Jesse Tree (December 17)

December 16th


Old City Wall

Scripture Reading:

Nehemiah 1:1-11; 2:13-20; 6:15-16

Main Ideas:

After just a few kings, Israel divided into two kingdoms:  Israel and Judah.  Years went by with the Israelites not believing in God and not responding to the prophets God sent, until God handed over both kingdoms to foreign countries.  Israel was taken over by the Assyrians while Judah was taken into Exile by the Babylonians.  After 70 years in exile, God allowed the people to return to their own land.  Today we catch up with them as Nehemiah asks God permission and blessing to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah is a great example to us of one crying out to God for deliverance, and the Lord hearing the prayer and responding.  God was so good to the nation of Israel, to preserve them “against all odds” throughout the centuries!  Their very existence today testifies of Someone bigger than them orchestrating their survival!

After the rebuilding of the wall you’ll read about in today’s history lesson, the Israelites lived in their own land but for 400 years with no prophets sent to them from God.  During this time the people began to be known as the Jews (derived from the word Judah).  The Jews continued to worship God, though only a minority truly believed in the idea they were sinners who needed to look for the promised Savior.  The Jews were ruled by the Greeks and then the Romans.  We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about what God had to say to them (and us) after a long period of silence!

For Discussion:

  1. The people of the southern kingdom of Judah were in exile in Babylon for 70 years. What happened after the 70 years? (God opened the way for them to return to their country.)
  2. What does this tell you about the character of God? (This shows us that God is merciful, gracious and patient. He is a God of love and forgiveness.)
  3. What kind of things do you notice about Nehemiah’s prayer in verses 4 through 11?  How does he pray?  Why?  For what?
  4. Why do you think the enemies of the surrounding nations were afraid because the Israelites re-built the wall? (The entire wall was built uber-quickly — the Jews must have had supernatural assistance!)

For more information on the tradition of using a Jesse Tree for Advent, please visit this Squidoo page!

For yesterday’s reading, click here.

To proceed to December 18th, click here.

For access to all the Jesse Tree readings, click here.

Main Resources used for this Jesse Tree Study:

* Christianity is Jewish

* The Story of God and Man a booklet that goes through “narrations” of scripture, starting at the beginning, and brings you through a biblical worldview while building up the story of our Savior.  Email me at for details about getting a copy.


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