READ: Exodus 20-21
THINK: Life is full of expectations. Some can feel overwhelming. Others give life a sense of exhilaration and adventure. The standards and expectations clearly defined in God's Word can be both overwhelming and fulfilling. Because He is so serious about revealing our full potential, God issues strong guidelines aimed at exposing our weaknesses and keeping our lives free from spiritual distractions. The Ten Commandments summarize God's moral Law-our primary obligations to Him and each other. These commands are not just a litany of rules and restrictions, but are a means of expressing our relationship with God. Rules certainly don't save us, but they can show us where we fall short and lead us to trust God. In this way, His commands are not limiting-they are liberating and life-giving.
RESPOND: Why did God give His people the ten special commands described in chapter 20? (See 20:2 note.) Why was obedience to these commands vital? In what way do the Ten Commandments sum up our obligations to God and to each other? Do these commands apply to Christians today? Why or why not? How does the command to "have no other gods before me" apply to you today? (See 20:3 note.) In what way do people today tend to worship "idols"? (See 20:4 note.) How might people misuse God's name? (See 20:7 note.) What principles regarding the Sabbath apply to Christians today? (See 20:8 note.) What does it mean to "honor your father and mother"? (See 20:12 note.) How do the commands against murder and adultery apply to thoughts as well as actions? (See 20:13 and 20:14 notes.) What commandments deal directly with issues of honesty toward God and others? (See 20:15 and 20:16 notes.) What does it mean to give "false testimony" about someone, and how can you avoid this? What does it mean to "covet," and how does this relate to a person's motives, desires and trust in God? (See 20:17 note.) What kinds of laws are listed from 20:22 forward, and how did they affect the Israelite's relationship with God? (See 21:1 note.) In what way do these laws apply to Christians and in what respect do they not? How did the law in 21:22-23 apply to unborn children? What does this reveal about God's view of the sanctity of life? (See 21:22-23 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you grasp the spiritual principles behind His commands and to respond in obedience.
ACT: If anything in your life distracts your attention from God or His purposes, get rid of it or re-order your priorities. Look through the Ten Commandments to see if you are violating any of the moral principles in your relationship with God or your behavior toward others. Rely on God to help you make the appropriate changes without delay. Sometime today, read the article on The Old Testament Law, p. 128 in the FBSE.
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