Sunday in HopeKids we began our new series:
I must admit, I was a little apprehensive about entering a series on OBEDIENCE the month that school begins. I mean, really, aren’t kids going to hear about obeying enough already? I could just picture their sad little eyes and droopy shoulders. “Ugh. More rules?” I had a moment of feeling like this…
…until I dug into the Word, and God socked it to me. As He usually does. Obedience is not about rules. It’s about love! 2 John 1:6 tells us so.
Doesn’t it always come back to love? Of course it does. This is our memory verse for the month. The series recommended Hebrews 13:17 “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.” An important verse, but it is my goal for children to understand the amazing truth of God’s love and that EVERYTHING flows from that place.
Our story on Sunday was a familiar one. It was the story of Adam and Eve and their choice to disobey God, the choice to place their trust in someone other than their loving Father. Their Father who gave them SO MUCH! He gave them the whole world, to be exact, minus one small thing. One lone tree was off limits. We pictured Adam and Eve running blissfully through the garden like kids in a candy store, “Oooh! Look at THAT tree! And THAT one! Lovely! Beautiful! Delicious! I’ll have one of those and one of those, and oooh, that one too! It’s a wonderful life!”
And then…in comes the serpent. The sneaky serpent, who questions God and then calls him a liar. It’s pretty in your face. “Ok, so God gave you all of those trees, but what about THIS one? What he said about THIS one is a lie. And look at IT. It’s the most delicious. Much more satisfying than any of those you already have. He just doesn’t want you to have it as good as you could, as good as He does. Why would you obey Him?”
We want Eve to respond, “Because God LOVES me and takes care of me! He knows what is best for me always! Go away you ugly, evil creature!” We want her to slay the serpent with sharp-edged trust in the her Father.
But, instead, the voice of the enemy becomes her way. Eve accepts it as truth over the loving, generous, protective voice of her Father. And she chooses to disobey Him for something she wants in that moment.
Oh, the kids leaned in so close for this part of the story. I love those moments more than I can explain. The energy in the room changes and there is stillness and breath and connection. I knew what they were thinking. Their eyes were big and the message was clear. “Whoa. That’s CRAZY. Why would they listen to a SNAKE over God?!”
But, oh boys and girls! You know what? We all have snakes in our lives, calling our God a liar, persuading us in silky voices to choose their way over His way. They are everywhere.
Voices that assure us it’s ok to do it just once, our parents won’t find out. It’s really not a big deal. SNAKE.
Commercials that tell us what we have is not enough. We need the newest, fastest, best! SNAKE.
Flashy things that steal our time and our energy and leave nothing to give to the Lord. SNAKE.
We can choose to disobey the Lord in His commandments or we can trust that His way is THE way. Our bottom line this week:
We obey the Lord because we love and trust Him, and our action is obedience. It is love + trust + action. It requires that we humble ourselves and listen. To Him. To the Creator of all, our Refuge, our Strength, Provider, Protector. Whew, He knows so much more than we ever could!
When we think our way is better, let’s remember the voice of the Lord. Let’s fall at His feet and listen. Let’s mute the snakes in our lives and trust Him. And then, let’s act on His Word.
That is obedience.
It’s my prayer for our children this week, as they begin a new school year with so many voices competing for volume, that they tune their ears to the voice of the Lord and that they have the confidence to follow Him. That they slay any snakes that arise with their choice to obey their Father in all things. Amen.
I can’t wait to see your children this Sunday! Thank you for sharing them with me.
P.S. Since this month is a science theme, we’ll have some experiment fun each week. On Sunday we made elephant toothpaste. It was fun and simple and illustrated our idea that when we allow disobedience to contaminate our hearts, it keeps expanding beyond our control. If you want to try it at home, here’s a link to the experiment: https://sciencebob.com/fantastic-foamy-fountain/