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How to Build a Wall in 52 Days

A Skit from the Book of Nehemiah

Characters

  • Narrator
  • Nehemiah
  • Two or more Builders
  • Three enemies: Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem
  • Messenger

Suggested Props

  • Short wall made of cardboard building bricks/blocks or boxes, with enough additional blocks to complete the wall to the desired height
  • Cardboard cutout swords
  • Cardboard cutout trowels and other building tools
  • Trumpet
  • A “letter”

[Variation: Make stick puppets to depict the characters, and make a wall out of plastic interlocking building blocks. For younger children, the teacher may read all the parts while the children display the appropriate puppets as they appear in the skit.]

Narrator: Nehemiah was a servant of the king of Persia. He was a Jew and a follower of God.

One day visitors from Jerusalem told Nehemiah that their city was in ruins. Jerusalem was an important city to the Jews. Nehemiah knew that enemies would not respect the Jews or their God if the city was in terrible shape.

The king allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem, and he gave Nehemiah supplies for the trip. The people in Jerusalem were happy to see Nehemiah. They agreed to help him build a wall around the city. Walls were important in those days because they kept out enemies and thieves.

Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem were three of the Jews’ enemies.

(Nehemiah and the Builders are standing by a short wall that is in disarray. The three enemies are off to the side, watching.)

Nehemiah: Let’s build our wall!

Builders: Yes, we want to help!

(Nehemiah and the Builders begin to straighten and add to the wall.)

Sanballat: You Jews are weak builders. If even a fox stood on your wall, it would fall down!

(Nehemiah and the Builders stop building briefly to pray.)

Nehemiah: (prays) Hear our prayer, O God. Our enemies hate us.

(Nehemiah and the Builders resume building the wall. Some pick up building tools.)

Tobiah: (to the other enemies) Let’s attack them!

Sanballat and Geshem: Good idea!

(The enemies pick up and prepare weapons.)

(As the narrator describes their silent actions, Nehemiah and the Builders pray, then pick up weapons in one hand while holding tools and working on the wall with their other hand. One Builder stands by Nehemiah with a trumpet. The enemies watch, then put down their weapons one by one as they see the Builders pick up theirs. Sanballat begins writing a letter.)

Narrator: Nehemiah and the Builders prayed, then they picked up weapons to hold while they worked. A trumpet player stood next to Nehemiah to call the workers together if they needed to fight the enemies.

(Messenger enters and approaches the enemies.)

Sanballat: (to Messenger) Take this letter to Nehemiah.

(Messenger takes the letter to Nehemiah.)

Messenger: (reads letter aloud to Nehemiah) Sanballat says, “Come to a meeting. We want to talk to you about your wall.”

Nehemiah: Please tell him that I am doing a great work and cannot come.

(Nehemiah returns to building and Messenger returns to the enemies and whispers to Sanballat.)

Sanballat: (to the enemies) Let’s think of some ways to frighten them! They will be too weak to work if they are scared!

(Nehemiah and the Builders stop to pray.)

Nehemiah: God, help us be strong.

Narrator: The people did not let fear, mocking, bullying, threats, or distractions stop them from doing the right thing. They worked so hard that they finished the wall in 52 days — a very short time to build a city wall.  Everyone knew that the wall could not have been built unless God was helping the builders. The wall was a testimony to God’s faithfulness to His people.

For Discussion

  • What were some of the ways Nehemiah’s enemies tried to stop him from building the wall around Jerusalem?
  • Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) says, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” What does it mean to “persevere?” How did Nehemiah and the Builders persevere?
  • What are some of the ways people try to stop Christians today from doing what is right?
  • How did people try to stop Jesus from doing the will of God?

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