Do What? Go where? Not me, God!
Why would a frightened king let a teenager fight a giant?
Strong enough to bench press 1000 pounds!
Why not compromise? Who needs a den of lions or a fiery furnace?
So nasty, even a fish spits him out!
Do you know your Bible heroes?
Do your kids know these heroes worth following,
and the scoundrels to avoid?
This book has stories from the Bible about heroes from our culture,
and a few scoundrels.
These are stories that I taught to my kids while they were growing up. I read them in the Bible, then told them while we were doing dishes.
I think telling them is much better than just reading them to kids. It means more. It says that mom or dad actually know and believe what they are telling.
It imprints a child's mind to hear stories of heroes who dared to stand for God in spite of temptations to give in. That is what makes a hero.
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Read an Excerpt
Mom's Old Testament Bible StoriesHeroes and Scoundrels
By Shirley Fillmore Ness
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Shirley Fillmore Ness
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMom's Old Testament Bible Stories Heroes And Scoundrels
A hero is someone worthy of trying to copy, someone who can do things you thought you could never do, someone who does wonderful things in life. When people have physical abilities, mental abilities, spiritual abilities above and beyond what most of us can accomplish, we tend to make them our heroes. It is good to have heroes who inspire us to be more than we thought we could ever be. We see many of them in the Bible. We are going to look at some of them in this book. I hope you enjoy seeing them as I do.
The first Hero of all in the Bible is GOD. We start out with Him because who else could ever look out on total darkness and envision a world with stars, galaxies of stars, suns, moons, and an earth with creatures on it?! And if you could imagine it, how could anyone build it? Yet, God did. He only had to speak it into existence. So who is this God with such power?
The entire Bible is trying to show us this God. In the Old Testament, He is the creator God. He does not have a body like we do. God is Spirit. God is three in One, much like we are. We have a spirit, mind and body. God is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He has always been. He will always be!
God is LOVE.(I didn't say that love is God.) God is Love! Don't get it confused. God is Holy Love. Love that loves unconditionally, not because the loved one is worthy, but because the lover is worthy, and has ability to love so much. Love that does whatever is best for the one who is loved, even if it hurts the lover. Love, like what is described in I Corinthians 13.
Who could build a universe, lose it to the enemy He had created, and find a way to win it back that cost Him his own human life? But God did! All other religions have a god who must be found and appeased. Our God is the only one who came to His creation in love and saved it. WHAT A HERO!!
In the beginning, God. God was always there. Before anything else, there was God. He will always be.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. We didn't create Him. He created our world, our universe, all the animals-us.
We don't know when it all began, but one day, God looked out and decided to make something. Everywhere He looked there was deep, dark space, darkness, water everywhere.
God said, "Let there be light", and there was light. Everywhere God is, there is light, so when God gave it His attention, there was light.
God was just getting started. He made a firmament-the sky with all its stars and galaxies; dividing the waters; creating the earth; dividing the water on the earth; and calling up the dry land.
God knew that the things He would be creating would need food, so He made grass to grow, trees to produce fruit, each with its seed in itself so it could produce more trees; and grass.
On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon and stars, the seasons, day and night. God said that it was good.
Now everything was in place to create animals, so He started in the ocean, creating fish, whales, etc., then moved to dry land and created cattle, creeping things, birds and every beast of the earth. Not all the varieties that we have today, but original ones of each kind. God looked at it and said that it was good.
God had one main idea: to make a man who would talk with Him, walk with Him, depend on Him, be His friend, and love and serve Him. So, on the sixth day, God formed a man in His own image-a spirit and mind, in a body made of dirt.
Now, we know that God is Spirit. He doesn't have a body, but He gave man a body to live in while he is on earth. He formed man out of the dust of the earth. Then He breathed into man's nostrils the "Breath of Life," and man became a living soul! God looked at all He had created and said that it was "very good!"
God was satisfied with his creation. It had taken Him six days to do it. But we know that the Bible says that a thousand years is like a day to God, so we really have no idea how long it took. God rested on the seventh day from His labor, and told man to rest on the seventh day, too. God wasn't tired, but He knew that man needed that day of rest.
God's universe is mathematically correct in every way, and everything works together in harmony. Every body has its own special system and reproductive way so the entire universe will continue as God planned it, unless something messes it up.
God's creative genius shows in all the systems, in everything: birds fly, trees produce fruit, fish have gills and swim, people walk on the earth and take care of everything in it, just like God told them to. We have a job.
A scoundrel is a mean, worthless, uncaring person. We are talking about heroes. Adam and Eve weren't heroes; neither were they scoundrels, but you can't understand the rest of the Bible unless you know about Adam and Eve, so here is their story.
Adam and Eve
God planted a garden eastward in Eden. There He put the man that He had created. He named him Adam. God told Adam that he could eat of every tree in the garden, but he was not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the garden, because if he did, he would die.
God brought all the animals to Adam and told him to name them, so Adam named all the animals. We don't know how long Adam and God walked together, but we know that in the cool of the evening, God came down and visited Adam.
Adam noticed that each one of the animals had a mate. There was a male and a female of every kind, but there was no one for Adam.
God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone." He put Adam into a deep sleep, and took out one of his ribs. Around that rib, He formed a woman, and when He woke Adam up, He presented him with his helper, this beautiful woman.
Adam called her "woman" because she was taken out of man-not out of his head to rule over him, or out of his feet so he could walk on her, but out of his side to be his companion and helper. He named her Eve.
Woman came from man, and ever after, man came from woman, so God had made a loving circle of humanity, each depending on the other.
Adam was so excited to have Eve. He adored her! With Eve there, it didn't seem so long from evening to evening when God came down to talk to them.
But one day as they were walking in the garden, a serpent came up to them and began to talk to Eve. He said, "Did God say that you can't eat everything in the garden?"
Eve answered, "We can eat of every tree in the garden, but not of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, "Don't even touch it, or you will die!" (Adam had probably added that part about not even touching it, to keep her away from it.)
The serpent answered, "Oh, you won't die. God knows that you will be like gods. You will know good and evil." (He tried to make God out to be a liar).
Eve was very naive and listened to the serpent. She touched the fruit, took a bite and saw that it tasted good. As she was eating it, she gave some to Adam, who was standing there with her, and he ate it, too.
Now, here was Adam's chance to be a hero, but he blew it. Adam knew what God had said. He wasn't tempted by the serpent, but he didn't want to make Eve mad at him, so he just let her do what she was tempted to do, and went along with it. He put Eve's wishes before God's commands, and fell into disobedience right along with her. If he had led her away or said something to her, perhaps she would not have led them both into sin, but he wimped out.
As soon as they had disobeyed, they looked at each other and realized that they were both naked. Their robes of righteousness had burned up with their disobedience. They scurried around and made themselves some slapped together clothes out of leaves.
That night, when God came down to talk with them, they hid. God knew what they had done and where they were, but He called to them, anyway: "Adam, where are you?"
Adam and Eve came out and God asked them why they were hiding. They answered that they were naked, so they hid.
God said, "Did you eat of the tree of which I told you not to eat?"
Adam said, "That woman, YOU gave me, gave me of the tree, and I ate."
Eve said, "The serpent tempted me, and I ate." Each was blaming someone else. "Not me! Not me!!"
God told the serpent, "Since you let Satan use you, you will have to crawl on the ground on your stomach all your life from now on. You and the woman and her children will be enemies. You will try to bite them. BUT ONE OF THEM WILL STEP ON YOU AND CRUSH YOU! He was speaking to Satan. This is the first promise from God that He had a way out for them, a way they could come back after their disobedience-a Savior.
To Eve, He said, "Childbirth will be more difficult for you. You were equal here, but now your husband will rule over you." (This was not a curse; it was just a result of bringing sin into the world.) To Adam, He said, "Because you listened to your wife instead of me, the ground is cursed to you. It will no longer give up its fruit easily. Thorns and thistles will grow. You will work hard to feed yourself and your family, all your life, until you die and your body returns to the dust of the ground from which you were taken." (Notice, they were not cursed, only the ground was cursed, but they had let sin into the world. Now they had to live with it.)
God made coats of skin and dressed them. Then He sent them out of the garden to fend for themselves, with work to do; because, if they stayed, they would eat of the other tree in the garden, the "Tree of Life," and live forever in their sins.
Again, Cain was wicked, and righteous Abel didn't live that long, but you need to know their story.
Cain and Abel
I think both Adam and Eve were a little hard to get along with for awhile after they were kicked out of the garden. Each of them blamed the other. There was probably a lot of quarreling, but they were all they had, so they had to get along the best they could.
I think that they had many girls, but when they finally had a baby boy, they were thrilled, and thought maybe this baby was the promise that God had given them of a savior to crush the serpent's head.
I think they spoiled Cain, dreadfully. He thought the world revolved around him, so when a little brother, Abel, was born, he wasn't happy. He really never got to love that little brother. He stayed jealous of him even when they were grown up.
Cain became a farmer, but Abel was a keeper of sheep. After awhile, each of them decided to bring an offering to God.
Abel loved God and was serving him. He brought the very best of his flock. He was willing to do everything God's way.
Cain couldn't care less. He slapped together some of the produce he had raised and gave it as an offering to God.
God accepted Abel's offering, but He didn't accept Cain's offering. This made Cain very angry with God, but he blamed Abel. He thought Abel had bested him again, and displaced him, even with God.
God told Cain, "If you do right, you will be accepted; but if you have the wrong attitude, sin is there in you. Be careful that it doesn't get the best of you!"
Cain was so angry with God and his brother. He made a plan to beat Abel up. He asked Abel to come with him into the field; and while they were there, Cain killed his brother, Abel. I don't think Cain knew he could actually kill Abel in his anger, but he did. He didn't think anyone knew it, because nobody saw him do it, but God did.
God came to Cain and asked him, "Where is your brother, Abel?"
Cain snarled back, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
God didn't let him get away with his evasion. God said, "What have you done? Your brother's blood calls to me from the ground, and now that ground, which you love, is cursed to you. Nothing will grow for you, anymore. You will be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth from now on."
Cain thought his punishment was more than he could stand and everyone who saw him would try to kill him. So God set a mark upon Cain to protect him and let people know they were not to kill him.
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and lived in the land of Nod, on the east side of Eden. Cain found a wife and they had a son, Enoch. Cain built a city and named it after his son.
He had other sons, and they had sons and daughters. They did all kinds of things: Some were musicians, some were ranchers; some worked with brass and iron. They were mighty men, but they didn't seem to have anything to do with God.
But God was not through with Adam and Eve. He gave them another son, along with their many daughters. This son they named Seth. Eve believed that God was giving them another son to take the place of Abel, whom Cain had killed. Seth loved God and raised his sons to know God and serve Him. Then people began to call on the name of the Lord, again.
After Seth was born, Adam and Eve had many, many children. When Adam was nine hundred thirty years old, he died, just as God had said that he would.
Seth lived nine hundred and twelve years. He had many children also. His son, Enos, served God all his nine hundred and five years. He had many children and he also died. Each one lived almost 1000 years, but they died, just as God had warned that they would if they disobeyed. God keeps his word!
Adam lived 930 years; Seth lived 912 years; Enos lived 905 years; Kenan lived 910 years; Mahalaleel lived 895 years; Jared lived 962 years.
Jared had a son named Enoch. Enoch lived on earth 365 years. He lived so close to God, that God just took him home to heaven. He didn't even have to die-God just took him. Enoch's son, Methuselah, became the oldest living person, ever. He lived to be 969 years old.
After that, God said that He was going to limit the ages of men. They would no longer live almost 1000 years. God decided that people had too much time to get into wickedness. From now on, God was going to begin to limit life to 120 years.
Methuselah had a son, Lamech, who had a son called Noah.
Noah was a hero because he believed God and did what God told him to do, even when it didn't make any sense to him. It had never rained, and he lived in an arid land; why would one build a boat in the middle of a desert?!
Noah had three sons, named, Shem, Ham and Japheth. They may have been triplets, but probably they are mentioned that way because all of them stayed close to God and helped Noah build the ark.
Up to this time, it had never rained. The earth was watered by a mist that came up from the ground.
Except for the mist, Noah lived in a dry land. People knew nothing about rain, but God told Noah to build an ark out in the middle of this dry country. He told him exactly how to build it, and why. God said that the whole earth was so full of violence and wickedness that He was going to destroy it. He wanted Noah to build this boat so that he and his family would be saved when the rains came.
Noah didn't understand what rain was, but he knew who God was. He served God, even though all the people around him did not. Noah's sons knew that if their father said that God talked to him and told him something, they believed him. They all stayed and helped him build the ark, just as God had instructed.
It took them about 100 years to get the ark built. All the time they were building, they were telling people about God and trying to get them interested in getting into the ark when the time was right, but nobody listened.
When the ark was finished, all the animals began to come, two by two, a male and a female of every kind-cattle, creeping things, birds. Of the clean animals, instead of just two, there were seven.
Excerpted from Mom's Old Testament Bible Stories by Shirley Fillmore Ness Copyright © 2009 by Shirley Fillmore Ness. Excerpted by permission.
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