Bible Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him. Matthew 4:10
“DON’T PLAY WITH matches.”
“Look both ways before you cross the street.”
“Don’t touch a hot stove.”
“Say please and thank you.”
“Don’t sit too close to the TV.”
“Don’t cross your eyes.”
“Don’t dye your little sister’s hair green.”
Rules, rules, rules! Sometimes it seems like you’re not allowed to do anything, doesn’t it? “Do this,” your parents say. “Don’t do that.” “Eat your vegetables.” “Brush your teeth.” “Fasten your seat belt.”
It can get to you sometimes. But think about it: Why do you think your parents have rules like “Don’t run with scissors”? Most of their rules are for your protection. If they hadn’t told you not to play with matches as a little kid, you might have been your own science fair project. If they hadn’t prevented you from dyeing your little sister’s hair green-well, OK, that would have been totally fun and would have been worth whatever happened. But you get the idea.
Think about this, too. Why do you think God has rules like “Do not lie” and “Do not murder”? Do you think he gave those commands because he was having a bad day? Do you think he issued the Ten Commandments because he liked the way they sounded? Do you think he laid down the law to throw his weight around or to be a party pooper? Of course not. God gave commandments to us because he wanted to protect us and provide for us. He knows the surest, safest path to pleasure and fulfillment, and his commands are intended to help us get there.
Look at what Moses said about God’s commands:
And the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to fear him for our own prosperity and well-being, as is now the case. . . . And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul, and to obey the Lord’s commands and laws that I am giving you today for your own good. (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:12-13; emphasis added)
REFLECT: According to Deuteronomy 6:24 and 10:12-13, why did God make rules? Our parents usually try to do the best they can to protect and provide for us based on what they know. God, of course, knows everything—even the future—and his commands are the result of his knowledge and wisdom. Can you think of ways his rules protect you?
PRAY: “God, I praise you because you’re a wise and loving God, and you give your commandments for my own good.”