The Persian King Cyrus released the Israelites from captivity in Babylon and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to re-build the Temple.
They face many obstacles as they were re-building of the Temple, at one point, even stopping the process due to the Samaritans' complaints about them.
After many years of not working on the temple, King Darius, also of Persia reconfirmed King Cyrus commission for the Jews to re-build the Temple
The temple was eventually completed and dedicated.
The lesson (#103 in the LDS Old Testament Seminary Manual) suggests using a diagram on the board of a soccer field. The made for a great application object lesson.
Application Activity and Discussion:
Obstacles can slow us down but cannot stop us from reaching our ultimate goal of eternal life.
Each student had 2 colored pieces of paper that they wrote on and pinned to their shirts.
On the bright pink, they wrote an obstacle/temptation that could keep them from their ultimate goal
On the bright blue, they wrote something they can do to remove or overcome obstacles in their lives.
We went to the gym where there are soccer goals on each end.
One of the goals was labelled with positive goals (see photo below)
Each student had their obstacle pinned to their shirts and they lined up in a strategic formation to block the goal
One student tried to kick the ball in and could not because of all the obstacles.
After a few tries, I removed some of the students (obstacles) and they covered up the paper labelled with an obstacle and pinned the paper that showed something they can do to remove or overcome obstacles in their lives. They stood behind the kicker and now cheered him on and coached him as he tried to score.
I continued to remove a few obstacles at a time and the kicker was able to get closer and closer to the goal with less and less opposition.
Eventually, all obstacles were removed and the kicker was able to score (reach his ultimate goal of eternal life)
We discussed the symbolism of re-building the Temple compared to our need for re-building (repenting) in our lives and removing our own obstacles.
Students shared the tools they can use for removing obstacles such as daily prayer, no R-rated movies, attending Seminary, careful use of Social Media, loving others, etc.