Skittles, Water, and Ezra Object Lesson

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When a person is in the middle of a sinful situation, it is hard to make correct choices. Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God’s commands are for our protection.

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are for our protection.

**NOTE: This section of scripture can be hard for kids to hear, especially for those who are in divorced families. Sometimes scripture doesn’t make sense to us humans. And we know that God is good and loves families. It is important to remember that God has a HUGE plan we know little of…AND that His objective is to get rid of sin so He can be glorified. Be sensitive to those kids who might have questions about their own families after this lesson and be sure to reassure them that all people and families can be redeemed through Jesus Christ.

Focus Scripture: Ezra 9-10

Materials: dinner plate, 15-20 Skittles, warm water [I used hot tap water.]

Geography: Persia, Jerusalem

Background: Zerubbabel returned with many of the exiled Jews to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Afterwards, Esther, a Jewess who was a Persian queen, saved her people from annihilation. Twenty years later, Ezra brings another large group of Jews back to Jerusalem.

Ezra Object Lesson:

{Place the Skittles around the plate creating a large circle. Pour the warm water in the middle of the Skittles, enough so the liquid just about covers the candy. Watch what happens!}

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are not to make us miserable, but are for our protection.

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are not to make us miserable, but are for our protection.

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are not to make us miserable, but are for our protection.

These Skittles were untouched and perfect candies when first put on the plate.

{After about 2-3 minutes, ask:}

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are not to make us miserable, but are for our protection.

  • What happened when the water touched the candy? [The colors of the candy spread.]

{Take your finger and mix the colors. A brown-red color should appear.}

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are not to make us miserable, but are for our protection.

  • What happened when I mixed the pretty colors? [A dark yucky color appeared.]

The colors stayed pretty for a time and then it turned yucky. That’s what happens with sin. It looks really good to us at the beginning, but once we do the sin, and then do it again, and again….then our lives get yucky.

Ezra Bible Lesson:

That’s what happened with the Jews. Zerubbabel took back a group of people to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Once the temple was built, the people came and worshiped God and began to celebrate the feasts and offer sacrifices once more.

The Samaritans in the land had given Zerubbabel a hard time about building the temple…mainly because they worshiped idols. The Samaritans were a people group who were part Jew and part Canaanite. They had turned from God’s law to not intermarry.

{Ask:}

  • Why would God not want His chosen people to marry those who were not Jews? [Allow for answers; God had given strict rules to the Jews to only marry Jews because He knew that other people groups worshiped idols. And if the Jews began to intermarry, then those who were not Jews would bring their idol worship into Jewish families. And then children would not be taught about the One True God, but about idols.]

As the years passed, the Jews began to marry women and men who were not Jews. God sent Ezra, a priest and scribe who sought God, to Jerusalem. He took another large group of Jews with him. The Persian King also gave Ezra treasures for the temple treasury. An offering of sorts. Ezra also made sure many Levites and Priests returned as well. Ezra wanted to be sure that the temple had plenty of people to run it.

Ezra was a man who sought the Law of the Lord and was determined to follow it. He was also prepared to teach the people God’s Law.

After Ezra arrived in Jerusalem and had put the treasures in the temple, the leaders of the people told Ezra that some of the Jews, and even some of the Priests and Levites, had intermarried with Canaanites.

Ezra was distraught! He ripped his clothes, pulled his beard and sat down totally stunned by this news. Before the evening sacrifice Ezra fell face down before the Lord.

Ezra prayed: “Oh, God! I am ashamed to lift my face to you! I am humiliated because of the sins that are higher than my head! We are guilty! For a little while you have given grace. For you have told us to not give our sons and daughters in marriage to those who are unclean. Lord, only You are righteous!”

While Ezra prayed, a large gathering of people showed up in the temple and they were weeping because of their sin. A leader stood up and cried loudly for all to hear, “We have sinned against God and taken pagan wives. Let’s make a covenant with God to put away these wives and their children.

Ezra stood up and the people decided that those men who had married pagan women would come and confess to Ezra and a few other leaders who had NOT taken pagan wives. Then those pagan wives, and their children, would have to leave and go back to where they came from.

And the people obeyed.

Use Skittles and warm water for this Ezra Object Lesson and teach children that God's commands are for our protection.

Life Application of Ezra:

It is hard for us to believe that God would be pleased by the breaking up of all these families. But God is not pleased with sin and it spreads and affects everyone. Those marriages were started in disobedience and idols became the norm. Therefore, in THIS particular situation, it was in the best interest for the Jews that these women and children return to the Canaanite villages.

Can families that are soaked in sin be redeemed? YES!! But it means getting rid of the sin. In this case with the Jews, the only way to get rid of the idol worship was to get rid of those who were worshiping the idols.

Can families that are soaked in sin be redeemed? YES!! But it means getting rid of the sin. Click To Tweet

{Ask:}

  • What should have happened so families would not have been broken apart? [Allow for answers; lead children to see that if the men had married Jewish women as God had commanded, then the intermarriage issue never would have happened.]

God chose the Jews to be His holy people, a nation set apart from the rest of the world. If the Jews intermarried, then they were no longer set apart. They were mixed, like the Skittles. And the mixing of Jewish life and idol worship led to even more sin.

The same thing can happen to us. If you choose to be a Jesus-follower, a Christian, then you are to be set apart. Christians live life by God’s rules, not the world’s. That means we make different choices.

{Ask:}

  • What choices should a Christian make that are different than what an unbeliever might do? [Allow for answers; possible answers could include: telling the truth all the time, no matter what; staying away from drinking and drugs; choosing to hang out with friends who also love Jesus; choosing to walk out of a movie if it shows includes nudity or foul language; choosing to not marry an unbeliever.]

It is important for you to go ahead and think about what you would do if you were in these different types of scenarios because when you’re in the middle of a tempting situation and have no plan, then you will probably choose to sin.

However, if you decide now to hang out with people who love Jesus, then that will save you a lot of trouble in the future.

{Ask:}

  • Does this mean we never speak to, or do anything with, people who aren’t saved? [No]

Absolutely we need to have friends who do not know Jesus, or spend time with those who do not go to church. However, we should not spend the majority of our time with them. Most of your time should be with those who love Jesus.

There is one command though that we need to follow. 2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us to not join with those who do not believe. This command is talking about making commitments.

If you are a Christian, then go ahead and decide now to not marry anyone who is not a Christian. In fact, don’t even date someone who isn’t a Christian. Don’t go into business with someone who isn’t a believer. Because once money is involved, you want to be sure you can trust a business partner.

God does not give us commands like this to make us miserable. He tells us this so we will not have to deal with the trouble these particular sins can cause. God loves you. He always wants what is best for you. He wants you to stay away from situations that can hurt you.

What can we learn from Ezra? God takes sin seriously and gives us loving commands that protect us if we choose to obey them.

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