“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadyfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
After 70 years in captivity, the Jewish people were finally allowed to go home. But their hometown was destroyed by the war so the people had a lot of work to do. They got to work rebuilding the temple of God; they made new homes, and planted new crops. After working hard and finishing the temple there was one more thing they had to do – they had to fix the walls of Jerusalem.
The city of Jerusalem was still damaged; it didn’t have any walls or gates for protection. Without walls and gates, the city was vulnerable to being attackd by enemy.
God sent a Jewish man named Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and to leave the people. Nehemiah was working in Persia when he heard about how Jerusalem was still broken and didn’t have any walls or gates.
Younger Group (Preschool-3rd)
- Watch Younger Group Video Lesson 15
- Who read God’s Word to all of the people? (Ezra, Neh. 8:2)
- How did the people respond when they heard God’s words? (They cried, Neh. 8:9)
- What did Ezra tell the people to do when they got home? (prepare a feast and share with their neighbors, Neh. 8:10)
- Why do you think the people responded to the Word of God by crying? Guide the kids to see that the people realized that they had sinned against God. They had fallen short of what God had called them to, and they knew that they served to be punished. Their sin separated them from God and that made them very sad. (Isa. 59:2)
- Why did God want the people to celebrate instead? God had been incredibly kind to His people. He restored them to their land and revealed their sin so they could repent and obey Him. His faithfulness was greater than their sin, and He wanted them to be happy about His goodness. Their celebration honored God’s work.
- What can you do when you realize that you have sinned? Help kids understand that when we sin we must confess our sin and repent. Repent means to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. God has shown us grace and has promised to forgive our sin when we come to Him with a repenting heart. (Acts 3:19)
Older Group (4th-Teen)
- Watch Older Group Video Lesson 15
- How did the Israelites’ view of God’s Word help them make the right choice? The Israelites trusted God’s Word, stood when it was read, listened to, and praised God. They respected God’s Word and trusted that it was true, even when it showed they needed to repent and make changes in their lives. (Read 2 Tim. 3:16-17.)
- How does God’s Word change us today? Leading kids to recognize that the Bible is inspired by God and can be used to teach, rebuke, correct, and train people to follow God. The Bible is trustworthy and can breathe to every area of our lives. We can respect, follow, and trust the Bible because it comes from God. (Read Neh. 8:5-6.)
- What are some ways people should respond to God’s Word today? Invite kids to discuss. Point out how people responded to God’s Word in today’s story. They responded physically by killing, but they also responded spiritually by repenting and turning away from bad choices and turning towards God.
(Read Rom. 15:4.)