March 10, 2011 The Stand
On Wednesday nights I have the privilege to teach Bible stories to our children at church from grades K through 2nd. I love doing this.
I have always loved listening to Bible stories even as a kid. I remember when I was in grades 4th-6th I would get up at 6 o’clock in the morning to watch this one cartoon of Bible stories. Occasionally they still play that show I would watch. Alan and I make fun of it, but way back then I loved it. I have always been amazed with the stories, especially in the Old Testament.
The Bible is the most adventure packed book I know. If you have never read through it, you would probably be surprised at some of the details that are included. I always thought that if they made a movie of Bible stories, as they are written, it would never be rated G, or even PG for that matter.
Because of the age of the children I teach though, I exclude many of the details that are given. There are themes in the Bible that I think shouldn’t be skipped over. Although they can be difficult to explain to adults, let alone young children, it is important to understand that “God of the Old Testament” that is often regarded as judgemental and cruel is the same “God of the New Testament” that is viewed as loving and graceful.
This Wednesday the story was about The Ark of God when Israel had lost it in battle with the Philistines. You can read the passage in I Samuel 4-6, or you can click here or there to read the “Lego” version from the Brick Testament.
Once the Ark of the Lord was returned to Israel, some of the men had touched it to look inside. I am sure their intentions were to make sure the Philistines didn’t
take anything out. Perhaps, instead they were curious to see what else maybe inside. In any case, when they touched it, they had broken God’s command about not touching it. This angered God, so he struck down 70 men that day. (Some translation read 50,070. It could be read 70 of 50,000 men.) Then the people cried out, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?” 1 Samuel 6.
This is a perfect example of all the things I have mentioned above that can be difficult when teaching children the Bible. It would be if I left the story the way it in ends in 1 Samuel 6. God is a Holy God, far separated from mankind. No one can stand before Him. Unlike the people of the Old Testament, we have a complete picture of God’s plan.
We are not able to stand before God, because our sin, the rebellion to be my own god, drives us far from him. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no hope for me to stand before God, except through saving faith in Jesus, the only One that is able to stand before God. I could go on and on, but this picture can be clearly seen in Revelation 5.
Whether you are a child, learning and soaking up the world, or an adult perhaps still learning the Bible or even calloused to religion, there is so much to learn and understand about God. He is the same God, Old or New, with the same plan and desire-salvation. May you understand and know that you too can stand in the presence of God, without fear.