Know: Moses responded to the people, “Don’t be afraid, for God has come to test you, so that you will fear Him and will not sin.” Exodus 20:20 (20/20…get it?)
Consider: What comes to your mind when you hear the word “test”? Do you have flashbacks of school exams? Do you think about a visit to the doctor to diagnose a medical condition? What does God mean when he tests us? We read this week about God giving the Ten Commandments to His people. God’s commands were accompanied by thunder and lightning, trumpets and smoke. The people were afraid. Moses tells his people not to be afraid, because God has come to test them, so that they will fear Him and not sin. A common obstacle to following God whole-heartedly is being afraid of what he will tell us to do, or not to do. God is often asking to do/not do things because he is testing our hearts. Our responses show whether we are devoted to God, or to what we want God to do for us. One way we can avoid failing the “test” is to know God’s character. The more we know about Him, the more we will fear (be in awe of) Him. When we know His character, we understand that He is good and trustworthy. Whatever he asks us to do/not do, is best for us. God gave his commands to test the condition of our heart. We are approved when we see the condition of our heart, submit it to God and obey Him. Knowing God more helps us understand his heart toward us. We understand that his commands are for our good and his glory.
Key Concept: [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][tweetthis]We are approved when we see the condition of our heart, submit it to God and obey.[/tweetthis]
This Week’s Faith-Over-Fear Challenge: God gave his commands to test the condition of our heart. We are approved when we see the condition of our heart, submit it to God and obey Him. Knowing God more helps us understand his heart toward us. We understand that his commands are for our good and his glory.
Questions for Discussion & Journaling:
1. Why do you think the Israelites were afraid of hearing from God, but Moses was not?
2. Why do you think we fear hearing directly from God, and instead go to other sources (books, people, sermons) to decide what God is saying to us?
3. Do you find yourself going to the Word of God to learn more about Him, or to ask Him to do something for you? What has God shown you about Himself today?
Continue: Bible Memory & Daily Homework
Day 1: Memorize Exodus 20:20
It might be helpful to divide it into a four stanza poem, or even a cheer:
Don’t be afraid,
for God has come to test you,
so that you will fear Him
and will not sin.
Day 2: Read Deuteronomy 5:29.
This verse talks about the blessing that passes to our descendants when we obey the commandments. Is there an area in your life that is not fully submitted to the Lord? Ask a friend to hold you accountable in that area.
Day 3: Read Deuteronomy 10:12.
This verse talks about fearing God, walking in His ways, and loving and serving him with all of your heart. Our hearts are prone to wander, so we need to be in constant prayer in order to love Him with ALL of our heart. A helpful way to learn to walk in His ways might be to actually take a walk. Walk and pray. See what God says as you take a walk and spend time in prayer with Him.
Day 4: Read Deuteronomy 31:12-13.
We each have an individual relationship with God, but we are also supposed to be part of a spiritual community. We help one another learn to fear the Lord. If you have young children, you can teach them a simple version of the first commandment. “Love God.” If you have older children, talk with them about what it means to love God more than anything else. If you do not have children, invite a friend for coffee and have a discussion about what it means to each of you to love God above all else.
Day 5: Read John 6:4-14, focusing on verses 4-6.
Jesus “tested” the disciples by asking a question he already knew the answer to. The test pointed out where their hearts and minds were. They didn’t think they had enough resources to care for the people, but Jesus did. What obstacle is before you today? Submit it to the Lord in prayer and trust Him to answer in a way that you can’t even anticipate. Write it down with a date next to it in your journal. Leave space to record how God answers in His own, creative way.
Write or print out this week’s key verse in pretty handwriting or a creative font. Cut it out and post it somewhere you will see it often.
Submitted by Kristin Hathaway
Chime in and comment below: What is your biggest challenge to “loving God with all of your heart?” How can you overcome that challenge?