This section provides Bible stories with the theme of faithfulness, along with questions that can be used as a guide for family discussions. Choose one that is most appropriate for your children. Before reading aloud, take a few minutes to review the story. If the Bible passage is too complex for your kids, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”
Before beginning the questions for discussion, explain the history of David’s friendship with Jonathan: Saul was the King of Israel. Unfortunately, Saul was not a king who pleased God, so God chose to give the honour of being the king to David (1 Samuel 15,16), a young man who worked for King Saul. David spent a lot time in the palace and became very good friends with Saul’s son Jonathan. After some time, King Saul became so jealous of David that he wanted to kill him. Even so, Jonathan remained David’s best friend.
Reading about the friendship between Jonathan and David shows us that true friends are faithful to each other even in difficult circumstances. Being a faithful friend means you are willing to give up your own valuable things for your friend. Jonathan gave up some of his physical possessions to David as well as his position as the next king of Israel. Jonathan also risked his life to defend David. Faithfulness means sticking by another person through hard times, not just in the easy times.
Read Matthew 23:23-26.
Note: You may choose to read a longer version of this story including Matthew 23:15-33.
Jesus was upset with the Pharisees because, on the outside, they made themselves look pretty good. They gave the required tenth of their spices and appeared to be righteous, but they did not have the proper attitude in their hearts. They did not practice justice, mercy or faithfulness. Instead, their hearts were full of self-indulgence, greed, hypocrisy and wickedness. To put this in kids’ terms, God wouldn’t care a lot about the money we put in the offering at Sunday School if we were not showing justice (being fair, taking turns), mercy (compassion for others who are not as fortunate) and being faithful (loyal to God and friends). Being faithful means that our actions match our words (1 John 3:18).
Read Ezekiel 48:10-12.
God was not happy with the priests who served sacrifices to idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin. There was also a group of priests called the Zadokites who faithfully served God even when the other priests led Israel astray. God decided He would no longer allow the other priests to come near Him to serve in the holy parts of the temple. He gave this job to the Zadokites. The other priests were allowed to do all the other work in the temple, except come into God’s presence or be near any of His holy things. God rewards those who are faithful by giving them privileges and honour. He is disappointed and angry with those who are unfaithful and disciplines them.
Read Esther 2:21-23, 6:1-11 and 7:10.
Mordecai was sitting by the king’s gate when he overheard two of the king’s officers who were the guards of his doorway, discussing how angry they were at King Xerxes. They were so angry with him that they made plans to kill him.
Mordecai overheard the plan and told Queen Esther about it. She reported to the king the plan made by the unfaithful guards and told him that Mordecai had given her the information. The king had the report investigated, and when he found out that it was true, he had the two unfaithful guards hanged on a gallows. All of this was recorded in the book of history kept for King Xerxes.
Much later, when the king could not sleep one night, he had someone read from the record book. They read him the story of how Mordecai saved his life by exposing the assassination plan made by the two unfaithful guards. The king then asked what kind of reward had been given to Mordecai. When he found out that nothing had been done, King Xerxes asked his helper, Haman, what should be done for a man whom the king wanted to honour. Haman thought the king wanted to honour him, so he suggested the man should get to wear one of the king’s royal robes and ride on a horse that the king had ridden with a royal crest on its head. Then, he suggested that one of the king’s nobles lead the horse around the city saying, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour.” In the end, Mordecai was honoured and rewarded for being faithful, and Haman was punished for his unfaithfulness (Esther 6:11, Esther 7:10).
Note: These passages can be studied individually or together.
David: Read 1 Samuel 26:21-25 and 1 Kings 3:6.
Hezekiah: Read 2 Chronicles 31:20-21.
Abraham: Read Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19.
And for us!: Read Psalm 18:23-26 and Psalm 37:28-29.
God honours those who are faithful! We are faithful to God when we obey His commandments and chose to do what is right. God shows His faithfulness to those who are faithful by protecting them. We can look at the way God cared for the faithful men and women of the Bible and trust that He will care for us, too.
David: David did not kill Saul, the man God placed as king over Israel, even though Saul was trying to kill him. God rewarded David’s faithfulness by allowing David to be king of Israel and his son Solomon to be crowned king after him.
Hezekiah: Hezekiah was faithful to follow God’s commands. He removed idols and reopened the temple. The Bible says he trusted God. Hezekiah’s faithfulness was rewarded through God giving him victory in battle and adding fifteen extra years to his life.
Abraham: Abraham was faithful because he followed God’s directions to go to a far away and unknown land. Abraham also believed God would give him a son, even though he and his wife were very old. God rewarded Abraham’s faithfulness by making his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.
Read Psalm 78:1-8 quietly. Precede the reading by saying, “I have a special secret to share with you. It is a special secret that parents shared with their children way back in the days of the Bible. For years and years, parents have shared this special message with their children. Would you like to hear it, too?”)
God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. He is faithful to us and we can always trust Him.
As parents, we are faithful to do what we say we will do so that you, our children, can trust us. In turn, we expect you, our children, to be faithful children – doing what you say you will do, so we can trust you, too.
Read Psalm 98.
God shows His faithfulness to us by loving us, caring for us and offering us salvation. He is worthy of our praise. Other verses about God and His faithfulness include Exodus 34:6, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 89:8, Psalm 111:7-8, Psalm 117:2 and Psalm 146:6-10.
Read Matthew 25:14-30.
God has given us talents and resources. We need to use them in a way that is pleasing to Him. He is pleased when we are willing to use our talents and abilities to bring honour to Him. One way to honour God with our talents is to make sure that whenever someone compliments our special abilities, is to give the honour to God by saying, “Thank you. God has made me with ________” (“strong legs,” if someone compliments your running ability; “a creative mind,” if someone compliments your creative writing or drawing, etc.). This way, we bring honour to God instead of ourselves.