Nehemiah 1:2-4 & 6:15-16
[Nehemiah records] “Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived from Judah with another group, and I asked them about Jerusalem and about our fellow-Jews who had returned from exile in Babylonia. They told me that those who had survived and were back in the homeland were in great difficulty and that the foreigners who lived near by looked down on them. They also told me that the walls of Jerusalem were still broken down and that the gates had not been restored since the time they were burnt. When I heard all this, I sat down and wept. For several days I mourned and did not eat. I prayed to God.
After 52 days of work the entire wall was finished on the 25th day of the month of Elul. When our enemies in the surrounding nations heard this, they realized that they had lost face, since everyone knew that the work had been done with God’s help.”
When Nebuchadnezaar and the Babylonian army conquered Jerusalem, they demolished it. Decades later exiles began to return to live in Jerusalem but the city walls were still ruined.
- Where was Nehemiah and what was he doing when he heard that Jerusalem’s walls still lay in ruins?
- How did Nehemiah respond to this news? Nehemiah 1:4
For Nehemiah ,who was an Israelite, the state of Jerusalem reflected badly on God and his people. That is why he was so upset about the rubble.
- If someone said that God’s church is in ruin and disrepair today what would you say?
(Steer the conversation away from buildings to how healthy and active God’s people are in worshipping God and witnessing to the community around in practical ways).
- What did Nehemiah decide to do about the situation?
- What risks did he take?
Nehemiah risked his life, gave up his job, traveled over 800 miles and used his personal resources to help rebuild Jerusalem. When he arrived, he discovered that God’s people had enemies near Jerusalem too.
- What did they do to try and stop the walls being rebuilt?
- How did Nehemiah and the people respond?
When people work together with a plan and a clear sense of God’s favour amazing things can happen. Everyone mucked in.
- How long did it take to rebuild the entire walls of Jerusalem? Nehemiah 6:
When we take risks, sacrifice and serve we get to take part in what God is doing through his people today. It’s really exciting.
- How can you muck in where you live in order to serve God’s people?
The people then thanked God for how he had helped them rebuild their home in Jerusalem. They sang and marched around the city walls and up to the temple.
- When have you been full of joy and celebrated something God has done?
Thank you that Jesus is our saviour who forgives our sins and rebuilds our lives. Thank you that we get to muck in and build up your people, the church. Give us the courage and determination of Nehemiah to take risks and to serve your cause in the world.
Pray it+ Think of a church or project near you that God’s people are involved in. Pray for its success.
In Nehemiah it says the people’s rejoicing could be heard far and wide! So, play your favourite worship song really loudly. March round your house singing to God at the top of your voices.
Finally - have a look at the back of your card. What does it say? You can now place your card onto your story line.
We hope you are enjoying the story so far. We would love to hear your thoughts on what’s working and what’s confusing? Thanks