussion
  1. If Mom or Dad (or Grandma or Grandpa, or another special friend) came in the front door and said, “Hello!” before you could see who was there, would you know who it was?
  2. Why do you know these people’s voices?
  3. How do animals know their owners?
  4. How can we follow Jesus?
Key concepts

Because animals know the voice of their owners, they willingly follow them. When people asked Jesus how they could know for sure if He was really from God, He said, “My sheep know My voice and they follow Me.” God knows we are His followers if we listen to Him and if we follow His commands. Just as you know ________’s voice because you have heard it often, in order to become familiar with God’s voice, we must spend time with Him.

The Transfiguration

Read Mark 9:2-13, and James 1:5.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did God tell the people to do?
  2. How did Jesus teach His disciples?
  3. How did they learn from Him?
  4. What did they do when they didn’t understand?
  5. What should we do when we don’t understand something?
Key concepts

One time, Jesus took a few of His disciples up to the top of a mountain. A cloud came down and surrounded them and God spoke to them from out of the cloud. He said, “This is My Son, whom I love. Listen to Him.”

God still wants us to listen to Jesus. We can read the stories that Jesus told to His disciples and learn from them just as His disciples did. Sometimes His disciples did not understand what He was saying and they would have to ask Him what He meant. When we don’t understand things we can ask God, because He promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5).

Samuel listens to God

Read 1 Samuel 3.

Questions for discussion
  1. Did God speak out loud to Samuel?
  2. Who did Samuel think it was?
  3. When did God speak to Samuel?
  4. When do you think God might speak to you?
Key concepts

There was once a priest named Eli. When Eli was old, a boy named Samuel came to live in the temple with him and be his helper. One night, after Eli and Samuel had gone to bed, Samuel thought he heard Eli calling his name. He ran to Eli, but Eli told Samuel he had not called him. The same thing happened two more times, then Eli realized it was God who had called Samuel’s name.

When Samuel understood that God was calling him, he told God he was listening. Then God gave Samuel an important message. When we are quiet and tell God that we are willing to listen, He will speak to us, too.

Closed ears and hard hearts

Read 2 Kings 21.

Questions for discussion
  1. How do you feel when someone doesn’t listen to you?
  2. What did the people do to make God angry?
  3. What did God say He would do as a result of the people not listening and obeying His commands?
Key concepts

God promised to care for the Israelites as long as they were careful to do everything He commanded them and to keep the whole law that He had given to Moses to give to them. One of these laws was, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Deuteronomy 5:7).

When Manasseh was king of Israel, he led the people astray. He rebuilt altars to other gods that his father had previously destroyed. He even built altars to other gods right in God’s temple. This made God angry. He was angry that the Israelites had not listened to Him and were not being careful to obey His commandments. He had no choice but to punish the Israelites for their sin (2 Kings 21:9). God said that He was going to send such disaster on them that “the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle” (2 Kings 21:12).

Open ears and soft hearts

Read 2 Kings 22-23:25.

Questions for discussion
  1. How old are you?
  2. How old was Josiah when he became king of Israel?
  3. Did he obey or disobey God?
  4. What did Josiah do when he heard the “Book of the Law” (God’s directions) read aloud?
  5. What did Josiah ask his helpers to do?
  6. Why did God decide not to punish Israel during the time that Josiah was king?
  7. What did Josiah do to lead the people in doing right?
  8. What was special about Josiah?
  9. What do you think God would say is special about you?
  10. Do you think that God would say you have a soft heart?
Key concepts

Although Josiah was very young when he became king of Israel, he chose to obey God and His commands. He was eager to please God and was very sorry when he found out that Israel had not been obeying God’s commands. He served God with all his heart and soul and strength. He destroyed all of the places where the Israelites were worshipping idols and other gods. The Bible says that neither before nor after Josiah was there a king who so wholeheartedly followed God. Josiah had a soft heart and did his very best to honour God.

Closed ears and stubborn hearts

Read Isaiah 30:1-21.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did the people do to make God angry?
  2. What did God say He would do to the people who chose not listen and obey His commands?
  3. Do your parents give you a warning before disciplining you?
  4. Does God act in the same way?
  5. If you are sorry, do your parents forgive you?
  6. What did God say He was going to do and would do?
Key concepts

God was not pleased with the people of Israel because they were being stubborn and doing their own thing instead of looking to God for direction. They were rebellious, deceitful and unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. God warned them that because of their behaviour He was going to allow their sin to ‘“shatter” their lives. The amazing thing about God is that He never gives up on us – He wants to be gracious and to show compassion. When we turn from our sinful ways and repent of our sin, God promises to give us guidance, saying “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

Joseph and Mary listen to an angel

Read Matthew 2:13-23.

Questions for discussion
  1. Why do you think parents instruct kids not to pet strange dogs?
  2. What other kinds of advice do people give you to help protect you from harm?
  3. What advice or warning did the angel give Mary and Joseph?
  4. What would have happened to them if they had not listened to the angel of the Lord?
  5. Have your parents given you advice that you would rather not obey?
  6. What could happen to you if you did not follow their advice?
Key concepts

Parents give children advice in order to protect them from harm. For example, if you listen to your parents’ advice about not eating mushrooms in the forest, you can avoid getting sick or dying from one that may be poisonous. When Jesus was very young, an angel came to Mary and Joseph and told them to leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt, or their son Jesus might be killed (Matthew 2:13). If they had not listened to the angel, they would have still been in Bethlehem when Herod sent soldiers to kill all the baby boys. Children can benefit from listening to the wise advice their parents give them, just as Mary and Joseph listened to the angel’s directions. It’s important to listen to God and to your parents.