Recently I taught a set of classes about the time of the Judges. The background to this time in history is one of a repeating cycle. To illustrate the idea of a cycle that goes round and round I decided to use a hoola hoop.
Each week, as we studied our way through the Judges I used part of the class time to review this cycle. Soon the children were able to explain this to the others in the class. The rattle sound the hoola hoop made as it turned added to the fun.
How to Make a Wheel for Your Class
If a hoola hoop is not available then use any circular object that can be rotated and used in the same way. A bicycle wheel, hubcap, pizza pan or a round piece of cardboard would work just as well.
Write each of the stages of the cycle on thick card and tape them to the hoola hoop to form something like a wheel that can be rotated round and round.
Now it is time to review the cycle with the children in your class. Turn the wheel as you tell about each stage. (To remind you of what to say write the following notes on the back side of the papers.)
SAFE WITH GOD:
God protected his people as they obeyed him.
Then the people strayed from God and even started worshipping false Gods.
Because they left God they also left his protection. When the enemies began to hurt them they had no protection from God. This was a terrible time.
Finally, after so many bad things were happening, the people realised their mistake and cried out to God for help.
Even though the people forget God, God never forgot his people. When his people cried out for help he would send a hero (called a Judge) to save the day and turn them back to him. Sometimes these heroes were soldiers, sometimes they were very clever. At least once they were a bit wild and crazy (Samson). God knew what kind of judge they needed.And the cycle continues…The judge would bring the people back to a time of safety with God (repeat number one again). Sometimes many years would pass but then, the people began to forget again…(and this is where you continue to number two and so on).
Stories that Took Place During the Time of the Judges
One of my favourite memories from my recent trip to the ancient city of Corinth, Greece was listening to a group of children singing songs. I think their parents must have brought them along to look at the ruins and the museum that day. It was a hot day so it appeared that they had stopped in the shade to have a rest. Hearing these young Greek children sing and observing them becoming increasingly shy as the song went on reminded me once again that children are everywhere in this world. Children were in Corinth on the day of my visit and children were in Corinth when Paul was there so long ago.
Paul stayed in Corinth for 1 1/2 years. During his time there he supported himself by working with another couple in his same trade of tent making. The couple’s names were Priscilla and Acquila. Paul taught the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. He taught in the synagogue and the synagogue leader, among others were baptised.
Angry Jews brought Paul before the judgement seat of the Roman proconsul, Gallio, and asked the proconsul to punish Paul for converting Jews. Paul ended up being released because Gallio saw this as a religious matter and not a governmental one. You can read about Paul’s time in Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila. in Acts 18:1-18
In the photo below, and behind where the group is standing, is the “bema” or raised platform from which Gallio would have judged Paul.
I’ll leave you with some final photos from Corinth. Both are from inside the Corinth Museum. The first photo is of toy furniture and the second a stone doll. Both are in the Corinth museum. Yes, there were kids in Corinth even long ago!
As my trip through Greece continues We make a stop in ancient Philippi.
First we went down to the likely location of the first meeting of Paul and Lydia. Their conversation led to the baptism of Lydia and her entire household ( Acts 16:11-15).
Throughout the trip I’ve had my ears open for what children might find interesting. Today such a thought came up when discussing the fact that Lydia was a business woman who sold purple cloth. Our guide shared one gross tidbit that I know the boys in my Bible classes would find interesting. The local method of the day for making purple dye was to crush a particular kind of seashell and mix it with human feces. Yuck!
After going to the river we toured the nearby ruins of the ancient city. We viewed the market area where Lydia might have sold her wares.
In this same city Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail. An earthquake later made the gates of the jail swing open and the chains on prisoners simply fall off. This led to the jailer becoming a Christian. You can read all about it in Acts 16:16-40 and the Bible lesson is at Jailer Becomes a Christian.
God has blessed me with an opportunity to travel through Greece over the next week. Along the way I’ll try to send some pictures and thoughts you might like to share with the children you teach.
Today I’m in Athens and typing this from the top of Mars Hill (the Areopagus).
There are ruins of temples in many places. Seeing all the temples around makes me really appreciate the Apostle Paul and how he stood on Mars Hill and shared the Good News of Christ with philosophers. You can read about that event here.
The steps leading up to the top of the rock have been worn smooth because of the millions of people who have climbed them over the years. I snapped a picture of my daughter-in-law, Olivia, climbing these treacherous steps today. These would have been the same stairs Paul would have climbed!
I think kids would enjoy scrambling over the huge rocks and picking the little yellow flowers growing between them.
I watched two little Arabic-speaking girls crying out “Abba, Abba” in worried voices to their dad as he leaned over a dangerous edge gathering two of the little flowers to give to them. They were all smiles when he was safely back with them and gave them the flowers.