Scripture: Obadiah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
- Students will learn God sent prophets both to warn the wicked and to give hope to those who are godly.
- Students will learn God has given us the Bible to remind us to avoid sin and to give us hope.
- Students will learn God’s prophecies always come true.
- Students will participate in an activity to help them learn to share their faith with others.
Guiding Question: Even though we aren’t prophets, how can we share God’s message with others?
Materials: bracelet cords, red, white, black, blue, green and yellow pony beads, blank index cards, red, white, black, blue, green and yellow markers, crayons or colored pencils and pens
Procedure: Explain to students that God sent prophets throughout Bible times to tell people important things He wanted them to know. Today, they will learn a little about four of these prophets – Obadiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Should students where they are located in a paper Bible. Explain that the Bible is not written in chronological order. That means that sometimes a story will be in more than one book of the Bible told from a different person’s perspective. Just because the stories may have different details doesn’t mean they aren’t all correct. It’s just like going somewhere with three people and then someone asking each of them separately what happened. Each person may mention different things even though all of them are telling the truth. That’s because different things may have been more interesting or exciting to them or perhaps they noticed something the others didn’t see.
These four prophets taught during stories you can also find in Kings and Chronicles. The prophets focused more on what God told them to say to the people during those time periods and not necessarily as much about what was happening during those times. You may heard them called “minor prophets”. This isn’t because what God told them to say wasn’t important. Or because they don’t share a lot we need to know, too. It’s merely because their books are shorter than the books prophets like Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah wrote.
Obadiah’s name is all we know about the person Obadiah. His book was written to reassure the people God had not forgotten them. The people were suffering at the hands of a country called Edom. The people of Edom were descendants of Esau. They were cruel to the people of Israel. Obadiah reassured the people of Israel the cruelty from Edom would not go unpunished. Obadiah’s prophecy later came true.
All we know about the prophet Haggai is included in the book of the Bible named after him. Haggai was very helpful to us, because he gave the exact dates he wrote his book – between August and December of 520 BC. Eighteen years early some of the Jews had been allowed to return to Jerusalem from captivity. They had started trying to rebuild the destroyed Temple, but kept running into problems. By the time Haggai wrote his book, they had basically given up. Haggai encouraged them to finish rebuilding the Temple. Sometimes prophets didn’t deliver predictions of the future from God (although the Temple was eventually finished.) Rather, they delivered messages of warning or encouragement from God.
A priest of the same name wrote Zechariah. The Bible even tells us the names of his father and grandfather. He is also mentioned in the book of Ezra. The book was probably written around 520 BC. Zechariah also encouraged the people to finish rebuilding the Temple and prophesied about the role Jerusalem would play in God’s Kingdom in the future.
Malachi is somewhat of a mystery. We think the book was written about the same time as Ezra, Nehemiah and some of the other prophets from today around 516 BC. (For older students you may want to explain the way years are numbered “backwards” in BC or BCE time.) The Temple was finally rebuilt. The people though had lost their excitement for worshipping and following God. They had also lost hope in the future. Malachi reminded them of what God wanted them to do and encouraged them to remain hopeful.
Explain to students that although they aren’t prophets, God still wants them to share His messages from the Bible with other people. Even though they are young, your students can begin sharing their faith now. Ask students to think of some ways they can share their faith.
Tell students that part of sharing their faith is explaining to people about God, why they need to obey God and what God wants them to do. There is an easy way to remember some important things to tell others about God. Explain the students will be making bracelets they can wear or put somewhere to remind them of what they can share with others. Each color of bead will help them remember something important. (NOTE: This craft varies from other similar crafts that may or may not accurately reflect scripture. Make sure students understand what each color represents, so they won’t become confused.)
As you give students each color of bead to add to their bracelet, tell them what it represents/means. Students should make a square of that color on their index card and write down (or draw pictures) of what it means, so they can remember it later.
Black – the black bead represents our sin that separates us from God. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Red– the red bead represents Jesus blood on the cross. Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Blue – when we repent of our sins and are baptized by immersion, our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
White – when are sins are forgiven, God does not remember them – they are totally forgiven. “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
Green – after we become Christians, we still need to keep growing spiritually. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18
Yellow – if we remain faithful to God, we will have a home in Heaven one day. “Be faithful, even unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10