Family Devotion Idea: Builders

*About twice a month, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!


Teaching Goal:

Our motive for doing anything and everything needs to be from God.



Genesis 11:3-4 “They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’”


Nehemiah 2:12 – God put in Nehemiah’s heart the desire to rebuild the wall for Jerusalem.


Nehemiah 2:20 “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding.”


Nehemiah 4:6 “So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.”


Nehemiah 6:15-16 “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”



Bag of small marshmallows (2 bags for larger groups)

Box of toothpicks (2 for larger groups)


Lesson and Discussion:

*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.


We are going to talk about builders. Who do we know that is a builder? What do they build?


The following is a summary of the story of the Tower of Babel. Feel free to put it into your own words. In the book of Genesis, a group of people decided to build a tall tower called the Tower of Babel. Listen to part of the story:


“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Who wanted to build this tower? The people. Why did they want to build the tower? To make a name for themselves (to feel important) and not be scattered (control).


The Lord came down from heaven and the Bible says, “The LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.” (Genesis 11:8)


Did God want the tower to be built? No. Was the tower built? No. In the story of the Tower of Babel, who was really important and in control? God.


The second story is about Nehemiah. Did you know there is a whole book in the Bible containing a story about building a wall around the city of Jerusalem? Nehemiah was the builder. Why would you build a wall around a city? It provides protection and adds to the beauty of the city. What would happen if that wall were broken? It makes the city vulnerable (unsafe) and it looks bad.


Listen to what the Bible says about building the wall: God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to build the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah said that God would give them success. The people worked very hard with all of their hearts. Jerusalem was known as God’s city, and God would be feared and honored by other nations when the wall was rebuilt. And the wall was completed in fifty-two days. Who wanted the wall built? God.


Who wanted the wall built? God. Was the wall built? Yes. Why was it important for the wall to be built? It communicated an image of God to others.


Whatever we do—building, playing, eating, sleeping, school, or church—we need to do what God wants, not just what we want.



Using the marshmallows and toothpicks we are going to see who can build the tallest tower. You must use a flat surface, not lean the tower against anything, and only three marshmallows and three toothpicks can be touching the bottom. Use only marshmallows and toothpicks! Ready? Go!


Optional: Work together as a group to see how tall you can make a tower. Just like the Tower of Babel, all marshmallow towers will eventually fall down.


Using the marshmallows and toothpicks, build small houses and a fence to go around the city of houses. It works best if everyone helps with the fence. The fence takes the longest time to build and just like in the story of Nehemiah, everyone works together.



Discuss which structure lasted longest and how this activity compares with the Bible lesson. Each of us are building our lives. We can do it our own way and things don’t work out. Bad things happen and we can get discouraged because the things we try to do don’t work. Instead we need to listen to God and obey Him. As we build our lives focused on God, good things happen and we are blessed.


If you like this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training. See the link on the left side of this page for more information.