Two Children's Bible Stories

by Carl Manthey-Zorn
translated by Nathaniel Biebert

The following Foreword and two Bible stories are translated from Weide meine Lämmer (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1917) by Carl Manthey-Zorn. The reader can find a brief biographical sketch of the author in Issue #4. According to the title page, Weide meine Lämmer contains "532 Bible stories for children and parents from the beginning of the world up to the coming of Christ." In the Foreword, Zorn briefly relates the occasion and background of the book.

The translator is aware that these two Bible stories are well-known, and that his readership does not consist of many little children. They are presented here for three primary reasons:

  • To present a resource that is excellent for brushing up on one's German. Note the very simple vocabulary that is used.
  • To present a resource that is excellent for teaching little children German and Bible history at the same time. The translator has experienced this firsthand, as one of his younger brothers once expressed at a meal, "This meal is gut. We should thank Gott!"
  • To present one simple model for parents or future parents to consider using in private devotions with their little ones. Zorn's method provides parents several opportunities. Using his method, they can share Scripture with their children, teach them how to pray in a simple manner, and sing beautiful little hymn verses to them.

To this end, the translator prays that at least some of his readers find this translation worthwhile. May God through his Word give us all child-like faith in his promises, that we may all reach a blessed end through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Foreword

Children, even small children, should be taught Bible history. They should even be taught the history of the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is then wedded to their hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to them through baptism. Then they also understand the New Testament better.

It is impossible for all the Bible history books to find a place among the books designated for schools. And aren't they all so beautiful? Isn't is nice to read and re-read the Bible itself in order with small children? Let one apply what is in Acts 8:30. I have tried to retell nearly all the stories of the Old Testament in such a way that even small children can understand everything. I have also tested them. I had one story after another - in the manuscript - read in our daily devotions at home. My tiny granddaughter Doris, now five years old, loved listening to them, and she understood them. Even her parents liked to listen (Mark 10:15).

Applications, short prayers, and hymn verses suited for children are also included with the devotions. Parents may have to explain a word here and there.

May God in his grace be with this book for Christ's sake.

58. Abraham is tested

Abraham moved still further south and set up his tent at Beersheba, in the land of the Philistines. He planted trees there and lived there for a long time. He also preached about the dear Savior there.

When Isaac was now a big boy, one night God spoke to Abraham, "Abraham!" Abraham answered, "Here I am." God said, "Take Isaac, your only son, whom you love, and go into the land of Moriah and sacrifice him at that very place as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will tell you." O dear!

Then Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took along two servants and his son Isaac. He some chopped wood for the burnt offering and he left. On the third day Abraham saw the mountain in the distance, and he said to the servants, "Stay here with the donkey. I and the boy will go over there, and when we have worshiped, we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself took fire and a knife. In this way the two of them went off together. Then Isaac said, "My father!" Abraham said, "Here I am, my son." Isaac said, "Look, here is fire and wood. But where is the sheep for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "My son, God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering." In this way the two of them went on together. O dear!

When they came to the mountain, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood on it. He tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. He stretched out his hand and took hold of the knife to slay his son. O dear!

Tomorrow you shall hear what happened next.

Prayer

Dear God, what is happening here? I do not understand! Dear God, when I cannot understand what you are saying at all, help me to still trust you and be obedient to you. You will make everything right in the end. Amen.

You may sing this stanza to the tune of CW 312:

As God leads, I'll go by his grace.
Though in the way be growing
Sharp thorns and snares that hide his face,
In heav'n God shall be showing
How he, our Father, true has been,
Guiding us to our blessed end;
In him my faith is anchored.

59. How the testing ended

Now remember yesterday.

Just as Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, our dear Savior called out to him from heaven, "Abraham, Abraham!" Abraham answered, "Here I am." Our dear Savior said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy; do not do anything to him! For now I know that you fear God and have not spared your only son for my sake." Then Abraham saw a ram behind him caught in the thicket by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham called the mountain "The LORD provides." Again our dear Savior called out from heaven and said, "I have sworn by myself, says the LORD, that, because you have done such a thing and have not spared your only son, I will bless and increase your descendants like the sand on the shore of the sea. Your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies [the cities of the Canaanites], and through your offspring all nations on earth shall be blessed, since you have obeyed my voice."

Now Abraham returned with Isaac to his servants, and they went home to Beersheba.

See, child, this is how God tested whether Abraham believed in him. God had often said to Abraham that a great nation and our dear Savior would come from Isaac. Then God said that he should sacrifice Isaac. Abraham thought, "I will do what God says. God will still keep his word. If I sacrifice Isaac, God can raise him again from death and from the ashes." So Abraham was full of faith in God.

Do you know who was sacrificed for all of us? God's only Son, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer

O dear God, you, you have not spared your only Son, but have sacrificed him for us sinners on the wood of the cross, so that we will rise from death and live forever. Help me, so that I firmly believe in you always and am your dear obedient child. Amen.

CW 268:

Lamb of God, pure and holy,
Who on the cross did suffer,
Ever patient and lowly,
Yourself to scorn did offer.
All sins you carried for us,
Else had despair reigned o'er us:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus.