Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 10:12-13
What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you . . . to obey the Lord’s commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13
“How was church?” asked Andrew’s dad.
“Awful!” Andrew said, sounding frustrated. That was a surprise. Andrew always liked his Bible-study group. “Dana taught the study tonight.”
That was a clue. Dana was the one adult leader Andrew didn’t like. To be honest, he drove Andrew nuts. This leader seemed immature for someone in his twenties.
“I’ve always thought Dana was so mean,” Andrew went on. “Now I understand why. He talked tonight about how his dad beat him up when he was little, and how both his parents are still alcoholics.”
Andrew’s dad cringed. “That’s really hard stuff to go through—and to hear about,” he said. “That must be why he doesn’t always know how to work well with kids, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, that’s what he said. I feel sorry for him. It’s like he doesn’t know any better. And he’s working really hard to change. What I’m mad about is that now I don’t have a reason to dislike him. Would it be okay if I hated him just a little bit?”
When it comes to following Jesus, many Christians have one question running through their minds: How bad can I be and still be okay with God? Most kids want someone to step up, draw a bold line, and say, “Okay, everything up to here is fine. But if you go past this point, you’re out of God’s will.” It sounds nice and simple, but it doesn’t work that way.
Get this: Wondering how much you can get away with misses the whole point of being God’s child.
God didn’t send his Old Testament people wandering in the desert for nothing. When he first set them free from slavery in Egypt, they thought his goal was to kill them off (see Exodus 14:11). They couldn’t believe he would help them conquer the Promised Land (see Numbers 13). They didn’t trust God—they didn’t believe that he really wanted their good. They needed retraining. So God sent them for a time-out in the desert where they could think about two simple truths: “Obey me only” and “My commands are for your good.”
If something you want to do is “only a little bad,” then you’re missing the point. It’s clearly not the best. And God wants better for you than that!
TALK: What do you think about your God—who doesn’t want you to get away with something “just a little bad”? Is that loving—or what?
PRAY: God, thanks for loving us and for giving us your good commands. Help us to want your best—always and completely.
ACT: Remind yourself why God gave his commands—and what response God wants from you. Memorize today’s Bible passage!