April 14, 2019 – Nehemiah 6 – 7
Lesson Date: April 14, 2019 – Lesson two of a two-part unit on overcoming opposition
Focal Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 6:1-16; 7:1-4
AIM: To lead students to discover the ways Nehemiah led the Jews to overcome opposition and accomplish the task God had given them to do, and to apply those same strategies when they face opposition in their own lives.
Before class: Read the notes on Nehemiah 6 – 7 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Students should have placed their “Overcoming Opposition” worksheets (from last week in their Bibles, so they should have them with them for completion in this lesson. Have a few more copies on hand for those who may have been absent last week or who may not bring theirs back to class. Have some pens or pencils on hand for anyone who might need one. The real value of the worksheet is for the students to take it home so they can refer to it whenever opposition comes their way. Write the word “Distraction” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the word “Distraction” written on the board and ask them if they have ever seen an illusionist (a performer who might call himself a “magician”) perform tricks. The performer actually has no magical powers, but is skilled in distracting the audience’ attention so he can seem to make objects appear out of thin air.
Tell the class distraction can be a useful tactic in other areas of life. For example, in the weeks leading up to the D-Day invasion in World War II, the allies put on quite a show of assembling a phantom army preparing to invade in a different location. The Germans were distracted by this tactic and the real invasion was a success. Ask: “What are some ways distraction can be useful in sports?” (a player or team may fake in one direction while actually sending the play in another).
Tell the class distraction can also be used to oppose a person or a project. Last week we learned that Nehemiah continued doing God’s will despite tremendous opposition. By studying the ways he overcame opposition, we can learn how to handle opposition in our lives. Ask everyone to pull out the “Overcoming Opposition” worksheet we started filling out last week. Give a copy to those who do not have one. Offer a pen or pencil to any students who might need one.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.
- Remind them that Nehemiah was leading the Jews who had returned from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the city walls of Jerusalem.
- Briefly review last week’s lesson by going over the first four types of opposition Nehemiah overcame. This will remind the students what they learned last week, as well as give those who were absent last week an opportunity to fill in the first four lines of the worksheet (see the completed sample worksheet at the end of this lesson plan).
- Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Neh. 4:6).
- Opposition by Distraction.
- Read Nehemiah 6:1-4.
- Remind the class that Sanballat and the others named in these verses were enemies of the Jews, who did not want them to succeed in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
- Ask: “How did they try to delay Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls?” (by distraction – drawing him away from the work into a pointless meeting).
- Ask: “Has anyone ever tried to distract you from serving God?” (perhaps through involvement in unimportant tasks).
- Ask the class how Nehemiah overcame this opposition by distraction (he was single-minded in his devotion to his task; he told Sanballat and Geshem, “I’m doing a great work for God and can’t waste time on you”).
- Ask: “How many times did these enemies try to distract Nehemiah and draw him away from the work?” (four times).
- Lead the class to fill in the fifth line of their worksheets.
- Summarize: When faced with meaningless distractions, Nehemiah clung to a single-minded devotion to his task.
- Opposition by False Accusations.
- Read Nehemiah 6:5-7.
- Ask: “What did Israel’s enemies do next?” (they made false accusations against the Jews and against Nehemiah).
- Ask: “Have you ever been falsely accused when you were trying to do God’s will? If so, how did it make you feel?” (allow time for some responses).
- Ask a volunteer to read Nehemiah 6:8-9.
- Ask: “How did Nehemiah reply to these false accusations?” (he exposed them as lies).
- Tell the class that Nehemiah recognized that their enemies were doing these things to try to stop them from finishing the walls. Nehemiah prayed to the Lord.
- Ask: “What did Nehemiah ask God?” (to strengthen his hands).
- Lead the class to fill in the sixth line of their worksheets.
- Summarize: In the face of false accusations, Nehemiah exposed the lies and prayed to God for strength.
- Opposition by False Prophecies (Bad Advice).
- Read Nehemiah 6:10.
- Explain the following:
- Nehemiah was not a priest, so it would be a violation of Jewish Law for him to go inside the Temple.
- Shemaiah tried to frighten Nehemiah into breaking the Law.
- This was opposition through false prophecies (bad advice).
- Tell the class the great degree of biblical illiteracy in our nation today makes it easy for people to be deceived by false prophecies and unscriptural advice.
- Because of this, we must be very careful whom we listen to and seek advice from.
- Ask a volunteer to read Nehemiah 6:11-14.
- Ask: “According to verse 12, what did Nehemiah realize about the advice (prophecy) from this man?” (it was not from God).
- Ask: “How did Nehemiah respond to false prophecy?” (with discernment and prayer).
- Tell the class he also asked God to give their enemies what they deserved for their evil.
- Lead the students to fill in the last line of their worksheets.
- Summarize: When faced with false prophecy (bad advice), Nehemiah recognized that it was not from God so he went to God in prayer.
- The Wall was Completed.
- Ask a volunteer to read Nehemiah 6:15-16.
- Tell the students the wall surrounding Jerusalem was completed in September of 445 c.
- Ask: “How long did it take to finish the wall?” (52 days).
- Ask: “How did the enemies of the Jews feel about this?” (they were disheartened).
- Ask: “What did they recognize when the Jews finished the walls in such a short time, in spite of continued opposition?” (it was the work of God).
- Read Nehemiah 7:1-4.
- Tell the class when the walls were finished Nehemiah put faithful men in charge of Jerusalem and gave them instructions about keeping the city secure.
- Note from verse 4 that the city was large and great, but few people lived there because the houses had not yet been rebuilt.
- Summarize: In spite of the opposition from their enemies, the Jews completed the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, causing their enemies to be disheartened.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Briefly review the lesson by reading the things written on the last three lines of the worksheets.
Tell the students that false accusations are pretty obvious, but distractions and false prophecies (bad advice) can be much more deceptive. To avoid falling to these types of opposition we must be single-minded in our focus on the tasks God has given us and spend time with Him in prayer and Bible reading. This will give us the strength we need to carry on and the discernment we need to avoid the devil’s tricks.
Ask: “Are you facing any of these forms of opposition? Do you know a fellow Christian enduring such opposition?”
Encourage everyone to stand against opposition the way Nehemiah did: through single-mindedness, exposing lies, asking God for strength, discernment, and prayer. Tell them to keep their worksheet in their Bible so they can refer to it when opposition arises. Lead a closing prayer of commitment to apply these strategies to any opposition they might face this week.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Nehemiah 6:3. Tell them to put their completed worksheet in their Bible so it will be handy when opposition comes their way. Encourage them to prepare themselves for any opposition the devil may throw at them.
Nehemiah 4 – 7
|2.||4:7-9||Direct Attack||Enemies||Prayer & Watchfulness|
|3.||4:10-15||Discouragement & Fear||Within||Remember the Lord & Be more Vigilant|
|4.||5:1-15||Selfishness & Greed||Within||Rebuke & Setting a Good Example|
|6.||6:5-9||False Accusations||Enemies||Expose the Lie & Ask for God’s Strength|
|7.||6:10-14||False Prophecies||Enemies||Discernment & Prayer|
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