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Honor, Week 1

David and Goliath

1 Samuel 17

Honor others by giving them a chance.

The Bible.

It’s God’s One Big Story. The epic adventure of how He created us and loves us so much that He made a way to rescue us, even when we turned our backs on Him.

As we travel through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we discover people who met God and found their lives changed forever.

When Moses died, Joshua led the Israelites into the land God had promised them. After Joshua, a series of judges guided God’s people. But they still faced enemies on every side.

The Israelites saw that all these nations had impressive kings to lead them into battle—and God’s people decided that they needed a king, too. It wasn’t enough for them that God was in charge. So they begged God for a king, and He gave them one, a man named Saul. While Saul was handsome and wore fine armor in battle, he didn’t listen to God.

So God chose another king—a young shepherd named David. But even though David had been picked to be the next king, Saul still ruled Israel, and David still spent his days watching his father’s sheep near Bethlehem.

Once, as David picked out a tune on his harp, a lion burst from the brush and grabbed one of his sheep. David raced after the lion and threw himself in front of it. He freed the sheep, and when the lion turned to attack him, David wrestled it down by the mane and killed it.

This might seem like a big deal. But it was David’s older brothers who were picked to follow King Saul into battle against the Philistines, leaving David to keep watching the sheep.

The battle didn’t go well for King Saul and the Israelites. They camped in the Valley of Elah on a hill across from the Philistine army. And every morning and evening for 40 days, a gigantic Philistine man named Goliath marched out to taunt them.

“I dare Israel to send a man down to fight against me!” screamed Goliath.

“If he’s able to fight and kill me, we’ll become your slaves. But if I win and kill him, you will become our slaves!”

Not a single Israelite dared to march out and face Goliath as he towered before them with heavy armor and a deadly spear.

Back in Bethlehem, David’s father, Jesse, wanted to know how his sons were doing. So he called David in from the fields. “Take some grain and bread and cheese to your brothers,” instructed Jesse. “Come back to me and tell me how they’re doing.”

David nodded. “I’m on it, Dad.”

Early the next morning, David headed out. When he reached the army camp, the men were lining up for battle. “Eliab!” called David, searching for his brothers. “Shammah? Abinadab?”

At last he located his oldest brother. “Why are you here, twerp?” snapped Eliab.

“Dad wants to know how you’re doing,” David explained. Eliab frowned. “Fine. We’re big heroes—”

But even as Eliab spoke, Goliath marched out. David stared at the massive warrior with iron muscles. His footsteps seemed to shake the earth.

“Who’s that?” asked David.

Eliab’s face had gone white. “Er, um . . . Goliath,” he croaked.

“I dare Israel to send a man down to fight against me!” shouted Goliath.

David’s brothers and the entire Israelite army scattered, fleeing back to camp.

“Hey! Wait a minute!” David exclaimed to the men around him. “This Philistine is bringing shame to Israel. He’s mocking God!”

David’s brothers overheard and glared at him. “You’re proud, and you hate what’s good,” snarled Eliab. “You’ve just come to hang out and watch the battle.”

David shook his head in disbelief. “What have I done now?. . . Can’t I even speak?”

King Saul heard what David was saying and sent for him. “Your majesty!” said David, bowing low. “Don’t let anyone lose hope because of that Philistine. I’ll go out and fight him.”

King Saul nearly laughed as he stared at this young shepherd in a simple tunic. “You?!” he laughed. “You are too young. He’s been a warrior ever since he was a boy.”

“When a lion or bear attacks my father’s sheep, I strike it down,” David told the king. “I’ll do the same thing to this Philistine. . . . The Lord saved me from the paw of the lion. He saved me from the paw of the bear. And he’ll save me from the powerful hand of this Philistine too.”

Fascinated by David’s confidence, the king decided to give him a chance. “Go,” he ordered. “And may the Lord be with you.”

King Saul even offered David his own armor and sword. But after trying it on, David shook his head. “I can’t go out there in all this armor,” David said, shrugging off the heavy metal breastplate. “I’m not used to it.”

The king gaped as David removed the armor and returned the sword. “But surely you need a weapon?!” he cried.

“I know where to find one,” said David. The young man took his wooden staff and went down to the stream. There, he picked out five smooth stones, turning them over in his hand. Then David placed the stones in his bag and took out his sling, made of tough cords.

Below, in the valley, Goliath bellowed: “I dare Israel to send a man down to fight against me!”

Taking a deep breath, David marched out to meet him. The Philistine smirked as he stomped toward David. “Why are you coming at me with sticks?” he sneered. “Do you think I’m only a dog? I’ll feed your body to the birds and wild animals!”

David stood his ground. Looking up, he cried out, “You are coming to fight against me with a sword, a spear and a javelin. But I’m coming against you in the name of the Lord who rules over all. He is the God of the armies of Israel. He’s the one you have dared to fight against. This day the Lord will give me the victory over you. . . . Then the whole world will know there is a God in Israel. . . . The battle belongs to the Lord.”

“Israelite pig!” howled Goliath, rushing forward to attack. But David grabbed a stone from his bag and fit it into the sling. Whirling the sling as fast as he could, he released the stone.

It hurtled through the air . . . and hit Goliath squarely in the forehead! The giant swayed and toppled, hitting the ground like a thunderclap.

For a moment, no one on either side dared to breathe.

When the Philistines saw their hero was dead, though, they panicked and ran. The Israelites rushed forward to chase them.

That day, the Philistines were defeated. King Saul could only stare in amazement at the young man who had conquered the giant with only a stone.

“Who are you?” asked the king.

“I’m the son of Jesse from Bethlehem,” said David.

From that day on, King Saul called on David to serve him. The young man became a warrior and leader through God’s power—and King Saul’s willingness to give him a chance.

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Has someone ever given you a chance to try something?

Maybe a coach let you play in the game, or someone gave you a place at the lunch table when you were new—or your mom let you try baking something, even though it would be messy. Share your stories with each other—parents, you share too. How did it feel when someone gave you a chance? King Saul showed David honor when he let him challenge Goliath, even though he was so young. And we can show how the people in our lives are valuable to us, and to God, when we give them a chance. Together, brainstorm the names of a few people you know who may just be waiting for you to give them a chance. Then pray together for those people and ask that God would show you when and how to give that chance.

Coming Soon

Honor, Week 2

David and Jonathan

1 Samuel 18:1-9; 19:1-7; 20:1-42

Honor others by putting them first.

The Bible.

It’s God’s One Big Story. The epic adventure of how He created us and loves us so much that He made a way to rescue us, even when we turned our backs on Him.

As we travel through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we discover people who met God and found their lives changed forever.

David was referred to as a man after God’s heart. God even chose David to be king of Israel after Saul. But for now, Saul was still king.

David chose to be patient and trust God. He even helped King Saul by defeating the terrible giant Goliath. David did everything Saul asked. He also became best friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan.

“Dad says that you can stay right here at the palace with us!” exclaimed Jonathan.

David stared up at the tall ceilings of the palace. “Like . . . live here? Wow.”

Everyone assumed Jonathan was next in line to be king. He must have known that as David became more popular, people might want David to be king. But instead of being jealous, Jonathan put his friend first in everything.

“Here, take my robe!” said Jonathan, tugging off his regal outer garment. “Then people will see how important you are.”

David hesitated. “Are you sure?”

Jonathan nodded. “Take my belt, too. And my sword,” he added. “Oh, and my bow and arrows.”

“But these are all things for a prince!” protested David as Jonathan loaded everything into his arms.

“You’re worth it,” said Jonathan with a grin.

Over time, David continued to lead the army into battle. He did so well that people ran out of the towns, singing and dancing when they saw King Saul and David coming.

“King Saul is awesome!” they shouted. “But have you seen David? He is, like, totes the goat!”

King Saul became angry. “No fair,” he grumbled. “I’m totes the goat, too! Next thing, David will try to take the kingdom away from me!”

Saul was so jealous he even hurled a spear at David! Later, he told Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. Jonathan was horrified and quickly warned his friend.

“Find a place to hide,” said Jonathan. “I’ll talk to my father and find out what’s going on.”

The next morning, Jonathan faced King Saul. “Don’t harm David,” Jonathan pleaded. “He’s helped you. He risked his life to kill Goliath. God used him to win a great battle. Why would you kill him?”

Saul shrugged. “Okay, fine. I will show how totes amazing I am by not putting David to death.”

Jonathan and David were both relieved, and for a short time, all was well. But then: Saul went back on his word. He tried to kill David again, and when that failed he sent other men to try to kill David.

“I haven’t done anything to your father,” cried David. “Why is he trying to kill me?” “He won’t do it,” Jonathan promised. “He tells me everything, and he hasn’t said a word about hurting you.”

“That’s because he knows we’re friends and you would tell me,” David pointed out. Jonathan shook his head. “This is terrible. I’ll do anything I can to help.”

David frowned, considering. “There’s a feast tomorrow and I’m supposed to eat with King Saul,” he said at last. “But I’ll hide instead. Tell your father I’ve gone home to my family. If he says it’s okay, then I’m safe. But if he’s angry, it means he still wants to hurt me. Deal?”

“Deal,” Jonathan agreed. “But whatever happens, please be kind to me. I know the Lord will defeat all your enemies some day, but promise to always be kind to me and to all my family.”

The two young men promised to always be friends, no matter what might happen next.

“How will I know what Saul says?” asked David.

“The day after tomorrow, go hide out in the field by that huge stone,” Jonathan instructed. “After the feast, I’ll come out to the field—but Dad might be spying on me. So I’ll pretend to practice shooting arrows and send a servant after them. If I tell him, ‘I shot the arrows on this side of you,’ that means you’re safe. But if I say, ‘I shot the arrows far beyond you,’ then go. That means my father wants to hurt you.”

David nodded. “Field. Stone. Arrows. Got it!”

The next day, King Saul and all of his household sat down to a festive meal. King Saul noticed that David was missing, but was certain he would return.

The following night, everyone sat down to another feast.

King Saul took a bite of his meal. “This gazelle is royally tasty,” he said, and then looked down the table. “Don’t you think so, David?” But David was still missing.

“Why isn’t David here?!” demanded the king.

“David’s family is offering a sacrifice to honor God,” Jonathan explained. “He asked me if it was okay to go…and I said ‘yes.’”

Saul leapt up from his seat, face red. “I knew it!” he shrieked. “You’re on his side. That is so not cool. As long as he’s alive, you’ll never be king!”

“Why do you want to put him to death?” asked Jonathan. “What has he done?” Saul was so angry he couldn’t think clearly. He actually threw a spear at his very own son!

Jonathan left immediately, and the next morning, hurried out to the field. He could see the large stone standing tall at a distance.

“I sure hope David’s there . . . ” he murmured to himself.

In case anyone was watching, Jonathan spoke loudly to the young servant with him. “I’m going to practice shooting,” he said. “Run and find the arrows after I shoot them.”

As the boy started to run, Jonathan notched an arrow in his bow and released it. When the boy reached the place where the arrow had fallen, Jonathan shouted out, “The arrow went far beyond you, didn’t it?. . . Hurry up! Run fast. Don’t stop.”

The boy picked up the arrow and returned it to Jonathan. “Here,” Jonathan told him, “take my bow. Go back to town.”

Once the servant had left, Jonathan checked carefully to make sure no one was watching. David stood up from his hiding place behind the stone, and Jonathan hurried out to meet him.

“I’m so sorry,” said Jonathan. “My father . . .”

“I know,” said David, nodding. “It’s not your fault.”

David and Jonathan hugged each other and wept. “Go in peace,” Jonathan told David. “In the name of the Lord we’ve promised to be friends. He’s a witness between your children and my children forever.”

There was nothing more to say. David left the city to hide from Saul, while Jonathan went home. Jonathan could have allowed his father to kill David—and maybe become king himself. But instead, Jonathan trusted God and chose to put his friend first.

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What are some ways that you can put others first?

Take a few minutes and brainstorm some ideas. Putting others first doesn’t often come naturally. We’re wired to worry about what we need—to take the first spot in line or to take the biggest piece or to choose the movie or game to play. But when we choose instead to put someone’s needs else ahead of what we want, we show them just how valuable they really are. Putting others first says that because they’re made in God’s image, they’re super important. It’s an amazing way to show honor. Together, choose one of the ideas that you brainstormed to put others first, and make a plan to do it this week. Then pray for each other, that you’ll see opportunities all around you to honor others by putting them first.

Coming Soon

Honor, Week 3

David and Mephibosheth

2 Samuel 9:1-13

Honor others by keeping your promises.

The Bible.

It’s God’s One Big Story. The epic adventure of how He created us and loves us so much that He made a way to rescue us, even when we turned our backs on Him.

As we travel through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we discover people who met God and found their lives changed forever.

God called King David a man after His heart. David was one of Israel’s greatest, most powerful rulers. But long before David became king, he and King Saul’s son Jonathan were best friends.

“Whatever happens, please be kind to me,” Jonathan had asked. “I know the Lord will defeat all your enemies some day, but promise to always be kind to me and to all my family.”

Though King Saul was jealous of David and many times tried to kill him, David and Jonathan remained close friends—until the day David received terrible news.

“The Philistines attacked us!” cried an exhausted soldier. “Saul and Jonathan are dead.”

Even though Saul had been his enemy, David was deeply saddened. But now that Saul was dead, David could become king, just as God had declared so long before. After many years and difficult battles, David finally became king over all of Israel.

“I will honor God by doing what is fair and right for everyone!” he declared.

One day, David remembered the promise he had made to always be kind to Jonathan’s family. He called for his officials. “Is anyone left from Saul and Jonathan’s family?” he asked. “I want to be kind to whoever is left. Because of Jonathan.”

His officials stared in amazement. “But King Saul was your enemy,” they pointed out. “He tried to kill you!”

“Just find out,” David instructed.

The officials sent for Ziba, a man who had served Saul’s family for many years. “Are you Ziba?” asked David.

Ziba eyed King David warily and glanced around to see if this might be some kind of trap. “I’m ready to serve you,” he said.

“Is anyone from Saul’s family still alive?” David asked.

Ziba hesitated. He knew that David had the power to do anything he wanted to members of Saul’s family.

“Don’t worry!” David assured him. “I’m not looking for payback.

God has been very kind to me. I would like to be kind to that person in the same way.”

“A son of Jonathan is still living,” Ziba admitted. “Mephibosheth. Both of his feet were hurt so that he can’t walk,” Ziba explained.

David turned to his officials. “Have Jonathan’s son brought here!” he commanded.

Mephibosheth knew perfectly well his grandfather had tried to kill David, though he probably knew that his father Jonathan had been good friends with David. Like Ziba, he may have feared the worst when messengers arrived with a command from the king.

“King David wants to see me?” he wondered. “Maybe I could just send a message.”

As Mephibosheth approached the palace, he stared up at the imposing walls and towers with a sinking feeling of dread in his stomach. As he was brought before David, Mephibosheth fell down on his knees, bowing low before the king.

“Mephibosheth!” David exclaimed.

Mephibosheth didn’t dare look up. “I’m ready to serve you,” he gasped.

“Well, you could start by letting me call you something easier,” David suggested. “How about Bo?”

Mephibosheth finally raised his face . . . to see that David was smiling.

“Don’t be afraid!” David encouraged him. “You can be sure that I will be kind to you because of your father Jonathan. I’ll give you back all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul.”

“That’s amazing,” said Mephibosheth, relieved. “Thank you!” “And I’ll always provide what you need!” David added.

“I don’t get it,” said Mephibosheth, shaking his head. “Why are you doing anything for me? I’m about as important as a . . . a dead dog.”

“You’re Jonathan’s son. And I made him a promise!” declared David. Then he called for Ziba to return. “I’m giving [Bo here] everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants must farm the land for him,” David instructed. “I’ll provide everything he needs.”

“I’ll do anything you say,” Ziba agreed.

“Perfect,” said David. “Now, Bo, do you have any sons?”

“Just one,” Mephibosheth told him. “A little boy named Mika.”

“Excellent. I’ll teach him to drive my chariot!” said David.

From that time on, Mephibosheth and his family came to live in Jerusalem—and David provided everything they needed, just as he had promised Jonathan.

Coming Soon

Honor, Week 4

Daniel Is Thrown into a Den of Lions

Daniel 6

Honor God by giving Him credit.

The Bible.

It’s God’s One Big Story. The epic adventure of how He created us and loves us so much that He made a way to rescue us, even when we turned our backs on Him.

As we travel through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, we discover people who met God and found their lives changed forever.

Israel was ruled by many kings following David. Some listened to God, but many did not. Over and over, God’s people strayed to worship other gods. When Jehoiakim was king of Israel, he ignored God’s laws and led the people astray. So God allowed Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to invade Jerusalem and take captives back to his home.

One of these prisoners was a young man named Daniel. Because Daniel listened to God, his wisdom soon gained him a position as one of the king’s advisors. Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar for many years. And when Babylon was conquered, Daniel was chosen to serve the new ruler, King Darius, too.

“I shall appoint 120 royal rulers over my kingdom,” announced Darius. “And three big bosses over them!”

King Darius picked Daniel and two other men we’ll call Abo and Cos. Just as he did three times every day, Daniel went to his room and kneeled down to talk to God. “Thank You for giving me this job, God,” he prayed. “Please help me to do it well.”

Daniel did so well that King Darius took notice. “I think I shall make you the head big wig over everyone!” he decided.

Abo and Cos weren’t happy when they heard the news. “He’s first in charge?” they whined. “Not if we can get him in trouble.”

Even though Abo and Cos watched Daniel closely, they couldn’t find a single thing wrong with him or his work.

“Except . . .” suggested Abo, “he prays to his god.”

“Three times every day!” added Cos.

The wily pair devised a plan, and along with all the other advisors, went to the king. “King Darius!” cried Abo. “May you live forever. We think everyone should put you first.”

“Tell me more,” said the king.

Cos grinned. “Make a law that for 30 days, no one can pray to any god but you!” “An intriguing idea,” said the king. “But what if they don’t? How do we give this law some teeth?”

“First one to disobey gets tossed into the lions’ den!” said Abo.

“Where do I sign?” asked the king, and put his name to the terrible law. Daniel heard about the king’s new order. But even so, he went directly to his room to talk to God—the One True God.

“The law says I’m supposed to pray to the king,” said Daniel. “But, God, You are the One who has given me everything! You are the only one I can thank.”

Unfortunately, Abo and Cos had followed Daniel and watched as he knelt before God. “Heh heh heh,” they gloated. “He’s up first for the lions’ den!”

Gleeful, they raced to find King Darius. “Didn’t you sign a law that says no one can pray to any god but you for 30 days?” asked Abo.

“Yeah, or they get thrown into a den with lions!” added Cos. “Indeed,” said King Darius.

“We saw the first!” said Abo. “The first one to break your law!” “Who was it?” asked Darius.

“Your first in command,” smirked Cos. “Daniel! He still prays to his God three times a day.”

Darius was terribly upset. He didn’t want Daniel to be harmed. But written laws were so strong that even the king couldn’t find a way out. At sunset, Daniel was brought out and lowered into the lions’ den!

Darius watched in horror. “You always serve your God faithfully,” he called out. “So may he save you!”

Immediately, a heavy stone was placed over the mouth of the den. In the gloom, Daniel continued talking to God. “God, thank You for giving me strength to stand strong for You,” he prayed amid the low growls of the watching lions. “I trust that You will take care of me, even here!”

King Darius returned to his palace. But he couldn’t eat or sleep. All night, he paced the rooftop gardens, staring through the darkness toward the place where the lions were kept. As the sun finally rose, Darius rushed to the lions’ den.

“Remove the stone!” ordered the king.

Darius peered into the pit. His eyes, blinded by the sun, could see only darkness. “Daniel!” he cried. “You serve the living God. You always serve him faithfully. So has he been able to save you from the lions?”

After a long moment, Daniel emerged into the light . . . unharmed!

“Your Majesty, may you live forever!” he said. “My God sent his angel. And his angel shut the mouths of the lions. They haven’t hurt me at all. That’s because I haven’t done anything wrong in God’s sight. I’ve never done anything wrong to you either, Your Majesty.”

“Lift him out of the den immediately!” ordered Darius.

Darius was overjoyed to see Daniel safe. But his anger burned against the men who had tricked him into signing the terrible law. “Throw them in the lions’ den immediately!” he decreed.

The men who had tried to destroy Daniel lost their own lives instead. And King Darius immediately sent for his scribe to write something new—a letter instead of a law.

“Say this,” Darius instructed. “May you have great success! I order people in every part of my kingdom to respect and honor Daniel’s God. He is the living God. He will live forever. His kingdom will not be destroyed. His rule will never end. . . . He has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

God gave Daniel success all through the reign of King Darius. And Daniel continued to honor the One True God.

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Take a few minutes and share some of the good things in your life right now—whether big or small.

No matter how difficult things might be, we always have things to be thankful for, even if it’s just that we’re breathing and have something to eat! But most of us have much, much more than that. Good food and clothes, a place to stay, people who love us, and school or work to help us grow and learn. It’s so easy to take those things for granted—but every single one is a gift from God. It’s important to stop and give thanks to God every day, both while we’re talking to Him, but also when we’re talking to others. When you give God credit for the good things in your life, you honor Him! Pray for each other, that you would daily see the things God has given you and choose to give Him credit.