Background: The book of Ezra recounts the return of God’s people to their Promised Land from slavery in Babylon. First they rebuild the temple and then under the leadership of Ezra, they rebuild their commitment to God. When Ezra returned to Jerusalem it was reported to him that the people had disobeyed God by marrying foreign wives and by following their pagan religious practices. Let’s see how Ezra reacted…
Ask the children…
What did Ezra do first when he heard this news?
“When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked.” (Ezra 9:3)
What did Ezra do next?
“At the time of the sacrifice, I stood up from where I had sat in mourning with my clothes torn. I fell to my knees and lifted my hands to the Lord my God. 6 I prayed, ‘O my God, I am utterly ashamed; I blush to lift up my face to you. For our sins are piled higher than our heads, and our guilt has reached to the heavens.'” (Ezra 9:5,6)
Ezra’s heart was broken over the sin and confessed to God the sins of the people and he included himself even though he had not sinned with them. He showed God that he was devastated by this sin and then he called the people to repent, to put away their foreign wives and pagan worship and to turn back to God with their whole hearts.
Ask your children if they see any evil practices happening in our nation and in our very own churches? You might remind them about how we are aborting millions of babies each year (this should only be done as age appropriate), rampant divorce, addictions, removing God from public places, ignorance of God’s word and lack of love in the body of Christ. Ask them if this breaks their hearts like Ezra’s heart was broken? If not, ask God, along with your children, to break your hearts for the sin that devastates lives and removes God’s blessing from our nation. Remind them of the hope we have in Jesus and how he can forgive a nation and make good things out of the bad things that we all do.
Feel free to share your own stories below in the comments section.
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.