People who initiate by speaking out in love are becoming more and more rare today. As we saw last week, taking inititative when it’s uncomfortable is hardly the popular thing to do. However, we see over and over throughout the Bible examples of people who listened to God and spoke up. Nehemiah is a great example of someone who trusted God and did what He said to do!
What We Learned
INITIATIVE: Taking wise action without being told.
MEMORY VERSE: “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:20 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Listen to God and Speak Out
After Nehemiah had to be so courageous in chapters 1-2, it seems like surely the hardest parts of his story were over. He listened to God and asked to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, but after he arrived he faced even more obstacles! Some very vocal people were not excited he was there (Nehemiah 2:10). Still, in an unfamiliar place among some discouraging people, Nehemiah chose to trust God and begin the work he had been called to do. Read Nehemiah 2:9-20 to see what happens next!
- After Nehemiah made it back to Jerusalem, what was the first thing he did? (Nehemiah 2:11-12) Why do you think this is where he started?
- What were the walls like around Jerusalem when he found them?
- Why was it important for city walls to be strong during this time?
- How did people respond when Nehemiah told them his plan? (Nehemiah 2:17-20)
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
TEACHER: Eat a Fruit Salad
Make a fruit salad to serve at dinner one night this week. Ask your kids to name the trees or plants each fruit came from, and why they have to be distinct. For example, apples can’t come from orange trees! In our memory verse this week, Matthew 7:20, people are identified by their actions just like a tree is identified by its fruit. Use this time to practice the memory verse as a family.
FRIEND: Spot the Broken Walls
While driving in the car this week, be on the lookout for broken down fences and walls. Ask your kids what they think the original uses for those fences and walls were. Use these examples as a way to remind each other of the broken down walls in Jerusalem Nehemiah set out to rebuild.
COUNSELOR: Look to Speak Out
During bedtime one night, ask your kids if they had a chance to practice speaking out in a situation that you may have role-played together last week. Did they overhear anyone gossiping or saying unkind things about someone? Pray together for eyes to see more opportunities like these to speak out.
COACH: Inspire Purpose
Encourage your kids before school to remember the story of how some responded positively to Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:18. Instead of seeing today as “just another Wednesday,” consider the morning as time to strengthen your heart for whatever today’s good work might include!
Thank God for the way he initiated with us. Ask him to help give us eyes to see needs around us, and to be courageous to take the first step and speak out!
Next week we will continue the story of Nehemiah trusting God despite opposition to building the wall in chapter 4.
We’d love to hear stories of how you and your family are initiating with those around you this week!
Photo image via Flickr creative commons