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BLESSING PEOPLES

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BLESSING ALL PEOPLES

Scripture: Genesis 12:1–4, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14

Memory verse: Genesis 28:14
"All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."

Lead—In

Everyone wants to be noticed. No one enjoys being left out of a group activity. Every person—child, youth or adult—wants to be included and recognized as a person having something to contribute. When gifts are being distributed, everybody wants to be a recipient.

(Select five youth to participate in a drama.) The setting is a school classroom. Ask one of the participants to serve as the teacher and the other four as students.

The teacher asks three students to sit on the front row, but leaves the fourth student setting behind them. The teacher then gives the three on the front row a sheet of paper and pen, but nothing for the fourth student seated behind them.

The teacher gives information to the front row students that will help them to pass their exam. The student seated behind asks for paper but is ignored by the teacher. The ignored student should act disappointed and sad.

Ask: Is it fair for three students to be blessed and one student to be overlooked? (Allow responses.)  

Hearing God's Word

Every young person, every human being, needs God's blessing and favour. Deep within the heart of every individual is a desire for God's approval to rest upon them. The good news is that God wants to satisfy their desire and to bless them abundantly.

Blessing Individuals

Each person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Each individual is important to their Creator. This is clearly revealed in John 3:16–18, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life...Whoever believes in him is not condemned...."

God does not want anyone to perish. When they believe in Jesus, they are no longer condemned to eternal punishment in hell. Rather, they are saved, cleansed from their sin and given the assurance they will live forever in heaven.

Blessing Peoples

If God's desire is to see individuals born-again (John 3:3), their lives transformed by His saving grace (2 Corinthians 5:17), then why does He say to Abraham, "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3)?

In answering this question, we need to begin by defining the word "peoples." The word "people" is used when speaking of several individuals. The word "peoples," according to the dictionary, is a "body of persons who constitute a group by virtue of a common culture, religion, or the like."

Different English translations of the Bible use the following words when translating the word "peoples," such as: families, kindred, seed, and nations.

The New International Version (NIV), which we are using for the GO...TEACH series, translates Genesis 12:1 as "Go from your country (an area controlled by a government), your people (tribe, language group) and your father's household (clan or extended family) to the land I will show you."

The end of Genesis 12:3 is translated "And all peoples (tribes, language groups) will be blessed through you." Throughout the Old Testament the NIV uses the words "peoples" and "nations" as synonyms, words having the same meaning—a tribe or language group.

Tracing the Abrahamic Covenant through the book of Genesis will illustrate the use of the synonyms "peoples" and "nations." (Ask students to read the following verses.) Genesis 12:3 "all peoples," 18:18 "all nations," 22:18 "all nations," 26:4 "all nations," 28:14 "all peoples."

We know that it is individuals who can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then why does God covenant with Abraham to bless peoples rather than individuals? It is because God recognizes the danger, the possibility, of believers only sharing the gospel with individuals who are just like themselves—the same tribe, language and culture. So that no one is missed, by-passed or forgotten in the distribution of the gospel, God wants His messengers to go to every tribe and language group.

Blessing all People Groups

The six presentations of the Abrahamic Covenant in the book of Genesis use the word "all." "All" means every single one, the whole, the entire group; the complete listing of peoples, nations, tribes and languages must be blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this way, individuals within the people groups will not be overlooked and will receive an adequate witness of the gospel.

Accepting God's Word

Once when visiting different tribes along the coast of Tanzania, I was accompanied by a Tanzanian church leader. We had personally interacted with five tribes located north of Dar es Salaam: the Zalamo, Kwere, Zigula, Segeju and Digo. We were returning to Dar es Salaam on a main road running parallel with the coast. The church leader said, "I have driven along this road many times but never took time to visit these tribes. I did not know they were along our coastline."

I trust that this week you will take time to share your faith with another youth just like you—same tribe, same language and same culture. Then, I encourage you to reach out to youth in your community who are from a different tribe other than your own. In so doing, you will be fulfilling the objective of the Abrahamic Covenant and bringing great pleasure to the Lord.

Ask: Are there different tribes living in your neighbourhood? Do you know any youth from those tribes?

Today we are introduced to the Soninke tribe. They may live far away from our home but through prayer we can enter their communities, schools and homes. Also, via the Internet we can gather news about them. (Encourage those who have cell phones to enter the name "Soninke" into the Google search program and see what they can learn about the tribe.)

Present the information about the Soninke tribe given below. Show the video, if possible.

Meet The Soninke

Location

Mali 1,393,000
Mauritania 207,000
Senegal 314,000

Religion

Islam: 94%       
Born-Again Believers: 200

SEE THE VIDEO:
http://linkupafrica.com/media-gallery/detail/70/1448

The Soninke comprise slightly less than 2 million of West Africa’s 100 million Muslims, yet they have played a surprisingly influential role in the region’s history. In particular, the entrance of Islam into the region primarily began with them. The name Soninke is actually a religious term for “follower of Sunni Islam” and is indicative of the strong influence of Islam in their society.

Unlike many of the surrounding people groups, the Soninke have established permanent homes and towns. They are farmers and traders and are known as industrious people. With their diligence and hard work, they have achieved a considerably higher standard of living than other inhabitants of the Sahel. The Soninke people are very skilled artisans, craftsman, workers, agrarian labourers, and are even known to be superb wordsmiths. They are thought to be one of the first people to utilize and capitalize on the use of ironware in the West African Sahel.

Soninke are devout Muslims and prefer to send their children to Quranic schools to learn the Quran by heart rather than send them to government schools. However, they also rely heavily on jujus—amulets often consisting of Quranic verses bound with other items in small leather pouches that are worn around the waist or upper arm.

ASSESSMENT

Christian work among the Soninke started in the 1980s, but no visible indigenous church has been established. The language has been roughly analyzed and Bible portions translated. Bible stories from Genesis and Joshua are being distributed. One pastor plays recorded Soninke-language Bible portions on his weekly radio program, and the call-in response has been amazing.

Currently 10 evangelical organizations are reaching out to the Soninke with limited results. One couple ministered in a key Soninke town for 20 years before seeing their first convert. The Soninke are still unreached, but reachable. They are open to outsiders, and opportunities to participate in their communities abound. It appears that the time has come for a move of God among the Soninke.

APPEAL

A church planting team is currently being formed to work among the Soninke. They will face the same challenges as other organizations, but they are committed because the eternal destiny of Soninkes, who are created in the image of God, is at stake. They will be successful only as they allow the Lord to demonstrate His supernatural power through them.

May the team's messengers move forward as the disciples did after being filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke recorded, "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33). So be it today, Lord!

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for the Soninke Tribe

1. The first Soninke church to be established with Soninke believers and using the Soninke language.
2. The efforts of existing mission organizations among the Soninke to be effective in introducing Jesus to them.
3. God to call messengers from other tribes to work with the Soninke, even from our own youth group.

Prayer Promise

"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfyulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago" (Isaiah 25:1).

MORE INFORMATION: www.linkupafrica.com

Remember: BLESSING ALL PEOPLES

Memory verse: Genesis 28:14
"All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."

1. God does not want anyone to perish.
2. The words "peoples" and "nations" have the same meaning - tribes or language groups.
3. All tribes must be blessed with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pray for the Soninke Tribe.

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Study 6 | All Peoples/The Prophets | africaatts.org/go-teach

 

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