For Ezekiel, we opened with a rousing chorus of “‘Dem Bones” before rushing through the “bones” of Ezekiel on our way to the main story for the day: The Valley of Dry Bones.
We read the story. We assembled a skeleton from paper bones. We talked about how God makes dead men live. I was dancing with the reality of hearts of stone becoming hearts of flesh–and can only hope and pray that the students caught the wonder of what God does when sinners become saints.
I wrote over my lesson for Daniel so I’m not entirely positive what I taught.
Actually, scratch that–it’s all coming back to me. We had a mini nutrition lesson and learned about the four Jewish boys who chose to be faithful to God and were rewarded. We learned about the three men who wouldn’t bow to an idol and who were rewarded with God’s presence among the fiery furnace. We learned about a man who wouldn’t let a foolish king’s law change his devotion towards God–and who was protected in the midst of a cage of lions. We learned that being obedient to God wasn’t always going to be easy–but that God would be with His children even in the midst of a foreign land, a fiery furnace, or a lion’s den.
Although I love Hosea, I was a little frightened to teach it to 2nd and 3rd graders–especially because the ESV (which I use) reads: “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
Yeah. I imagined parents beating down my door and beating in my head for teaching their children about whoredom.
I used the NIV that week, allowing the slightly more comfortable “adultery” (which I explained as “acting married with someone you aren’t married to”) to take the place of “whoredom”.
We learned how Gomer was like Israel and how Hosea was called to be like God. Gomer ran away from Hosea just like Israel ran away from God. Hosea stayed with Gomer (even though she ran away with other men) just like God stayed with Israel (even though they worshiped other gods.) Gomer committed adultery with other men, just like Israel committed idolatry with other gods. But Hosea bought Gomer back even when she was unfaithful–and God bough Israel back even when they were unfaithful.
We played hangman again (the kids got quite fond of this game)–and one little girl begged me not to erase the verse I’d chosen for our game until she could copy it down into her notebook: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
We switched gears suddenly by transitioning immediately from Hosea into Joel. Usually I try to connect the books we’re doing on the same day with some thematic element–but I couldn’t find or didn’t choose to elaborate on any theme between these two.
The kids colored a locust while I raced through my main points: Locust killed everything (yes, I brought in some Laura Ingalls Wilder here). This was God’s judgement for Israel’s sins. God promises to forgive His people when they repent. God will pour out His Spirit on all people and will save them. God will destroy His enemies and live with His people.
We looked back at the historical locust plague. We looked at the fulfillment of Joel 2 in Acts 2 (and I feared my Charismatic roots were showing as I quoted said passage from memory in the most excited of tones). We looked forward to the day when Christ comes back and completes the fulfillment of Joel by destroying His enemies and living with His people.
To be continued…