Key Passage: Malachi 4:2 “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go out and playfully jump like calves.”
Big Picture Question: Why was Nehemiah sad? Nehemiah was sad because Jerusalem’s walls were broken.
Christ Connection: God promised to keep His people safe and give them a home. God always keeps His promises. Jesus died on the cross for our sin so we can have a home in heaven. When we trust in Jesus, we will be with God forever.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids; we have certainly come a long way together! From creation and the fall all the way through the Babylonian exile, God’s promises stand firm. This unit, kids will continue with the story of the returning exiles, now known as Jews—people from the kingdom of Judah. Two or three million Jews had originally been deported, but only a remnant—50,000 people—returned after King Cyrus gave them permission to go home. Nehemiah’s story takes place after Ezra led a second group of exiles back to Judah. Nehemiah was a Jew living in Persia. He served as the king’s cupbearer, a position of great trust.
Nehemiah received word about God’s people who had returned to Judah. They were in trouble and living in shame; the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and the city gates were burned. They lived in fear, unprotected from their enemies. Nehemiah sat down and wept. Nehemiah fasted and prayed for days. He remembered God’s promise to His people. Their disobedience led to exile, but if they turned back to the Lord, God promised to restore their fortunes and give His people a home. (See Deut. 30:1-10.)
The king noticed Nehemiah’s sadness, and Nehemiah was afraid. After saying a quick prayer, Nehemiah explained the plight of his city. The king granted him permission to return to Jerusalem. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, he encouraged the people to rebuild the walls and stood confidently against opposition. Nehemiah trusted that God would keep His promise to protect His people and give them a home. When we trust in Jesus, we have a home in heaven with God. Jesus obeyed God perfectly. He died on the cross and rose again so we can have a home with Him forever in heaven.
Family Activity: Invite family members to point out things that make your home a safe place to live. Consider locks on doors or windows, smoke alarms, rails on stairs or porches, and so forth. Talk about how God promised to keep His people safe.
Go further: Build a Rube Goldberg machine to do some small task. Talk to your kids about ways we make things harder instead of seeking wisdom from God.