READ: Deuteronomy 5-7
THINK: How many friends do you have? Many young people seek popularity because they want to feel appreciated, significant and relationally connected. Social networking sites are popular because they allow people to establish a long list of contacts they can call "friends." In reality, most people have-and need-only a few close friends. Then there are deeper relationships that deserve to be exclusive. For example, it's right for husbands and wives to expect faithfulness from their spouses. In a similar way, God doesn't want us to have other gods besides Him. To connect with God, we must develop an exclusive relationship with Him, eliminating everything that might compete for our devotion.
RESPOND: Unlike a contract, which is a legal agreement, a covenant is a relational agreement in which two parties commit themselves to one another through mutual obligations and responsibilities. What was involved in God's covenant with the Israelites? (See article on God's Covenant with the Israelites, p. 268 in the FBSE.) What kind of a covenant has God made with people through Jesus Christ? What responsibilities has God taken on himself in this relationship? What responsibilities do you have in relation to God? Which of the Ten Commandments pertain directly to how people relate to God? Which ones pertain to one's personal and family life? Which laws regulate a person's conduct in society? How are individuals, families and societies affected when people disregard God's laws? In what ways do people follow other "god's" or allow things to take the place of the true God? Why were the Israelites afraid to hear from God themselves, preferring to have Moses relay His message (5:23-27)? Why and how must we show reverence for God? (See article on The Fear of the Lord, p. 244 in the FBSE.) While we need to "fear God" in the sense of showing awe, reverence and awareness of our accountability to Him, why don't we need to be afraid of God? (See 5:29 note.) What's the "Shema" and what does it declare? (See 6:4-9 note.) What's implied by the fact that "the LORD is one"? (See 6:4 note.) What two primary commands does God give in this passage, and how do they sum up God's entire law? (See 6:5 note.) How were the Israelites to pass on God's commands to their families? (See 6:7 note.) How can you show loyalty to God in your conversations? How can talking about spiritual topics help you connect with others?
PRAY: Give thanks for how God's commands help you relate to Him and others. Express love to God in your own words.
ACT: Rid your life of anything that draws your attention or affection away from God. Do something practical for someone that you would like someone to do for you. Try to bring up spiritual issues in your conversations today.
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