The Point: Doing God’s work brings out detractors and opposition.
Get Into the Study
Use this story to introduce Question 1.
When the world found out that twelve boys and their soccer coach had disappeared in a cave in Thailand, many hoped for the best while also fearing the worse. As the days went on, the possibility of finding the boys alive seemed to dwindle. However, on July 2nd, nine days after the boys had gone missing, divers located all twelve boys and their coach alive deep in the cave. It was a joyous discovery, but the joy was tempered by realization of the dangers involved in extracting the boys safely from the cave. The world watched and waited for news, hoping that the boys’ perseverance, and the perseverance of the rescuers would pay off. Thankfully, all twelve boys and their coach were rescued in the days that followed.
Ask Question 1: What stories of perseverance have inspired you?
While the boys were not experiencing persecution, they were persevering. In this session, we will learn how Nehemiah persevered even in the face of persecution.
Get Into the Study (Option)
After discussing Question #1, show this video about Nick Vujicic:
Lead a discussion about what it would take for someone like Nick to overcome living without limbs. Ask: What opposition from others to you think Nick has had to overcome? (This optional activity is from the KJV Adult Leader Guide, p. 122.)
Study the Bible
Use this story to supplement your discussion of perseverance while doing God’s work, and the need to focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t.
On July 10th, nineteen-year-old Blake Spataro was pulled out into the Atlantic Ocean, caught in a rip current while vacationing at St. Simon Island, Georgia. Spataro spent ten hours alone in the ocean before finally making his way back to land. Spataro described his time at sea, saying he would float on his back when he got tired, and continued to pray throughout the ordeal, “I didn’t want to die out there. I was talking to God the entire night.” As anyone who has been in the ocean knows, we cannot control the tides and the waves. Spataro had no control over the water or the weather, but he stayed focused on controlling what he could, by praying, swimming, floating, and eventually making his way back to shore.
Similarly, Nehemiah could not control the actions of those that opposed him. Like the wind, weather, and waves, the opposition was out of his and the people’s hands. They focused on what they could control; they worked harder and kept praying, persisting in the work God had placed before them.
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
- What has taught you the most about perseverance in life?
- What’s one thing it’s easy for you to be persistent about?
- What something difficult for you to be persistent about?
- What options do we have when we face ridicule and opposition?
- What characteristics or promises of God help us to persist?
- Why does involvement in God’s work sometimes incite opposition?
- As believers, what are some appropriate responses to negative messages from culture?
- What do we learn from this passage about the relationship between prayer and action?
- How would you summarize the response of Nehemiah and his workers?
- How do we maintain our focus on God’s work in the face of opposition?
- What steps can you take this week to renew your commitment to a God-given task?
- How has “remembering the Lord” helped you in a challenging situation?
- T what work does our group need to renew our commitment?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: Nehemiah, Session 3 Video
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – Steadfast Love