Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Explore the Bible: Establish Justice in God's Community (Bonus Session)

"I was treated unjustly." 
How many times have we heard this mantra over the past months? As we look throughout history, we don't have to go far to understand that the unjust treatment of people is something that has taken place throughout the ages. As we continue our Explore the Bible study of Nehemiah our story picks up while Nehemiah is leading the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He quickly heard from Jews who felt like they were being treated unjustly. It became evident that fellow Jews had taken advantage of their brothers and sisters who had fallen on bad times. They were not only devaluing the worth of others in the community of faith, but they were communicating to a pagan world that their God didn't make a difference in the way they treated one another. Plus, they were violating God's laws.

You will notice by this introduction that, in order to prevent a break in the study of Nehemiah, I am providing teaching helps for the winter quarter "Bonus Session" (Page 133 in the Leader Guide; page 131 in the Study Guide). The "Bonus Session" focuses on Nehemiah 5 and the topic of justice. Since this is National Sanctity of Human Life Day, this study is very appropriate for calling attention to this very important subject.

The TARGET focus for this session is:
God expects His restored people to treat every person with love and dignity.
Nehemiah had to remind his fellow countrymen about this very thing:
  • Living as the restored people of God meant more than laying stone blocks and building cedar gates! 
  • It meant more than just rebuilding houses in which to live.
  • God expected a restoration of the heart. 
  • It began by changing the way they were treating one another.
  • If they wanted to be treated justly, then they needed to treat others justly and with dignity.
Caution: With the subject of justice being a part of so many current events, this could turn in to a tense conversation with group members. With that said, we as believers need to wrestle with what it means to treat people justly, how to respond properly to injustice, and how we should respond if we are the ones practicing injustice.

The following video will help you as you study. You might want to consider using it to introduce Nehemiah 5 to your group as well:


After the Dropbox file opens,
Choose "Download",
Save to your computer,
Open and print from your computer not Dropbox.

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If you need further information about curriculum, see the Explore the Bible page.