After we did this Bible study, and this Bible study, we continued reading through the Old Testament in the Story Bible by Catherine Vos. We read through Judges, King Saul, David, Solomon, and now we have arrived at the divided kingdom and the time of the prophet Elijah. Gresham has really ramped up his “I don’t like Bible time” complaints this week, and I finally drug out of him that what he doesn’t like is that he can’t understand the Story Bible because “it doesn’t have pictures.” So, when we got to the story of Elijah, we read it first in the Big Picture Story Bible . (This book is a great resource for preschoolers! It covers the major stories of the Bible while maintaining the “big picture” – the story of redemption from Adam to Christ, with LOTS of pictures!)
The story that we read is about Elijah and the prophets of Baal. King Ahab is allowing the nation of Israel to worship idols, and so the people are experiencing a famine sent by God as discipline to cause them to return to the Lord. Elijah finally challenges the prophets of Baal to see whose god can make fire come down from heaven. Whichever god can make fire burn on the altar is the real God. Both Elijah and the prophets build altars, and then the prophets of Baal pray and pray, but no fire comes. Elijah then soaks his altar with buckets of water, prays once, and God sends a tremendous fire on the altar that consumes the sacrifice. The people are in awe of God’s power and return to Him, although it is a fleeting obedience.
I asked Aidan if he knew why Elijah wet down the altar first. He was able to figure it out – that the wet altar would show that God alone was the one who made the fire! Gresham didn’t understand this at all, so I suggested that we try it. “Let’s use some sticks out on the back porch. We’ll wet them down, and see if we can make them catch on fire!”
“Really?” said Aidan.
“I don’t think this is a good idea…” said Gresham.
“Good,” I thought to myself, “My boys have more sense than I thought!”
We did try it, though. We built a little mound of rocks and sticks, turned on the garden hose, wet them down thoroughly, and then tried to light the sticks with a propane lighter. They wouldn’t even smolder. It was pretty amazing, actually, how the flame could touch them and nothing happened!
Then we came back in, and I read Aidan the story again out of the other story Bible (with more detail) while Gresham played on the floor. The story really came alive – how did Elijah feel while he was putting water all over that altar and then waiting for God to act? How did the bystanders feel? Isn’t God so amazing that He can cause fire to come down on the altar! And more amazing that He was so patient to provide the Israelites this opportunity to see His power when they had rejected Him for idols! The backyard demonstration was totally spur of the moment, but it ended up providing my boys with such a wonderful way to see that God is powerful and worthy of our worship!
Tedd Tripp writes in his excellent book on parenting, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, that children are created to be worshippers. Children are not “neutral.” They either fear the Lord, or they live as a fool who says there is no God.
“If he is living as a fool who says in his heart there is no God, he doesn’t cease to be a worshipper – he simply worships what is not God. Part of the parent’s task is to shepher him as a creature who worships, pointing him to the One who alone is worthy of his worship. The question is not ‘will he worship?’ It is always ‘whom will he worship?'” (p.22)
What example do my boys see in our home? What amazes us more – God and the things He has done, or is it having fun? Buying new things? Money? Travel? Entertainment? Playing a really fun video game? What do our lives teach about what is worthy of worship?
Many days we fall so far short, but God is gracious to us just as he was to the Israelites who had forsaken Him to serve idols.
Lord, teach us to worship You alone and parent our boys only for Your glory.