Background: The prophet Jeremiah spoke for 42 years to Judah (God’s people). His prophetic witness spanned over the reigns of 5 kings. Sadly, most of his words urging them to repent and turn back to God went unheeded and Judah was eventually taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
After the fall of Jerusalem and most of God’s people were taken to Babylon as slaves, the Babylonians left Gedaliah in charge of the land of Juday. When Gedaliah was assassinated by some evil men, the remainder of God’s people were afraid of what the Babylonians might do to them. They approached Jeremiah asking for the Lord’s guidance whether they should remain or flee to Egypyt. But they had already decided to flee to Egypt and just wanted God to ‘Rubber Stamp’ their decision.
Ask the children…
What did the Lord instruct Jeremiah to tell His people?
“‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. 11 Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 42:10, 11)
How did God’s people respond?
“’You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! 3 Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians[a]or be carried off into exile.’ 4 So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the Lord’s command to stay in Judah.” (Jeremiah 43:2-4)
When the people heard the response that they didn’t want to hear, they refused to believe it was from God. They accused Jeremiah of lying. How sad that after all the promises that God had made and fulfilled, they couldn’t trust Him and receive the blessing of protection that God wanted to give to them. Instead they went to Egypt and eventually all died there.
Ask your children if there is some area where God is calling them to obedience but they don’t want to do it? Ask them what it is and why they don’t want to obey? Have them recall out loud God’s faithfulness to them in the past. Speak to whatever is holding them back in the name of Jesus and send it to the foot of the cross where Christ’s victory was won and replace it with the fruit of the Spirit that has been given to your children. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).
If you like what you read about ways to teach children the Bible, check out the children’s book, Hooked on the Book, on this website. It is great for parents and kids because it provides the Big Story of God’s miraculous plan for His children in all 66 books in the Bible. CHECK OUT A FREE SAMPLE OF CHAPTER ONE BELOW.