The Child's Story Bible. Catherine F. Vos. (1938, 1949, 1958,) 1969. Eerdman's Publishing Company. 733 pages.
I have wanted to read this one in its entirety for a few years now. I will definitely be writing a review when I'm through reading it, but I thought I would share my thoughts as I read.
1) This story collection is so thorough that it almost feels more like a paraphrase. It includes so much more detail than most other children's story book collections I've read. It's tragic but true that people are biblically illiterate. This book, so far, appears to be a great introduction to the contents of the Bible.
2) The book summarizes and instructs. It adds details, makes conclusions, and seeks to create teachable moments.
3) The book can be creative, descriptive, unique. In an old-fashioned, comfortable way.
GOD IS AND WAS Long, long ago - nobody knows how long ago - this world on which we live, this big ball that we call earth, was not here. The earth did not exist. There was nothing but emptiness, wide empty space. That was before the beginning of the first things, before the beginning of time.
For everything that has ever happened and everything that will ever happen is part of God's great plan.
Was it altogether too late? Were Adam and Eve and all their children lost in sin forever? Was there nothing they could do to pay for their sin? No, there was nothing they could do. With wicked hearts like theirs they could never pay for their sin. But what is impossible for men is possible for God. The Bible tells us that with God all things are possible. God loved the man so much that He promised that He Himself would make a way for Adam and Eve and their children once more to walk and talk with God. He would send a Saviour who would pay for their sin, who would bear their punishment in their place. Adam and Eve did not know who the Saviour would be, or when and how He would come to help them. They had only the promise of God, and they had to trust blindly in that promise. But that was enough for them. Someday they were going to walk and talk with God again. For God Himself had said so.
If you truly love someone, you trust him; and that is exactly what God asks of you and me. He has loved us with a love so great that He was willing to give His own Son to die for our sins. He wants us to love Him in return and, because we love Him, to believe what He says, even if it seems impossible. For nothing is impossible to God.
Long after all this there was another Father who offered His Son in a sacrifice, and there was no one that day to stay His hand, to say, "Do not harm the boy." That Father was God Himself, and the Son who died for you and me - and for Abraham and Isaac - was our Lord Jesus. He was the Son of God, and He was the son of Abraham too. For He was the one whom God had promised to Adam and Eve, and to Abraham. He was the one in whom all the nations of the earth are blessed.
They came to Aaron and said, "Make us gods to go before us, for as for this man Moses, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." You would expect Aaron to say, "What! Make you a heathen idol! No, indeed! That would be a great sin. Only a month ago God Himself spoke to you out of heaven, and told you not to make idols or to worship them. He will be very angry if you do this." Was that what Aaron said? No, that was what he should have said. What he did say was, "Break off your golden earrings, and bring them to me."
For a while we shall leave Saul and his wars. Let us take a walk over the hills of Judah. Let us start at the little town of Bethlehem, where Ruth lived with her husband many years ago. Do you see that fine house upon the hill? That is the house of Ruth and Boaz, which they built nearly a hundred years ago. They are dead now. Their son Obed is dead, too. Obed's son Jesse is living there with his family of eight sons, in the place where his grandfather Boaz and his grandmother Ruth once lived. It is springtime. There are flowers on every side. The brook which flows through the meadows murmurs softly over the stones. Oh, see those little snow-white lambs ! How many there are ! The sheep are nibbling the soft grass. Let us sit a while on this green hillside and watch them. Listen! Did you hear that sweet sound? There it comes again. What is it? It must be a shepherd boy singing. There he is, sitting down under that oak tree. He cannot see us, because we are behind some bushes. Listen ! The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. How sweet that song sounds! The boy has a harp in his hands. Perhaps he is going to play it. Be sure to keep behind the bushes. Do not let him see you ! Listen! He is singing again, and playing on his harp. He looks up at the sky as he sings. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. What beautiful songs, and how sweetly sung! Who is this boy? How did he learn to play and sing so well? He has taken up his shepherd's staff. He is going over the hill, calling the sheep. He has a name for each one. The sheep leave their nibbling and run at his call. He is leading them over the hill. The shepherd has disappeared. We shall often meet him again, however. God has chosen him to play a very important part in the story of His people. This shepherd boy is to become Israel's king.
Edited to add:
It was not the Jordan River that had healed Naaman. The general understood this quite well. It was Elisha's God, the God of heaven and earth, the One who does indeed decide who shall live and who shall die. For when Naaman took Elisha at his word, when he swallowed his pride and put his trust in Elisha's God, then he found something even more precious than life and health. That day Naaman found God.
That night Hazael could not sleep. He kept thinking of what Elisha had said - that he should be king after Ben-hadad. How wonderful that would be! But he would have to wait a long time, for Elisha had said Benhadad would get well again. Hazael almost wished Elisha had said Benhadad would die of this sickness. Then he could be king immediately. The more he thought about it, the more Hazael wished that the king would die. At last the sinful thought came into his heart that it would be very easy to make him die. He was old and sick. The next morning he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water. He spread it over Ben-hadad's face, holding it down tight so that Ben-hadad could not breathe. The weak, sick old man struggled a little, but his struggles soon stopped. He was dead. Probably the Syrians never knew that Hazael had murdered their king. They thought he had died naturally of his sickness. But Elisha knew the truth, and Hazael knew. The new king, who had begun his reign by murdering his master, became a cruel and bloody king. In the course of time he did all the wicked things that Elisha had foretold of him.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible