Old Testament 2022
July 18–24. Ezra 1; 3–7; Nehemiah 2; 4–6; 8: “I Am Doing a Great Work”

“July 18–24. Ezra 1; 3–7; Nehemiah 2; 4–6; 8: ‘I Am Doing a Great Work’” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: Old Testament 2022 (2021)

“July 18–24. Ezra 1; 3–7; Nehemiah 2; 4–6; 8,” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: 2022

temple of Zerubbabel

Illustration of the temple of Zerubbabel, by Sam Lawlor

July 18–24

Ezra 1; 3–7; Nehemiah 2; 4–68

“I Am Doing a Great Work”

As you study, consider which of the messages in Ezra and Nehemiah are most needed by the children you teach. Create a teaching plan that includes impressions you receive from the Holy Ghost.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

Write on the board Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Draw or show some pictures that relate to these people, such as a temple, the scriptures, and the walls of Jerusalem. Help the children match the names with the pictures, and let them share what they know about what these people did.

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Teach the Doctrine: Younger Children

Ezra 3:8–13

The temple can bring me joy.

The account of Zerubbabel and the Jews rebuilding the temple can help the children you teach rejoice in the blessings that come because of the house of the Lord.

Possible Activities

  • Invite the children to talk about something that makes them happy. Show a picture of someone smiling in front of a temple (such as the picture in this outline), and ask the children why the person might be so happy. Testify that the temple is the Lord’s house, and tell about a time when you felt happy because of the temple.

  • Read to the children the last part of Ezra 3:12, explaining that when the Jews laid the foundation of the temple, “many shouted aloud for joy.” Invite the children to shout for joy. Help them think of reasons we can be joyful about the temple. For example, in the temple we make promises with God that allow our families to be together forever.

  • Sing with the children a song about the temple, such as “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95). After each line, pause to ask a child to share something he or she loves about the temple.

    family walking on temple grounds

    The temple can be a source of joy in our lives.

Nehemiah 2:17–20; 6:1–9

The Lord will help me do His work.

When Nehemiah was repairing the walls surrounding Jerusalem, his enemies tried to get him to stop, but he remained faithful to his task. What are some important things the Lord wants the children to do, and how can you inspire them to be faithful to that work?

Possible Activities

  • Share with the children the story of Nehemiah (see Nehemiah 2:17–20; 6:1–9; Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 59–62). Tell the children what Nehemiah said when people made fun of him for wanting to fix Jerusalem’s walls: “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build” (Nehemiah 2:20). Invite the children to stand up and pretend to help fix the walls of Jerusalem.

  • Bring some blocks to class, and let the children use them to help you build a wall (or draw a wall on the board). Help the children think of some important things Heavenly Father might ask them to do, like learning how to read the scriptures. With each idea they share, invite them to add a block to the wall. Explain that when Nehemiah was doing his important work of fixing Jerusalem’s walls, people tried to stop him. Read Nehemiah 6:9, and invite the children to raise their hands when you read “strengthen my hands.” Tell the children about a time when you felt God strengthen your hands to do His work.

Nehemiah 8:1–12

The scriptures are a blessing.

You can use the story of Ezra reading the law to help the children think about how blessed we are to have the scriptures.

Possible Activities

  • Tell the children that Ezra read the scriptures to the people. Read aloud some phrases from Nehemiah 8:2–3, 5–6, 8–9, 12 that describe what the people did when they heard the scriptures, and invite the children to act out these phrases. Why are we grateful to have the scriptures?

  • Invite the children to color this week’s activity page. As they do, share with the children how reading the scriptures has brought you closer to the Savior.

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Teach the Doctrine: Older Children

Ezra 3:8–13; 6:16–22

The temple gives me reason to rejoice.

As you review with the children the account of Zerubbabel and the Jews rebuilding the temple, find ways to testify of the joy that comes to us because we have temples today.

Possible Activities

  • Invite the children to work together to find phrases in Ezra 3:10–13 that show how the Jews felt when the temple in Jerusalem was being rebuilt. How can we show our joy at having temples on the earth today? Help the children think of ways they can prepare to go to the temple.

  • Share with the children your feelings about the temple. How has the temple helped you feel closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior? Why do we celebrate when a temple is dedicated? Give the children time to write down how they feel about the temple, and encourage them to share what they wrote with their families.

Nehemiah 2; 46

The Lord will strengthen me to do “a great work.”

The Lord has an important work for the children you teach. What can they learn from Nehemiah about persevering in that work even when they face opposition?

Possible Activities

  • Review with the children the story about Nehemiah repairing the walls surrounding Jerusalem, including the opposition he faced. Read together Nehemiah 2:19, and ask the children to share situations in which someone might laugh at us for doing the right thing. According to Nehemiah 2:20, how did Nehemiah respond? How can we respond when people make fun of us or criticize us for doing the right thing?

  • Read together Nehemiah 6:1–9. How did Nehemiah’s enemies repeatedly try to get him to stop working on the wall, and how did he respond? What work does God want us to do? (see, for example, Mosiah 18:8–10). How can we follow Nehemiah’s example in verse 9 when it’s difficult to do what God has asked us to do?

Nehemiah 8:1–12

I am blessed when I study the scriptures.

The people in Jerusalem hadn’t heard the words of God in a long time before Ezra read them to the people. The story of Ezra reminds us of how important the scriptures should be to us.

Possible Activities

  • Invite the children to search Nehemiah 8:1–12 for words or phrases that show how the people felt about hearing the word of God. Ask the children to share how they feel when they read the scriptures, and share your feelings as well.

  • Invite a child to read Nehemiah 8:8, and ask the children what helps them understand the scriptures. Show them how to use scripture study aids such as the Guide to the Scriptures and Gospel Topics (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Invite the children to share something they have learned about the Savior from the scriptures.

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Encourage Learning at Home

Invite the children to choose something they learned today that they would like to share with their families.

Improving Our Teaching

Prepare spiritually. “Powerful gospel teaching means not just preparing a lesson but preparing ourselves. … Effective gospel teachers—before they think about filling class time—focus on filling their hearts with the Holy Ghost” (Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 12).