NBC Sunday School Manual For January 30, 2022 : Topic – JUSTICE AND THE MARGINALISED
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
Sunday, January 30, 2022
TOPIC: JUSTICE AND THE MARGINALISED
Background Scripture reading: Deut 24:10-21
Lesson Scripture reading: Deut 24:10-21
Golden Text: Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. Deuteronomy 24:18
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
l. ldentify those who are easily marginalised in the society and the reason why;
2. Discuss the effects of unpaid solaries of workers to the church;
3. Show kindness to the less privileged around them.
Recently, I read a story in one of the popular Nigerian dailies about or staged protest by some youths in a particular town, in the southern part of the country. They were in their hundreds carrying placards with different inscriptions and chanting songs of worlike “Enough is enough”, “We are being cheated”, “Leave us with our oil.” When the protesters were interviewed about the reason for their action, they complained of being marginalised. Their leader who spoke to pressmen explained that the youths are aggrieved
because the government has not done much for them.
He explained further that they lacked social amenities, despite the fact that their town is one of the oil producing towns in Nigeria. Majority of their youths are jobless, no access road, potable water, good schools, market and other modern facilities.He concluded that they did not feel the impact of government; hence they decided to cry out. To be marginalised is to relegate a person or a group of people or treat them as unimportant and powerless in an unfair way. Marginalisation is a general phenomenon throughout the world. It cuts across all segments of the society. People are marginalised when there is high level of corruption; injustice and selfishness of the ruling elite who refuse to apply justice and fairness to all. There are, however, some people who are naturally marginalised in the society like the poor, foreigners, the lame, widows and the orphans. Some leaders forget that God demands justice for all. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be concerned about their welfare, to be their voice and advocate, whenever it is necessary. This is the focal point of today’s lesson.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. Generosity Emphasised Deuteronomy 24:10-13
Chapter 24 of the book of Deuteronomy contains various laws that God gave to the Israelites, as acommunity. The reason for giving these laws was for their well being, so that the Israelites will live peaceably with one another. God said:
Whenever they lend money to their neighbour, they should not go into his house to get the offered pledge. Rather, the borrower should bring whatever he is offering outside.
No one should sleep with the pledge of a poor man. It should be returned to him every evening, before sunset so that he can have it to sleep on. Notably, two reasons are attributed to this action: so that the man will be appreciative of the gesture and God will be pleased. These laws were made so as to avoid marginalisation.
In fact, the lesson emphasises generosity. The rich should show sympathy and generosity to the poor and not exploit them. There is a similar command in Exodus 22 that the Israelites should not illtreat or oppress foreigners, widows or orphans in the community. Even though these set of people are easily marginalised in the society, God expects us to be kind to them. He is especially concerned about heir well being because He demands justice for everyone, especially the defenceless.
1. What is your view about some chur che s that organise cooperative societies and encourage members to get loans with low interest rate?
What should the government / church do to help the less privileged in our society?
B. Payment of Wages Emphasised: Deuteronomy 24:14-18
God did not only admonish Israel to avoid marginalisation but He also encouraged prompt and
appropriate payment of salaries and wages to workers who have faithfully done their work. In verse 14, He warned against cheating the poor and needy; hired servants, whether their fellow Israelites or foreigners who live among them. He was specific in verse 15 when He said, “Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it.” The warning became necessary because of the consequences. Similarly, they were warned not to deprive foreigners and orphans their rights or use the garment of a widow as a pledge for a loan. In verse 18, God stated His reason for the commands. They were called to remember their experiences as slaves in Egypt and how God rescued them. God was indeed concerned about the welfare of the poor, widows, orphans and foreigners who lived among the Israelites. Because these people are indigent and defenceless, they were susceptible to cheating (marginalisation). The essence of these laws was to guide against marginalisation. The admonition is timely for employers of labour at every level. Wages and salaries should be paid to workers to avoid incessant strikes, protests, and suffering. When this is done, every form of criminality such as armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism will reduce to the barest minimum. James made it clearer when he said that the cry of unpaid workers has reached the ears of the Lord Almighty (James 5:4).
1. When employers of labour fail to pay workers as and when due, what could be the economic and social consequences?
2. What steps can the church take to reduce the level of poverty in our society?
C. Be Kind: Deuteronomy 24:19-21
God’s love and concern for the well being of the poor was paramount to Him. This is evident in His command in verse 19 that when the Israelites harvest their crops, they should intentionally overlook some crops and not go back to harvest them. They were commanded to leave them for the aliens, the fatherless and the widows, so that they would be blessed in everything they did. According to verse 20, the same law applies to their olives and vines. The leftovers should be reserved for foreigners, widows and orphans who live among them in the community. This practice was called “gleaning”. It was a Hebrew law that allows strangers and poor people to gather the corn that had been intentionally left behind by the harvesters (Leviticus 19:9; 23:22). The practice played a crucial role in the life of Ruth when she returned to Jerusalem with her motherin-Iaw, Naomi (Ruth 2:2). It is still prevalent in some areas in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The passage also emphasises kindness to the vulnerable among us. More than simply regulating oppression, God commanded that provision should be made to allow the poorest of the poor harvest from the fields of others. However, we should note that the law does not encourage laziness, begging or unnecessary dependence on people for survival. According to Jesus’ statement, poverty will be an ever-present problem among us (Matthew 26:11), but when believers show compassion to their fellow Christians in the true spirit of fellowship, it will go a long way to alleviate poverty in the church (Acts 4:32-35; 1 Timothy 6:6-10). The gap between the poor and the rich will be bridged and everyone will live in peace and sufficiency.
1. Discuss some obstacles that have prevented the total elimination of poverty in our society.
2. What can the church do to assist widows and the needy in our churches?
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
The Sunday School ministry of the church can organise prayer retreat for widows/widowers, whereby food and other material things can be distributed to them.
Write down three lessons you are taking home from today’s less.
1. Pray that the Lord will give you the grace to be generous and to show sympathy to the marginalised in the society.
2. Pray that the Lord will help you not to deprive the less-privileged around you their rights.
3. Pray that you will always show kindness to the vulnerable in the society.
Based on today’s lesson, make a commitment to your church not to marginalise anyone but to promote justice among God’s people.