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Come, Follow Me – Old Testament (July)

Welcome to July!
Links for other months: January, February, March, April, May, June, August

July, Week 1

Day 1

Primary
1. Read 1 Kings 17.
2. 1 Kings 17 records several examples of great faith. As a result of having great faith, Elijah was fed by ravens during a famine, a widow and her son had their food multiplied, and Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead. Elijah and the widow both had faith in Jesus Christ and received great blessings. How can we have faith in God and Jesus Christ, and show that we trust in them?
3. Watch the video about Elijah.
4. Listen to the song “I Know My Father Lives.”

Youth
1. Read 1 Kings 17.
2. The house of Israel was in disarray. The unity and prosperity achieved under David and Solomon were long past, and the nation’s covenant relationship with the Lord was, for many people, a distant memory. The Kingdom of Israel had divided, with ten tribes forming the Northern Kingdom of Israel and two tribes forming the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Both kingdoms were unstable spiritually, led by kings who violated their covenants with the Lord and influenced others to do likewise. But the apostasy was especially severe in the Northern Kingdom, where King Ahab encouraged Israel to worship the false god Baal.
3. It was in this setting that the prophet Elijah was called to preach. The account of his ministry makes clear that personal faith in the Lord can thrive among the righteous even in a wicked environment. Sometimes the Lord responds to such faith with impressive, public miracles, like fire falling from heaven. But He also works quiet, private miracles, like meeting the personal needs of a faithful widow and her son. And most often His miracles are so individual that they are known only to you—for example, when the Lord reveals Himself and His will through “a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)
4. At first it might seem hard to understand why the prophet Elijah asked the widow in Zarephath to give him food and water before feeding herself and her starving son. But Elijah’s request could also be seen as a blessing for this small family. They needed the Lord’s blessings, and sacrifice often brings blessings—including the blessing of stronger faith. Consider the opportunities you have to exercise your faith—including opportunities to sacrifice. How can you be more like this widow?

Day 2

Primary
1. Read 1 Kings 18:1-21.
2. Under the leadership of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, most of the people in the Northern Kingdom of Israel had chosen wickedness and were worshipping false gods. As a result, Elijah had used the sealing power to bring a drought upon the land. Jezebel had killed many of the Lord’s prophets, but Elijah had survived. Elijah sent a man to tell King Ahab that Elijah was waiting to meet with him. He told the people of Israel not to “halt between two opinions” by trying to worship both the Lord and the false god Baal.
3. Listen to the song “I Love to See the Temple.”

Youth
1. Read 1 Kings 18:1-21.
2. Imagine there were two lines on the floor that began close together but led in opposite directions. What would happen if you tried to walk down both lines at the same time? Eventually, you would have to choose to follow one line only, as it would become impossible to follow both. What are some ways we may be tempted to try to follow the Lord and the ways of the world at the same time?
3. Under the leadership of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, most of the people in the Northern Kingdom of Israel had chosen wickedness and were worshipping false gods. Consequently, Elijah had used the sealing power to bring a drought upon the land. Jezebel had killed many of the Lord’s prophets, but Elijah had survived. Elijah sent a man to tell King Ahab that Elijah was waiting to meet with him.
4. Ahab said that Elijah was “troubling Israel.” What did Elijah say was the true cause of Israel’s troubles? (1 Kings 18:17-18)
5. What did Elijah tell the people to do? (1 Kings 18:21) Look at this illustration. Which “two opinions” are the Israelites hesitating between? The Lord allows us to choose whether we will follow Him or the false gods and unrighteous ways of the world, but you are responsible for the choices you make. While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make.

Day 3

Primary
1. Read 1 Kings 18:22-46.
2. People in Elijah’s time weren’t sure if they wanted to follow the Lord. Elijah urged the people of Israel to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ. He invited the king and his priests to a challenge to see whether the Lord or Baal was the true God. He and the priests of Baal would both prepare a bull for a sacrifice. Then, they would see whether Baal could burn the sacrifice. No matter what the priests of Baal tried, Baal could not burn the sacrifice. Elijah had the people soak his sacrifice with water over and over. Then, he prayed to the Lord. The fire of the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the water, and the stones. Elijah showed the people that only the Lord had true power.
3. Watch the video about Elijah and the priests of Baal.

Youth
1. Read 1 Kings 18:22-46.
2. The Israelites may have felt they had good reasons to worship Baal despite the Lord’s command, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Baal was known as the god of storms and rain, and after three years of drought, they desperately needed a storm. And Baal worship was socially accepted and endorsed by the king and queen. To show the people which god had real power, Elijah proposed a contest.
3. Read 1 Kings 18:23-24. What contest did Elijah suggest? What happened when the priests called upon Baal? (1 King 18:25-29) Elijah’s words in verse 27 emphasized that the gods of these false prophets had no power to bless or save the children of Israel.
4. How did Elijah prepare his sacrifice? (1 Kings 18:30-35) Why might Elijah have poured so much water on the sacrifice and altar? It seems Elijah wanted to leave no doubt about the Lord’s power to consume the sacrifice with fire. What happened after Elijah prayed? (1 Kings 18:38-40) After the contest, Elijah prophesied that rain would soon come upon the land.

Day 4

Primary
1. Read 1 Kings 19.
2. The world is full of distracting noises that make it difficult to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit. Elijah ran away from the land of Israel because Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him. He wandered a long time until he came to Mount Sinai. The Lord told Elijah to go to the top of the mountain so he could speak to him. When Elijah reached the top, there were winds, earthquakes, and fires – but these were not the voice of the Lord. The Lord spoke to him in a still, small voice. He told Elijah to go back and prepare another prophet, Elisha.
3. Watch the video “The Lord Speaks to Elijah.”
4. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1. Read 1 Kings 19.
2. After witnessing what Elijah had done and the miracles the Lord had shown, King Ahab returned home and told his wife, Queen Jezebel, what had happened. In response, Jezebel swore an oath to kill Elijah within 24 hours. Elijah fled from the land of Israel and traveled many days until he came to Mount Horeb (another name for Mount Sinai).
3. What happened as Elijah approached the mountain? (1 Kings 19:9-12) How did the Lord choose to communicate with Elijah on this occasion? (Through a still, small voice.) The Lord often speaks to us through the still, small voice of the Spirit.
4. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. …
This process is not reserved for the prophets alone. The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found. …
You can know the things you need to know. Pray that you will learn to receive that inspiration and remain worthy to receive it. Keep that channel — your mind —clean and free from the clutter of the world. (“Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 44, 45).

What can prevent us from hearing the still, small voice of the Spirit?
5. The Lord comforted Elijah on the mount by teaching him that he was not alone. He told him to return to Israel and prepare another prophet, Elisha.

Week 2

Day 1

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 2.
2. When it was time for the prophet Elijah to be taken up into heaven, he and Elisha went to the river Jordan. Elijah hit the water with his mantle or cloak, and the water parted so they could cross on dry land. When Elijah was taken up into heaven, his mantle fell on Elisha. The mantle was a symbol of his calling as prophet. Elisha took the mantle and hit the water with it, and the river parted just like it had for Elijah. This showed that the calling of prophet had passed from Elijah to Elisha.
3. Watch the video “Elijah and Elisha.”
4. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through 2 Kings!

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 2.
2. In this chapter we see that Elijah knew that he was going to be taken from the earth. He was going to be translated, like Moses, and taken up to the Lord without tasting of death. Elisha came with him, and many “sons of the prophets” (or disciples who learned from them) watched from a distance. They watched as Elijah parted the river Jordan by hitting the water with his mantle, or cloak.
3. As Elijah was being taken up to heaven, his mantle fell on Elisha. This represented the authority and power of a leader being transferred to the new leader. In the Church today we sometimes refer to a leader’s calling, authority, and duties as his or her “mantle.” Afterwards, Elisha called upon God to part the waters in the same way that Elijah had done earlier. The sons of the prophets recognized Elisha’s authority, but they still misunderstood what had happened. They wanted to send a search party to see if Elijah had been cast down on a mountain after the Lord took him up.
4. In 2 Kings 2:23-25 we read the story of some youths (according to the footnote, they were not little children) who mocked Elisha as the Lord’s representative. What happened to them?
5. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through 2 Kings!

Day 2

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 4.
2. During his ministry, Elisha healed and blessed many people. Once, he helped a woman whose sons were going to be sold to pay her debts. He told her to borrow as many empty jars from her neighbors as she could. Then, she poured oil from her little jar into them. Miraculously, the oil filled all of the jars and more. Then the woman sold the oil and paid her debts. Elisha also helped a woman who did not have any children. He told her she would have a son. Later, when her son got sick and died, Elisha raised him from the dead. Finally, Elisha made a pot of poisoned food safe to eat and multiplied food so people would have enough to eat.
3. Watch the video “Elisha the Prophet.”
4. Listen to the song “I Know My Father Lives.”

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 4.
2. In 2 Kings 4:1-7, Elisha performs a miracle to help a woman save her sons from being sold to pay for her debts. What did Elisha tell her to do? How did it work out for her?
3. In 2 Kings 4:8-44, we read of Elisha performing 4 miracles. First, he promised a woman she would bear a child. When her son later died, Elisha raised him from the dead. Near the end of the chapter, Elisha purified a poisonous pot of food so that the people could eat, and then multiplied food for the people to eat.
4. Miracles often help us overcome the difficulties of mortality, but miracles also turn our hearts to the Lord and teach us spiritual lessons. What do these miracles teach you about the Lord and what He can do in your life?

Day 3

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 5.
2. Naaman had a hard time obeying when the prophet Elisha told him how to be cured of leprosy. At first Naaman did not want to wash in the Jordan River, even though Elisha told him that this would heal his disease. Naaman’s servants helped him decide to obey the prophet Elisha. When he did, his leprosy was healed and he was blessed.
3. Watch the video “Elisha heals Naaman.”
4. Listen to the song “I Love to See the Temple.”

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 5.
2. While Elisha was serving as a prophet in Israel, a man named Naaman was living in the neighboring country of Syria. Naaman developed leprosy. Leprosy would have caused Naaman to develop disfiguring sores — likely making him a social outcast — and could have resulted in his death. How did Naaman discover a possible cure for his leprosy? (2 Kings 5:2-4)
3. The king of Syria sent Naaman with a letter to the king of Israel asking that Naaman be healed of his leprosy. (Naaman must have been an important man in Syria to have the king do such a favor for him!) When Elisha heard about Naaman’s request, he told the king of Israel to send Naaman to him. What do you think Naaman expected Elisha to do when he came to see him?
4. Read 2 Kings 5:9-10. How did Naaman approach Elisha? How did Elisha communicate with Naaman? How did Naaman respond to this treatment? (2 Kings 5:11-12). Naaman’s servant asked him a question. (2 Kings 5:13) What do you think of it?
5. Naaman chose to do the “simple thing” that prophet told him to do. As a result, his leprosy was healed and he developed a testimony of God’s power. As we exercise faith by acting on God’s words, our testimony of Him will be strengthened. Naaman wanted to thank Elisha by giving him money and gifts. Elisha declined Naaman’s offer. After Naaman departed, Elisha’s servant Gehazi went after Naaman and lied to him, saying that Elisha requested silver and clothing. Naaman gave Gehazi gifts, which Gehazi kept for himself. The Lord punished Gehazi by afflicting him with Naaman’s leprosy.

Day 4

Primary
1.Read 2 King 6:1-23.
2. When Elisha’s servant saw the Syrian army surrounding them, he was very afraid. However, Elisha told him to “fear not” because the Lord was with them. Elisha asked the Lord to show the young man what Elisha saw. The Lord showed him a heavenly army with horses and chariots of fire to protect them. The Syrian army was blinded by the power of God. They did not fight against the Israelites anymore.
3. Watch the video “Elisha and the Lord’s Army.”
4. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1.Read 2 King 6:1-23.
2. Elisha gave the sons of the prophets permission to build a new home because the one they were living in was too small. As they were cutting down trees, an axe head fell into the water. The men were worried about it because the axe was borrowed. Considering the grand scope of God’s plan, how important do you think an axe head is to God? What did Elisha do? (2 Kings 6:6-7) “The axe did swim” means that it floated on the surface of the water. If you had been the man who had borrowed the axe, how might you have felt when you saw the axe head floating in the water?
3. President Thomas S. Monson said:

Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives” (“Consider the Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 88).

4. Northern Kingdom of Israel began to fight each other, and the king of Syria would privately discuss his battle plans with his servants. One of his servants passed battle plans along enough times that the king of Syria grew suspicious that there was a spy. His servants told him that the problem was Elisha the prophet, who was being told by God where the Syrians would go. The king then sent his army to confront Elisha.
5. How did Elisha and his servant react when they woke to find an army surrounding them? (2 Kings 6:15-16) How might Elisha’s answer have confused his servant? What did Elisha do next to help him understand? (2 Kings 6:17) The Lord caused the Syrian army to be unable to comprehend where they were. Elisha led the army into Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Elisha persuaded the king of Israel to feed and care for the Syrians. This particular army of Syrians never returned to Israel. As we are faithful to the Lord, we can receive His help in our challenges, even though we may not be aware of His help at the time.

Week 3

Day 1

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 18:1-12, 2 Kings 18:29-35, 2 Kings 19:15-20 and 2 Kings 19: 32-36
2. Hezekiah was a righteous king. He removed the altars and tore down the idols of false gods and led the people to worship the Lord. During his reign, the Syrians came to conquer them. The Syrians were stronger than the Israelites and told Hezekiah that the Lord could not save them from destruction. Hezekiah prayed and asked the Lord to save them. The prophet Isaiah told Hezekiah that the Lord would defend them. In the night, the Lord killed 185,000 men of the Syrian army. The men who were left departed and returned to Syria. The Lord had saved Israel!
3. Listen to the song “I Know My Father Lives.”

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 18:1-12, 2 Kings 18:29-35, 2 Kings 19:15-20 and 2 Kings 19: 32-36
2. Hezekiah, king of Judah, reigned in righteousness and removed idolatry from his kingdom. During his reign, Assyria carried the Northern Kingdom of Israel into captivity and later invaded the southern kingdom of Judah. Under threat of attack, Hezekiah sent servants to the prophet Isaiah to ask him to pray for the people. The Lord, through Isaiah, told the people to not be afraid; He would help them. Hezekiah further prayed about the Assyrian threat, and the Lord assured him that He would defend the city. An angel sent by the Lord smote the Assyrian camp, killing 185,000 Assyrians.
3. What did Hezekiah do as king that showed that he walked in the ways of the Lord? (2 Kings 18:3-8 Because of his righteousness, the Lord was with him.
4. Sennacherib planned to conquer Jerusalem — the capital of the kingdom of Judah. The Assyrian army appeared to be unstoppable. They had a reputation of viciously desolating the lands and torturing the people they conquered, thus inspiring fear in those who opposed them. When the Syrian army was within a mile of Jerusalem, they sent a man to intimidate them. He said that the Lord would not save them. Hezekiah prayed and asked the Lord to defend them. The prophet Isaiah promised him that the Lord would do so, and in the night the Lord killed so many in the Syrian army that they departed and returned to their own land.

Day 2

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 22.
2. After king Hezekiah died, his son and grandson ruled in wickedness. The next righteous king was Josiah. King Josiah told his people to repair the temple, and as they did, they found something very valuable. They found a book, and the book they found contained covenants and commandments that the children of Israel did not know about. After he heard the words of the scriptures, Josiah realized that the people had not been keeping the commandments of the Lord.
3. Watch the video about King Josiah.
4. Listen to the song “I Love to See the Temple.”

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 22.
2. Under the reign of kings Manasseh and Amon, the kingdom of Judah engaged in wicked practices of idolatry. When Josiah became the king, he arranged payment for workers to repair the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. What was found in the temple? (2 Kings 22:8) The book of the law was a set of scrolls that contained scripture, including the Lord’s law given through Moses. The scriptures had been lost or hidden during the reign of the wicked kings before Josiah. Josiah was distressed when he realized that the people had not been keeping their covenants with the Lord, and he tried to lead them to do better.
3. If we make righteous choices, then our actions can lead others to turn to the Lord.

As you strive to live the gospel, you will encourage your friends to do likewise. Set an example of keeping the commandments, participating in Church activities, preparing to serve the Lord throughout your life, and remaining worthy to attend the temple.

Invite your friends of other faiths to your Church meetings and activities. Help them feel welcome and included. Many people have joined the Church through the example and fellowship of their friends. Also make a special effort to reach out to new converts and to those who are less active” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 17).

Day 3

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 23.
2. How did the scriptures help Josiah and his people? (2 Kings 23:2-3) When Josiah and his people learned the commandments of God, they made a covenant to live them. What does it mean to “walk after the Lord?” How can we “keep the commandments with all our hearts?”
3. After Josiah reigned 31 years, he died in battle and his sons were kings after him. They were not righteous, and returned the people of Israel to wicked ways and idol worship.
4. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 23.
2. Josiah gathered the people and read to them from the scriptures. What influence did this righteous leadership have on them? (2 Kings 23:1-4, 21-23) The people promised to live according to the covenant recorded in the book of the law. If we make righteous choices, then our actions can lead others to turn to the Lord.
3. What helped Josiah have such a strong impact on his people? (2 Kings 23:25) Studying the scriptures can help us turn to the Lord with all our heart and put away evil influences.
4. After King Josiah had ruled for 31 years, he was killed in a battle. After his death, two of his sons, Jehoahaz and then Jehoiakim, ruled in wickedness and led the people again into idolatry.

Day 4

Primary
1. Read 2 Kings 24 and 2 Kings 25:1-12.
2. The wicked king Jehoiakim was conquered by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim rebelled, then died, and his son Jehoiachin was king after him. Jehoiachin was wicked like his father, and the king of Babylon came back and conquered Jerusalem again. This time Nebuchadnezzar took all of the beautiful treasures from the temple and tore down the walls of the city so they could not fight any more. Jerusalem had been destroyed.
3. Watch the video about how the Israelites were captured.

Youth
1. Read 2 Kings 24 and 2 Kings 25:1-12.
2. In 2 Kings 24, we learn that Jehoaikim’s son Jehoiachin became king of Judah. He was wicked, like his father. During his reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came and conquered the city. The Babylonians took everything valuable from the temple and burned the rest.
3. The Babylonian king installed Zedekiah, of Judah, as a local king to rule his people but pay tribute to the Babylonians. He was also wicked. When Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon, and the Babylonians again attacked Jerusalem. They tore down the walls of Jerusalem so that they could not resist any more. Many Israelites were carried away captive into Babylon. By disobeying the Lord’s commandments, the people of Israel had lost his protection. Jerusalem had been destroyed.
4. It was this destruction the Lehi warned the people would come if they did not repent. He and his family escaped from Jerusalem before it occurred. One of Zedekiah’s sons, named Mulek, escaped the destruction of Jerusalem. The Lord directed Mulek and others to the promised land in the Americas sometime after Lehi and his family had left Jerusalem. Some of Lehi’s descendants found the descendants of Mulek and joined with them in Zarahemla.

Week 4

Day 1

Primary
1. Read Ezra 1 and Ezra 3.
2. After the Jews were carried away captive to Babylon, Cyrus, the king of Persia, conquered the Babylonians and became the new ruler of the Jews. The Lord inspired him to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Many Jews contributed time and resources to the reconstruction of the temple. How did the people react when the foundation of the temple was relaid? (Ezra 3:10-13)
3. Listen to the song “I Love to See the Temple.”
4. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Ezra!

Youth
1. Read Ezra 1 and Ezra 3.
2. After the Jews were carried away captive to Babylon, Cyrus, the king of Persia, conquered the Babylonians and became the new ruler of the Jews. Why would a Persian king pay to have the temple rebuilt? (Ezra 1:1) The Lord can inspire people, regardless of their religious background, to accomplish His purposes.
3. The Jews first rebuilt the altar of the temple and began offering sacrifices. They were directed by Zerubbabel, the Jewish man appointed by the Persians to serve as the governor of the Jews, and Jeshua, the presiding high priest of the Aaronic Priesthood. Many Jews contributed time and resources to the reconstruction of the temple. How did the people react when the foundation of the temple was relaid? (Ezra 3:10-13) Why do you think that many of those who had seen the original temple wept?
4. After discussing the virtues of King Cyrus, President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of the way our Heavenly Father can work through individuals on the earth to accomplish His purposes:

God, the Father of us all, uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future. (“Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints,” Ensign, July 1972, 59)

The Lord can bless anyone with inspiration, including those of other faiths. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

No denomination—not even the restored Church—has a monopoly on the blessings of the Lord. He loves and blesses all of His children. (“Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001, 12)

5. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Ezra!

Day 2

Primary
1. Read Ezra 7.
2. After the temple as rebuilt, the king of Persia sent a man named Ezra to take the treasures and precious things back to the temple there. This journey was extremely dangerous because the Israelites had to travel through thief-infested deserts carrying the large amounts of gold, silver, and other treasure that was being sent to the temple. Ezra had prepared himself to have the hand of God on him, by doing his best to keep the commandments and reading the scriptures.
3. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1. Read Ezra 7.
2. About 60 years after the temple was rebuilt at Jerusalem, Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, appointed Ezra to lead another group of Jews to Judah and provided him with money and supplies to beautify the temple. Ezra had prepared and qualified himself to have God’s help as he faced challenges and fulfilled his mission in life. How was Ezra prepared for what was asked of him? (Ezra 7:6)
3. Ezra and hundreds of Jews were allowed to leave captivity and travel approximately 900 miles from Shushan to Jerusalem. Ezra fasted and prayed that God would protect them as they traveled to Jerusalem. This journey was extremely dangerous because the Israelites had to travel through thief-infested deserts carrying the large amounts of gold, silver, and other treasure that Artaxerxes had given them to beautify the temple in Jerusalem. How had Ezra prepared himself for the hand of the Lord to be upon him? (Ezra 7:10) As we try our best to fully live and teach the commandments, then the Lord’s hand will be upon us to bless our lives.
4. Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, gave the following message.

To every man there comes … that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.

Day 3

Primary
1. Read Nehemiah 2:1-8, Nehemiah 2:16-20, and Nehemiah 4.
2. Nehemiah got permission to return to Jerusalem and fix the walls and gates that had been torn down. Most of the people were ready to work for this great goal, but some enemies of the Jews mocked Nehemiah and tried to stop the wall from being rebuilt. Nehemiah stayed faithful and focused on the word the Lord wanted him to do.
3. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Nehemiah!

Youth
1. Read Nehemiah 2:1-8, Nehemiah 2:16-20, and Nehemiah 4.
2. Nehemiah was a Jew who served as the cupbearer to the Persian king (see Nehemiah 1:11). As the cupbearer, he was in charge of protecting the king’s cup from being poisoned. Nehemiah was in a position of trust and honor before the king. What did the king notice about Nehemiah in chapter 2? How was the king’s reaction an answer to Nehemiah’s prayers?
3. When Nehemiah arrived at Jerusalem to rebuild its walls and gates, most of the people were willing to do the work. However, some people mocked him. How did Nehemiah react to this? (Nehemiah 2:20)
4. The enemies of the Jews began to be angry when they saw the walls being repaired and tried to stop it from happening. According to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Opposition turns up almost anyplace something good has happened.” Despite opposition, Nehemiah remained focused on the work of the Lord, prayed, and listened to the inspiration he received. (Nehemiah 6:3) President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency said:

Think of the power we would have as individuals … if, in response to every temptation to lose focus or lower our standards—the standards of God, we responded, ‘I am doing a great work and cannot come down.’ (“We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 62)

5. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Nehemiah!

Day 4

Primary
1. Read Nehemiah 8.
2. The people in Jerusalem hadn’t heard the words of God in a long time before Ezra (who was living in Jerusalem at the same time as Nehemiah) read them to the people. The story of Ezra reminds us of how important the scriptures should be to us. Ezra read the scriptures to the people and explained what they meant. He and the priests taught the people what they were supposed to do to keep the commandments. They had been in captivity for so long that they had forgotten.
3. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1. Read Nehemiah 8.
2. The Jews who were living in Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time had been lost spiritually for several years without the nourishment of scriptures or sacred ordinances. Ezra lived in Jerusalem at the same time as Nehemiah. What did Ezra do to help the people recover their spiritual health? (Nehemiah 8:1-3)
3. Once the Jews understood the scriptures, they blessed the Lord and acted immediately to obey the law. As we learn from the scriptures about God and His goodness, we have a greater desire to enter into and keep His covenants.
4. The reading of the law to the people by Ezra the scribe is of particular importance because it appears to have been the first time a synagogue, or a place to read and expound the scriptures, was established in Jerusalem after the return from Babylon. One Bible scholar commented on verse 8 as follows: ‘The Israelites, having been lately brought out of the Babylonish captivity, in which they had continued seventy years, according to the prediction of Jeremiah, [25:11], were not only extremely corrupt, but it appears that they had in general lost the knowledge of the ancient Hebrew to such a degree, that when the book of the law was read, they did not understand it: but certain Levites stood by, and gave the sense, i.e., translated into the Chaldee dialect. … It appears that the people were not only ignorant of their ancient language, but also of the rites and ceremonies of their religion, having been so long in Babylon, where they were not permitted to observe them. This being the case, not only the language must be interpreted, but the meaning of the rites and ceremonies must also be explained; for we find from ver. 13, &c., of this chapter, that they had even forgotten the feast of tabernacles, and every thing relative to that ceremony. [Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible … with a Commentary and Critical Notes, 2:781–82] (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 336–37).

Week 5

Day 1

Primary
1. Read Esther 2.
2. Ahasuerus, the king of Persia, became displeased with his queen, Vashti, and decided to replace her. In Esther 2 we read that the king sought a new queen from among the fair young women of the kingdom. Esther was a young Jewish woman who was raised by her cousin, Mordecai. When Esther was chosen as a candidate, Mordecai advised her not to reveal that she was a Jew, and so she kept her heritage a secret. The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and so he made her his queen.
3. Watch the video about Esther.
4. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Esther!

Youth
1. Read Esther 2.
2. Ahasuerus, the king of Persia, became displeased with his queen, Vashti, and decided to replace her. In Esther 2 we read that the king sought a new queen from among the fair young women of the kingdom. Esther was a young Jewish woman who was raised by her cousin, Mordecai. When Esther was chosen as a candidate, Mordecai advised her not to reveal that she was a Jew, and so she kept her heritage a secret.
3. Why was Esther made the new queen? (Esther 2:17)
4. After Esther was made queen, Mordecai discovered a plot to assassinate the king and told Esther about it. As a result, the would-be assassins were caught and killed.
5. Listen to the “Books of the Old Testament” song. Be sure you can sing it through Esther!

Day 2

Primary
1. Read Esther 3.
2. A man named Haman held the highest position of all the king’s officials. The king commanded everyone to bow down and reverence, or worship, Haman when he passed. Mordecai would not do this, because it would be breaking one of the commandments. This made Haman angry, and he planned a way to punish Mordecai. He convinced the king to make a law to kill not only Mordecai, but all the Jews. On a certain day, all the Jews in the kingdom would be killed, and all of their possessions taken by the people who killed them.
3. Listen to the song “The Holy Ghost.”

Youth
1. Read Esther 3.
2. A man named Haman held the highest position of all the king’s officials. The king commanded everyone to bow down and reverence, or worship, Haman when he passed. Mordecai would not do this, because it would be breaking one of the commandments. This made Haman angry, and he planned a way to punish Mordecai. He convinced the king to make a law to kill not only Mordecai, but all the Jews. On a certain day, all the Jews in the kingdom would be killed, and all of their possessions taken by the people who killed them.
3. In the book of Esther, we learn from the faithfulness of Esther and Mordecai as well as from the pride and anger of Haman. Haman’s wounded pride led him to take actions to kill many innocent people. This pride would eventually lead to Haman’s downfall.

Day 3

Primary
1. Read Esther 4.
2. After the king decreed that all the Jews would be killed, they fasted and cried. Mordecai told Esther what had happened, and asked her to speak to the king about it. When Esther was fearful, Mordecai encouraged her by teaching her that perhaps the Lord had made her the queen “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Esther was courageous and agreed to go see the king, even though she might be killed for it. She asked all the Jews to fast and pray for her. She also fasted and prayed to prepare herself.
3. Watch the video about Esther.
4. Listen to the song “I Love to See the Temple.”

Youth
1. Read Esther 4.
2. After the king decreed that the Jews would be killed, Mordecai and the Jews fasted and mourned and cried and tore their clothes. Mordecai sat outside the king’s gate, openly mourning. Esther sent a messenger to find out what had happened. What did Mordecai ask Esther to do? (Esther 4:8)
3. Although this sounds like a simple solution, there was a law that anyone who went in unto the king without being summoned could be killed. During this time kings were frequently in danger of assassination, so they surrounded themselves with guards and had harsh penalties for anyone who came uninvited into any room they were in. Esther would be risking her life if she went in to the king without having been called. Her life would be spared only if he held out his golden scepter to her. Esther said she had not been called in to the king in 30 days.
4. When Mordecai received Esther’s response describing her concern, he sent her another message. (Esther 4:13–14) What do you think Mordecai meant when he told Esther that she might have come to the kingdom “for such a time as this?”
5. Like Esther, we have a responsibility to help other people in the various circumstances and situations we are in, even when we may feel hesitant to do so. Read the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

The Lord gave you your responsibilities for a reason. There may be people and hearts only you can reach and touch. Perhaps no one else could do it in quite the same way. (“Lift Where You Stand,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 56)

6. Esther sent another response to Mordecai through the palace messengers. She agreed to go in unto the king, but asked Mordecai to have the people fast and pray for her.

Day 4

Primary
1. Read Esther 5 and Esther 7.
2. Esther invited Haman and the King to a feast, and they both gladly came. Haman thought being invited to the banquet meant that Queen Esther thought he was an important man. At the feast the king asked her what she wanted, and she invited Haman and the King to a second feast the next day. At that feast the king asked her again what she wanted, and Esther revealed her Jewish heritage and asked the king to spare her life and the lives of her people. As a result of her courage, Haman was killed and the Jews were spared.
3. Listen to the song “I Know My Father Lives.”

Youth
1. Read Esther 5 and Esther 7.
2. After the king asked Esther what she wanted from him, she asked if he and Haman would come to a banquet that she would prepare for them. The king and Haman gladly accepted the invitation. At the banquet, the king asked her again what she wanted, and Esther asked Haman and the king to come to a second banquet the next day. Haman was pleased, and took this as evidence that the queen thought he was an important man, but once again he saw Mordecai sitting by the king’s gate and he was consumed with anger and prepared to kill him.
3. The second night, Esther revealed her Jewish heritage and asked the king to spare her life. He granted her request, and as a result Haman was killed on the very gallows he had prepared to kill Mordecai. His anger and pride had been his undoing, and as a result of Esther’s courage and faithfulness her people were saved.
4. After Haman died, King Ahasuerus gave a second decree to preserve the Jews and give them power to destroy their enemies within the kingdom. The Feast of Purim was instituted to help the Jews remember their deliverance from Haman. Mordecai was elevated to second-in-command in the kingdom.

You’re finished with July! Move forward to August!