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Family Devotions – The Jesse Tree

1st Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 11:1-2 (New American Standard Bible)

Isaiah 11

Righteous Reign of the Branch

1Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,


And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Nothing surprises God. God has a plan for everything…before it even


happens. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, there lived a man
named Jesse. Jesse had seven sons. His youngest son was David who
would grow up to be the king of Israel. Even before David, or even
Jesse was born, God had a plan for both of them.

God’s plan for Jesse didn’t end when his son, David, became the king of
Israel. Jesus was also part of Jesse’s family tree. He was born many
years after David, but He is still a part of their family. God promised His
people that He would send them a savior, but David was not that savior,
Jesus was. The people of Israel had to wait a very, very long time for the
savior to be born. The season we call “Advent” is a time of waiting.
During these weeks before Christmas, we are all waiting too.

It’s not easy to be patient. Waiting for something special can seem
very hard sometimes, but God wants us to learn to be patient and to
trust God. God says that He has a plan for our lives also, and we must
believe that and be patient while we wait for all that God has for us.

[let everyone discuss things that they are waiting for and how difficult it is to be
patient. Pray for patience as we wait for the things we are anticipating.]

*Hang pinecone ornament on the tree.


Day Two

Genesis 1:26-31 (New American Standard Bible)

26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and
over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He
created them.

28God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and
subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living
thing that moves on the earth."

29Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all
the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on
the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.

31God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there
was morning, the sixth day.

God created everything. He made the whole world and everything in it. He
made the oceans and the mountains. He made the birds and the fish. He
made the dinosaurs and the bugs. He made all the people. He made you,
and He made me. When God first created the world it was perfect. When
God created Adam and Eve, they were perfect too. They never did anything
to make God unhappy and there was no sin in them.

Even though Adam and Eve did eventually sin and now the world and the
people are not perfect anymore, God still loves us, and He still cares for the
world that He created. Adam was in charge of taking care of God’s creation and
even got to name all of the animals. God still wants us to take care of His
creation and be kind to all of His creatures.

The earth is God’s gift to us. Even though it is now full of sin and sadness,
God still wants us to take care of it and to treat it with care.

[let everyone discuss was to take care of both the earth and all the gifts God has given
us: toys, clothes, house, food, etc. Talk about caring for and not wasting all that we have
been given.]

*Hang earth ornament on the tree.


Day Three

Genesis 3:1-19 (New American Standard Bible)


The Fall of Man

1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had
made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree
of the garden'?"

2The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You
shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"

4The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!

5"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will
be like God, knowing good and evil."

6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the
eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and
she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and
they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

8They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the
trees of the garden.

9Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

10He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was
naked; so I hid myself."

11And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of
which I commanded you not to eat?"

12The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree,
and I ate."

13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the
woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14The LORD God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel."

16To the woman He said,


"I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you."

17Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have
eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it';
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18"Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."

Yesterday, we read that when God created the world, it was all perfect.
Even the people were perfect. Today we read about Adam and Eve
and how they disobeyed God even after He had given them everything
in the whole world. He only asked that they not eat from one special
tree. But they didn’t obey God. Once they ate the fruit from that tree
they understood that there is right and there is wrong, and this
brought sin into the world.

God still loved Adam and Eve, but He had to punish them for
disobeying Him. He had to send them out of the beautiful,
perfect garden He had made for them, and they had to start
working for their food. But God also promised them that He
would always love them, and He even hinted at the coming of
the savior to save them from their sin.

Even though Adam and Eve disobeyed God, He still loved them very
much. Do you remember yesterday when we said that God is not
surprised by anything? God always knew that even though He created
people perfect, that they would eventually disobey Him, and need to
be punished. So, before Adam and Eve were even created, He had
already decided to send His Son, Jesus into the world. When He told
the serpent that the woman’s seed would “bruise His head”, He was
talking about Jesus destroying Satan’s power forever. When He said
that the serpent would “bruise his heal”, He was talking about the fact
that Jesus would have to sacrifice His body, to save us. Even way back
in the garden with Adam and Eve, God had already planned to send His
son to die for us.

[discuss ways that we all make God unhappy and why we need a savior just like
Adam and Eve]

(pray together thanking God for sending Jesus and asking Him to help us make
good choices every day)

*Hang the apple ornament on the tree


Day Four

Genesis 6:11-14 (New American Standard Bible)

11Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their
way upon the earth.

13Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is
filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the
earth.

14"Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and
shall cover it inside and out with pitch.

Genesis 7:17-8:3

17Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted
up the ark, so that it rose above the earth.

18The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the
surface of the water.

19The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains
everywhere under the heavens were covered.

20The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.

21All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every
swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind;

22of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life,
died.

23Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to
animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the
earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.

24The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.
Genesis 8

The Flood Subsides

1But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in
the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.

2Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain
from the sky was restrained;

3and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty
days the water decreased.

Genesis 9:8-13

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,

9"Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants
after you;

10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of
the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

11"I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the
water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."

12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you
and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;

13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the
earth.

Once Adam and Eve had sinned, and learned that there was right and
wrong, all other people born would have to decide whether to do right
or wrong themselves. There came a time when almost all of the
people had decided to do wrong and God was very sad. There was a
man named Noah whose family had not forgotten God and still chose
to do what was right because they loved God. So God decided to
destroy all the people who were making wrong choices, and to save
Noah and his family because they were making good choices.

God told Noah how to build an ark and God filled the ark
with all the different kinds of animals and then He made it
rain until the whole world flooded. All the people and
animals who were not on the ark were destroyed.

When the flood was over, and the water dried up, God made a
promise to Noah that he would never send another flood to
destroy the whole world again. When He made His promise to
Noah, He put a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His
promise. Every time we see that rainbow, we can remember
God’s promise to Noah.

When God sent the flood, it destroyed all that sin, but it also destroyed
all those people. This is not what God wants. He loves us too much.
When we see a rainbow in the sky it reminds us that God has another
plan to destroy the sin in the world without destroying all the people.
That plan is Jesus. Jesus came to destroy sin, and save the people.

[discuss promises that God has made and kept]

(pray together thanking God for keeping His promises)

*Hang the rainbow ornament on the tree


Day Five

Genesis 12

Abram Journeys to Egypt

1Now the LORD said to Abram,


"Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;
2And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

4So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now
Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

5Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had
accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the
land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.

6Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now
the Canaanite was then in the land.

7The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land " So
he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.

Sometimes God asks us to do things that are hard to do. God asks us
to obey when sometimes it seems like disobeying would be more fun.
There are things He wants us to do that we don’t want to do, and
there are things He wants us NOT to do that we really, really want to
do.

God asked Abram to leave his home and go on a long trip.


Abram did not want to leave his home, but God promised him
that He would be blessed if he obeyed. Abram did obey and
he went left his home. Sometimes along the way, he made
bad choices and forgot to listen to God’s directions, but
God kept all of the promises that He made to Abram. The
best thing God did was to call Abram His friend.

Can you imagine having the God of all the universe call you His friend?
Guess what? He DOES! When He sent Jesus to us, He offered us His
friendship for life! He asks us to obey Him, and He promises to be our
friend, but even when we forget our side of the deal, He doesn’t forget
His. He keeps His promise to never leave us, and He forgives us over
and over again.

[discuss ways that God shows us what He wants us to do]

(pray together that God would help us to obey and do the things that He wants us
to do)
Genesis 21:1-7 (New American Standard Bible)

Genesis 21

Isaac Is Born

1Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He
had promised.

2So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of
which God had spoken to him.

3Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him,
Isaac.

4Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had
commanded him.

5Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6Sarah said, "God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me."

7And she said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet
I have borne him a son in his old age."

Do you know how it feels to really, really want something? To want


something so much that it almost hurts inside that you don’t have it?
Sometimes it’s hard to be happy when we are thinking about the
things we don’t have.

Sarah wanted a baby more than anything, but even though she
prayed and prayed, she didn’t have a baby. She tried
everything she could think of, but she still didn’t have
the baby she wanted. She finally decided that God was not
going to give her a baby, and she was very sad.

But even after she had given up hope, God gave her a
wonderful son. She had given up on her dream, but God had
kept His promise.

Yesterday we read that God promised to make Abraham a great nation.


We also read that God made promises to Noah and to Adam and Eve.
When God makes a promise, He will keep it. But it is important for us
to trust in His promises and not worry about what we do not have. We
need to focus on what He has given us, and be happy. We also need to
trust that when He makes a promise to us, He will do it!

[discuss ways God has answered our prayers]

(pray together thanking God for answering us when we pray)