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COVETOUS KING JEHOAHAZ REFUSES ECONOMIC JUSTICE PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 29 May 2005

A Bible Study Lesson on Economic Justice

By Jim Jordal

  1. CONTENT: READ ALOUD THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE PASSAGE:

"Woe to him [king Jehoahaz] who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor. He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’ So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar, and decorates it in red. "Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father [king Josiah] have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the Lord. "But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion."

Jeremiah 22:13-17 (NIV)

B. BACKGROUND:

King Jehoahaz reigned only 3 months over Judah, but became known as an evil king (II Kings 23:31-32), in great contrast to his father, Josiah, who was revered as a good king who sought after "the God of David his father." Jehoahaz receives little comment from the prophets except for Jeremiah's diatribe (above) against his love of ostentation and his oppression of the working poor. Historically, Jehoahaz becomes another example of the drifting of God's people from a culture of righteousness and justice to a society riddled with greed, oppression of the poor, and refusal to obey the clear word of God demanding economic justice.

  1. QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
  1. Exactly what did Jehoahaz do as king that so displeased the prophet Jeremiah?
  2. What counterparts of the king's sin exist in our society today? Give examples.
  3. What does the prophet mean when he says to Jehoahaz: "Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?" Apply that statement to political leaders today.
  4. What was Jeremiah referring to when he said: "Is that not what it means to know Me?"
  5. Discuss how people claim today to "know" God? What criteria do they use?
  6. How can we claim to know" God, and yet ignore or even reject what He clearly says?
  7. How does a society drift from righteousness and justice toward sin? Has this "drift" happened in the U.S. today? How, and why?
  1. PRINCIPLES FOR CONSIDERATION:
  1. It is sinful to oppress deserving workers of their rightful wages.
  2. Ostentation and greed by rulers receives special criticism from God.
  3. Obedience to His word is one price for truly knowing God.
  4. Economic justice ranks high in the criteria for knowing God.
  1. REFERENCES:

I Sam. 15:22-23; Ps. 51:16-17; Micah 6:6-8; Isa. 1:11-17; Isa. 58:6-9; Isa. 66:1-2; Hosea 6:6; Matt. 12:7; Mark 12:33

 

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