Ezra Read the Law
When you stop and think about it, water is a curious thing. We need to drink it to live. We play in it, but it is nearly impossible to hold any of it in our hands. And yet, water is also one of the most destructive forces on the planet. If you’ve ever seen a large waterfall or a cresting, raging river, you have seen its power.
And then there’s a drip. A drip doesn’t seem like much, but in time, it can be quite a destructive force too. Recently, the temperatures here in middle Tennessee have dipped below freezing, so as an added precaution against freezing water pipes, we allow a slow drip in some of our faucets, one of which is in our bathroom tub. To dampen (pun intended) the sound of that drip and keep us from going crazy at night, my wife placed a folded washcloth under the faucet. After the first day, I noticed a deep indention in the washcloth where the drops of water were landing. One single drop doesn’t make much of a difference, but thousands of drops one after another make quite an impact. If we left that cloth there and allowed the water to continue to drip, I suspect the washcloth would end up with a hole.
Water is a good illustration for the power of the gospel. Sometimes the gospel impacts us gradually over time, like a drip. We may miss the impact of the small little ways that God works it into our minds and hearts, but in time, we look back and see how it has made a profound change in our lives.
Then there are other times when the power of the gospel overwhelms us like an enormous waterfall or like a fire hydrant opened fully. We may be reading the Bible, listening to a sermon, or experiencing God in a new way and we are brought to our knees in a keen awareness of God’s love, holiness, goodness, kindness, or mercy. Maybe we come face-to-face with a deeper understanding of our sinfulness and God’s consistent and persistent love for us and we are stunned in the moment. Perhaps we allow our minds and hearts to ponder more deeply the suffering of Christ, which He embraced with joy (Hebrews 12:2) for our good and the Father’s glory, and we are moved to tears.
At times the gospel whispers quietly into our hearts. At other times it bellows into our souls.
In this week’s session, Ezra Read the Law (Unit 18, Session 5), we see a time when God’s Word bowled over His people. After Nehemiah led the people to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, Ezra read the Law to the people. For most, this was probably the first time they had heard the Word of God and it hit them hard. The people stood to listen for hours as Ezra read and others explained God’s Word to them. (This detail of the story is a favorite for pastors to defend their sermon lengths.) As Ezra read, the people wept, most likely as they realized they had failed to obey God for so long.
That is what we want our kids to see this week—the immediate power of God’s Word. This week’s Christ connection reads:
God’s Word is powerful. When Ezra read God’s Word, the people changed their ways and loved God more. The Bible says that Jesus is “the Word.” Jesus is God who came to live with people on earth. Jesus has the power to change our hearts.
Help your kids understand that the gospel is powerful in their lives. Sometimes that power comes in the form of a slow drip, but other times it is immediate like a waterfall. Some of your kids may think that the gospel should always make a quick, noticeable difference in their lives, like when Ezra read the Law. But they need to know that there are plenty of times when the gospel is just as powerful, but much slower. Encourage them that God is just as powerful whether they experience His power all at once or over a long period of time.
When have you experienced God’s power quickly and when have you experienced it slowly? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the February 19, 2017 session (Unit 18, Session 5) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.