“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 steadfast.” 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 attacked by enemies.
God sent a Jewish man named Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and to lead the people. Nehemiah was working in Persia when he heard about how Jerusalem was still broken and didn’t have any walls or gates.
Today we are going to learn about how God used Nehemiah to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem.
Younger Group (Preschool-3rd)
- Begin by praying together.
- Watch Younger Group (Preschool-3rd) Video Lesson 14
- What was Nehemiah’s job before coming back to Jerusalem? (He was the king’s cupbearer, Neh. 1:11)
- What was the biggest challenge the Jews faced in rebuilding the walls? (Their enemies tried to intimidate them to make them stop, Neh. 4:1-4)
- How many days did it take to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem? (52, Neh. 6:15)
- Why do you think it was important to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem? Help the kids understand that a city’s walls and gates were important for the security of the people. Without walls they would be vulnerable to attack.
- Why do you think it is significant that the Jews were all working together? Explain that the people needed each other. They worked together and mutually encouraged one another along the way. As believers, God calls us to be united and work together for His kingdom. We need each other!
- How can you be an encouragement to someone this week? Guide kids to think practically. Discuss ways they can cheer for their friends at sporting events, show kindness to their siblings, or help their parents by doing chores and obeying joyfully. Discuss why encouraging others is important and how it can demonstrate God’s love for people.
Older Group (4th-Teen)
- Begin by praying together.
- Watch Older Group (4th-Teen) Video Lesson 14
Read – Nehemiah 1:1-11
Before doing anything else, Nehemiah fasted and prayed and asked God for help.
- What did Nehemiah pray for? What did he ask for?
- Answer – Nehemiah prayed for his people and asked that God would have mercy on them. Also, Nehemiah prayed that God would give him favor before the king of Persia. Nehemiah worked for king Artaxerxes as a cup-bearer and he wanted to ask the king for help. (See verse 11)
- What does it mean for God to give you favor? Can you think of any examples from the Bible or maybe from your own life?
- Allow discussion.
- Examples from the Bible:
- God gave Joseph favor before Potiphar and Pharaoh.
- God gave Daniel favor before King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius.
- What problems are you facing in life? Have you prayed and fasted about it? Have you asked God for help first before doing anything else?
- Allow discussion. Pray together.
Read – Nehemiah 2:1-8
King Artaxerxes was happy to help Nehemiah. God was with Nehemiah and gave him favor before the king. King Artaxerxes helped Nehemiah by providing everything he needed.
- What did King Artaxerxes give Nehemiah?
- Answer – The King ordered the governors to provide safety for Nehemiah as he travelled (See verse 7). The King ordered his men to give Nehemiah timber for building (See verse 8).
Read – Nehemiah 3:1-5
Building a wall is hard work. The stones are heavy and dirty and it’s very tiring work. Not everyone was willing to help.
In verse 1 we see that the high priest (Eliashib) and all the other priests were willing to help. Even though the high priest was a popular guy with a special position, he was not afraid of getting his hands dirty and working hard.
In verse 5 we see that some of the other nobles were not willing to help. They didn’t want to work hard. Maybe they were lazy. Or maybe they were snobby.
- Are you willing to work hard? What hard work can you do to help your family? Or maybe your neighbor? Or maybe an elderly person?
- Make plans to do a project together as a family. Help a poor person or an elder. Don’t be afraid to get dirty and work hard!