Our family got together 30 minutes before bedtime for our first Bible time. (I’m calling this “Bible time,” because it’s more than reading the Bible, and not quite devotionals or worship.) My boys, Evan (8) and Ian (6), were surprisingly cooperative.

I opened up saying it is almost lent and by asking if the boys knew what lent was. I briefly explain it is a 40 day period to renew and focus our hearts on God to prepare for Easter.

A lot of people fast, just like Jesus fasted during his 40 days in the desert.  We learned about Jesus fasting and being tempted by the devil a couple Sundays ago, so they understood right away what this was about.  

I suggested fasting our tablets, and they were very hesitant.  They wanted to be good Christians boys, but the tablets were too much for them.  With the thought of no tablets for 40 days, I could see the joy of life draining from them.  So I tell them that we don’t have to fast, and we can just focus more on Jesus by reading the Bible.  Suddenly they are very excited to read the Bible. They were eagerly suggesting we read the whole Bible and read every morning and evening for 40 days.  This only proved their love for their tablets…

But God meets us where we are, and we agree to read the Bible every day (only once during the evening), and I tell them that we will be focusing on Jesus in the Bible.  

So I ask them, then where do you think we should start? In the Old Testament or New Testament?  They know that New Testaments is when Jesus comes out, so that’s what they say.  

“Actually, we will be starting from the Old Testament.  And at the very first book of the Old Testament.  What is the first book of the Old Testament? It is Genesis, and we will be reading Genesis chapter 3.”

We read together the story of the first sin. 

Evan and Ian have reactionary comments (why did they do that? why couldn’t God just stop them?) as the story goes on, but still listen intently.

They know the story as do we, but it is always refreshing to read out loud directly from the Bible.

It seems like a very depressing start to our Bible reading.  It’s human’s first sin, a pathetic rebellion against God, and then it’s all about the curses. 

So where is Jesus? It doesn’t seem like there is any mention about Jesus. 

Verse 15 is the prophecy about Jesus. 

Jesus will come as human (woman’s offspring), and he will crush the serpent, but with a price of his heel getting struck.  

Evan asks did God know that Adam and Eve would sin?  And why did he let them sin?

These are very hard questions. We don’t know.  Children will ask hard questions, and we have to answer honestly and truthfully that we don’t know everything.  But we learn from the Bible that God is good and that he loves us.

Even though Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, he didn’t immediately destroy them and start over. As we read, God still cared for them and clothed them. More importantly, he immediately gives them hope for a savior – Jesus!

So we close by reminding ourselves that even though the story is so bleak, there is hope!  We will continue to follow our true hope for the next 40 days!

PS: I know for families with younger kids, the whole chapter might be too long and complicated.  I suggest a shorter version hoping to capture the essence of the story.  For today’s passage I suggest reading 3:6-21.  Although it doesn’t make it that much shorter, it does leave out the more complicated themes of “knowing good & evil” and “becoming like God.”

Amy Hwang

Amy Hwang

Amy is the Faith Formation Ministry Leader at Living Water CRC.

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