Discernment

Bible stories

Choose one or more Bible stories that are appropriate for your children. If the Bible passage is too complex for your children, paraphrase the story yourself or use the summary provided under “key concepts.”

Wisest of the wise guys

Read 1 Kings 3:5-15 or 2 Chronicles 1:7-12.

Questions for discussion
  1. If you were granted one wish and could ask for anything in the world, what would you wish for?
  2. What did Solomon ask God for?
  3. Did this please God?
  4. What did God do for Solomon?
  5. Is there anything you want to ask God for today?
Key concepts

God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked Solomon what he would like God to give him. Solomon told God that he needed wisdom to govern God’s people, the people of Israel. God was very pleased with Solomon’s request and told him that because he had asked for wisdom and not riches or honour, that He would give him a wise and discerning heart, as well as other blessings. God said that He would give Solomon so much wisdom, wealth and honour that Solomon would be greater than any king who had lived before him.

The Bible says in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” If we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us too! God is pleased when we ask for wisdom, just as He was pleased with Solomon.

Another really wise guy

Read Daniel 2:1-46.

Questions for discussion
  1. Can you tell me what I dreamt last night?
  2. Who does know what I dreamt last night?
  3. When you’re having a hard time knowing right from wrong, who should you go to for help?
  4. Why did Daniel praise God?
  5. Who does Daniel give credit for giving him insight about the king’s dream?
Key concepts

King Nebuchadnezzar had a strange dream that worried him greatly and he wanted to know what it meant. He needed to be sure the wise men of Babylon were telling the truth about what his dream meant and not just making something up. So to make sure the wise men really did have remarkable insight, King Nebuchadnezzar would not tell them what his dream was about. He expected them to know what it was without being told.

But as it turned out, none of the wise men could tell the king what his dream was about, so they could not tell the king what it meant either. On hearing this, King Nebuchadnezzar was not at all happy with the wise men, and he issued a decree that all the wise men be killed, including Daniel and his friends.

When Daniel heard about this and learned that he and his friends would be killed too, Daniel asked King Nebuchadnezzar if he could have some time to find out what the king’s dream was and what it meant. Daniel then went to his friends and asked them to pray with him, asking that God would show Daniel what the king’s dream was and its meaning.

During the night God did show Daniel what the dream was and what it meant. When Daniel went to the king to tell him the dream and the interpretation, Daniel made it very clear that God had revealed the mystery to him. The king was amazed and said to Daniel, “Truly your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery” (Daniel 2:47).

Daniel’s story helps show how wise and powerful God is. It’s encouraging to know we can go to an all-powerful and all-knowing God for help and advice, instead of depending on our own wisdom.

Not-so-wise gals

Read Matthew 25:1-13.

Questions for discussion
  1. How do we prepare our house if a special guest is coming?
  2. How can we be ready for Jesus’ return?
  3. How would we feel if Jesus came back and walked in when we were fighting or doing something wrong?
Key concepts

Jesus told a story about a wedding banquet. He told how five young women came to the wedding well prepared by bringing lamps, plus extra oil for their lamps.

Five other young women also came to the wedding and they brought lamps full of oil too, but they didn’t bring extra oil for refilling their lamps.

The bridegroom took a long time to come and while they were waiting, the lamps burned out of oil. The young women who had brought extra oil were able to refill their lamps, but those who had not brought extra had to go and buy some more. When the bridegroom came, only the five who came prepared were able to go in to the wedding feast. The women who had not brought extra oil missed going in, because they had gone away to buy oil.

Jesus told the story of the wedding banquet to remind people to be ready for His return at any time.

For us, living here and now, we could think of the story in this way: When we go to a special show or parade we will often go early to get good seats, then spend time waiting for the show to begin. No one goes away or falls asleep, because they are eagerly awaiting the performance. When Jesus returns to earth everyone will see Him come. It will be the most exciting show ever (Matthew 24:30-31), and Jesus wants us to be ready for it.

The story about the maidens and their lamps is a good reminder that each day we need to live as though Jesus were with us every moment of the day – because He is – and He wants us to always be doing our best for Him.

Older isn’t always wiser

Note: Before you begin, share this background to Job’s story:

Job was a very godly man. He lived righteously and God blessed him with a family and with many servants to help him take care of all of his animals and property. When bad things started to happen to Job and his family, his friends began to list reasons why they thought the bad things were happening to Job. The Bible records the advice given to Job by Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. When these older men had finished speaking, Elihu asked if he could speak too (Job 32:4).

(See Job 32-37 for Elihu’s complete discourse.)

Read Job 32:4-12, Proverbs 20:11 and 1 Timothy 4:12.

Questions for discussion
  1. When did Elihu speak?
  2. Why did he wait until the others had finished talking?
  3. Who did Elihu say gives men understanding?
  4. Has a child older than you ever been unkind to you?
  5. Just because a child is older, does that mean they know more than you do about right and wrong?
Key concepts

In Job 42 we read about Elihu, who waited for the older men to finish speaking before he spoke. This shows that Elihu respected the older men, but he was not afraid to say why he did not agree with what they said. Elihu acknowledged that it was God who gives men understanding (Job 42:8). At the end of book of Job, God says the three older men had not spoken what was right, but God was not displeased with what Elihu said (Job 42:7-9). This story is an example of how younger people can be wise.

It’s easy for young children to think that “older means wiser.” We do learn more as we grow older, but just because a person has accumulated more knowledge doesn’t mean they always make wise choices. There are foolish adults and wise adults, just as there are foolish children and wise children. Children should not be pressured into doing something they think is wrong just because the person pressuring them is older or bigger.

The Bible says that young people should not let anyone look down on them because they are young. Rather, young people are to be an example to others in showing love, and in how they speak and behave (1 Timothy 4:12). Children can set good examples by being kind and loving, and by showing good manners – for example, by saying please and thank you.

Relevant Scripture

1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

Listen to the quiet voice

Read all or part of 1 Samuel 3.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have Mom or Dad ever woken you up by calling your name?
  2. What did you say when they called you?
  3. Did you know that sometimes God speaks right out loud?
  4. When you are about to do something wrong, do you sometimes feel guilty even before you do it?
Key concepts

Samuel was a boy who had a very special job. He was a helper for the priest who worked in the temple serving God. The priest who was training Samuel was named Eli.

One night while they were sleeping, Samuel kept hearing a voice calling his name. Each time Samuel went to Eli and asked if he had called. Finally Eli realized it must be God talking to Samuel, so Eli told Samuel to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel obeyed, and God spoke to him in a voice that Samuel could hear and understand. As Samuel continued to grow up, he was careful to keep listening to God and God continued to speak to him.

God still speaks to people today. Sometimes He speaks out loud, sometimes He speaks through the Bible, sometimes He speaks through other people, and sometimes He speaks through our thoughts. We need to practice listening to God’s voice, especially when we need wisdom. Another way to practice listening to God’s voice is to read a verse from the Bible and then be quiet and wait to see if God gives you an idea to pray about related to the Bible verse you read.

The path to freedom

Read Matthew 7:13-14.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever been on a walk where you came to a fork in the path and had to choose which way to go?
  2. How did you decide which path to take?
  3. What do you think the Bible means when it talks about the “narrow path”?

    Read Psalm 119:104 and Proverbs 8:13.
     

  4. What does God’s Word say we should hate?

    Read Psalm 119:9-11,30,32.
     

  5. Can you think of a time when you had to choose between doing right or wrong?
  6. What do you think the Bible means when it says we should we set our hearts on God’s laws?
  7. Why should we follow God’s commands?
Key concepts

David wrote in Psalm 119:9-11 that young people can learn to do what is right by reading and memorizing God’s Word. In life there are two paths, and every person chooses to walk on one or the other. One path leads to life (a life lived the way God wants us to live, also known as “God’s way”) and the other path leads to destruction (a life lived to please ourselves instead of God, also known as “my way”).

God makes it very clear that He hates evil. The more we understand about following and obeying God, the more we begin to hate sin too. The result of choosing to follow God’s way is freedom – being free from the control of our sinful nature.

Relevant Scripture

Psalm 119:9-11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You; let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.