And just like that, everything changes. In a matter of days, we witnessed in Ukraine the upheaval of rulers and nations. And within the larger context of war, we’ve seen the tragic toll on individual families in images of mothers walking with their children amidst the rubble of buildings that were once places of safety and shelter. Their world has been upended, and many are fleeing. What a poignant reminder to all of us…
The eternal God is your dwelling place, (Deuteronomy 33:27a)
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:4)
For our children to more fully grasp the amazing hope in these verses, it would help to focus on and explain what it means that God is eternal and everlasting. Here are some suggestions as to how parents and teachers could more clearly explain this important concept to children.
Psalm 90:2—Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Show your child a rock then make comments such as:
This rock is old...maybe even 5,000 years old! Mountains are like giant-sized rocks. They are old too. But before these old mountains were "brought forth" and made, God existed. He is older than the mountains or even the whole world! That is really old. Older than 5,000 years. Older than anything else. But exactly how many years old is God? Listen carefully as I read and see if the verse gives us a number.
"... from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
Questions for your child:
Did you hear a number for how old God is? No. The verse says "from everlasting to everlasting." Why doesn't the Bible just tell us a number for how old God is?
Make the following points:
- The Bible doesn't give us a number for how many years old God is, because He is from everlasting to everlasting.
- Eternal is a word that can be used instead of the words "from everlasting to everlasting."
Deuteronomy 33:27a—The eternal God is your dwelling place,…
- God is eternal. That means God has no beginning or end.
- God had no beginning or starting point when He came into existence. God has always existed.
- Therefore, you cannot go back and count how many years old He is.
- Unlike us and all other things, God was never made. He never had a birthday.
- Eternal also means that God will never have an "end," meaning He will never go out of existence either. He will never die.
Question for your child:
Why would it be a good thing to know that God doesn't ever have an end and will be alive forever?
Points to emphasize:
- Because God is eternal, He will always be the one true God forever.
- He can always be trusted and depended upon. He will always rule the world.
- He can never get old and die. He will always be able to be there for His people, just as He was there for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses.
- He is the same God who still lives today and wants to show Himself to us so that we also will know and understand how great and wonderful He is.
Here are some additional application questions to discuss with your child:
- God is an eternal dwelling place. Read Deuteronomy 33:27a and Psalm 90:1. A dwelling place is like a house. It protects you as you live within it. Is our house very old? Do houses ever get old and weak and fall apart? Would an old house that is falling down keep you safe? Discuss the importance of the eternal God being a dwelling place for His people. Pray together and praise God that He is an eternal dwelling place for His people. Thank Him for His goodness, and ask that He would give you and the children hearts that would trust in His everlasting protection.
- God can be trusted forever. Ask your child if he or she has ever been disappointed by something that didn’t last. Did a toy break? Did a treat get eaten? Did a flower they planted get old and fall off the plant? Did a pet die? Did a good friend move away? Did a grandparent die? Read and discuss Isaiah 26:4. Why can we trust in the LORD forever? What does it say God is like? How is God like an everlasting rock? Why do people build houses and other buildings on rock, and not on soft things like sand? Because God is like an everlasting rock, will He ever grow weak or stop being God or die? How should we respond to Him? Are there things that you have a hard time trusting God for? Are you thinking of Him as an everlasting rock, or more like sand? How can we pray to God about this?
- God is beyond compare. Ask: Why is it hard for us to understand how God can have no beginning—that He has always existed and didn't have a start or birthday? [e.g., because everything else has a start or birthday] Explain that God being eternal is one of the things that are more than we can fully understand about Him. It is something that makes God beyond comparison, like no one else.
- God is an everlasting King. Ask your child if he or she sometimes worries about what might happen in the future. What kinds of things does he or she sometimes worry about? How can knowing that God is eternal help us to not worry about these things? Read and discuss Jeremiah 10:10a. Why is it important to understand that God is alive right now? Do you act like God is alive? In what ways? Why is important to know that God is the everlasting King? Who is in charge of the world right now? Who will be in charge of the world next week, and next year, and even when we are old? How should we act toward God to show that we understand that He really is the everlasting King?
- Eternal life is given to those who trust in Jesus. Read John 1:1-3 together and explain the "the Word" in these verses refers to Jesus. Because Jesus is fully God, He, too, is eternal. Now read John 3:16 and Romans 6:23. What does God offer us in these verses? What is the only way that sinners like us can receive God's offer of eternal life? What did Jesus do so that sinners could receive eternal life? Are you trusting in Jesus? Do you want to live forever and enjoy eternal life with God? (Adapted from The ABCs of God: A Study for Children on the Greatness and Worth of God .)