1. HOOK: Rock, Paper, Scissors
- Any game that involves a bit of trickery — try to trick your opponent — such as rock, paper, scissors
- Get 2 kids to go up in front to play, or pair kids up to play against each other
2. STORY: Trickery & Treachery (Neh 6)
- We’re following the adventures of Nehemiah as he and the people of Israel work together to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem
- Two weeks ago, we learned how Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop the building of the wall. The builders armed themselves and were reminded that God was always with them (If God is for us, who can be against us?)
- But when the enemies — Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem and the others — heard that Nehemiah had built up the walls of Jerusalem (but haven’t fixed the doors yet), they tried again to hinder its completion through various means.
- The Enemies’ Attacks:
(if saying the names — Sanballat, Geshem etc — is too distracting for teacher/students, just use “the enemies”)
- i. Distract:
- The enemies (Sanballat and Geshem) asked Nehemiah to meet them at the villages in the plain of Ono
- Ono: 1 day’s journey northwest of Jerusalem (enemies’ territory)
- This would distract Nehemiah from what He should be doing (the rebuilding) and waste time (at least 2 days for travelling to and fro)
- Nehemiah knew they were trying to harm him.
- So he sent this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”
- They sent him the same message 4 times; each time he gave the same reply
- Nehemiah was not distracted from the great work that God called him to do.
- ii. Lie:
- The enemies (Sanballat) tried another method — to spread lies about Nehemiah (give him a bad name/reputation; say bad things about him)
- Sanballat sent an open letter, claiming that Nehemiah wanted to become king of Judah and rebel against the Persian king (Nehemiah’s boss). Sanballat threatened to tell the Persian king about it and told Nehemiah, “You better meet up with us now to discuss this matter!”
- Sanballat tried to put fear into Nehemiah — if the Persian king believed Sanballat, Nehemiah could be put to death for treason/going against the king
Neh 6:9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
- Nehemiah replied, “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.”
- He also prayed and asked God, “Now strengthen my hands.” He may have been afraid, but instead of dwelling on the threats, Nehemiah decided to depend on God’s strength and boldness.
- Nehemiah knew that FAITH in God could overcome FEAR
- iii. Betray:
- Then Sanballat got a “prophet” called Shemaiah to try to trick Nehemiah — Shemaiah told Nehemiah: “Someone is trying to kill you. Quick … go hide in the temple!”
- It was a trick to get Nehemiah to the temple, where his enemies would kill him.
- But Nehemiah realized that Shemaiah was a false prophet — not sent by God — who was hired by Tobiah and Sanballat to trick him. So he did not go to the temple. “Should a man like me run away? Or should someone like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!”
- Nehemiah was a wise man — he was able to judge a situation and know if something was not right.
- So despite all the enemies’ efforts, the wall of Jerusalem was completed in a record 52 days!
- When all the enemies heard about it, and all the nations around saw these things, they knew that this work was done by God (Neh 6:15).
- “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)
- Like Nehemiah, Jesus faced much opposition when He was on earth.
- The religious leaders were always trying to trip Him up by asking all sorts of trick questions (e.g. Should we pay taxes? Who is my neighbor?)
- Jesus was also wrongly accused many times for going against God and the Roman Emperor
- Jesus was also betrayed by His own disciple, Judas
- But like Nehemiah, Jesus remained firm and focused on what God called Him to do.
- He always knew that His Father hears His prayers and will deliver Him.
- The completed wall was a picture of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
- The devil is our enemy. He comes to steal, kill and destroy. But he is a toothless lion — he has no real power.
- He can only make us fearful, afraid, scared … just like Sanballat and friends tried to make Nehemiah fearful.
- What can we do when we are afraid?
- Remember God and His love for us
Perfect love cast out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
- Pray and remember Jesus’ finished work on the cross
- Know that with God, all things are possible.
- Remember God and His love for us
4. ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS:
- Memory Verse activity/game
- Matt 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
- Close in Prayer