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The cupbearer with a heavy heart

Nehemiah learns the walls of Jerusalem remain in ruins.
1
When the people of Israel turned away from the living God to worship idols, they were taken captive by the Babylonians. However, far away from their native land the hearts of many were changed and they asked God to forgive them. The Babylonians were then defeated by the Persians and the King of Persia gave an order allowing the Jews to return home and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. One of the men born in Persia was called Nehemiah. He worked in the city of Shushan in the palace of the King of Persia. – Slide 1
2
Nehemiah was cupbearer to the King. He would taste the King's food and drink before it was served to him to protect the King from being poisoned. This means the King must have trusted Nehemiah a lot. – Slide 2
3
One Winter's day Nehemiah's bother, Hanani and some other Jewish friends came back to Shushan after visiting Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked them what was happening in Jerusalem. They replied, ‘Those who have gone back are in great trouble and disgrace. The walls of Jerusalem are broken down and its gates have been burnt with fire.’ <br/>Nehemiah was very sad that after all these years the people living in Jerusalem still had no protection from their enemies. – Slide 3
4
Nehemiah was so upset that he sat down and wept. He went without food and prayed. After praising God, he confessed his sins and those of his people. Only then did he ask God for help. He knew that God had promised that if His people turned back to Him and obeyed His commands, He would bring them back to their land and look after them. So, Nehemiah asked God to give him an opportunity to speak with the King of Persia about the situation. – Slide 4
5
Nehemiah kept praying for four months. Then one day, in the month of April, he was serving the king and feeling very sad. <br/>King Artaxerxes asked, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill?’ <br/>Nehemiah was frightened because he knew the King had already given a command to stop all work on rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. <br/>However, he replied, ‘Why should I not be sad when my home city is in ruins and its gates burnt down?' God was answering Nehemiah's prayer and when the King asked what he wanted, he replied, ‘If it pleases the King, let him send me to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls.'  <br/>The King asked Nehemiah how long he would need to do this building work and then gave him permission to go. – Slide 5
6
Nehemiah knew he would need letters from the King giving him permission to rebuild the walls and strong timber for the gates. The King prepared letters for the governors of all the provinces Nehemiah would need to pass through and orders for the man in charge of the King's forest to provide him with wood. The Lord had worked in the King's heart and Nehemiah could say, ‘The King granted me my request because the good hand of the Lord was upon me.’ God had answered Nehemiah’s prayer. – Slide 6
7
A free download of the lesson manual that goes with these visuals, complete with teaching ideas, etc., is available from https://www.teachkids.eu/. – Slide 7