Reverence

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.”

God describes His great power

Read Isaiah 40:12-14,21-22,25-31.

Questions for discussion
  1. How much water can you hold in your hands?
  2. Can you hold the ocean in your hands?
  3. Can you lift a mountain?
  4. Can you hold all the dust of the earth in a basket?
  5. Can you tell me the names of all the stars in the sky?
  6. We can’t do these amazing things, but who can?
  7. Who taught God how to do all this?
  8. Does anyone know what God is thinking?
  9. Is anyone wise enough to tell God what to do or give Him advice?
  10. If God is this powerful, do you think He knows the details of our lives?
  11. Do you think He cares about the things we face each day?
  12. In what ways does God care for us?
Key concepts

The Bible tells us God measured out the water that’s on earth and used the breadth of His hand to mark out the heavens. He can hold the dust of the earth in a basket and weigh the mountains and hills like we weigh fruit at the grocery store.

No one has ever told God what to do. There is no one equal to God. He is the one who put the stars in the sky and makes sure they come out and shine at night. God created the whole earth and He sees all that takes place on the earth. God is much mightier than we are, yet He offers His power to help us.

What does God look like?

Read Ezekiel 1:25-28 and Revelation 1:9-17.

Questions for discussion
  1. What’s the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen?
  2. What did you do when you saw it?
  3. Were Ezekiel and John being silly and goofing around after they saw the vision of God?
  4. What was Ezekiel’s reaction to seeing a vision of God?
  5. What was John’s reaction to seeing a vision of God?
  6. Do you think Ezekiel and John feared God more after they saw the vision of Him?
  7. If you saw God appear before you, what do you think you would do?
  8. How can we show God that we respect Him?
  9. What should our attitudes and actions be like when we are praying or worshipping God?
Key concepts

Ezekiel and John both describe their vision of God similarly. Both men said that God looked like a man, that He was glowing like a fire, and that He was surrounded by a brilliant light.

When we see something amazing we often stand and stare with our mouths wide open. If people are extremely frightened, sometimes they fall to the ground. This is what Ezekiel and John did when they saw the vision of God.

In Matthew 18 we read that when two or three believers come together in God’s name, He says He will be there with them. For this reason, when we pray and when we go into God’s house to be with Him, we need to remember Who it is we are speaking with and worshipping, and we need to behave respectfully when we are in God’s presence. To “fear God” means we have a deep awe and respect for Him.

Relevant Scripture

Matthew 18:19-21 “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.

God knows everything about us

Read Genesis 3:1-13.

Note: If your children are already familiar with the story of Eve and Adam’s temptation, you can tell a modern-day version of this story instead.

Set your story in a kitchen where an inchworm tempts a brother and sister to eat some “forbidden” marshmallows. Have the inchworm tempt the sister saying, “Look guys, your parents want you to be happy. Are you happier when you have a treat, or when you’re just longing for one? If you don’t eat the marshmallows, I’m going to chew through the bag and eat holes in all the marshmallows so they won’t be any good for anyone to enjoy. So just go ahead and eat them before they get full of worm holes. Your mom and dad will be okay with you eating marshmallows once they know you were rescuing them from being eaten by a pesky worm.”

Have the sister give in first and the brother eventually convinced by the sister to eat some. When their parents are heard returning to the scene, have the guilty children hide in the pantry.

Questions for discussion
  1. Does this story remind you of something that happened in your life?
  2. When you have done wrong, who do you fear? Why?
  3. Even if Mom or Dad never find out about what you have done wrong, who already knows about it?
  4. Why do your parents give you rules and expect you to follow them?
  5. Why does God give us rules in the Bible?
  6. Why should we fear God?
Key concepts

The story of Adam and Eve being tempted to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil reminds us how easy it is to give in to temptation when we allow our minds to be influenced by Satan’s sneaky ideas.

When children have done something wrong, typically they will fear their parents, because they know their parents will likely discipline them.

Just as parents make family rules to take good care of their children, God gives us commandments in the Bible that are for our own benefit. Our lives would be miserable if no one followed God’s rules. For example, one of God’s rules is “Do not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19). Imagine how dreadful it would be to live somewhere where stealing was allowed. There would be constant disagreements over who owned what. God gives us rules so that life will go well for us (Deuteronomy 6:18).

When a child has done something wrong, they feel awkward around their parents. But once the wrong-doing has been dealt with, it feels so much better to be together with their parents again. In the same way, hiding sin in our lives gives us similar feelings of unrest. We become afraid of getting close to God and we try to hide from Him. It’s important to remember that God is happy when we tell Him we are sorry for sinning and He offers to forgive our sins when we repent. When we deeply appreciate and love God, we want to get rid of our sin so we can enjoy being close to Him.

Relevant Scripture

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Swallowed by the earth

Note: This Bible passage tells how God put to death a large number of rebellious people. Use your discernment as to whether this story is appropriate for your children.

Begin by reading the background to this story:

God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. And God gave Moses’ brother, Aaron, and his sons the job of serving as priests, but only Aaron was permitted to burn incense before God (Exodus 30:7-8, Exodus 40:12-16, Leviticus 10:1-3).

Other men from the tribe of Levi were given jobs of serving in God’s tabernacle – a place of worship, like a church, where the Israelites could go and meet with God (Numbers 1:44-54, Numbers 3:5-10). However only the priests (Aaron and his sons) were allowed to go into the inner part of the tabernacle, called the sanctuary (Numbers 3:38).

A man named Korah (a Levite) gathered 250 well-known leaders from their community to challenge Moses and Aaron’s leadership. They accused Moses of being a bad leader because they had not yet reached the land of goodness that God had promised them (Numbers 16:1-15).

Read Numbers 16:16-40.

Questions for discussion
  1. What did Moses do when Korah wanted to lead instead of Moses and Aaron?
  2. What was God going to do to all of the Israelites, because of Korah?
  3. Who convinced God to change His mind?
  4. What happened to the people who rebelled against God and Moses?
  5. Do you think people today also do things that make God very angry?
  6. How can we show God that we revere (deeply respect) Him?
Key concepts

God was angry with Korah because he refused to follow the leaders (Moses and Aaron) whom God had chosen to lead the Israelites. God was also angry with the people who were demanding to be given the privilege of burning incense, because God had already said only Aaron could do that job. As Levites (those selected to serve God) they were not content with the jobs they were given, but they wanted the jobs that had more honour.

When God put these rebellious people to death, it was a significant warning for the Israelites. God was letting them know that the people needed to revere (highly respect) Him and those who He put in authority over them. We can show God that we revere Him by obeying those who are in authority over us and by following the rules He set out for us to follow in the Bible.

Relevant Scripture

Malachi 2:1-2 “And now, O priests, this command is for you. If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to My name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart.

Malachi 2:4-5 “So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that My covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. My covenant with him was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared Me. He stood in awe of My name.

David honours God

Begin by reading the background to this story:

As king of Israel, David had been blessed by God because he loved and obeyed God. Nearing the end of his life and his reign as king, David decided to honour God in a special way. He began to gather supplies so that his son Solomon, the next king of Israel, could build a spectacular temple to honour God.

Now read 1 Chronicles 29:1-14.

Questions for discussion
  1. Can you name some of the wonderful things David gave to help build a temple for God?
  2. Where did David say that he got all the gold, silver, bronze, wood and precious stones he gave for God’s temple?
  3. Who followed David’s example and also gave things for the temple?
  4. What did all the people do when David prayed, praising God?
  5. How can we honour God?
Key concepts

David and the other Israelites rejoiced when they saw all that was being given to help build God’s temple. David prayed in front of all the people, praising God for His greatness and power.

David also humbly thanked God for giving them so much that they could give it back to Him. David said, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You” (1 Chronicles 29:14).

David was following a command God gave the Israelites in earlier years. God warned them that it would be easy for them to begin to think they produced wealth on their own and He told them not to forget that wealth was a gift from Him (Deuteronomy 6:4-12).

In our own lives, we need to remember that everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God. Recognizing this, we need to thank God for the blessings of having homes, wealth, families and many other good things. As we pray, we can bow our heads or kneel down and praise God for who He is and for all He has given us. We can also honour God by giving money back to Him through giving offerings at church or sharing money with those who are in need.

Relevant Scripture

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

A king forgets to honour God

Read 2 Chronicles 26.

Questions for discussion
  1. How old was Uzziah when he became king?
  2. The Bible says that Zechariah instructed Uzziah. What did Zechariah teach Uzziah to do?
  3. What happened when Uzziah feared God?
  4. Can you remember some of the great things Uzziah did?
  5. What sinful attitude caused Uzziah to forget to honour God?
  6. What did Uzziah do that shows he no longer respected God?
  7. What did God do?
  8. How can we avoid making the same mistake Uzziah did?
Key concepts

Fear of God brings success, but having pride in oneself, instead of giving honour to God, results in failure. Uzziah was only 16 years old when he became king of Israel. The Bible tells us that he did what was right, following God’s commands, just as his father Amaziah had done. Uzziah also sought God and listened to Zechariah, who taught him to fear God. Because Uzziah honoured God, God allowed him to become very successful.

Uzziah’s success made him famous, but sadly enough, when he became powerful he became proud. One day Uzziah decided he would like to burn incense in the temple, even though he knew this was a job God had given to the priests. A great many priests followed Uzziah into the temple and warned him not to burn the incense, but Uzziah wouldn’t listen. Instead he got angry. As he stood before the altar of incense in the temple, raging at the priests, he became covered with leprosy (a very dreadful and contagious skin disease). Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died and he had to live apart from other people. His son Jotham governed the country instead.

Many wise and successful people, like Uzziah, have turned away from following God because they became proud and began to honour themselves instead of God. When we have everything we need, it’s easy to rely on ourselves and forget that God gave it all to us. It’s also easy to become proud of the things we accomplish, how we look, or even how we act. We can avoid the trap of pride by always giving God the honour He deserves and obeying Him.

An exciting day with Jesus

Read Mark 5:21-43.

  1. What do people do when a famous person comes to their town?
  2. Why did Jairus come to see Jesus?
  3. How did Jairus honour Jesus?
  4. What did the crowd do when Jesus left with Jairus?
  5. Why do you think the crowd followed them?
  6. What happened as they walked along?
  7. Why did the lady touch Jesus?
  8. How did she honour Jesus?
  9. What did Jesus say when men reported that Jairus’ daughter had died?
  10. Why did the people laugh at Jesus?
  11. If you were Jairus, how would you have honoured Jesus for healing your daughter?
Key concepts

A crowd of people had gathered around Jesus when a man named Jairus came to Jesus and fell at His feet.  Jairus begged Jesus to come and heal his daughter, who was dying.

Jesus went with Jairus and all the people followed, pressing in around Jesus. In this large gathering there was a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had spent most of her money on doctors, trying to get better, but she was getting worse. As soon as she touched Jesus, her bleeding stopped! Jesus asked who had touched his clothes. The woman who had been healed came forward and honoured Jesus by falling at his feet. Jesus wasn’t angry. Instead He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34). 

Meanwhile, Jairus’ daughter had died. Men came from his household and told Jairus his daughter was dead.  Ignoring the messengers, Jesus told Jairus, “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36). When they got to Jairus’ house there was wailing and commotion because the girl had died. Jesus went in to where the girl was and took her by the hand and told her to get up. Immediately she was well again and was able to walk around!

What an amazing day it must have been in the life of Jesus’ disciples. What a wonderful day for the woman who was healed of her bleeding and for Jairus, his wife and daughter! No wonder the crowds were following Jesus!

A fishy story of trust and obedience

Read Luke 5:1-11.

Note: If you wish, let your children act out this story, filling their “nets” (a slotted spoon) with fish crackers from a bowl.

Questions for discussion
  1. Have you ever gone fishing?
  2. How do you feel when you don’t catch anything?
  3. How long had Peter and his friends been fishing?
  4. How many fish had they caught?
  5. What do you think Peter thought when Jesus asked him to go fishing again?
  6. How did Peter obey Jesus?
  7. What names did Peter call Jesus?
Key concepts

Jesus was standing by a lake talking to a large group of people. Then Jesus climbed into Simon Peter’s boat and asked him to steer the boat a short distance from the shore. Jesus sat down in the boat and taught the people from there.

When He was done talking, Jesus told Peter to go out into the deep water and let down the fishing nets to catch fish. To Peter, this seemed like an odd request, because he had already fished all night and they hadn’t caught anything. Even though Peter had a good reason not to obey Jesus’ instructions, he and his friends still did what Jesus asked.

Much to their surprise, the nets got so full of fish that the nets started to break and they had to call another fishing boat over to help bring in the huge catch of fish.

Peter responded by saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” The story ends with Jesus telling Peter that from now on he would be catching men instead of fish. Peter and the others left all their fishing gear there on the shore and followed Jesus.

Peter showed Jesus that he deeply respected or “feared” Him because Peter obeyed Jesus’ instructions and admitted his own sinfulness. Peter also showed his respect for Jesus by calling Him “Master” and “Lord.”

The thief on the cross

Read Luke 23:35-43 and Matthew 27:51-54.

Questions for discussion
  1. Who else was being crucified at the same time as Jesus?
  2. What did the people who were watching the crucifixions do?
  3. Who else joined in mocking Jesus?
  4. What sorts of mocking things did he say?
  5. What did the second criminal say?
  6. Which criminal believed that Jesus was God?
  7. What did Jesus say to him?
  8. After Jesus died and the earthquake happened, what do you think the criminals said to each other?
Key concepts

When Jesus was crucified, there were two criminals crucified along with him. Many of the people who came to watch Jesus die made fun of Him. They said things like, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him” (Matthew 27:42).

One of the criminals also made fun of Jesus, but the second criminal said to the first; “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-41). He also said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to You, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

Right after Jesus died, the curtain of the temple ripped in two, there was a huge earthquake, rocks broke apart and the tombs of many holy people opened and the people came out. One of the soldiers guarding Jesus said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). The Bible also tells us that Jesus died before the two criminals did. This means both criminals saw and felt the earthquake that happened when Jesus died.

We can imagine the conversation the two criminals may have had after Jesus died. It might have been similar to conversations that people all over the world still have today. Some believe that Jesus is the Son of God, others argue that Jesus is not God. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Son of God and that when we believe this, we too have eternal life.

Relevant Scripture

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 11:25-27 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’