The Captives Came Home:
The focus of this family time is to use five easy steps to teach your family that God always keeps His promises. God chose to use King Cyrus in His plan to graciously deliver His people from exile. King Cyrus’ action to free the people reminds us of Jesus, whom God chose to rescue sinners and bring us to our true home in His kingdom of grace.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.”
Learn the Memory Verse together and say it throughout the week to help your family remember and apply what they have learned.
STEP 1. GATHER!
Use this time to begin Family Worship Night and have fun!
Hide a stuffed animal or favorite toy of each child. Give them a list of funny activities they must do to “free” the item. Think of silly tasks like hop on one foot and sing the happy birthday song, try to whistle while eating three crackers, or walking around the kitchen while balancing an egg on a spoon. After kids complete the tasks, give them the stuffed animal or toy. While this was silly and fun, talk with kids about the seriousness of what Jesus did to purchase our freedom from sin.
Take some time as a family to create “coupon books” of kind acts or favors you can do for one another. Exchange the coupon books at the beginning of the week and try to complete as many of the acts and favors as possible by the end of the week. Discuss how the act or favor cost something for the giver, but it is free for the recipient. Remind kids that Jesus paid the penalty for sin so that we could experience freedom. This is all an act of His amazing grace!
STEP 2. WORSHIP!
- Sing and have fun while worshiping then pray. Take a moment here to thank God for your family and your time together!!
STEP 3. BIBLE!
Watch the Bible story video or read Ezra 1 from the Bible or Watch:
STEP 4. DISCUSSION!
Use these questions and points to have a conversation with your children about the Bible story.
- God’s people had lived in Babylon, a long time—Do you remember how many years? 70 years!
- God had promised His people that He would bring them back to their homes in Judah. Now it was time for God’s people to go home. Does God always keep His promises? Yes!
- At this time, Cyrus was the king of a land called Persia. God gave King Cyrus an idea to let God’s people go back to their land and rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem. This was good news!
- King Cyrus gave God’s people gifts. Do remember some of the gifts? gold, silver, and animals.
- King Cyrus even brought out some dishes that Babylon’s king had taken from Jerusalem. There were basins, knives, bowls, and other pieces. The king’s helper counted them. There were more than 5,000 pieces of gold and silver.
- Harriet Tubman was known as the “Moses of her people.” Born into slavery in 1822, Harriet later escaped and led other slaves to their freedom. Over a 10-year span, Harriet Tubman made many trips from Maryland to the Southern states and helped free more than 300 people from slavery. She often helped those individuals find work and homes to start their new lives. Harriet Tubman is a hero for the time and sacrifice she gave to helping others find freedom.
- God used Harriet Tubman to lead others to freedom. Her story reminds us of how God used a king named Cyrus to bring His people out of captivity. King Cyrus decided to let all of God’s people return to Jerusalem to build God a temple there. Cyrus sent gold, silver, animals, and other supplies to help the people. Just as God had promised, the people were free to return to their homes after 70 years in exile.
- Stories like these point us to an even greater rescue story. The Bible tells us that apart from Jesus, all people are captive to sin and have no power to free themselves from its consequences. God loved us and sent Jesus as our Deliverer. He is the One who came to free us from the power of sin. If we trust in Him, we have freedom, forgiveness, and a new home with Him forever and ever.
- God always keeps His promises. God chose to use King Cyrus in His plan to graciously deliver His people from exile. King Cyrus’ action to free the people reminds us of Jesus, whom God chose to rescue sinners and bring us to our true home in His kingdom of grace.
- Look up a picture of Hudson Taylor and show your family
- SAY Hudson Taylor lived many years ago. At the age of 21, he sailed from his home in England to China. It took five and a half months for him to arrive in Shanghai, China. His parents had always been fascinated with East Asia, and they prayed when Hudson was just a newborn baby that he would someday work for God in China.
- Hudson spent his teenage years preparing to go to China by learning about medicine and studying Mandarin, a language spoken in China. He also spent time reading his Bible and praying. When Hudson arrived in Shanghai, he only stayed there for a few months before he and another man set off for other areas of China. One time, Hudson and his friend set sail down the Huangpu River and distributed Chinese Bibles and tracts to people they met along the way.
STEP 5. Pray!
- Pray: Jesus, thank You for loving us with such an amazing love. Our sin held us captive, but You sent Your Son, Jesus, to free us! We know that His death has paid the price for freedom, and His resurrection promises a new life and eternal home with You for all who believe. Thank You. Amen.