God's people return from being slaves, from Nehemiah 8-10, Malachi 1, 3 and 4, Ezra 7.
Big Idea for Parents
When God comes into our lives, he doesn't come to punish and condemn us - he comes to rescue us. Jesus put it simply in John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." This means that God loves us, and he loves our children, even when it's obvious that we don't have it all together.
None of our children will turn out the exact way we want them to turn out, and that is OK. There are things we wish we could change about our children, and there are things we wish we could change about ourselves. Yet, by faith Jesus gives us every good thing that belongs to him and forgives every sin that belongs to us. The result? God loves us exactly as we are. This great love and forgiveness frees us to celebrate with and enjoy the people in our families as they are rather than trying to change them.
Have you ever had to lock a dog up in a kennel? If you have, what happened when you let your dog out? Most dogs come out running and jumping and wagging their tails because they are happy to be free!
Young calves do the same thing. They run and jump and celebrate when they are let out of a cage. One time God told his people that they would celebrate like a dog or calf being set free when he came to rescue them. Let's read about what was going on in the lives of God's people when he told them that ... (Read pages 170-175).
- How did God's people know that they disobeyed God?
- When God's people had a week long party, what did they celebrate?
- How do we know that God forgives us and loves us?
- What has God done in your life that you could celebrate?
Gracious God, thank you for coming to rescue us instead of punish us. Thanks to Jesus, you love us and enjoy us just as we are. Help us to love one another as you love us. Help us to remember what you've done in our lives and celebrate it! In Jesus name, Amen.