But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Key Verse Thought: Read the Key Verse. The first half of the verse is helping us understand that only one who has asked Jesus into their heart and life can live a life pleasing to God, and that is only because of grace. Grace means“the favor and good will of God undeservedly given to people; the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to a holy God.” Moreover, because it is an undeserved forgiveness of sin, Christians are to work harder than anyone else to please God, obeying His commands. We must remember that we cannot do it by ourselves. We can only do it with the help of God.
Emphasis: We are to be strong as Nehemiah. He not only lived a life pleasing to God, but he led others to do the same. Christians are to recognize that we have God’s Spirit to help us and we are to be faithful to remove sin when we see it in our lives.
Lesson Summary: In our last lesson, we learned how Nehemiah helped rebuild the city walls of Jerusalem, reinforcing the city. Not only that, but we learned of the many times the enemy’s plans were thwarted, and God’s people were able to complete the walls in fifty-two days.
Now that the city was reinforced and protected, it was time to organize the people. Nehemiah appointed jobs to people and selected men to be rulers in the city. The people gathered together and asked Ezra to read the book of the Law to them. After hearing God’s Words, the people began to live according to God’s Word. They celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. This was followed with a time of prayer. After acknowledging their sin, they made a covenant with God to obey His commands.
The people drew lots to find out who would live inside of the city of Jerusalem, and who would live in the cities around. Then there was a dedication of the completed walls.
Nehemiah returned to Shushan to serve the king again – just as he had promised. After a time, he returned to Jerusalem. When he arrived, he saw much sin – beginning in the house of the Lord. Eliashib, the priest, was friends with Tobiah (their adversary) and had allowed him to move into the Temple. The Levites were working outside of the city instead of taking care of the house of the Lord. The people were working, buying, and selling on the Sabbath – breaking God’s commands. They had intermarried with the nations around, again; for the high priest’s own grandson had married the daughter of Sanballat, the enemy of God’s people. Nehemiah removed and corrected the sins of the people. He prayed for God’s people.
If you are teaching this to children, the following is a craft idea to help them remember this lesson: