Title: God’s People Rebuilt the Walls of Jerusalem
Scripture: Nehemiah 3:1–6:16
Target Age Group: 3rd-5th grade
Main Point: God is faithful to His people.
Supplies: Photos of the wall and gates of Jerusalem
Ask: Has anyone helped you or encouraged you this week? What did you need help with? How were your friends encouraging?
Say: God created us to need each other. We aren’t meant to do hard things all alone. God wants us to help one another and live life together. When we do, we have lots of opportunities to encourage each other to trust in God, and remind each other that God is faithful to His people.
Say: In our story today we’ll hear how God used Nehemiah to encourage His people as they rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls.
Tell the Story
Say: Today we will hear a story from the Bible, God’s Word. [Hold up your Bible to show the kids.] Our story comes from the book of Nehemiah.
Say: Today we’re going to hear the second part of Nehemiah’s story. Does anyone remember what we learned about last week?
Say: Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer living in Persia. He received news that the walls and gates of Jerusalem were in ruins, and this news made him very sad. With the king’s permission Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to survey the city and determine what needed to be done. He rallied the Jews and encouraged them to start rebuilding the city walls and gates!
Say: Building a city wall was no easy task. (Show pictures of the wall of Jerusalem and the gates.)
Say: Imagine cutting and lifting all those heavy stones, putting them in just the right place on the wall to fill in all the gaps. The people put the large doors, bolts and bars in place along the wall where the gates would be. This was hard work! But the Jews had more than just tiring labor to worry about. There were also people who mocked and threatened them on all sides of the city.
Say: There were some men named Sanballat and Tobiah who were angry when they heard that Nehemiah and God’s people were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. They didn’t want them to finish their task so they made fun of them saying,
Read (from your Bible!) Neh 4:2
What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”
Ask: How would you have felt if you were one of the Jews hearing those unkind words?
Say: The people were afraid. They knew their enemies were strong, and they worried that they would be attacked as they rebuilt the wall. But instead of giving up, God’s people prayed. They asked God for strength and guidance. Nehemiah was a good leader and he helped the people come up with a plan. They decided that half the people would work on building the wall and the other half would stand guard with weapons in case their enemies came to fight them. Some people even worked while holding a weapon in one hand!
Say: Nehemiah knew that God had a plan for the city of Jerusalem and no one (not Sanballat, Tobiah, or anyone else) would stand in His way! Nehemiah reminded the people that God is great and powerful, and no enemy is too mighty for Him! God would fight for them; He would protect His people, because God keeps His promises. God is faithful to His people.
Say: The people trusted God and they worked very hard to finish building the wall in just 52 days! When their enemies and surrounding nations heard how quickly they finished building they were afraid because they knew that the One True God had helped them.
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: Just like the Jews in the story we need protection because we have a very real enemy: sin. But we can’t build a wall high enough to protect us from sin because it’s inside of us. We can’t run fast enough to get away, or fight hard enough to defeat sin. We are powerless to save ourselves against our greatest enemy.
Say: There is only One Person powerful enough to protect us and that is Jesus. Only Jesus can rescue us from our sin. Only Jesus can forgive us for the bad things we have done, thought, felt, or said. No one else can do that! No parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend can rescue us. We have to put our trust in Jesus to be saved. When we trust Him He doesn’t build a wall around us but He offers us this promise: to always be with us. In Deuteronomy 31:6 it says this: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Ask: Does God keep His promises?
Say: We can trust God because He is always faithful to us. He has promised to be with us all the time. So no matter what sad or scary thing we face, we know that God is there. He will help us be brave and do the right thing because He loves us. Let’s pray and thank God for this amazing truth!
- What was Nehemiah’s job with the king? (Cupbearer)
- How did he respond when he learned that the walls of Jerusalem had been burned? (He wept and prayed to God.)
- Why were the Jews discouraged as they rebuilt the wall? (Their enemies were on all sides threatening to hurt them.)
- Who is always faithful to His people? (God)
- What does this story teach us about God?
- How might hearing this story change the way we live our today?