Hey BridgeKids Families!
This week and the next two weeks, we are studying the story of Nehemiah and Ezra. Nehemiah was a Jew living in Persia. He served as the king’s cupbearer, a position of great trust; the cupbearer made sure no one poisoned the king’s drink. Sometimes the cupbearer even tasted some of the drink himself to ensure it was safe.
When the Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, King Cyrus allowed God’s people to return to Judah. Two or three million Jews had originally been deported, but only a remnant—50,000 people—returned. They set up their homes and rebuilt God’s temple in Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s story takes place after Ezra led a second group of exiles back to Judah.
Open your Bibles to Nehemiah 1-2. If you have younger kids you can use a story Bible to read it with them. Here you will read about when 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, their obedience would lead to blessing. 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. No one was supposed to be sad in the presence of the king; it was an insult to his greatness. Nehemiah explained the plight of his city. The king granted him leave and gave him letters to ensure his safe passage. 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 believe God will keep His promise to give us—His people—a home. Jesus obeyed God perfectly. He died on the cross and rose again so we can have a home with Him forever.
Help your kids understand that when we repent and trust in Jesus, we can trust His promise to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house, where we will be with Him forever. (See John 14:3.)
Ask the questions:
- What was Nehemiah’s job? (cupbearer for the king, Neh. 1:11)
- What news did Nehemiah hear? (Jerusalem’s walls and gates were destroyed, Neh. 1:3)
- How did Nehemiah react to this news at first (Nehemiah prayed that God would help His people rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, Neh. 1:4)
- What did the king notice about Nehemiah (Nehemiah was sad, Neh. 2:2)
- What did Nehemiah ask the king? (for permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, Neh. 2:5)
- What did the king provide for Nehemiah to help him with the building? (letters that said Nehemiah could travel safely to Jerusalem and take wood from the king’s forest, Neh. 2:7-8)
- What did Nehemiah do when he arrived in Jerusalem? (Nehemiah inspected the walls and told the other Jews that they would rebuild the wall, Neh. 2:17-18)
- Does God keep His promises? Yes, God is always faithful, even when we are not.
- Penny Wars!: Every week in BridgeKids we take an offering to teach the kids how to give back to God. Right now we are raising money for Lakeshore Lifeworks Ministry. They provide transitional housing and loving relationships for vulnerable youth ages 18-21. They believe that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the solid foundation on which to build up our youth along with many important life skills. They utilize and combine the resources of the CHURCH, STATE and COMMUNITY to reach vulnerable youth and show them the love of Christ so they can reach their full potential. This helps the youth through the hard transition into adulthood. They currently work with mostly boys, but are starting a girls house as well.
- BridgeKids Summer Nights – Join BridgeKids every Tuesday this summer from 6-7:30 for BridgeKids Summer Nights! This week we are at the church for Science Night. We will do fun experiments and connect them to Jesus. This is a night you do not want to miss.
- Summer Nights June 26 – For our Summer Nights on June 26 we are going to the Circus! The CircusSaurus is coming to the Michigan Flywheelers with 2 shows at 4:30 and 7:30. A generous donor has given BridgeKids tickets for this event. If you would like a ticket, see Mr. David on Sunday or Tuesday.