While we are not currently meeting for youth group, we want to continue to provide opportunities for faith engagement and growth. Here you will find videos and reflection questions for personal or family reflection.
A classic story of good versus evil, the Book of Esther is a unique account in the Bible. It gives us a glimpse of the Jews who remained outside their homeland after the Exile, particularly the Jews living in the Persian Empire.
Here we see that the author chose a fascinating literary choice – never once is God mentioned in the entire Book. This behind-the-scenes take of God at work is brilliantly displayed throughout Esther’s chapters through “coincidences” and “happen chances” that help to save the Jews from Haman’s wicked plot to destroy them.
Even today Jewish people celebrate Purim each year by reading Esther, enjoying fun traditions, and giving gifts as described in Esther Chapter 9:20-32. Christians, too, can benefit from reading Esther as it reminds us that even though it appears God is absent, He is still at work in our lives and will not abandon His promises while we are living in a murky and ambiguous world.
1. What did you think of the behind-the-scenes aspect of the book? Where did you see God working?
2. How does the book of Esther show “ironic-reversal.”
3. What does God’s perceived absence in the book show?
Ezra – Nehemiah
Note how the people received revelation and responded after they listened to the Word of God that was being taught to them. This response is remarkably similar to Jesus’ teachings about God’s Kingdom centuries later, and His often-repeated phrase, “He who has an ear, let him hear…” The takeaway? Whether it’s ancient Israel or our worship today, we all must receive a new heart from God and listen to Him.
1. What was the importance of the temple, within these two books? How was it different than previously?
2. The bible project shows a common theme of anti-climactic moments? How does the video show Jerselames expectations not met?
3. How does it show the tension of hope and disappointment?
4. What does it mean for our hearts to be completely transformed by God?
The book of 2 Samuel continues to show us the virtue of humility, the destructiveness of pride, and the faithfulness of God’s promise. We see David succeed and fail, and we see God’s promise for a future king at the beginning and end of the story.
After the death of Saul, David unifies the twelve tribes as their king. In his new capital of Jerusalem, David desires to build God a house. Instead, God promises to build David an eternal house through a king from his lineage. This is a key moment in the book of 2 Samuel and in the Hebrew Scriptures that point us toward a messianic king who will come to fulfill the promise given to David and Abraham to bless all nations.
However, we soon discover that David is not that king. After failing spectacularly, the kingdom slowly unravels. The final chapters of 2 Samuel highlight moments of David’s weakness, showing us his own failure as similar to Saul’s, while promising another king who will come to fulfill God’s good purposes.
1. What did you think about the video? What key concepts stood out to you?
2. What is the significance of 2 Samuel chapter 7.
3. How is 2 Samuel connected to 1 Samuel, how is this seen shown toward the end of the book?
4. What does David’s rise and fall show us about God’s faithfulness and Covenant?
5. How does this book point to the hope of a Messiah (Jesus)?
The book of 1 Samuel is an exciting book split into two parts due to its large size. The first part is a contrasting character study of Saul and David, showing the importance of humility in God’s people.
The book of 1 Samuel focuses on three characters: Samuel, Saul, and David. A poem near the start of the book reveals the book’skey themes: God’s opposition to the proud, exultation of the humble, faithfulness in spite ofevil, and the promise of a messianic king.
These themes are played out through the rest of the book as we see Saul rise to power, only to have his character flaws exposed as he disobeys God’s command. In contrast, God raises up David, a humble shepherd who trusts God. As the story progresses, we see these two characters in increasingly stark contrast. Saul slips into madness as David resolutely trusts inGod’s timing and purposes.
1. What do the differences between King Saul and David tell us about how God views leaders?
2. How does the book of Samuel demonstrate Israel’s
3. Why is the book’s inclusion of King David’s rises to power and his weaknesses (failures) important?
4. How does this book relate to the other books we have studied so far…? What is similar or new?
After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel begin a downward spiral. Israel begins to adopt the corrupt practices of the Canaanites they failed to drive out of the land. This leads to a repeated cycle of sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, and peace, which only eventually leads back into sin.
The book of Judges highlights six judges during this time and shows their increasing corruption. These judges start off fairly well (Othniel, Ehud, Deborah) but become increasingly worse (Gideon, Jephthah, Samson). The book ends with two very disturbing stories that show how incredibly lawless the people have become. The central verse that summarizes this says, “In those days Israel had no king, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
1. What stood out to you in the video?
2. How does the book point to the need for a leader?
3. How do we make sense of the hard stories that demonstrate Israel’s turning away from God?
4. What does this book tell us about the character of God?
At the start of the book of Joshua, Joshua is appointed as Israel’s new leader, a new Moses. He commands obedience to the covenant, sends spies into the land, and brings the people of Israel through the waters of the Jordan River. There Joshua runs into a heavenly commander who makes it clear that the battles that will unfold in this book are not about Israel versus other nations but about God fulfilling his promise to the family of Abraham.
In the battles that follow, Israel learns the hard way to walk in covenant faithfulness. As they do, some of the Canaanites surrender, while most try to extinguish the Israelites. The justice that God brings on human evil finds unique expression in Joshua as God drives out the Canaanites. Having defeated their enemies, the people of Israel divide the land by tribe and receive final words of challenge from Joshua to remain faithful to the covenant.
- What stood out to you in the video?
- How does the Book of Joshua fit into the previous books within the Torah?
- What does this video show about the relationship between God and Israel?