ANIMALS IN THE BIBLE

Interesting Stories of Animals in the Bible

Welcome to Week One:

“YOU RAT!” HOW YOU GOT YOUR NAME

Listen to the story, then come back to this page to think about the questions, then read a short dialogue to hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from one of the very first stories of the Bible, from the  book of Genesis (Chapter 1:1-2, 20-26, 31 and Chapter 2:19-20).

What did you hear when you listened to this story?

What does it tell you about God? Does the fact that this story comes at the very beginning of the Bible tell you anything important?

Did you learn something new about yourself or others? Is there anything you can do or change because of something you learned? What?

Why do you think this story is in the Bible?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (looking very pleased indeed): That man God created–Adam, was it? He certainly knew-oo what he was doing, don’t you think, Timley?

Timley Mouse: What do you mean?

Sophie: Well, he knew a “Great” Horned Owl when he saw one! Ouch! Watch what you’re doing with that toothpick sword of yours!

Timley (grinning and tucking his sword back into the red sash he often wore): Sorry, matey! It must have slipped. “Mouse” suits me just fine, I suppose. I’ve never really thought about it. And just learning that God made me on purpose, not by accident, makes me feel pretty “Great!”

Sophie (putting a wing around Timley): Right, Timley! You don’t have to be big or powerful or even have “Great” in your name to be special to God! You’re special to me, too.

 

Welcome to Week Two

WHAT A SNAKE! THE WORLD’S FIRST BAD GUY

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from one of the very first stories of the Bible, from the  book of Genesis (Chapter 3:1-15).

  1. What did you hear when you listened to this story? Did the serpent or snake sound like a “bad guy” to you? Why or why not?
  2. What does the story tell you about Adam and Eve? Why do you think the fruit was tempting to them when they had the rest of the garden to choose from?
  3. What does the story tell you about God? In chapter 1:29-30, God tells Adam and Eve that he was giving them “every” green plant in the garden for food. Why do you think he also said that they couldn’t eat from this one tree? Do you think it’s possible that God would have eventually let them eat from that tree as well?
  4. Can you think of situations where something sounds good at first, but then the reality is very different? What were the consequences of disobeying God?
  5. Why do you think Adam and Eve were suddenly afraid of God? Can you ever really hide from God? How might that be a very good thing? As the story goes on, God eventually makes real clothing for Adam and Eve that will protect them better than the fig leaf clothing that Adam and Eve made for themselves. What does this show about God’s character?
  6. Why do you think this story is in the Bible? What do you think verse 15 is talking about when it says that the people will “crush your head” and “you will strike his heal”? Did God have a plan to ultimately save his people from the ultimate “bad guy”?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (looking concerned): I don’t really understand what was so awful about the serpent, do you-oo Timley? He was just asking Eve a question!

Timley Mouse (rubbing his tail thoughtfully): Think about it, Sophie. What if your grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl told you not to do something, and then I asked you if that’s really what he said. How would the Great WHO take that?

Sophie (frowning): Good point, Timley! He wouldn’t like that at all. He would say that you-oo were trying to make me doubt him or even worse–

Timley (slapping his sword against his paw): It would take a pretty brave–or foolish–mouse to call the Great WHO a liar. I wonder what was in it for the snake. Why did he care what fruit tree Adam and Eve ate from?

Sophie: That’s a great question. You sure are a big thinker for being such a little mouse! Well? What do you-oo think, reader? Who-oo would care about separating God from his people? Was he successful?

 

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson.

 

Welcome to Week Three

BRAVE RAVEN, PIONEER DOVE

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Chapter 6 and 7:1-16 are summarized, and then Sonja reads 7:17-24, 8:1-12.

  1. What did you hear when you listened to this story? Why did God resort to such a drastic measure, destroying the world he had made and had declared “good” just a few chapters ago?
  2. What does the story tell you about Noah? What does it mean that he was “righteous”? Does it mean that he was good all the time? Could it mean that he desired God’s will to be done, even if he was human and couldn’t be perfect?
  3. The story said Noah “walked with God.” What do you think that means? Can you walk with God today?
  4. What do you think it was like to be on the ark with all those animals?
  5. Why did Noah send the raven out of the ark, and then the dove? What were they looking for? What did they each find?
  6. Why do you think this story is in the Bible? What does it tell us about God and his relationship with people and the rest of his creation?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (looking skeptical): I can’t believe Noah picked a raven of all creatures for the important job of looking for dry land. How could he trust him?

Timley Mouse: C’mon, matey! Let it go! Not every raven on earth is going to be a self-serving traitor like D’Astard! Think of how brave this raven must have been to do what Noah asked.

Sophie (in a small, small voice): I suppose.

Timley (smiling and cupping his paw around an ear): What? Can’t hear you, Sophie!

Sophie: I SUPPOSE. Yes, he was brave, flying back and forth over nothing but water. You remember how big the ocean is! It’s scary out there with nothing but water below you. What if he lost sight of the ark and didn’t know what direction it was in and he got too tired flying in the wrong direction and never made it back to Noah and–

Timley (ducking under the teacup): Watch those wings or you’ll knock me on to the floor!

Timley (Coming out of the teacup and looking at its leafy pattern): Say, do you know what the olive leaf that the dove brought back is a symbol of? The Great Wise Horned Owl told me.

Sophie (shaking her head)

Timley: Peace!

Sophie (twirling a rainbow-colored feather boa at Timley’s nose): Cool! Speaking of peace, did you know that God promised Noah that he’d never destroy the earth through a flood again? Beautiful rainbows remind us of that promise! I sure love rainbows!

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson.

 

Welcome to Week Four

THE RAM THAT SAVED THE DAY

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from Genesis 22:1-18.

  1. Did anything surprise in this story surprise you?
  2. Do you think God really wanted Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the altar? If not, what do you think God wanted Abraham to learn by such a drastic test?
  3. Before going up the mountain for the sacrifice, Abraham tells his servants that “we’ll come back to you.” What do you think Abraham believed would happen on the mountain?
  4. A ram is in the sheep family. When Isaac asks his father where the lamb is for the sacrifice, Abraham answered that the “Lord will provide.” Do you think Abraham and Isaac just got lucky when Abraham saw the ram caught in the thicket? Why or why not?
  5. God tells Abraham to “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love,” to the place for the sacrifice. We know from other Bible passages, like Genesis 17:18, that Abraham had another son named Ishmael, and that he loved him, too. Why do you think God refers to Isaac this way here? Hint: Check Gen. 15:4-5, 12:2-3, 18:13, and 21:1-3 for some ideas!
  6. What was Abraham’s reward for his faith and obedience?
  7. Why do you think this story is in the Bible? What does it tell us about God and his relationship with people and the rest of his creation?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (clapping her wing feathers together): Hoo hoo hu hoo! A story with an angel in it, like the one Shep told us in Bethlehem! Wouldn’t you love to see an angel, Timley?

Timley Mouse: I was just thinking about the ram in the story, Shep told us a story about sheep, too. Remember the story of Jesus, the Great Shepherd, who searches after his lost sheep? Did you know that Jesus is also sometimes called the Lamb of God?

Sophie (looking thoughtful): Interesting! So many sheep! Why would Jesus, the Shepherd, also be called a Lamb?

Timley (sucking for a moment on his tail while thinking): Well, in this story, the ram dies in place of Isaac, and Jesus died in place of well, everyone, since we can’t be good enough on our own to be with God forever.  

Sophie: It’s amazing how Bible stories fit together like that–angels, shepherds, lambs . . . .

Timley: Right! Even the mountain where this story takes place is in Jerusalem (before it was Jerusalem), where Jesus went to die on the cross. Speaking of crosses, you remember Jerusalem, right?

Sophie (fingering the olive wood cross necklace Timley had given her in the Holy Land that she always wore): Of course, I do! Hee hee–I bet you sure remember Jerusalem. Care to go back?

Timley (his tail whacking nervously back and forth behind him): No thank you! I’m just glad we got out of that place in one piece!

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson.

 

Welcome to Week Five

MOSES’ SNAKES

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from Exodus 6:1-8 and 7:8-13.

  1. Did anything surprise in this story surprise you?
  2. God refers to a covenant between himself and the Israelites, starting with Abraham. What did God promise Abraham? (See Week 4, “The Ram that Saved the Day” for more on that).
  3. The Israelites were in Egypt under Pharaoh because of a famine in Canaan that took them there four hundred years prior to this story. Joseph, a descendant of Abraham, had saved the Egyptians through his smart thinking and God’s blessings, leading to many years of prosperity for the Israelite people before they became enslaved. They were waiting for someone to deliver them, yet Exodus 6: 9 tells us that the Israelites didn’t listen to Moses when he told them that God was going to save them. Why do you think they didn’t believe him?
  4. Why do you think God made Moses’ staff turn into a snake? What was the reaction?
  5. Did it surprise you that the Egyptian magicians could turn their staffs into snakes, too? How do you think they were able to do that?
  6. The snake from Moses’ staff swallowed up the magicians’ snakes. What do you think that means?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (rubbing her chin thoughtfully with her wing): I’ve never thought much about snakes before, except as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Timley Mouse: You used to say the same thing about me!

Sophie (giggling): Hoo hoo hu hoo! So true! So true! (More giggling)

Timley (pulling out his toothpick sword): Still not funny, you know.

Sophie: Oh, I’m not laughing about the idea of eating you! I’m laughing at how surprised that snake must have been: a long piece of wood one minute, breathing and slithering the next!

Timley: Right! Pharaoh sure should have paid attention to what that snake did next, swallowing up the other snakes like that. He should have let the Israelites go right then and there.

Sophie: What do you mean?

Timley: Snakes aren’t the only animals God used in Egypt before Pharaoh lets the people go: God sent plagues of frogs, gnats, and flies that drove everyone nearly crazy, and then a plague that killed the Egyptians’ livestock (horses and cattle and sheep and camels and goats) but NOT the Israelites’ animals, and then a plague of boils that affected people and animals! To top it all off, there were locusts everywhere!

Sophie: Pharaoh must have been begging the Israelites to leave Egypt at that point!

Timley: Not exactly. He didn’t let them go until the firstborn of Egypt died, including his own son. Even then, he chased after them with his army! It’s interesting–just like the story last week, when a ram was used for a sacrifice instead of Isaac, God asked the Israelites to kill a perfect lamb and put its blood on their doorposts so that God would pass over their homes on that dreadful night. (Smiling with all his tiny sharp teeth) I’m glad that I’m a mouse! Members of the sheep family have it rough!

Welcome to Week Six

WHAT’S GOLD, SHAPED LIKE A BULL CALF, AND A BIG MISTAKE?

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

Click on the picture to hear a reading from Exodus 32.

  1. Did anything in this story surprise you? What did you hear?
  2. We learned last week in Week 5: Moses’ Snakes that God miraculously helped the Israelites escape from slavery in Egypt. There is a lot more to that story! The Red Sea parted to allow the people cross on dry land, God provided water from a rock and food called Manna from heaven. In previous chapters, the people had told Moses that they would always listen to God and obey him. Does that help explain why God and Moses were so furious with the Israelites?
  3. Why do you think that Aaron, Moses’ brother and a leader of the people, gave in so quickly to the people and do what they wanted him to do? If you were one of the Israelites and your leader had disappeared on a mountain for forty days and nights, how would you be feeling? Keep in mind all the miracles that you would have seen AND maybe how scary it would be to be wandering through a dry wilderness with no stores, restaurants, water, or houses. Do you think they should still have trusted God? Why or why not?
  4. What did Aaron tell Moses about the golden calf that the people were worshiping? Do you think Moses believed him? Why do you think Aaron lied to him?
  5. Aaron built an altar and arranged for burnt offerings and “well-being sacrifices,” along with a “festival to the LORD.” God has taught the Israelites to worship him in these ways. Why do they make him so angry now? Does this tell us anything about the difference between being “spiritual” and worshiping Jesus?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (watching Timley wave his toothpick sword madly back and forth): Timley! What on earth are you doing?

Timley Mouse: Take that! And that! You sinful, stubborn Israelite!

Sophie (looking alarmed): Timley!

Timley (breathing heavily and putting the sword back into his red sash around his waist): I’m a Levite! God used the tribe of the Levites to punish the people who had sinned so badly. They really got it (with a paw, Timley made a slicing motion across his throat and then slumped over).

Sophie (covering her eyes with a wing): Stop! Stop!

Timley: Aye, aye matey! I’m sorry. God was really unhappy with them, and about 3000 of them died at Moses’ command.

Sophie (flapping her wings nervously): Was there anything that they could do to get right with God again? I mean, we make mistakes and sin against God sometimes, too! Can we get right with God?

Timley: Moses spoke to God and begged him to forgive them. I don’t know for sure what happened to those people, but I DO know that the Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” He’s got us covered!

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson

Please share with friends who might like to hear Bible stories, too!

 

 

Ten Interesting Stories of Animals in the Bible

Welcome to Week Seven

“WHAT DID I EVER DO TO DESERVE THIS?”: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SCAPEGOAT

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

Click on the picture to hear a reading from Leviticus 16:7-10, 15, 20-22; Hebrews 9:28.

  1. Did anything in this story surprise you? remind you of anything?
  2. Why was one goat killed and the other goat sent out into the wilderness? What do you think happened to it?
  3. It is clear from the stories about the Israelites’ rebellion and sin (think about Week 6 and the Golden Bull Calf story) that God thinks of sin as a matter of life and death. Why do you think it is such a serious issue to God?
  4. Do you take sin (anything that goes against God’s will) seriously? Why or why not? Why would Jesus say that it matters?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (rubbing her chin thoughtfully with her wing): I wonder who Azazel was. In the story, they say that one goat was sent into the wilderness “to Azazel.” Do you know, Timley?

Timley Mouse: There are two ideas about that. One is that it is a word that means “sent completely away,” so the people’s sins were sent as far away as possible. The other idea is that he was a fallen angel–someone who led the people into great wickedness.

Sophie (putting her wings to her mouth, shocked): A FALLEN angel?! I thought all angels were good and powerful and could sing beautiful songs to the Lord!

Timley: I guess not all of them. I don’t know very much about it. I think that the idea is the same, though–the idea that God wants to take the things we say and do and think that are wrong as far away from us as possible! So we can have our best chance.

Sophie: Our best chance?

Timley: Remember how we learned that Immanuel means “God with us”? Well, God wants to give his people their best chance to be with him forever, because despite all the bad things we do, he really loves us! The Israelites didn’t have Jesus yet, so God gave them other ways to take their sin far, far away.

Sophie (looking wistful): I want to be in heaven surrounded by the good angels, forever!

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, by Sonja Anderson.