It doesn’t take a lot of sin to make a big impact. The Israelites learned this lesson the hard way in the book of Judges.
Before they entered the Promised Land, God gave them this specific instruction: completely destroy the inhabitants of the land which I am giving to you. He did this because He knew the evil practices of those people would be a stumbling block for His children.
In Judges 1:27-36, we read that the tribes of Israel did not drive out these detestable nations as God had directed. And in Judges 2:1-3 we read God’s reaction:
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”
I have to wonder if the Israelites didn’t obey because they didn’t see the sinful practices of these pagan nations as “that bad.” Maybe they thought, “What’s the big deal? I won’t let them influence me.”
I also wonder how often we feel the same toward the sin in and around us.
As Christian parents, we need to make sure our children understand the seriousness of sin. They will never understand the magnitude of what Christ did for them on the cross unless they see their sins for what they really are.
Here’s a great family devotional to do with your children to help them understand the pervasiveness and seriousness of sin. This devotional will stretch over the course of a couple of days so plan accordingly.
Bible Passage: 1 Corinthians 5:6
Target Age Group: 5 to 10 years old
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Start off this family devotional by asking your children some of these questions:
- What is sin?
- What are some examples of sin?
- What does God think about sin?
- Why is sin bad?
- Are some sins “worse” than others? (This is a good time to discuss that sins all weigh the same in God’s eyes but that the consequences of some sins are far greater than others).
- Describe “little white lies.” Is there really such a thing?
- Do you ever think, “That’s just a little sin. It’s not so bad.”
Next you want to teach your kids a little bit about yeast. You can ask some of the questions below:
- What is yeast? (do some research on line if they don’t know)
- What does yeast do?
Now on to the activity part of the family devotional! Collect your ingredients and materials (you will need a cast iron pot) and get ready to make some bread.
¼ tsp instant (or active dry) yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water (make sure to point out how little yeast is being used). Add the flour and the salt and stir until blended. (The dough will be sticky.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for about 18 hours at room temperature. (For comparison, you may want to combine some flour, water and salt in another bowl and allow that to rest overnight as well.)
You will know that the dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Tell your kids that this is evidence that the yeast is working – creating gas. If you made a “control” dough, let your children identify the differences between the two.
Next, lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out on it. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and fold the dough in on itself once or twice. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes. With floured hands, gently shape the dough into a ball. Coat a clean towel with cornmeal and place dough ball, seam side down, on the towel. Sprinkle the ball with more cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
Place an empty cast iron dutch oven in oven while preheating to 475 degrees. When oven is ready, carefully use the towel to turn the dough into the hot pot, seam side up. Shake pot to distribute dough evenly. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more or until well browned. Remove bread from pot and let it cool on rack for about 1 hour before slicing.
As you enjoy your bread, discuss these questions:
- Can you think of some ways that yeast and sin are the same? (You may want to use a concordance and look up some verses that contain the word yeast – Matthew 16:5-12 is a good place to start.)
- How much yeast was needed to make the bread rise?
- How “much” sin does it take to affect our walk with Jesus?
- Read the passage from Judges above. Ask, “What happened because the Iraelites did not remove the sin around them?” and “What happens when we don’t remove (or remove ourselves from) the sin around us?”
- If yeast can work its way through all the dough, what do you think sin could do in our hearts?
- What are some “small” sin traps for you?
- What can you do to over come them?
Finish this family devotional by looking up some verses about overcoming temptation. Here is a great list to get you started. Make sure to take time to answer any questions your kids may have. If you don’t have all the answers, go to God together in prayer and ask Him to help you.
Sin is serious. And it can only be covered by a serious sacrifice. Romans 5:8-9 says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
Praise to our God in heaven who loves us that much.