I am adding another lesson to the series on Ezra and Nehemiah due to their great importance and relevance as we seek to serve God in these perilous times. We had left Nehemiah with the succesful rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Oct. 20, 2011 blog “Nehemiah Restores Hope”) In chapter 8 of Nehemiah we read that the people “gathered as one man” to ask Ezra to bring the book of the law so he could read it to them…”and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.” Ezra stood on a wooden podium, and beside him are listed 13 men, who along with the Levites, explained the law to the people who stood in reverence when Ezra opened the book, but who bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground as Ezra blessed “the LORD the great God.” Verse 12 tells us that the people went away to celebrate a great festival because they understood the words which had been made known to them, then proceeded to make booths to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. This making of booths had not been practiced since Joshua’s time so there was great rejoicing. The sons of Israel continued to assemble with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt on them… confessing their sins and worshipping God. This revival brought about great changes in their behavior. They separated themselves from the foreigners of the land, and swore to observe all of the commandments. (Chapters 9-13)
Note the reverence and great honor shown the word of God by the people. We read in Psalms 119: 30 that the entrance of His Word gives light and understanding to the simple. Jesus states that none of His Words will pass away (Matthew 24:34) and “…assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:18) Notice the special regard the LORD bestows on the person who “trembles at His Word” in Isaiah 66:2… “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! ‘I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My word’.”This lesson should be especially encouraging to you teachers as we model the Levites in this story and are seeking to make the words of God understandable to children.
Print worksheet on card-stock. Cut the portion containing the scroll, which leaves a space to write the memory verse. Have the kids write their memory verse first thing , then they can color the page and prepare the scrolls. Cut carefully around scroll. For younger kids, you will want to pre-cut the scrolls. You will need 2 toothpicks for each scroll. Before class, measure and cut the ends off the toothpicks. The kids can color them with brown markers and glue one to each end of the scroll….centering them. Roll up each end of the scroll tightly, meeting in the middle (see sample). If you have printed the scrolls on card stock, they should keep their shape rather well. Glue or tape into Ezra’s hands.