Have Legos ever been the cause of conflict in your house? Aside from how deceptively sharp they can be to the unsuspecting bare foot, imagine Kid 1 is building a giant Lego wall and Kid 2 is over to the side making fun of the wall, calling Kid 1 names, and threatening to knock it down. In that moment, Kid 1 has a few choices as to how to respond (tattling, crying, turning the other cheek, etc.). In Nehemiah 4, we see a real-life example of a wall at the heart of a conflict between God’s people and their enemies. Keep reading to see how they responded!
INITIATIVE: Taking wise action without being told
MEMORY VERSE: “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Trust God and Stand Firm
When Nehemiah told the people about the plan God had put in his heart to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, pretty much everyone was on board and ready to get to work…except Sanballat and Tobiah. They were not pumped at all about the Israelites rebuilding the wall and made it their mission to stop them. First they tried verbal attacks and when those didn’t stop the Israelites, they threatened physical attacks. In the face of both attacks, Nehemiah responded by taking the initiative to pray. Nehemiah also encouraged the people to take action, by holding a weapon in one hand and doing their work with their other hand. The people stood firm and kept working on the wall because they trusted God, even in the face of attacks from their enemies.
READ NEHEMIAH 4:1-3
- Who are the “bad guys” in this story? (Sanballat, Tobiah and their armies. Nehemiah first met them in verse 2:10.) How did they try to stop Nehemiah and the Israelites from finishing the wall? (They were making fun of the Israelites and trying to make them feel like they couldn’t do the work God wanted them to do. They tried to make them forget God was with them, helping the them rebuild the wall.)
READ NEHEMIAH 4:4-6
2. Look at verse 4. How did Nehemiah respond when he heard what his enemies were saying? (His first response was to pray to God because he knew only God could help and protect them.) See verse 6. Did their enemies’ first attack work? (No. God proved Himself trustworthy and the Israelites STOOD FIRM.)
READ NEHEMIAH 4:7-8, 10-11
3. Look at verse 10. Were some of the Israelites starting to believe the enemies’ lies? (Some workers were getting tired and thought they’d never finish. They were worried about their enemies because they had forgotten God’s promises.)
READ NEHEMIAH 4:9, 14-20
2. Look at verse 9. Did Nehemiah believe the enemies’ lies? (No!) How did Nehemiah continue to take INITIATIVE and STAND FIRM even when his enemies were planning to attack him? (He kept TRUSTING GOD and prayed for help. God helped him create a plan to protect the Israelites from their enemies.)
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
Teacher: Meal Time
Read or summarize Nehemiah 4. What are some of the things God has helped you do to step up, speak out, and show initiative this month? What are some of the ways people can try to get you to stop doing the work you know God wants you to do? (They might try to discourage you, to make you believe the job is too big and you can’t do it. They might try to tell you to stop and be quiet “or else…”) When people try to stop you from showing initiative and trusting God, how can God help you, like He helped Nehemiah, to stand firm?
Friend: Drive Time
Remembering what is true about God helped Nehemiah and the Israelites trust God and stand firm. What are some of your favorite things to remember that are true about God? Try to name one character trait for each letter of the alphabet! (A - All-knowing; B – Beautiful; C – Compassionate, etc.)
Do you think there are people out there who don’t like it when we do what God wants us to do? Are there any people in your life like that? Pray for those people now, that they will know how much God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them.
Books of the Bible Challenge!!!
For the next several weeks (September 9 – October 8), elementary kids are being challenged to memorize all 66 books of the Bible in order. Practice this as you drive, get ready for bed or go on a family walk. You can even check out books of the Bible songs on YouTube to help your family memorize all 66 books together. Here are some fun videos to get you started!
Thank God for teaching us to take initiative and follow him. Ask Him to help you trust Him and have confidence in Him. Ask Him to help you stand firm even in the face of hard things.
Next week we will continue the September godly character trait, INITIATIVE. We will learn to worship God and celebrate His faithfulness.
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