READ: Deuteronomy 25-27
THINK: "I've got good news and bad news. Which do want to hear first?" When was the last time you heard that, and which news did you want first? It probably didn't matter. By the time the news reached you, there wasn't much you could do but listen and react. But when it comes to God's message, He lays out the good and bad prospects ahead of time. That doesn't mean that He shows you all the choices and outcomes in advance, but the big decision of whether or not to pursue His purposes is up to you from the start. God makes clear the consequences of going your own way as compared to the benefits of choosing His way. Following Him won't always be convenient, but if you trust Jesus to help you stay faithful, the rewards are out of this world. And that's good news worth sharing.
RESPOND: Why did God restrict muzzling an ox while it was treading grain, and what does this indicate about God's concern for all creatures? (See 25:4 note.) How does this principle apply to people? Why was God concerned about proper weights and measures (25:13-16)? What are the main ethical concerns in God's covenant law, and how do they relate to the individual, the community and society as a whole? (See chart of Major Ethical Concerns in the Covenant, p. 261 in the FBSE.) Why did people bring the "firstfruits" to God, and what did these represent (26:1- 11)? How can you show gratitude to God and testify of His goodness in the process? (See 26:8 note.) What terms and conditions of God's covenant with Israel are expressed in 26:16-19? What responsibilities and obligations did the people have to God, and what promises did God make to the people? Why did God want His law inscribed on stones after Israel entered the promised land? Why did the tribes publicly review the curses and blessings associated with disobeying or obeying God's laws? What can you do to stay aware of God's standards and guidelines?
PRAY: Give God thanks for His commands and standards that provide guidance and protection for those who follow them. Thank God for His constant love and faithfulness, even through your times of struggle and doubt.
ACT: Tell at least one other person something that reflects your gratitude to God for something He's done for you. Also, thank as many people as you can for their help or service. This includes the person who serves in the lunch line, your teachers and your parents. A simple word of "thanks" for a small gesture of kindness will go a long way.
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