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Lesson 2: Blueprint for a Better World *

Introduction: How many times have you heard a political leader speak about how to make your country better in the future? How many times have you heard a local planner describe how to improve your local community? Our study this week suggests that if we want a better future, we need to ask God to guide us. God has set out some principles on this, so let's discover what the Bible has to teach us!

  1. Leadership

    1. Read Exodus 3:7. What does God say about the extent to which He follows what happens to His people? (God both sees and hears what is happening to us.)

    2. Read Exodus 3:8. How does God propose to cure the suffering of His people? (He will give them a new home.)

      1. Wait a minute! This new home is already occupied. What about the Canaanites, Hittites and the other "ites?" (They are going to be pushed out.)

      2. Christians fleeing persecution in Europe came to the United States and pushed out the native Indians. The Indians were pagans, not Christians. Is this the same thing as happened in Exodus - God's followers displaced local pagans?

      3. Does this displacement reflect God's leadership? Some suggest "wars of conquest" are prohibited by God?

  2. God's Commandments

    1. Read Matthew 22:36. What does this question assume? (That some commandments are greater than others.)

      1. Do you agree?

    2. Read Matthew 22:37-39. Does Jesus agree that some commandments are more important? (Yes. Loving God with all our heart is the most important.)

      1. What is the logical consequence of that for planning a better world?

      2. Would that idea support extreme church state separation?

    3. Look again at Matthew 22:39. Does this mean that it is okay to love yourself?

      1. Did Jesus love us more than He loved Himself? (Yes, He died for us.)

      2. Let's consider how this would apply to a better world. Do you apply these rules to yourself - not to steal, kill or covet?

        1. Is so, should those rules apply to others? (Read Matthew 22:40. Jesus says that all of the Commandments (and the law and prophets) reflect these two rules.)

        2. Is this an easy guide for living: whatever you have in mind, ask yourself if you would want someone else to do that to you?

        3. What if we had a country, or better a world, that followed that rule?

        4. Let's ask some hard questions. This morning I read an editorial by a person who worked hard, made self-sacrificing choices about which school to attend, kept his grades up to retain scholarships, and was able to limit his student loan. He is against the idea that students should have their student loans forgiven by the government. Is he loving others as he loves himself?

          1. If government aid (or even church aid) promotes bad choices, is that love?

    4. Read Exodus 20:13-17. This part of the Ten Commandments addresses our relationship with others. What is the common thread among these commandments? (Not to harm others.)

      1. If you were planning a perfect world, how would this change the present policy of your government, if at all?

      2. I live in the United States. The top 1 percent of all taxpayers paid more in taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined. Those in the bottom half of income paid about 3 percent of all taxes. (Source: Tax Foundation.) Only the government does something like this. When I go out to eat, when I go shopping, when buy a ticket to an event, everyone pays the same for the same service. Is our tax policy consistent with the idea that we should not harm others?

        1. Are we harming the rich just because they have more money?

    5. Read Deuteronomy 14:22-23. Next read the rule that applies if it is too distant to bring your tithe to where God designated: Deuteronomy 14:25-27. Some scholars believe this is a "second tithe," although the reference to supporting the Levites casts doubt on that conclusion. How does this compare to the tax policy in your country? (It supports the idea that those who earn more pay more. But, everyone pays the same portion of his income, which is not the case in the United States.)

      1. Who is benefitting from this tithe? (Primarily the person paying it. The idea is to remember and rejoice in the fact that God provides for you!)

    6. Read Deuteronomy 14:28-29. This third year tithe is for whose benefit? (Levites, foreigners, fatherless, and widows.)

      1. Does this idea go beyond the "no harm to others" principle of the Ten Commandments? (Yes. These are not people who the tithe-payer harmed. These are needy people.)

      2. What is the result of helping these needy people? (God blesses those who help the needy.)

    7. Recently, on my way home from work, I saw a man at a stop sign. He was sitting on a bucket smoking a cigarette and holding a sign saying "hungry and homeless." He was younger than I am, and appeared to be in good physical health. How does his request for money fit the Biblical principles we have considered so far?

      1. You can reasonably assume that you and I never harmed him, and he did not appear to be a Levite, foreigner, or widow. Is "foreigner" and "widow" just another way to refer to the poor? Or, is this intended to be specific?

      2. How would Jesus' command to love others as we love our self apply to the cigarette smoking bucket sitter?

        1. In applying Jesus' command, should we consider the "no harm" principle of the Ten Commandments?

  3. Jubilee

    1. Read Leviticus 25:8-10. This event, taking place in the 50th year, begins on the Day of Atonement. What is special about the Day of Atonement? (It is when the people were released from their sins. See Hebrews 9:7.)

    2. Read Leviticus 25:25-28, and Leviticus 25:35-41. How is this like the Day of Atonement? (You are whole again. Your property is returned to you and your freedom regained.)

      1. What does this tell us about God's economic views on the poor? (God is not opposed to a person making an agreement to be a servant or to sell property. However, a person's freedom and property cannot be limited forever. This tells me that God wants the poor to retain their ability to freely earn a living.

    3. We skipped over Leviticus 25:29-30. Read it. Why is this property treated differently? (Land on which you could farm is a way to earn a living. People who lived in walled cities likely earned a living some other way. Thus, God supports freedom of contract when it does not permanently interfere with your ability to earn a living.)

    4. Friend, are you putting Biblical principles into practice now when dealing with others? If not, why not ask the Holy Spirit to help you start today?

  4. Next week: Sabbath: A Day of Freedom.
* Copr. 2019, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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