This free lesson plan is based on Nehemiah 8 where the people turn back to God in a dramatic revival. Children will learn that God is always faithful and can be trusted in their life.
Title: God’s People Hear God’s Law
Scripture: Nehemiah 8
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: God is faithful to His people.
Supplies: Photo of an x-ray, Nehemiah coloring page
Ask: Have you ever had to have an x-ray? Why? What does an x-ray do? If you break a bone and need an x-ray, does the x-ray fix the problem? [Show picture of x-ray.]
Say: Imagine going to the doctor because your leg hurts. He takes an x-ray of your leg, then tells you, “Ok, here’s your x-ray, now you’re all fixed up!” That wouldn’t be very helpful right? Getting an x-ray doesn’t fix your broken bone. It just shows the doctor where the problem is so he knows how to fix it! Sometimes we have x-rays, or tests that show us we have a problem. That’s what our story is about today. It’s about God’s people, and a problem they had—sin. We’ll hear how the people realized they had sinned against God.
Tell the Story
Explain It (Book): This is where you school ‘em!
This is the section where you tell the story and answer the question, “What’s the story about?”
Say: We always learn from the Bible, God’s Word. In the Bible God shows us what He is like! Our main point today is God is faithful to His people. As you listen to the story, think of the ways that God was faithful to His people.
Say: Last week we hear the story of Nehemiah and God’s people rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. Does anyone remember how long it took them to finish the wall? (52 days.) The people rejoiced that God had helped them complete their work.
Say: Shortly after the walls were finished all the Jews (men, women, and children) gathered together at the Water Gate in Jerusalem to hear the prophet Ezra read from God’s Word. Ezra stood on a tall wooden platform so all the people could see and hear him as he read from the Law of Moses. To show respect for God’s Word, all the people stood up while Ezra read.
Say: Ezra read for many hours and the people listened carefully to what he said. Some of the leaders, called Levites, were there to help the people understand what God’s Word said.
Ask: How do you think the people reacted when they heard God’s Word?
Say: The people wept and cried. Why do you think they would cry when they heard the law read to them? Was it really boring? Was it a sad story?
Say: When the people heard God’s law they realized that they had failed to obey it. Their eyes were opened to how they had rebelled against God and hadn’t loved Him with their whole hearts. It made them sad to realize that even though God loved them so much, they had sinned against Him.
Ask: Have you ever felt bad about disobeying someone? What did you do about it?
Say: Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Levites encouraged the people to stop crying. They said, “Today is a day to celebrate that God has kept His promises to us! He has brought us out of exile and has allowed us to hear His Word again. Let’s celebrate God’s goodness to us by throwing a big party!”
Say: So the people ate delicious foods and drank sweet drinks and rejoiced that they understood the Word of God that had been read to them.
Ask: How did God keep His promises to His people in the story?
Say: God could have punished the people for sinning and forgetting Him. He could have sent them back into exile. He could have abandoned them, but He didn’t. God’s love is stronger than our greatest sin. God made a way for the people to hear His Word again and obey His commands. God drew the people close to Him and they praised Him for it.
Connect it (Look): Apply it & Answer “How?”
This section helps us to apply the main truths of the story to the kids lives. We pray that they’ll see their sin and their need for the Savior.
Say: In the beginning of our lesson we talked about x-rays. The law of God is a lot like an x-ray. Hearing God’s law doesn’t fix our problem of sin, in fact, it’s the Law that shows us we have a problem in the first place! We can read God’s Word and ask ourselves if we have obeyed everything in it. We might try really hard to do everything that the Bible says and fix our own sin, but following the Law isn’t the answer, because it’s impossible for us to obey it perfectly.
Ask: Have you ever tried to do something you knew you just couldn’t do? How does it feel to attempt the impossible?
Say: We can get really frustrated when we try to be perfect. That’s because there’s no way on earth to do it! No one is good, and when we try to follow the law of God we see how sinful we really are. The law shows us our great need for God! And God has provided us with the cure for our sin: Jesus. We don’t need to try to be perfect because that’s impossible. All we need is faith in Jesus.
Say: From the very beginning God knew that the Law wouldn’t be able to save us, because we wouldn’t be able to obey it. Before God created the world He knew that we would sin against Him, and the only way for our sin to be forgiven would be for Him to come to earth to rescue us. Long ago God promised His people that He would send a rescuer, a Messiah to save them from sin. Jesus is our rescuer, and when we trust in Him, our sins are forgiven and we can be close to God again!
Say: Let’s pray and thank God for this amazing truth!
- How many days did it take the Jews to complete the wall around Jerusalem? (52 days)
- Which prophet read from the Law of Moses? (Ezra)
- Who listened to Ezra reading God’s Word? (All the Jews – men, women, and children)
- Who helped the people understand God’s Law? (The Levites)
- What does this story teach us about God? (He is faithful to His people, He wants us to know Him)
- How can we respond to this story in our own lives?