Recently, our church finished our annual Summer XP (kind of like a VBS on steroids). Each year, we pick one Bible character to study. This year it was David. All of the Bible is God-breathed and therefore we know that if it is in the Bible, it is important and God spoke it for a reason. God must have wanted us to learn from David. What did he want us to know about him? What did he want us to emulate from David?
As I began working on the curriculum months ago, I was honestly a little frustrated with David. I wanted to share as much about David’s life as I could with the kids in the four nights we had. I knew I wanted to focus on him being a shepherd, his bravery in fighting Goliath and how he ultimately was crowned King. As I read his full story, I was a little frustrated with his shenanigans from trying to kill Uriah to his behavior with Bathsheba. Goodness, I was liking Jonathan much more than David at one point. I was asking myself…. Do I really want our kids to have a heart like David?
Studying David as an adult reveals so much more. He did not always follow God’s Will for him. He was a sinner, he was imperfect. I sense he felt he could have anything he wanted. He was sounding a lot like…. Us. I was starting to feel that tug from the Lord when He wants me to dig in deeper. He was wanting me to share more with the kids than I was thinking and he was wanting to challenge me as well. When I get this feeling I am both intrigued but also usually a little afraid all at the same time.
I started remembering that actually almost all of our great Bible heroes had great imperfections. God included all of them for a reason and I felt prompting from Him that we somehow needed to include their lack of perfection in our lessons.
You see, I think there is great value in making sure our kids (and us) know that God used many imperfect people for the sake of His mission. He always called the poor, broken and faithful to His calling. If you don’t believe me, here are just a few…
Noah- struggled with alcohol
Gideon – was afraid
Jacob- was a liar
When I was young I only heard about the good things Noah, David, Moses, Abraham and others did. I just wanted to have a heart for God like them. I was afraid of imperfection. I struggled with my confidence. I hid my mistakes. I felt like a bad Christian when I stumbled. I had no idea that I did not have the capability to be perfect until much later in life. I still struggle with this to an extent, but God chose to include all of David’s story in the Bible. I was beginning to realize that God wanted us to know David’s journey, not just pieces of the story. As with any journey there are ups and downs.
So in the end, in regards to David, we obviously decided not to include the Bathsheba story (it did not pass the “G” rating), but we did decide that our kids needed to know that David did not always make the right choice. We stressed this in the storytelling center and made sure that as much information was given as possible depending upon their age. The older kids heard about Uriah. We told them there was more to David’s story that they would learn as they got older. We told him that he sinned and he did not always make the right choice. He struggled with things such as envy, jealousy, anger and more. He was just like us.
What we did want the kids to know is that when God sent Nathan to David to reveal his sin to him in 2 Samuel, David confessed and repented. He recognized his wrongdoing. Would they be willing to do the same? God’s heart turned back to God and ultimately when we sin that is all God is asking us to do is to repent and come back to him. He forgave him. We have that same free gift of grace and forgiveness that is offered to us when we sin. Does that mean we get a free pass? No, David had some serious consequences for his actions, but we are forgiven and free.
So as you are reading this you may be wondering if I am asking you to go home and talk to your kids about David as a murderer or Samson as a ladies man? Not at all, but as you talk with your kids about different Bible characters, consider these three questions.
- Why do you think God chose to tell us about ______?
- Did this person follow God all his or her life? For this, you can share what you feel is appropriate at their age. For our younger kids, we simply told them that David did not always do the right thing and that as they got older they would hear more about that, but that we do know God told us in His Word that David was a man after God’s own heart and we want to be that as well.
- What can we learn from ____________?