Nehemiah is one of those short Bible Books that fall into the history books of the Bible. You can find it just before Esther. If you want your kids to get into reading the Bible because it is such a good book, not just because it they have to for an assignment or in church on a Sunday Morning then this is a very good place to start.
This book has got drama and misery, conspiracy by very troublesome troublemakers and triumph for the underdogs! Read it – it’s quick! If you read it in a absent minded sort of way you won’t be too excited, but just add some expression! Add images to the situation and suddenly this book is an epic if we would just notice it!!!
Nehemiah has a problem: He is deeply concerned that the walls of Jerusalem are in ruin and that to outsiders a ruined city would represent a ruined God. He is distraught about it. He doesn’t fall apart and try and resolve it himself. He doesn’t plan long leave and he doesn’t try and raise support… He prays about it in a desperate prayer – and this is all in the first chapter! We shouldn’t be surprised that he is blessed beyond belief through the King of Persia, Artexerxes.
Nehemiah must have thought he had “arrived” with all the support of this important leader backing him on his way… What he wasn’t counting on was the terribly troublesome troublemakers. Really they were typical: they tried name calling and mocking; they tried telling tales, even if the tales were lies; they tried plots on Nehemiah’s life; they tried violence but whatever they did – Nehemiah continued to pray and the wall just kept on going up and up…
The success of the wall could only be attributed to God, and the troublemakers were afraid, not to mention totally humiliated when it was complete. Keep on reading!!! It is only thirteen chapters long and frankly one amazing twist and turn follows another.
This is the book I read out loud to my kids when they get to the age of being able to read their Bibles for themselves… I also leave them hanging and they are so desperate to get to the end they just dive in and on…
So we had a rainy Sunday afternoon and we needed something to do: We played a game of dash representing the rebuilding of the wall as we traveled from gate to gate…
We started at the Old Gate and made our way round to the Fish Gate, completing a task at each gate … and all the while every time the horn blew they had to rush to the kitchen and build a block wall until the horn blew again and then on with the hunt…
- Old Gate: They had to figure out how to show me how old they were without using words or fingers and toes! They used their bodies to shape the numbers.
- Valley Gate: Learnt a Key Verse… “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.” Nehemiah 4:6
- Dung Gate: Make a loo roll mummy with a willing player.
- Fountain Gate: Fill up a jug with water droppers.
- Water Gate: See who can balance a cup of water on their heads – you might want them to stand in the shower for this one!
- The Horse Gate: Piggy back (horse riding – of course!) on to the next gate.
- The Sheep Gate: Those who can must knit a row.
- The Fish Gate: Tell me the verse that you learnt at The Valley Gate.
And then find the fish.
That’s it – a bit of energy spent on a rainy afternoon… Go on go and read Nehemiah!