Posts Tagged "children"

Obadiah and Elijah (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 19)

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This short chapter continues Spurgeon’s observations from the previous two chapters based on the story of Elijah and Obadiah.  It begins with yet another observation on the benefits of early piety.  Spurgeon notes:

“YOUTHFUL PIETY LEADS on to persevering piety.”

Obadiah observed that, “I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.”  [1 Kings 18:12 KJV]”   He was able to proclaim this because time had not changed him or waivered his faith in God.  Obadiah had “run the race” and persevered.  Many people exalt martyrs who die for their faith, but Spurgeon explains:

“It is not burning quick to the death in martyrdom that is the hard work; roasting before a slow fire is a far more terrible test of firmness…the grace of God to preserve a believer for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, is quite as great a miracle and deserves more of our praise than it usually commands.”

Rather than succumb to the popular notions of his day that included the worship of Baal, Obadiah stood firm in the belief in God that he had come to early in life.  He also held fast to his piety despite his wealth and position.  He worked in the court of the King, in the court of a King and Queen who were adverse to belief in God, and despite all that position offered, he remained faithful to God.  Spurgeon observes:

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Obadiah’s Early Piety (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 18)

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In the last chapter, we were introduced to Obadiah who later in his life worked in the hostile court of the evil King Ahab.  In this chapter, Spurgeon discusses the early piety of Obadiah.  In 1 Kings 18:12, during his exchange with Elijah, Obadiah states:

“…but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth.  [1 Kings 18:12 KJV]”

The Bible does not tell us how Obadiah came to faith or who instructed him.  Spurgeon does postulate that based on Obadiah’s name (which means “the servant of Jehova”) that Obadiah’s parents were likely believers.  In a time when believers in God were frequently persecuted or even killed, the fact that Obadiah’s parents would name their son “the servant of Jehova” speaks to the faith of his parents and supports Spurgeon’s contention that they were likely believer.  On the importance of parents, Spurgeon notes:

“Whether this be so or not [that Obadiah’s parents were believers], it is quite certain that thousands of the most intelligent believers owe their first bent towards godliness to the sweet associations of home…we were consecrated to the service of God before we knew that there was a God. Many a tear of earnest prayer fell on our infant brow and sealed us for Heaven; we were nursed in the atmosphere of devotion; there was scarce a day in which we were not urged to be faithful servants of God, and entreated while we were yet young to seek Jesus and give our hearts to Him.”

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Witnesses for God Converted in Youth (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 17)

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Although this chapter touches on those who come to faith early in life, Spurgeon’s principle point in this chapter is that God is forever sovereign and always has a plan.  This chapter is based on the story of Elijah and Obadiah recorded in the book of 1 Kings and lays the foundation for the following chapter’s discussion of Obadiah’s early piety.

In 1 Kings 18, we read the story of Elijah and Obadiah.  Obadiah was in charge of the household of Ahab, the King of Israel.  When Ahab’s wife Jezebel ordered that all the prophets of the Lord be killed in order to expedite that worship of Baal, Obadiah hid a hundred of the prophets of the Lord in caves around the country  He watched over them and sustained them with bread and water.  As Obadiah was walking through the land, he came across the great prophet Elijah who summoned him to go tell King Ahab the Elijah was there to meet him.  Obadiah was understandably nervous about this request of Elijah was an enemy of the King.

Spurgeon notes that Obadiah was a quiet man of God who feared the Lord and still worked in the court of the King which was hostile to the God of Israel.  On the other hand, Elijah was a very outspoken and public prophet of the Lord.  In Spurgeon’s opinion, Elijah did not think very highly of Obadiah.  Spurgeon postulates:

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Childhood and the Holy Scriptures (Synopsis of Come Ye’ Children – Chapter 16)

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In this chapter, Spurgeon employs the example of Paul and Timothy to draw some conclusions about children and the Bible.  He begins by recounting the method how Paul taught Timothy the gospel.  He taught him the lessons of the Bible verbally by teaching him sound doctrine.  As importantly, he taught him experientially by allowing Timothy to see Paul live out his Christian faith in everyday life.  As Spurgeon explains,

“We cannot force truth upon men, but we can make our own teaching clear and decided, and make our lives consistent therewith. Truth and holiness are the surest antidotes to error and unrighteousness.”

As teachers of children, it is of the utmost importance that we lead lives consistent with what we teach.  If our kids see us outside of the classroom setting violating the very standards that we teach them on Sunday morning, they will never follow those standards again.  We are supposed to shine the light of Jesus on them by imitating hm.  Teaching the Word of God is as much about living it as it is about speaking it.

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#53 – If It’s Too Comfortable, You’re Not Doing Something Right! (Tips For Large Group Teaching)

Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.

In this series, we’ve been through a ton of tips for improving and expanding your large group experience.  Some may seem very natural to you, and some of these ideas may make you very uncomfortable.  All of us are better at some things than others and find certain ideas more intimidating than others.  So, while it’s important to find the things that we are good at, it’s equally important to stretch ourselves and try things that are not in our comfort zone.

In order to take over the large group teaching portion of our lesson, I had to give up doing small groups on a regular basis.  Small groups were something that I loved and something I thought I was quite good at.  It came naturally to me.  I love talking to kids one-on-one and finding out what is going on in their lives.  I love building on the large group lesson and helping kids figure out specific ways to apply it to their own lives.  I had become very comfortable in the position of small group leader.  So, as cool as I thought doing the large group teaching would be, I was a little bit apprehensive to give up something I was so comfortable with.

In the end, it was that level of comfort that actually led me to swallow the bullet and start teaching the large group.  It was listening to a song by Matthew West called “The Motions” that finally convinced me that I needed to step out of my comfort zone.  The lyrics to the chorus of that song are:

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