The people of Judah have returned home to Israel and finished rebuilding the temple. The temple was the place for the Lord to dwell with the people during the Old Testament, but now we don’t need to build a temple for the Lord to dwell – He dwells in our hearts! Follow along with this devotion, which you can walk through with your family in 10-15 minutes one night this week or review it in 3-5 minutes over the course of the week.
KEY VERSE – DAY ONE:
Review the key verses and hand motions for this unit with your children.
“May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.” – Daniel 2:20
BIG PICTURE QUESTION – DAY ONE:
Ask your children the Big Picture Question for this unit: How can we obey God? We trust God to give us strength to obey Him.
MAIN POINT – DAY ONE:
Share with your children that this week’s main point is God helped His people rebuild the temple.
BIBLE PASSAGE – DAY TWO:
This week’s Bible story comes from Ezra 4:1-7; 5:1-5; 6:1-22. This story can be found on page 156 of the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook. Take some time now to read these passages with your children or you can refer to the Bible story summary below!
BIBLE STORY SUMMARY:
When God’s people returned to Jerusalem, they got to work rebuilding the temple. They finished the temple’s foundation, but their enemies did not want them to rebuild the temple. God’s people did not want any trouble, so they stopped. God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people. So the leaders – Zerubbabel and Jeshua – started working on the temple again.
At this time, a governor named Tattenai talked to Zerubbabel and the others working on the temple. “Do you have permission to rebuild this temple?” Tattenai asked. Tattenai sent a report to King Darius. While he waited for an answer, God’s people kept building.
This is what Tattenai’s letter to King Darius said: “The people in Judah are building the temple of the great God. They said King Cyrus gave them permission to rebuild the temple. Please search the royal records to see if this is true.”
King Darius’s officials searched the royal records for Cyrus’s order. They found it – a scroll with a record from King Cyrus. So King Darius sent a letter back to Tattenai. He gave this order: “Stay away from the workers in Jerusalem. Don’t bother them, and don’t try to stop them. Give them whatever they need.”
Tattenai and the other officials obeyed King Darius’s order. The Jewish leaders kept building, and they finally finished the temple of God! The people celebrated and made offerings to God. Then God’s people celebrated the Passover. God’s people were so happy. Now the temple of God was finally complete.
REVIEW QUESTIONS – DAY THREE:
After reading the Bible story or going through the summary, ask your children these review questions:
- What did Haggai and Zechariah tell God’s people? (“Keep building. God is with you.”)
- How did the king’s helper find out Zerubbabel was telling the truth? (he sent a letter to King Darius)
- How did King Darius discover God’s people were telling the truth? (his servants found the scroll that said King Cyrus had given them permission)
- What did God’s people do when the temple was finished? (they celebrated and thanked God)
- In what city did God’s people build the temple? (Jerusalem)
- What two prophets encouraged the people to keep building? (Haggai and Zechariah)
- What governor was in charge of the land of Judah? (Tattenai)
- Who was the king of Persia at this time? (Darius)
- What did King Darius tell Tattenai to do? (do not bother the workers, and give them whatever they need)
- What feast did God’s people observe? (Passover)
- How can we obey God? (We trust God to give us strength to obey Him)
WORSHIP – DAY FOUR:
CHRIST CONNECTION – DAY FIVE:
It’s amazing to see how things that happened in the Old Testament are connected to the New Testament and the Gospel – the good news that Jesus came to Earth to die for our sins because of His love for us. These Christ connections show us that God has been preparing us for a relationship with Jesus since the beginning of time.
God’s people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. Years later, God send His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. People don’t need to go to a temple anymore to meet with God. Jesus is with us wherever we go.
God’s people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. Years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. Now God dwells not in the temple, but directly with His people. Because of Jesus, we don’t need a temple anymore.
PRAY – DAY FIVE:
Pray this prayer: God, thank You for giving us something way better than a temple built by people. You have given us Your very own Son to be with us! Thank You that Jesus came to earth to rescue us from sin. Help us to turn from sin and trust in Him. Amen.