Bible stories

The Bible provides many stories that illustrate how much God values obedience. Choose one of the stories below, as appropriate for your child. If you wish, you may use the accompanying questions to help your child internalize the truths from the passage.

If the Bible passage is too complex for your child, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.” 

Adam and Eve tangle with a snake

Read Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did God ask Adam and Eve not to do?
  2. What did they do?
  3. What did God do when Adam and Eve disobeyed Him?
  4. What are some things Mommy and Daddy ask you to do?
  5. Do you always obey?
  6. Do you think God is happy when you disobey?
  7. What do you think God would want Mommy and Daddy to do when you disobey?
Key concepts

God gave Adam and Eve a wonderful garden, filled with many fruit trees. He told Adam and Eve that they could eat any fruit they wished except for the fruit of one tree – the tree in the middle of the garden. But Satan wanted Adam and Eve to disobey God. One day, Satan convinced Eve to try the “forbidden” fruit, and Adam ate some, too. Instead of doing what God asked them to do, they did what Satan wanted them to do.

Adam and Eve felt very badly after they had disobeyed, but God had to discipline them anyway. He had to send them out of the beautiful garden. Just as God disciplined Adam and Eve, He expects parents to discipline their children to help them learn to obey.

Abraham obeys when it is difficult

Read Genesis 12.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did God ask Abraham to do?
  2. Did he go?
  3. Because Abraham obeyed, what did God promise to do for him?
  4. Do Mommy and Daddy ask you to do things that are hard for you to do?
  5. What do you think your parents will do for you when you obey?
Key concepts

God asked Abraham to take his family and move to an unknown country. Abraham followed God’s instructions, even though it was hard. Because Abraham obeyed, God promised to make Abraham into a great nation, and He did.

God rewards obedience generously! You can also expect that we, as your parents, will reward you when you are obedient.

A disobedient wife

Read Genesis 19:15-29 and 2 Peter 2:4-10.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did the angels instruct Lot and his family to do?
  2. What did Lot’s wife do?
  3. After Lot’s wife disobeyed, what happened to her?
  4. If Mom and Dad tell you not to peek inside a gift, is it hard or easy to obey?
  5. If Mom and Dad tell you to ________, is it easy to obey?
  6. What does it mean to “despise authority”?
  7. What does God say about those who ignore instructions?
  8. What do you think God wants us, your parents, to do if you do not obey?
Key concepts

Lot tried to honour God in everything he did and to live how God wanted him to. But Lot and his family lived in a city filled with very wicked people. Two angels came and told Lot to take his family and hurry out of the city, and not to look back, as God was about to destroy the city.

Lot’s wife disobeyed the instructions given by the angels and looked behind her as they were fleeing the city. God dealt with her disobedience severely, turning her into a pillar of salt.

Just as obedience is very important to God, obedience is very important in our family. God warns that there will be punishment for those who “despise authority,” and protection for those who are righteous (2 Peter 2:4-10).

Jonah learns to obey the hard way

Read Jonah 1-2.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did God ask Jonah to do?
  2. What did Jonah do instead?
  3. What happened to Jonah when he tried to run away from God?
  4. Do you feel like running away and hiding when Mom or Dad ask you to do something?
  5. What would God want you to do?
  6. Do you think God would send you into the belly of a whale for a time out?
Key concepts

God gave Jonah a job to do. He wanted Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and warn them that God was planning to discipline all the people there because of their evil behaviour. But instead of doing what God asked, Jonah ran away. He joined some sailors on a boat headed for Tarshish.

God knew where Jonah was and chose to discipline him. When God sent a frightening storm, Jonah realized the storm was his fault. Jonah told the sailors to throw him overboard to save their own lives.

Instead of letting Jonah drown, God sent a big fish to swallow him. Jonah spent three days and nights the belly of the fish, which was like having a long “time out” in a very smelly place!

When Jonah was in the fish, he prayed and told God that he was sorry for not obeying. God let Jonah out of the fish, giving him another chance. This time Jonah was ready to obey God. He went and told the people of Nineveh that God wanted them to stop doing wrong.

Moses obeys, but only halfway

Read Numbers 20:2-13.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever been asked to put away your toys, but you only put away a few?
  2. Have you ever washed your hands, as you were asked, but didn’t use any soap?
  3. Can you think of other times when you didn’t do exactly as you were told?
  4. Were your parents happy or unhappy when they found out?
  5. Do you think that obeying only part-way is a sin?
  6. What did God ask Moses to do?
  7. What did Moses do instead?
  8. Did this make God happy?
  9. What did God do?
  10. Do you think God is pleased when parents discipline their children when they don’t obey?
Key concepts

Moses was a good leader and most of the time he did exactly what God asked him to do. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert, just as God had instructed him.

Unfortunately, when they got to the Desert of Zin, the people started to complain that there was no good food and no water to drink. Moses and Aaron prayed and asked God what to do. God promised Moses that if he gathered the people together and spoke to the rock, God would make water pour from the rock for the people to drink.

Moses did gather the people together, but instead of speaking to the rock, Moses hit it twice with his staff. Water did pour out, but God was very displeased, as Moses did not obey His instructions completely. For this reason, God did not allow Moses and Aaron to take the Israelites into The Promised Land. This was a major discipline for Moses and Aaron, who had looked forward to seeing The Promised Land for forty years.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego obey when it is hard

Read Daniel 3.

Questions for discussion
  1. Is it always easy to obey?
  2. Do you think it was easy for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey God?
  3. How did God take care of them?
  4. How did God reward their obedience?
  5. Can you think of a time when you had to choose to be different from others because you were obeying your Mom or Dad?
Key concepts

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lived in Babylon, which was ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king ordered everyone to bow down to a golden statue. He even made a law saying that anyone who did not bow down to the statue would be thrown into a fiery furnace.

But Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the statue. They chose to obey God’s rule regarding idols, which says, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Deuteronomy 5:8-9). Even though they knew that they might die, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego still chose to obey God rather than the king. God rewarded their obedience by protecting them when they were thrown into a furnace full of fire.

When the king saw how God had protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he told all of the other people to honour the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were also given a promotion in their workplace.

At times, you will find it hard to obey because obeying may mean that someone will make fun of you or that you will have to choose to be different from others. At these times, remember that God is always watching over you and will always care for you.

Noah obeys a strange request

Read Genesis 6:9-7:11.

Questions for discussion
  1. Do you think it was easy for Noah to obey?
  2. What do you think the people who were watching Noah build the ark said?
  3. What would have happened if Noah hadn’t obeyed God?
  4. How did God reward Noah’s obedience?
  5. What are some things that your parents ask you to do that seem strange? (You may wish to use some of the examples below. Use the accompanying questions to prompt further discussion.)

Parent: “Don’t drink that blue stuff in the bottle in the garage.”
Child: “But it looks like Kool-Aid.”
Parent: “That could be antifreeze in the bottle. What do you think would happen if you drank antifreeze chemicals?”

Parent: “Always get off your bike to cross the road.”
Child: “But it’s such a bother to walk my bike across the road. The cars always stop for me anyway.”
Parent: “What could happen if a car didn’t have time to stop?”

Parent: “Don’t touch the candle, please.”
Child: “The flickering flame looks so interesting. I want to touch it.”
Parent: “What would happen if you did touch it?”

Parent: “Make sure you don’t eat that green bar.”
Child: “But it looks just like the candy that Joey had. Why can’t I try it?”
Parent: “The green bar could be mouse poison. What do you think would happen if you ate mouse poison?”

Key concepts

God asked Noah to do a strange job. He asked him to build a boat when there wasn’t even a lake or an ocean around. God told Noah that He was going to flood the whole earth with water. The boat that God asked him to build was to be huge! It was to be large enough to hold Noah and his family and also some of each kind of animal that lived on the earth. It may have seemed like a strange request from God, but Noah obeyed.

Sometimes we (your parents) ask you to do things you don’t understand, such as “Don’t touch that,” or “Don’t play over there,” and you wonder why you have to obey. Even though the requests seem strange, it is still very important for you to obey your parents’ instructions. Disobeying can be the difference between life and death.

Jesus’ friends

Read 1 John 2:3-6.

Questions for discussion
  1. How will others know that we love God?
  2. What do you think Jesus did when His parents asked Him to brush His hair?
  3. What do you think Jesus did when His parents asked Him to pick up His toys?
  4. What do you think Jesus did when His parents asked Him to leave His brother/sister alone?
  5. What do you think Jesus did when His parents asked Him to be quiet while they were talking?

Create additional questions similar to these, focusing on areas where your children struggle with obedience.

Key concepts

The Bible tells us that we show our love for God by obeying His commands (1 John 5:3, John 14:23). Jesus considered His purpose here on earth “to do His Father’s work” (John 6:38). One of God’s commands is for children to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1, Colossians 3:20). Just as God was pleased with Jesus for doing His will, God is also pleased with children who follow His instructions, obeying Him and their parents.

Extreme obedience

Read 2 Kings 18:1-12.

Questions for discussion
  1. How old was Hezekiah when he became king?
  2. Does being young excuse us from being obedient?
  3. How did God bless Hezekiah’s obedience?
  4. What happened to King Hoshea and the Israelites when they were disobedient?
  5. What had they done?
  6. Has it ever seemed to you that your parents are not giving you anything good or that they are taking away too many of your treats or privileges?
  7. Do you think your parents follow God’s example by rewarding obedience and punishing disobedience?
  8. Do you think your parents would rather give you good things, or punish you?
  9. What do you need to do when your parents give you instructions?
Key concepts

Hezekiah was a young man when he became king of Judah. He loved God, and obeyed all God’s commands. Because he loved God, God made sure that Hezekiah succeeded in everything that he did.

God told the Israelites many times that if they followed His commands, He would give them many good things to enjoy. He promises to reward obedience with great blessing, including protection, guidance, honour, answered prayer, joy, long life and prosperity (Deuteronomy 5:32-33, 8:1, 26:16-19, 28:1-14, Psalm 119:1-2, Proverbs 3:1-2, and 33, 4:10-13, 10:28, 15:9, Isaiah 1:19-20, James 5:16, 1 Peter 3:12, 1 John 3:21-22). God also gave the Israelites many warnings about the hardship and disaster they would suffer if they chose not to obey His instructions (Deuteronomy 28:15-20). God is always faithful to do as He promises.

God gets mad!

Prior to reading this story, review some of God’s instructions and warnings given in Deuteronomy 28 with your children, emphasizing that God promised blessings for obedience and hardship and disaster for disobedience. 

Read Judges 2:6-23.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did the Israelites do to make God mad?
  2. What did God do then?
  3. What did God do to try to get the Israelites to listen?
  4. Did the Israelites listen to the judges?
  5. When you disobey again and again, what do your parents do?
  6. Do you think God is happy when you are stubborn and refuse to obey your parents?
  7. What can you do to please God?
  8. Would you like to ask God to help you obey us (your parents)?
Key concepts

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites continually tried God’s patience by disobeying His commands and worshipping foreign gods. Even though He disciplined them again and again, still they chose to disobey. He sent judges (leaders) to speak to the people and guide them in doing what was right, but the Israelites continued to disobey.

Finally, God got very angry and decided to quit clearing the foreign people out of the land He had given the Israelites. Instead, God chose to leave the foreign nations there to test Israel to see if they would choose to follow God or not.

We (your parents) get angry too, when our children disobey over and over again. God disciplined the Israelites as He thought best for them. As your parents, we will discipline you with God’s guidance. The good news is that God will help you obey us (your parents) if you ask Him to.

A sullen and disobedient king

Read Deuteronomy 20:16-18 and 1 Kings 20:26-43.

Questions for discussion
  1. What were the instructions God gave to King Ahab?
  2. What do you do when your parents discipline you and you think you don’t deserve it?
  3. What did King Ahab do?
  4. Did he deserve to be punished?
Key concepts

God went with the Israelites into battle and promised to fight for them and give them victory. He did this to show other nations that He is the Lord. His plan was to have Israel clear all of the foreign nations out of the land that He had promised them as a gift. King Ahab chose to let the king of the Arameans (Ben Hadad) stay alive, rather than putting him to death as God had commanded. God sent Elijah to show Ahab how unhappy He was with what Ahab had done. Ahab became sullen and angry because he didn’t like his discipline.