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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Greed and Its Effects
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the meaning of greed,
ii. Recognise it as a cancerous vice that is injurious to the individual and the society,
iii. Recount the stories of Ahab and Gehazi’s greed actions,
iv. Give examples of greed in Nigeria.
Ahab And Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings 21:1 – 29)
Great can simply be defined as excessive desire for something. It can be food, money and other forms of wealth. A greedy person can commit any crime to ensure that he satisfies his desire. Greed is a bad quality in a person and bad phenomenon in the society at large because of its evil consequences. In this lesson, we are going to learn how King Ahab coveted Naboth’s vieyard and the civil consequences of his greedy action.
Naboth, the jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel near the palace of Ahab the king of Samaria. Ahab wanted this vineyard from Naboth to use it for a vegetable garden because it was near his place. It proposed to exchange it for another vineyard or, if Naboth desired, he would settle him with money but Naboth refused both offer. He said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my father”. This statement annoyed Ahab. He lay down on his bed, turned away his face and refused to eat food. When his wife Jezebel learnt from this, she comforted him and promised that she would surely give him Naboth’s vineyard. The promise, she hoped to accomplish through crime. Jezebel, a wicked and devilish woman, quickly plotted how to destroy Naboth and take his vineyard.
Jezebel wrote a letter in Ahab’s name and sealed it with his seal. In the letter, she directed the elders and the nobles who dwelt in the same city with Naboth to proclaim a fast and set Naboth among the people, with two base fellows against him. The fellows should bring a charge against him saying that he cursed God and the king. The instruction was carried out. Naboth was killed and the people reported back to Jezebel that Naboth was dead. She went to her husband (Ahab) and said:
“Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive but dead”.
Consequences Of Ahab’s Greed
As Ahab moved in to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard, unknown to both Ahab and Jezebel, God uncovered the atrocity they committed and He sent Elijah the Tishbite to Ahab. The Lord, through Elijah decreed that, “in the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your blood”. The Lord father said that He would bring evil upon the house of Ahab and would utterly sweep him away. He further stated that he would cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. Furthermore,
“Two dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel. Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city shall dogs eat; and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat” (1 Kings 21:23 – 24).
The Bible records that Ahab repented of his actions, but the Lord only postponed the evil day to the days of his children.
Lessons To Learn
i. The evil consequences of greed, in most cases, outweigh the benefits, if any. At times, they have lingering effects. In the case of Ahab, his greed for little things like the vineyard led to the destruction of his future generation. What a big curse! People should be contented with what they have.
ii. Whenever people are in position of authority, they should avoid a situation where people around them, either their wives, children, friends or husbands as the case may be, influence their decisions to engage in obnoxious practices that would attract condemnation to them. In the case of Ahab, it was the wife. Although, he was not happy with Naboth’s refusal on his own, he never planned evil but the wife, Jezebel planned it on his behalf and he accepted it. People should endeavour to resist such things at all times and at all cost.
iii. It is better to have little that is blessed that to have much that is cursed. Many people in position of authority, particularly in Nigeria, have used their position to amass wealth and because of this excessive wealth, their children turn into vagabonds and rascals, thereby becoming a source of reproach or shame to them. Greed should be avoided; it is self-destruction.
Gehazi’s Greed (2Kings 5:1 – 27)
Gehazi’s, the servant of Elisha destroyed his life and his best as a result of greed. Naaman was a commander of the army of Syria. Through recommendation, he went to Elisha, the prophet to be cured of his leprosy. When he got to the gate of Elisha, he halted. Elisha sent his servant to inform Naaman to go to the river Jordan and dip himself seven times and he would be well. Because Naaman felt that Elisha should have come out and given him personal attention which he did not, Naaman was annoyed and he decided to go back. He was persuaded by his servants to obey the instructions of the prophet. When he obeyed and dipped himself in River Jordan seven times, his body was restored back like the flesh of a little baby. He was full of appreciation. He praised the God of Israel and persuaded Elisha to have some of the gifts he brought, but Elisha refused bluntly. Naaman and his men left. It was at this juncture that the devil ministered to Gehazi who said to himself:
“See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” (2 Kings 5:20)
Gehazi decided to run after Naaman. When he got Naaman, he told him lies, claiming that his master sent him to collect some of the gifts because he had some visitors. In all Naaman gave him two talents of silver in two bags with two festal garments. He took the gifts and bid them as he went to his master, Elisha. When Elisha asked him where he went, he answered that he did not anywhere. Elisha said to him,
“Did I not go with you in spirit then the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, mem servants and maid servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and your descendants forever.” (2 Kings 5:26 – 27)
The Bible records that he went away from his master’s presence a leper, as white as snow.
Lessons To Learn
i. Elisha, being a man of God may have known the evil consequences of collecting such gifts from Naaman, so he decided to avoid it. The servant Gehazi was not aware of this; he was only moved by greed and he did not even think twice on possible reasons why his master refused the gifts because he was very much after his personal gain. The consequence was total destruction of his life and destiny. Many young men today are in this category. Those who trade in hard drugs are only after millions they would make without thinking of the consequences if they are caught.
ii. Again when Gehazi was asked where he went, he lied. This shows the probably he must have been a very dishonest person in the past with some sharp practices. Dishonesty is one of the characteristics of a greedy person. From this, it can be seen that evil consequences of dishonesty and greed may come at once and may be so destructive that the person involved may not have a second chance. People should avoid it in order to live a happy and successful life.
Naaman’s Healing And The Lessons He Learnt
Naaman was a commander of the Syrian army. He was leprous. He tried everything he could to heal his leprosy, but there was no solution. At Israel slave girl in the service of Naaman’s wife suggested that if Naaman could go to Samaria, there was a prophet who could heal his leprosy. Naaman took to the girl’s advice and collected a letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel informing him of Naaman’s predicament.
The king of Israel was sad when he received and read the letter. He questioned whether he was God to kill or make alive that a word was sent to him that Naaman should be cured by him of his leprosy. Elisha, the prophet of God then in Israel learnt that the king has rent his clothes. He sent to the king that Naaman should be sent to him. Naaman went to Elisha who instead of praying for him or laying his hands on him directed that Naaman should go and wash himself seven times in the River Jordan and he would be cured of his leprosy.
Naaman doubted, and wondered if Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus were not better than all the waters of Israel. Could he not wash in them and be cleaned? He decided to return to Damascus with great annoyance and disappointment, but his servants persuaded him to do what the man of God had commanded. He yielded to the advice of his servants, and went into the River Jordan. He dipped himself into it seven times and he became so clean that his skin, according to the Bible, became fresh as of a new born baby.
Seeing this, Naaman returned to Elisha with some precious gifts to present to him as gratitude and sign of thanksgiving, but Elisha rejected them. Naaman requested that he should be allowed to collect a small quantity of earth from Israel to Damascus. His request was granted. He put the sand in a corner of his house and said henceforth, he would serve the God of Israel.
Lessons Learnt By Naaman From His Healing Were:
i. He became convinced that the God of Israel was the only true God.
ii. He learnt that prophets of Israel had power to perform healing miracles.
iii. He learnt that God is a forgiving God.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. Using the case of Gehazi and king Ahab as examples, in what ways do Nigerian youths and Nigerian leaders’ exhibit greed?
ii. What are the possible lessons learnt from the case of Ahab and Gehazi?
iii. Narrate the story of Naaman and Gehazi and state the consequences of greed.
iv. Who was Naaman? Narrate the story of Naaman and mention two important lessons which Naaman learnt from his healing.
v. Relating the story of the healing of Naaman. How was the name of God glorified through His misfortune?
vi. Discuss the circumstances that led to the healing of Naaman. State Naaman’s reaction to his healings.
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