The Biblical Story – Part One
The First of Six Articles Supporting
God’s Unfolding Story for Older Preschoolers
The Biblical Story – We’re Commanded to Teach It
This is the first in a series of articles about teaching the biblical story to children in our churches.
Shortly before his death, Moses spoke to the Israelite people and exhorted them…
Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren (Deut. 4:9, HCSB, emphasis added).
God still is calling us to teach our children and grandchildren. And, the content of that teaching is still to be “the things your eyes have seen.” The things we have “seen” comprise the story of what God has done in the Bible and in our lives. This IS the biblical story! The story starts with a sovereign God who created all things for His people. It encompasses all of God’s redemptive work in Jesus Christ and continues into eternity where this same sovereign God continues to love and bless His people.
For Moses and the Hebrew people standing at the edge of the Promised Land, the story they were called to teach included the story of creation because it affirmed that their God was the God of all things and all people. It included the story of Adam and Eve’s sin because this explained why people and the world were so messed up and why a “seed” was needed (Gen. 3:15). The story included the Patriarchs because this explained their ancestry and God’s plan for them as a chosen people. It included the story of the Exodus because it demonstrated that God is a powerful and delivering God. The story included Mt. Sinai and the wilderness wandering because these revealed God’s ongoing provision for them and His expectation that they would be a different people.
The story also included what God was doing in their midst at that moment in history. Moses wasn’t recounting the past for the sake of nostalgia. God’s activity in the past explained His activity in the present. The past was important, but they weren’t to live in the past. God was working among His people in the present moment. The covenant relationship He had established with them at Sinai was just as real as they stood at the edge of the Promised Land.
Just as important as their history and present context, the story God commanded them to teach included His promise to give them “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). This was, after all, where they were going. The Promised Land was what God was preparing them for and taking them to. The story wasn’t merely what took place in the past or what God was doing in their midst at that time. It involved what He wanted to do in their midst in the future. This unfolding view of the story affirms God’s eternal nature and the fact that He is preparing an eternity for His people.
We shouldn’t be surprised, then, that God would command His people, then and now, to not “forget the things your eyes have seen.” It makes perfect sense that He would also command us to teach these things to our children and grandchildren. The biblical story is God’s story. The biblical story is HIS story.
The biblical story is a story we all need to here and remember. It is a story we need to teach to our children and grandchildren. This is a responsibility we need to take seriously. God’s Unfolding Story Bible Study System has been designed to help churches teach the biblical story to successive generations.
You can read more about God’s Unfolding Story Bible Study System and resources you can use to teach the biblical story to preschoolers. To learn more about teaching the biblical story to children and read the second part of this series, click here.