I have many pleasant memories of attending Vacation Bible School as a child. I enjoyed the marching in, the story time, and snack time, but especially the craft time. I enjoyed making things and having something to take home each night. I chose Animal Bible Stories for my theme this month because they can be interesting to the children and simple to teach. Also, because we are His sheep. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (John 10:14) It is wonderful to be able to tell little children how to believe and become one of Jesus' little lambs. Christ also told Simon Peter, "Feed my lambs." If you have the opportunity to help with Vacation Bible School, please don't say, "No". Consider it an honor to feed the lambs.
2 Daniel In The Den Of Lions
"Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." Daniel 6:16
One of the favorite Bible stories for children is the story of Daniel being thrown into the den of lions. Daniel was carried away captive to Babylon, "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." (Daniel 1:8) The king took Daniel away from his home, but he could not take God out of his heart. Daniel was determined that he would serve God even when it meant turning down the king's meat and wine. Sometimes we have to turn down what looks good and choose what is good. Daniel was a wise man and the king set him over all the presidents and princes which made them very jealous. They made the decree that no one could pray to any man or god except to the king. "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." (Daniel 6:10) Daniel kept right on praying to God just as he had always done. People today can say that you can't pray in school or public places, but they can never stop prayer. Daniel was thrown into the den of lions, but the next morning he said, "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me..." (Daniel 6:22) Daniel had faith in God and was delivered from the lions.
3 Jonah And The Whale
"Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly," Jonah 1:17 & 2:1
This is another favorite Bible story for children. A point we always made when we told this story to our children was that you can't hide from God. Children play Hide-and-Seek so they know the concept of hiding from someone. It is good to let them know that no one can hide from God. When we don't do what we are supposed to do, God knows all about it. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach, but Jonah went in the opposite direction on a ship to Tarshish. Another interesting thing about the story of Jonah is that Jonah waited three days and nights in the fish's belly before he prayed to God. He was in a terrible place, but he knew that if God delivered him he would have to go and preach to Nineveh so he waited as long as he could. If we do something wrong, it is good to go ahead and say we are sorry and try to make it right. We will not feel good until we do. Chapter three tells us that God gave Jonah a second chance. We are not perfect. Romans 3:23 tells us "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God". But God still loves us and forgives us when we ask Him to. This time Jonah obeyed God and preached in Nineveh. The people of Nineveh prayed to God and repented of their evil and God did not destroy their city. Jonah 4:1 tells us that this made Jonah very angry. He wanted God to punish the people of Nineveh. But God told Jonah there were 120,000 people that did not know their right hand from their left. I think these were children. God loves children.
4 David The Shepherd
"David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." I Samuel 17:37
David was the youngest of eight brothers. The Prophet Samuel anointed him to be the king over Israel, but when his older brothers went to join King Saul's army, David was left at home to care for the sheep. After some time passed, Jesse, David's father sent him with corn, bread, and cheese to see how they were doing. David heard the giant Goliath defy the armies of God and asked, "What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (I Samuel 17:26) Eliab, David's oldest brother was angry with David for leaving the sheep. "And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" (I Samuel 17:29) There was a cause. This giant had defied the armies of the living God and David was ready to fight. King Saul wanted David to use his armor, but David had not proved it, or tried it. So David went to the brook and took five smooth stones and used his sling. "Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." (I Samuel 17:45) The Israelites had fled from the giant but when Goliath came to meet David, "David ran toward the army to meet the Philistine" (I Samuel 17:48) and God gave the victory. David was just a young shepherd boy, but God used him because he stood up for right and trusted God.
5 Noah And The Ark
"Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Genesis 6:22
God told Noah to build an ark. He told Noah exactly how He wanted it built and Noah did "all that God commanded him". Wouldn't it be good if we would do all that God told us to do. Sometimes I think we sit around looking for something big to do for God, but we haven't done the little things that God has told us to do. After Noah built the ark, God told him to take the animals and food into ark and Genesis 7:5 repeats, "And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him." We know the story... Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives and all the animals went in the ark and it rained for forty days and forty nights. "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." (Genesis 7:24) Can you imagine? You and your family, floating in a huge boat, with every kind of animal alive... for 150 days? After 5 months they were probably beginning to wonder when it would all end. We come to chapter 8. "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually..." (Genesis 8:1-3) Finally the ark rested on Mount Ararat and eventually the waters dried up. Noah and his family were in the ark over a year. Do you want to do something big for God? Well, start out doing all the little things and see where God leads you.
6 Five Loaves And Two Fish
"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children."Matthew 14:15-21
There was a multitude of five thousand men, plus woman and children and Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he told the disciples to feed them. The disciples knew they could not buy bread for so many people. Andrew found a little boy who had five loaves of bread and two small fish. (John 6:8 & 9) Jesus told the people to sit and the ground and He broke the bread and fish into enough pieces to feed all the people and have twelve baskets full left over. He used the bread and two small fish... the lunch of one small child. This should be a lesson to us. God can use what we have, no matter how small, when we bring it to Jesus. This little boy could have said, "Don't take my lunch, that is all I have". But he did not say that. He gave His lunch to Jesus and Jesus gave it back to him, and everyone with him. Give Jesus your love, your talents, and your time. He will give them all right back to you.
7 Adam Named The Animals
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18-20
We have fun going to the zoo to see all the animals. Just think how much fun it must have been for Adam for all the animals to come to him. One by one the parade of animals came and Adam gave a name to each of them. When my daughter got her puppy it took her several days to come up with just the right name for him. What if you had to name every animal there is? God created many of the animals to be a help for us. Long ago the horses, mules, and donkeys pulled wagons and plows. Our grandparents gathered eggs to eat and also feathers to put in quilts and beds. In other countries huge elephants help carry heavy loads. Pets are important to people of all ages. Some are even trained to help those who are blind or have other disabilities. We can read how it all began in the book of Genesis. God created all the animals and let Adam name them. God created a wonderful world.
8 Consider The Lilies And The Birds
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" Matthew 6:25-30
Several years ago I got to work early one morning and as I waited to get in my office, I sat in my car facing the back of another building. The space between the building and the parking lot I was in was grown over with tall grasses and weeds. I sat looking over the overgrown alley thinking that it needed to be cleaned up when a small bird landed on one of the tallest weeds. He broke off a little section of the dried grass and flew off with it. I watched as he took it just under the roof to a nest he was building. Back and forth he went, from the dried weeds to his nest. Those same weeds that I thought were an eye-sore were being used to build a home for this little bird. Jesus told us that our Heavenly Father will clothe and feed us just as He cares for the little birds. Jesus does not want us to worry about things. He continued, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
9 All We Like Sheep
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6
Psalm 100:3 tells us, "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." He is our Shepherd, and we are His sheep. In our verse from the book of Isaiah we see that "All we like sheep have gone astray". We are all sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Next, we see from our verse in Isaiah that we are all selfish, "we have turned every one to his own way". I want what I want and you want what you want and sometimes I may even want what you want. But our Good Shepherd takes care of our wants and needs. "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1) Another familiar verse is Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." I don't have to worry about my needs, or be selfish in my desires. Last of all, from our verse in Isaiah, we are all special. "The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (John 10:11) Yes, we are all sinners and we are all selfish, but we can praise the Lord, we are all special.
4th of July
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
When I see eagles I think of the freedom I have as an American. Not only can we associate our liberty as a United State's citizen with the eagle, but we can see our strength in the Lord. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." I saw a television special about eagles once that told how they make their nests on the highest rocks and hills. They soar higher than the other birds. How can we soar like the eagles? First, let's look at the verses that precede this one. "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles..." (Isaiah 40:28-31) I praise the Lord that I know Him. We are blessed that one day we heard about the everlasting God, the Creator, and made Him our Lord. We do get weary, but God is never weary. The young can fall. But we have a source of strength. We have a power from on high. Do you feel weary and hopeless in your situation? What's the answer? Wait on the Lord. Don't run ahead, possibly making wrong decisions. Wait on God. We can waste a lot of time and energy running around in circles when we don't know what to do. Or, we can wait on the Lord and mount up with wings as eagles.
11 Fishers Of Men
"Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." Luke 5:4
Jesus sat on Simon's boat and asked him to launch out a little from the land and He taught the people from the ship. When He finished He told Simon to let down the nets, plural... nets. Verse 5 tells us, "and Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing; nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." This was Simon's livelihood. He was a fisherman by trade. He had been out fishing all night and didn't think it would do any good to throw the nets in again, even though he had seen the miracles of Jesus. The chapter just before this ends with Jesus healing Simon's mother-in-law and many others that were brought to Him. (Luke 4:38-41) But Simon's faith seems to be weak. Simon let down the net... singular. Our story continues, "And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:" (Luke 5:6-9) This miracle of the fishes seems to be a turning point in Simon's life. "... Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." (Luke 5:10 & 11) Is your faith weak? Are there things in your life you need to forsake to follow Jesus? We should all be fishers of men for our Lord.
12 A Dove That Brought Hope
"And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." Genesis 8:11
Hope. Do you need a sign of hope? Noah and his family had been on the ark for almost a full year. They had waited through the rain, the storms, and the darkness. They couldn't see the impact of the flood or where they were going. They had no control over their situation. Their lives were in God's hands. Maybe they felt that God had forgotten them, and praise God for Genesis 8:1, "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;" God remembered Noah and the animals. Not that God ever forgot them, but that He remembered them as we remember friends' birthdays and send them cards. Noah sent out a raven which didn't return. Then he sent out a dove and it came back because the waters were still there. After seven more days Noah sent out another dove and it returned with an olive leaf in her mouth. A sign of hope. Do you feel like your world is closing in? Have you been tossed and torn in the storms? God knows all about it. Send your prayers up toward heaven and wait on an answer from him. David said, "For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God." (Psalm 38:15) Noah and his family and all the animals had to "wait out the storm". They couldn't get off the ark until God prepared them a new place to live. Jesus has gone to prepare us a place... "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
13 Ravens That Brought Food
"And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there." I Kings 17:1-4
There are several stories in the Bible where God used animals and birds for a specific purpose. Yesterday we saw how the dove brought hope to Noah and his family with an olive leaf. Today we see that God commanded the ravens to feed Elijah. Verse 6 tells us that the ravens brought bread and meat to Elijah in the mornings and bread and meat again in the evenings. I often wondered if the ravens took the bread from peoples' windows or if God made the bread like manna from heaven. Either way, God used the ravens to feed Elijah. Jesus has encouraged us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11) Also in Matthew 7:7-11, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Let me end with the words of David, "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." (Psalm 34:8)
14 A Fish That Brought Money
"And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." Matthew 17:24-27
Here we have a story of a fish that paid taxes. When Peter was a fisherman, he made money to take care of his needs. When Jesus called him, he left his nets to follow Him. Now the tax collector is knocking on his door wanting the tribute money. Maybe Peter was wondering where he could come up with the money. Maybe he was thinking of going fishing again. But how many fish would it take to make enough money? As he was wondering what to do, Jesus gave him the answer. He didn't tell him to go back to his boat and his nets. He told him to take a single line with a hook and the first fish he caught would have a piece of money in his mouth. Some have said that the fish caught a coin that someone dropped along the bank. Even so, it's still a miracle, any way you look at it. It is another example of how the Lord provides for those that put their trust in Him. (This is the only story in the Bible where someone caught a fish with a hook.)
15 A Young Colt Brought A King
"And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest."Mark 11:7-10
This is an interesting story. When Jesus was near Jerusalem he sent two of His disciples, "And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, wherein never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let him go." (Mark 11:2-5) The disciples found and brought this young donkey, that had never been ridden, to Jesus and He rode him into Jerusalem. The people "Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." (John 12:13) Even among the noise of shouting, and the people waving palm branches, the colt walked steadily as Jesus rode into the city. It is sad to think that many of these same people who shouted praises to the King, shouted "Let him be crucified" shortly thereafter. (Matthew 27:22) Even today, some may get caught up in an emotional service and praise the Lord, but when things go wrong they turn away and curse God. Let us not be hypocritical in our praise, but let us humble ourselves in God's service as the young colt.
16 The Lamb That Brings Salvation
"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29
Our God is a holy God. We can't go to God in our sinful state, so through His loving mercy and grace He sent His Son as an offering for our sin. Jesus, the Lamb of God, paid the price through His death on the cross. As we believe on Him, His death, burial, and resurrection, we receive the gift of life. Peter said we are "not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (I Peter 1:18 & 19) The Lamb of God is now in heaven with God our Father and is worthy of all our praise. In the book of Revelation John tells us, "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to recieve power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:11-13)
17 Animals That Teach Us Wisdom
"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king's palaces." Proverbs 30:24-28
The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom. In the first few verses we read, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark saying. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:5-7) I believe the book of Proverbs teaches that God will give wisdom to those who seek it. And this wisdom comes not only from "book learning" but from every aspect of life. Here we have life lessons from four small creatures. The ants gather their food in the summer. We should also work while we can. Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4) We need to do what we can today. Next, we see that the conies (rabbits) make their houses in the rocks. Jesus also told of the wise man that built his house upon a rock and when the storms came the house stood firm. (Matthew 7:24-27) Are you building your life on the solid Rock? Our next lesson of wisdom is from the locusts which travel together. When I think of how discouraged Elijah was under the Juniper tree, I remember that he was alone. (I Kings 19:4) Don't try to do all the Lord's work on your own. Find a church of true believers and work and worship with them. And last of all, learn a lesson from the spider. Don't give up or let others tell you that you can't succeed. Spiders can be found in king's palaces. Learn wisdom from these small creatures.
18 A Plague That Brought Frogs
"And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs:... And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt." Exodus 8:3, 6 & 7
Pharaoh would not let the children of Israel go from Egypt where they had been slaves under strict taskmasters. God sent plagues on Egypt. In the first plague God turned all the water of Egypt into blood. The plague of frogs was the second plague. My children are at youth camp this week and I am reminded of when I went to camp and heard all the frogs around the pond. There were many, many frogs and they were very loud, every night. But, at least, they were not in our cabins, or beds, or around our food. To have experienced this would have been horrible. The next two verses begin, "Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs...?" (Exodus 8:8 & 9) Do you detect a note of sarcasm in Moses' answer, "Glory over me"? I once heard a preacher say that the Egyptians worshipped the frogs, and that is why Pharaoh answered, "To morrow" (in verse 10). I think it is also worth noting that Pharaoh asked that the frogs be taken away, but we read in verses 13 & 14, "...the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields. And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank." Maybe there are little things in your life that keep multiplying. Little things that cause problems that rob you of your sleep and interrupt your meals. Have you intreated the Lord to take them away? Are you hanging onto them and promising yourself that you will let go of them "tomorrow"? After the frogs died, it may have seemed worse than when they were alive as the heaps of stinking frogs grew. Sometimes when we take those first steps to make things right with God and man, things can seem worse. But we must take that first stip. Ask God to help you let go of the little "frogs" that plague your life.
19 A Golden Calf That Brought Sin In The Camp
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." Exodus 32:7-10
While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the commandments of God, the people were breaking them. Aaron took all their gold jewelry and made a calf to be their false god. The people worshipped it and God was ready to consume them, but Moses said "Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?... Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants..." and God did not destroy the people (Exodus 32:12 &13). But how did Moses react when he saw their sin? His "anger waxed hot" and he threw down the tables of commandments written by God. (verse 19) He burned the calf in the fire and ground it to powder, then put it in the water so that the people had to drink it. Then he called to the people, "Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me." (verse 26) About three thousand people were killed that day. Moses was God's man and he was angry at the sin of the people, but look at the end of the story. "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written." (Exodus 32:30-32) Maybe you have sinned a great sin against the Lord. Maybe you have brought shame to your parents or your church. Your parents and leaders may be angry at your sin and you will have to bear your punishment. But God is a merciful God. Ask for forgiveness and turn away from your sin. In the next chapter we read, "And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp." (Exodus 33:7) It is time for us to put away the false gods and seek the Lord.
20 Animal Skins That Brought Deceit
"And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son; And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. And he came unto his father, and said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father: and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him." Genesis 27:15-23
Esau had already sold his birthright for bread and pottage of lentiles in Genesis 25. Now Jacob has stolen his blessing also. Under Rebekah's guidance he put the skins of small goats on his hands and the back of his neck and tricked his father, Isaac. Look at the ways Isaac was deceived. First, he was deceived because his sense of sight had failed him and he could not see. Next his sense of touch was fooled by the animal skins because Esau was a hairy man. His sense of taste was also fooled and he thought the goat that Rebekah prepared was venison. In verse 27 we see that his sense of smell deceived him. "And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed." The only sense that was truthful to him was his sense of hearing. "And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." (Genesis 27:22) Satan can use many means to dull our senses and deceive us. That is why it is so important that we hear God's Word. Jesus has extended an invitation. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me... He that hath an ear, let him hear..." (Revelation 3:20 & 21) Don't let Satan deceive you.
21 The Waters Brought Forth Abundantly
"And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly..." Genesis 1:21
"So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season." Psalm 104:25-27
Psalm 104 is written as praise to God, the Creator. It tells how God sends water for the animals to drink. (vs. 11) It tells how He feeds all creation. "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;" (vs. 14) "The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God." (vs. 21) Our verses above speak of leviathan which plays in the deep. The 41st chapter of Job gives us a description of leviathan. "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?... Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? Or his head with fish spears? Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up... Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them... his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke... His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth... The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon... He maketh the deep to boil like a pot... Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride." (Several verses from Job 41) Leviathan sounds like a fire-breathing dragon we read about in children's fairy tales. But he was real. He feared no one. Yet, the Psalmist declared that God feeds them, and God "takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust." (Psalm 104:29) No matter how big, and powerful, and strong something or someone may be, he still is fed by God, breathes by God, and dies without breath given by God.
22 I Go A Fishing
"Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord..."John 21:3-7
As I think on these thoughts, I look back over fishing trips I had with my Dad. He would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. When I was just a little girl, he would tell my sister and me to find some fishing worms and we could go fishing. As I found earthworms under rocks and wood I would ask every time if it was a worm or a baby snake. It was never a baby snake. I would love to have the opportunity to hear my Dad say once more, "I'm going fishing." Maybe Peter was thinking of his past. He had left his boat and nets to follow the Lord. But he had denied the Lord, and Jesus was crucified. Maybe he was feeling like a failure. Whatever the reason, he decided to go fishing, and some of the other disciples went with him. They fished all night and caught nothing. I think they remembered a time long ago, when they had toiled all night, and caught nothing, until Jesus told them to let down their nets. Now, once again their nets were empty. We can see this as a picture of our own lives. It doesn't matter how much we work and toil, if we don't have Jesus with us, it is nothing. Our lives will be empty without the Lord. Listen to the caring words of our Lord, "Children, have ye any meat?" Once again, Jesus told them to cast their nets and they caught a multitude of fish. When they came to the shore, "Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise." (John 21:12 & 13) What a wonderful invitation. Revelation 3:20 extends that same invitation to us. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)