Week 6 February 4 - 10, 2018

When human beings think of laws, we typically only think of two things: (1) What we are legally restricted from doing; (2) What would happen if we violated those restrictions.

Every time we see a speed limit sign, we think about how fast we can go without getting a ticket; when we approach a “No Trespassing” sign, we wonder who would see us if we decided to intrude; and when we see a “10 items or less” sign in the express lane at the grocery store, we question what the cashier would say if we unloaded 13 items from our cart instead.

Simply put, we only think about what laws restrict us from, but we never think about what laws protect us for.

In Exodus 20, God established His own law for the nation of Israel by handing down the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. When we see those two stone tablets we think about mandates that restrict us from violating God’s holiness, but we need to also see those mandates as protecting us for God’s love.

The first four commandments (no other Gods, no idols, no taking God’s name in vain, honor the Sabbath day) deal with our love for God. The last six commandments (honor your parents, no murder, no adultery, no theft, no lying, no coveting) deal with our love for each other. God gave His people these laws for three main reasons: (1) To set Himself apart from all the false Gods of the world through revealing His standards of holiness and love; (2) To set His people apart from the world to live according to His standards of holiness and love; (3) To show His people they were not capable of keeping His standards of holiness and love and realize they need a savior to keep those standards for them.

God is not a cosmic killjoy who wanted to bog us down with oppressive restrictions to make our lives miserable. From the very beginning, God’s law was a way of protecting His love until the arrival of His Son.

            Even at Mount Sinai, God always intended to take those laws He wrote on cold, hard stone, and one day rewrite them on our warm, beating hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). God’s law was never intended to be our final gateway to eternal salvation; God’s law was always intended to preserve and guard His love until our gateway for salvation was secured through the perfect life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:24).

Those of us who have placed our faith in Christ no longer live under the legal restrictions of the law of God. We now live under the law of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:21), which is summed up by loving God and loving others through faith in Him (Matthew 22:36-40).

So, when you think of the Ten Commandments, think of it as a law of love. It is a law created to protect God’s love and a law that is fulfilled by God’s love. It is a law that teaches us to love God and each other whole-heartedly, and it is a law that points us to Christ who loved us enough to fulfill the law’s requirements so that we could continue sharing that love forever (John 3:16).

Living By a Law of Love   

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We Can't Lose with Christ

          Paul believed that the Christian life was the ultimate “win-win scenario.” He unpacked this philosophy in Philippians 1:21 when he proclaimed, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” What Paul was saying is that we either get to stay on earth and serve Christ or go to heaven and be with Christ – either way we win! Even though this philosophy doesn’t exclude us from suffering, it does remind us that with Christ as our prize we gain everything in the end.

Closing all Doors to the Devil   

          Many 12-step programs for addiction rehabilitation use the acronym “H.A.L.T.” Those four letters stand for “Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired,” and they represent four areas where addicts are most vulnerable for a relapse. The truth is, however, that every person has areas of weakness that make us susceptible to sin because we are always being tempted by Satan. In Ephesians 4:27, the Apostle Paul warns us to “give no opportunity to the devil.” This means that we need to be aware of what triggers us to sin the most and close the door on any opportunity for temptation to take root.

Start Your Day Satisfied


          Our hearts are desire factories that are constantly seeking to be satisfied. God has blessed us with many gifts and pleasures in this world, but none of them can satisfy the human heart – that job is reserved for the love of God alone. The psalmist says in Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Let these words be our daily morning prayer, as we remind ourselves each day that our hearts were made for the Lord.

Tips to Keep You on Track

Towards the end of next week’s readings, you will begin a journey through two new books: Leviticus in the Old Testament and Hebrews in the New Testament. These books were meant to be read together because they don’t make complete sense without each other. In Leviticus, you will read about God’s holy blood laws and the need for priests to serve His people; In Hebrews you will read about how Christ fulfills God’s law through His own blood and how He continues to serve as our High Priest. Don’t let the details overwhelm you – simply remind yourself that what God requires in Leviticus, Jesus fulfills in Hebrews.

Week 6 Readings: February 11-17

-Day One:  Exodus 32-34; Philippians 3

-Day Two:  Exodus 35-37; Psalm 26; Philippians 4

-Day Three:  Exodus 38-40; Hebrews 1

-Day Four:  Leviticus 1-3; Psalm 27; Hebrews 2

-Day Five:  Leviticus 4-7; Hebrews 3