Sabbath School Summary
Violating the Spirit of the Law
Memory Text: Memory Text: “ ‘Restore now to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their olive groves, and their houses, also a hundredth of the money and the grain, the new wine and the oil, that you have charged them’ ” (Nehemiah 5:11, NKJV)
SATURDAY: Christlike love is more valuable than earthly wealth. This, many Jews failed to recognize. Before captivity, the rich and highly ranked officials oppressed the poor, this theme resurfaced even after their return from exile. Also, the rich that lend to the poor by “the letter of the law” charged interest which was unjust. The lesson tells how Nehemiah handled this “age-old theme”—oppression.
SUNDAY: Under the leadership of Nehemiah, outside pressures were mostly curbed. But there was more to fear within than without. The nobles & rulers were into fraud & extortion such that widows & the weak grieved (Neh. 5:1-5). Food was scarce for some, some had to borrow money to pay tax (350 talents of silver), and others were taken as slaves for unpaid debt. Government policies were unfair.
MONDAY: God in dealing with slavery that prevailed in ancient Israel gave laws to regulate the practice. It’s His desire for all to be free, hence, salves were to be released after 7 years (Neh. 5:6-8; Exod. 21:2-7). Also, charging interest on lend money was not permitted (Exod. 22:25-27; Lev. 25:36, 37; Deut. 23:19, 20). Nehemiah called for restoration of lands, money & property (Mic. 6:8).
TUESDAY: “After serving as slaves in a foreign land, why would we allow these people to be slaves in their own land?”, this question was was from Nehemiah to the greedy rulers & nobles when he called for an assembly. He did not only call for restoration, he also acted. He then bid them to walk in the fear of God (Neh. 5:7-12). He liberally gave to the poor, & all the leaders agreed to restore everything taken unjustly.
WEDNESDAY: To ensure the rulers honor the agreement to restore, Nehemiah pronounced a curse upon anyone who breaks the oath (Neh 5:12, 13). It was customary & legal to attach a curse to an oath to prevent people from violating it. The fact that animals are mute tells us that there’s power in words (life & death). Deeds should match words (Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl. 5:4, 5; Lev. 19:12; Gen. 26:31).
THURSDAY: Nehemiah did not use his position as a governor to exploit people. Unlike his predecessors, the fear of the Lord was ingrained in his heart (Neh. 5:14-19). Though by law he had right to take money from his subjects, he never did that. Instead, he catered for himself, his family, and the entire court (see Gen. 14). Nehemiah is our perfect example; we should do all things without selfishness (Phil. 2:3-8).
FRIDAY: The thought of sin should make us concerned. Nehemiah was “angry” at the sins of the nobles & rulers. We’re not to be indifferent to others’ griefs. We should always seek to do the right thing, & stand for the truth at all times. Jesus taught; “Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one” to do away with oaths. Avoid meaningless & profane phrases.
—Ellen G. White, “A Rebuke Against Extortion,” pp. 646-652, in Prophets and Kings. Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 67, 68.
SUNDAY- People’s Grievance
MONDAY- Against The Spirit Of The Law
TUESDAY- Nehemiah Acts
WEDNESDAY- An oath
THURSDAY- Nehemiah’s Example
📌 Why does selfishness lie at the core of our human problems when dealing with finances and interpersonal relationships?
📌 How can God’s people avoid greediness? What is God’s provision against it? (Study the following texts: Isa. 58:3-12 and Mic. 6:6-8.)
📌 Dwell more on the gift of speech and the power of our words. What does John 1:1, 2 mean when it calls Jesus “the Word”? How does this help us understand the importance of words and what they mean?
📌 It’s amazing that thousands of years ago Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. We also are admonished to help those in need. How do these two ideas fit together in helping motivate Christians to work for those who are less fortunate?
Inside Story: Zelindo & Dulce are couples who are also business tycoons. Zelindo found the biblical Sabbath to be Saturday and opted to close his two mini-marts which operated every Saturday. His decision arouse the fury of his wife, Dulce. She was no longer cooking for him and also had plans for divorce. Zelindo cried & prayed to God for a miracle. One day, he found his wife reading Revelation 12 & was surprised. In tears, Dulce embraced Zelindo and question why their church had hid this salient truth from them. They preach to their employees on daily basis & their offerings helped build one SDA church.
For October 26-November 1. Happy Sabbath.