1. As we’re finishing dinner, we watch these creative renditions of Psalm 51 (the Jars of Clay song) and James 4.1-8:
2. We read the night’s main text out loud together, taking turns with each paragraph: Genesis 4.1-17; 6.5-8; 7.1-5; 8.1; 9.7-17
3. We watch a set of videos about human extinction, Noah, and ending with the Tower of Babel. NOTE: This playlist serves the bonus purpose of introducing my kids to Bill Cosby’s classic “Noah” bit:
4. I give a short talk:
A lot of Bible stories are like pieces of a conversation between our people (the People of Yahweh) and our neighbors — a conversation about what God is really like:
QUESTION: WHY DID GOD MAKE US?
OUR NEIGHBORS: God made us to be his slaves, to do all the hard work he doesn’t want to do.
US: No, God is better than that! God made us so we could be part of his good work in the world (Genesis 1 & 2).
QUESTION: WHY DID GOD SEND THE GREAT FLOOD?
OUR NEIGHBORS: Humans were being too noisy and giving God a headache, so he tried to kill us all so he could get some peace and quiet. We’re still here because there were a few he failed to get.
US: No, God is better than that! If God sent the Flood, he did it to save the world from being destroyed by human evil. He saved a few of us on purpose so humanity could continue and get a fresh start (Genesis 6-9).
It seems this started a longer conversation between the People of Yahweh, because we started wondering again:
You know, is it possible God could be even better than that? Is “Kill All the Bad People” really God’s best solution to human evil?
So in the next story after the Flood — the Tower of Babel — we see God doing something different: When people start building civilizations and cities on a foundation of pride, slavery, and violence — this time God has a non-violent solution. He gives them all different languages so they can’t work together anymore so they have to spread out and abandon their oppressive city projects (Genesis 11).
What we’re seeing in these stories is God slowly refining and improving our ideas about God. This process continues all through the Bible, and it’s really neat to watch it unfold!
5. We have a family conversation about it all. We use the discussion questions at the end of the chapter as a guide, but we try to let the conversation range pretty freely. And we try to keep the whole thing to an hour or less, unless the kids really want to keep going.
ARK ESCAPE! Video gaming is a great way for my kids to learn, so I am always on the lookout for good games that teach Bible stories. One of my favorite resources is G-dcast, a Jewish organization that makes games and videos for teaching the Scriptures. I’m having my kids play their Ark Escape! game app this week. Strongly recommended!
MODERN TOWERS OF BABEL: This is an extra video playlist about the injustices behind the construction of Dubai and Washington D.C.: