This family devotion guide was prepared to replace the normal evening worship service at Tulsa Bible Church with a family time around God’s word. This collection of Scriptures, questions, and activities is probably more than you need, so that you may choose the parts that work best for your family.
A few tips:
· Make your preparation simple. If you will thoughtfully read through the lesson ahead of time, you should be adequately prepared.
· Just the act of having a family devotion or worship time says something to your kids about what it important. It can be a challenge to make family devotions an enjoyable and profitable time, but it will never happen if you don’t try.
· Plan a time when everybody can participate. Make sure they know not to make other plans for that time. Keep it short. Keep it simple.
· Let the children interrupt and ask questions at the right times. This is not just a sermon. Let everybody ask, speak, tell, share, and participate. You want to know what they are thinking and whether they understand.
· Include everyone, even the young ones. While it may seem easier to have a quiet time with just the older ones, it is so important to include your little ones in this family time. As they grow and mature, they will learn to sit quietly during the devotion time.
· It’s important to remember their ages. If you have small children, you are probably not going to have a deep teaching time. Try to include different approaches that are age appropriate.
· Let them be children. They’re fidgety. They’re impatient. They’re children. Try to keep a semblance of order during this time together, but be realistic and patient. Yelling at them to be quiet and sit still defeats the purpose.
· Turn off all electronics. I know this may seem like a given, but it needs to be mentioned.
· The leader (probably dad) should start your time by asking God to bless your time together.
· You might also want to encourage the family to take turns thanking God for something they appreciate about Dad.
(Optional Warm Up Activity)
Starting with the youngest, let each family member tell something that they have learned from their Father. (Parents, don’t forget to share something, too.)
III. Scripture Reading*: Jeremiah 35:1-16
1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the time that Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, ruled Judah. This is what he said. 2 ‘Go to Recab’s family and ask them to come to the temple. Take them into a little room at the side of the temple and give them wine to drink.’
3 So I went to get the whole of Recab’s family. They were Jaazaniah, son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons. 4 I took them into a room in the Lord’s house. It was the room of the sons of Hanan. He was the son of Igdaliah, the man of God. It was next to the officer’s room, and that was over the door keeper’s room. The keeper of the door was Maaseiah, son of Shallum. 5 Then I took some bowls of wine and some cups. I put them in front of the men from Recab’s family and I said, ‘Drink some wine.’
6 They replied, ‘We do not drink wine. Our father Jonadab, son of Recab, said this to us. “You and your sons must never drink wine. 7And you must not build houses, or plant seed or vines. You must never have any of these things, but you must always live in tents. Then you will live for a long time while you move through the country.” 8-9 We have obeyed everything that our father Jonadab, son of Recab, told us to do. We have never drunk wine. And we have never built houses or planted seeds. And our wives and children have never done any of these things. 10 We have obeyed completely all our father Jonadab’s rules. 11 But, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came into this country, we came to Jerusalem. We said, “We must go to Jerusalem. We, must save ourselves from the armies of Babylon and Aramea.” So we stayed in Jerusalem.’
12 Then the Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 13 ‘This is what the great, powerful Lord, the God of Israel, says. Go and speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Ask them to learn a lesson from the sons of Recab. 14 Jonadab, Recab’s son, said that his sons must not drink wine and they have always obeyed him. They have not drunk wine even to this day. They have always obeyed their father’s rule. But I have spoken to you again and again and you have not obeyed me. 15 I have sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, but you have not obeyed me. The prophets said, “Each of you must stop doing wrong things. You must change the things that you do. Start doing the things that are right. Do not be servants of other gods. Then you will live in the country that I have given to you and your fathers.” But you did not think that this was important. You did not listen to me. 16 The sons of Jonadab, Recab’s son, obeyed the rules that their father gave to them. But these people have not obeyed me.
* If your children are old enough, you might want them to take turns reading a verse each. It is usually helpful for each to state the verse number when they read, especially if some are using different versions.
* We have provided the passage in the EasyEnglish Bible, which is based on a vocabulary of 1,200 words to make it easier for younger children. You may prefer to read from another version if your children are older.
IV. Lessons from Jeremiah 35:
· This story gives an example of how the father has a responsibility to give wise counsel to their children. I also give an example of how obedience is wise and sets a good example for others.
· The first three questions give background on the main characters. The next three focus on the lesson to be learned from the events in the passage. The last three are related questions with verses from the book of Proverbs to reinforce the truths in the story.
· The answers are only intended to provide highlights. You will want to expand further. Examples from your life will help make these truths come alive for your children.
1. Who was Jeremiah?
Jeremiah was, by nature, gentle and tender in his feelings, and sympathetic. A decided contrast to this is found in the hard and unmerciful judgment which it was his mission to announce. God made him strong and firm and immovable like iron for his mission (1:18; 15:20). He prophesied from the reigns of King Josiah through the destruction of Jerusalem. —www.InternationalStandardBible.com
2. Who were the Recabites?
They belonged to the Kenites, who accompanied the children of Israel into the Promised Land, and dwelt among them. Moses married a Kenite wife (Judges 1:16). Jael was the wife of “Heber the Kenite” (Judges 4:17-22). Saul also showed kindness to the Kenites (1 Samuel 15:6). The main body of the Kenites dwelt in cities, and adopted settled habits of life (1 Samuel 30:29); but Jonadab commanded his descendants to lead a nomadic life. —WebBibleEncyclopedia.org
3. Who was Jonadab?
Jonadab is described as an ally of Jehu in the demolition of Baal-worship in Samaria (2 Kings 10:1-36). He is called the "father" of the Rechabites, who derived from him their ordinances for their nomadic life and abstention from wine (Jeremiah 35:1-19). —www.InternationalStandardBible.com
4. Why were Jonadab’s instructions wise?
Jonadab’s instructions to not drink wine helped to keep them sharp and alert (Proverbs 23:29-35*). The prohibition against living in houses and planting kept them from being tied down to a particular location.
5. How did obeying Jonadab help the Recabites?
When the Babylonians invaded the northern kingdom of Israel, it was easy for the Recabites to get away by moving to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 35:10-11). Their obedience helped to keep them safe from danger.
6. Why was God able to use the Recabites a good example?
Because the Recabites obeyed their grandfather, they set the example for Israel on how to obey God (Proverbs 20:11; 1 Timothy 4:12). When we obey our parents, we are also learning to obey God.
7. Why do our fathers correct us? What would it mean if they didn’t care how we acted?
Proverbs 3:11-14 (esv)
11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
8. What does our response to our father reveal about us?
Proverbs 15:5-7 (esv)
5 A fool despises his father's instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the hearts of fools.
9. How can we bring joy to our father?
Proverbs 23:22-25 (esv)
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
let her who bore you rejoice
· Faith of Our Fathers, by Frederick Faber
· Great is Thy Faithfulness, by Thomas O Chisholm
· Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting
· Ask your dad for one of his favorites.
You can use hymnary.org, sermonaudio.com/hymnlist.asp, or hymntime.com to get the words.
· A father should remember that he was a husband first, and one of the best things he can do for his children is to love and cherish their mother. His example will help set the tone for the whole family.
· The father should take a few minutes to speak words of blessing and encouragement to his children and wife, and then close in prayer for them. If the father is not available, mom or an older child can close in prayer.
Bible Trivia about Fathers: Who am I? (Answers below)
1. I can't believe that one of my sons is best friends with my worst enemy! Who am I?
2. My sons had a tendency to be hot-headed and earned themselves the nickname "Sons of Thunder". Who am I?
3. When an angel messenger told me my elderly wife would bear a son, I asked for a sign as proof. Who am I?
4. I promised to give my beautiful stepdaughter anything she wished if she would dance for my guests. Her vicious request shocked me. Who am I?
5. I married the only woman in the world and eventually had three sons. Who am I?
6. I was a Roman official who begged Jesus to cure my dying daughter. Who am I?
7. I was the son of Nun? Who am I?
8. I thought my dad was going to sacrifice me, but God provided a sacrifice. Who am I?
“Things Dad Would Never Say.” Such as:
“Here, you take the remote.”
“Can you turn up that music?”
“I LOVE your tattoo. We should both get new ones.”
“Don’t worry about how much it costs. Money is no object.”
A family of mice was surprised by a big cat. Father Mouse jumped and said, "Bow-wow!" The cat ran away. "What was that Father?" asked Baby Mouse. "Well, son, that's why it's important to learn a second language."
1. Saul 2. Zebedee 3. Zechariah 4. Herod 5. Adam 6. Jairus 7. Joshua 8. Isaac