Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Trusting God’s Provision - Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

Theme: Trusting in God
Today’s Lesson: Trusting God’s Provision
Scripture Reference: Nehemiah 1-2   
Memory Verse: Nehemiah 2:20
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objective:
Children will learn about God’s call to a man named Nehemiah to lead a group of people back to Jerusalem so they could rebuild the walls around Jerusalem which had been destroyed for many years.


Say
Today and during the month of March, we will study the theme: Trusting in God. We will study various people and stories from the Old Testament that teach us how we can always trust God to do what he says. Today’s story is about God calling a man name Nehemiah. Nehemiah served a king in a foreign land where his people had been captives. God wanted him to lead a group of people back to the Promised Land and lead them to rebuild the walls around the city of Jerusalem. Like Nehemiah, it’s important that we follow God’s plan for our lives, believing that when we do he will provide for everything we need to do what he asks of us.


Say:
(Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. The God of heaven will help us succeed. Nehemiah 2:20 NLT


Icebreaker Questions:
What are some ways your parents and maybe grandparents provide for you?

What are some ways God provides for you? Why do you think he does?

Do you every worry about what would happen if your parents could no longer provide for you?

Bible Story Time:

Reflection: How important is it that we believe God will provide for us?

God’s people were experiencing a hard time. For 70 years, they had been slaves to their enemies, the Babylonians. When another group of people, the Persians, defeated the Babylonians in war, the new king, Cyrus, decided he’d let the people return to their homeland if they wanted. A man named Zerubbabel had led one group back. Some years later, a man named Ezra led another group back. Then a few years later, Nehemiah led another group back.

Although those who had returned earlier had rebuilt God’s temple in Jerusalem, the walls around the city were still broken down. Walls were very important in this time. If a city didn’t have walls around it, it could be defeated by its enemies. Walls also kept out wild animals that might try to harm the people.

Reflection: How would you feel if you were living out in the woods in a shelter that only had a roof and three sides? Would you be afraid?

One day, some people from Nehemiah’s hometown of Judah came with the disturbing news that the walls around Jerusalem still hadn’t been rebuilt. Without walls, the city was vulnerable to enemies and wild animals. The walls needed to be rebuilt. When Nehemiah heard the disturbing news, he cried and mourned for days and days. Then Nehemiah prayed about what he should do.

Reflection: When we are following God’s plan, how important do you think prayer is? What else can we do besides pray?

Nehemiah served wine and other drinks to the king. His job was to taste it first to make sure it didn’t have anything in it that would harm the king. One day while he was serving the king his wine, the king noticed how sad Nehemiah looked. He asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah told him about the report he had received from some of his friends from Judah. The king liked Nehemiah and wanted to know how he could help. Nehemiah asked the king to let him return to his homeland and rebuild the walls. After asking how long he’d be gone, the king gave him permission to go.

Nehemiah knew that if he was going to arrive safely and have the materials he needed to rebuild the walls, he would need the king’s help. He asked the king to give him letters which would tell the rulers of some of the territories he’d have to pass through to let him do so without harming him. The king granted him the letters. The king also sent along army officers and horsemen to protect Nehemiah. Additionally, the king instructed the manager of the king’s forests to give Nehemiah the timber he would need to construct the beams for the gates, walls, and for a house for himself.

Reflection: Why do you think the king was willing to help Nehemiah? Does God use other people to help us?

Not everyone was happy when Nehemiah returned and started rebuilding the walls. Some of Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop him, but Nehemiah trusted God, and God helped him and the people to finish the wall and gates in 52 days.

Jesus tells us that we don’t have to worry about what we’ll eat, drink, wear, or where we’ll live if we are his children. When we love and serve God, he’ll provide for our needs. So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

Reflection: What are some ways God might provide for us when we are obeying him?

Activity Time:
Purchase inexpensive small can or cups of fruit or pudding. Remove or cover the labels, but make sure the children cannot see what the contents are.

Ask: Do you trust me to give you something you like that won’t harm you?

Blindfold the children. Using a different spoon for each child, have them open their mouths while you feed them a bite of the contents.

Ask: Did I give you something that was good and that wouldn’t harm you? Why did you trust me?

Explain to the children that God will do the same for us when we do what he asks of us.

Transition:
God provided for Nehemiah when he obeyed what God told him to do. He’ll do the same for you.

Song:  

My God is So Big

Activity Time:

Let children color the picture of Nehemiah and the King and complete the Nehemiah Story and Crossword page.

Wrap Up:

Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Nehemiah.    

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