Play a fun, simple “rubble” icebreaker, i.e. Search through the rubble to find the treasure.
e.g. Sieve through flour to find hidden coins; or go through lots of cards to find the “joker” etc. Encourage teamwork, strategy, leadership qualities that emerge from this exercise.
Show photos of Jerusalem’s wall; get kids to build the wall using blocks.
Show photo of the Petronas Twin Towers. Discuss with kids how difficult it is to build a mega project without the technology and skills we have today, and how Nehemiah could not have rebuilt the wall so quickly without God’s divine help. Show photo of rubble: Get kids to imagine how difficult it would be to transform that into the finished wall.
Because of God’s favour on Nehemiah, he had the permission, blessings and provisions of King Artaxerxes to undertake a mega building project — the walls of Jerusalem.
So Nehemiah set off to Jerusalem. But he didn’t make a grand entrance and announce to everyone his grand plans.
In fact, he stayed in Jerusalem for 3 days without doing anything about the wall. Probably he was checking out the situation on the ground for himself. “I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem,” he said. That’s probably wise — wait and see first instead of opening his mouth early on and risk other people sabotaging his plans or finding ways to discourage him.
Then after 3 days, late at night, he went out with a few others to the wall area. Only he rode a horse, while the rest walked. I guess they wanted to remain inconspicuous and not attract too much attention.
Nehemiah went to check out the Valley Gate to the Dung Gate and until the Fountain Gate. He saw the broken down walls and the gates that had been destroyed by fire.
Finally he reentered the city via the Valley Gate.
The officials, at that time, did not know where what he was doing because he had not yet said anything to anyone else about the work. But after examining the walls, Nehemiah told them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”
He also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
The officials agreed. “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.
But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab (you’ll hear these names often in the coming weeks) heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed Nehemiah. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”
Nehemiah answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”
3. LESSON: Response to the Rubble
The task was gigantic. The problem was huge. But when Nehemiah looked at the broken walls and burnt gates, he didn’t see them as a “huge problem” or “impossible task”. In fact, he saw it as a “good work” and knew that “God will give us success”.
If you are looking at a huge mess in life — maybe it’s your bedroom or your school work or your family issues, you’d be tempted to think it is impossible to fix.
But Jesus said, “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
So don’t focus on the problem. Focus on Jesus.
When you focus on the problem, the problem gets bigger. When you focus on Jesus, Jesus gets bigger!
When we look at the rubble, we don’t have to fight and struggle in our own strength. We can rest in Jesus and totally depend on Him to help us out.
Whatever the problem, however bad the situation may be, we know Jesus will help us. He is our wall builder — he rebuilds the broken walls and clears the rubble for us! Hallelujah!
4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:
Brick-related craft/activity: “The God of heaven will give us success.” Nehemiah 2:20