We’ve been talking a lot this month about stepping up and taking initiative. It can certainly be scary to take the first step, or to speak up for what is right, but when others bring opposition into the picture, it gets even tougher! Suddenly, it becomes much easier to back down and forget all about that initiative. This week we continued the story of Nehemiah, to see us exactly how he handled intense opposition to his God-given plans.
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: Trust God and Stand Firm!
In Nehemiah 4, some “bad guys” make their way back into the narrative, and they were not shy about sharing their opinions. More than just nay-sayers, these guys mocked the Israelites for even attempting to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. They insulted their characters and told them the task was impossible. As if that wasn’t enough, those same “bad guys” got angry and decided they’d make sure Nehemiah’s people could not finish the work (Nehemiah 4:7-8). Nehemiah’s response was incredibly brave, and he encouraged the Israelites to keep building, even with swords in hand!
- Who were the “bad guys” in this story?
- What was Nehemiah’s first response to their attacks? (Nehemiah 4:4-5; Nehemiah 4:9)
- Why did Nehemiah decide to trust God even when facing so much opposition? (Nehemiah 4:14)
- What did the Israelites look like as they were building? (Nehemiah 4: 17-18)
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
* Check out our vision for parents and how to use these activities each week.
TEACHER: Follow Nehemiah’s Example
At dinner one night, ask for examples of when everyone had done something they knew was right, but someone made fun of them or tried to stop them from doing it. How did you respond? If this happens again, how can we practice following Nehemiah’s example?
FRIEND: Focusing on What is Important
While driving in the car together, talk about the importance of the driver focusing on the road. What happens when we get distracted while driving? Other things might seem important, but in order to keep everyone in the car safe, the driver has to focus on the road. Just like when our lives get busy, we have to remember to focus on what is important! Nehemiah remembered the task God had called him to, and he was not distracted by anything else.
COUNSELOR: Remember Who God Is
During bedtime one night, go back and forth with your child giving examples of God’s character. What makes Him trustworthy?
COACH: Practice the Memory Verse
Practice the memory verse (Matthew 7:20) in the mornings while getting ready. Make up a silly song to sing together while getting ready, and/or put up the verse on index cards on everyone’s mirrors so everyone can read it while brushing their teeth.
Thank God for who He is using Nehemiah 4:14 for inspiration. Pray for each other to remember that we can fix our eyes on God and stand firm in what He has called us to do!
Next week we’ll be talking about taking initiative to worship God and remember what He has done for us.
We’d love to hear stories of how you and your family are initiating with those around you this week!