Sabbath School lesson for October 10-16, 2020
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Many questions about how to keep the Law of God are explored this week. For instance:
- How do we fear and love God through the Law? (Sunday)
- How is the Law a witness? (Monday)
- How is our obedience to the Law linked to our faith? (Tuesday)
- How have others kept the Law, despite their suffering for it? (Wednesday)
- How was Jesus’ example helpful to us in keeping the Law? (Thursday)
The Law of God has always been intended to teach us about God’s love. The one word that best describes who God is would be “love” (1 John 4:8) . Before sin entered the universe, that one principle of love was all that was needed for God’s creatures to know and worship Him.
Memory Verse: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV
After Adam and Eve disobeyed, another aspect of the Law was introduced. In addition to loving God with all their heart (Deuteronomy 6:5), they were also taught to love their neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). On these two requirements hang all the Law and the Prophets, according to Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40).
As time went on and man grew further and further away from God’s love, there were ten aspects of the Law identified for Moses and the people at the time of the Exodus. These Ten Commandments, written by God Himself (Exodus 31:18), are also eternal and binding on God’s followers. They embody the love that God desires His creatures on earth to have.
When any question arises about how to keep the Ten Commandments, we are to appeal to the love of God that has been shown us in principle throughout the Bible. Different cultures and times have seen various means to ensure the keeping of the Law, but the great Law pyramid still stands.
On the bottom of the Law pyramid would be the Ten Commandments, the foundation of God’s teachings. Then would come the two great commandments that Jesus reinforced in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:12). And at the top of the pyramid would come the one all-important principle of love.
Sunday: To Love and Fear God
Every teacher knows there is value in repetition of things learned. Most likely there will come a review at the end of a textbook chapter, and often a review presentation will be given by a teacher just before a test. Going over things learned is a proven way to make sure our education stays with us.
God recognized this tendency when He told Moses to have the law read before the people at set times to make sure His precepts were not forgotten. See Deuteronomy 31:9-13.
God stated the purpose of this practice in Deuteronomy 31:13, when He said they would hear and then fear the Lord. Of course, fearing Him was just another way of saying to love Him. They were told in Deuteronomy 6:5 to love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.
Loving God can then be said to be a learned behavior. After hearing the Law, we learn to love the One who gave it. We see His loving character, in contrast to our sinful, unrighteous behavior and know that it is only because of his unmerited grace that we have a chance to be saved.
Bible Verses to Consider:
- How would just hearing the law be beneficial to God’s people?
- What kind of learning was expected to happen at the end of the reading?
- Why do you think seven years was the chosen time to have the law read?
- What’s the difference, if any, of fearing God and loving Him?
- Why is our love for God different from other kinds of love?
Monday: A Witness Against You
First, we have to see that the Ten Commandment Law is a witness FOR God. The Law is a reflection of His character, and thereby it shows God as the embodiment of love that He is.
The people were also told to place the Book of the Law that Moses was instructed to write beside the ark of the covenant (which held the Ten Commandments). It was called a witness against the people. See Deuteronomy 31:24-26. In context, we see that these commandments, although necessary at the time, were evidence that they were a rebellious, stiff-necked people (Deuteronomy 31:27). They needed added directions, in order to make things work in their particularly challenging circumstances.
Moses was given a song at the time, to be learned and recited. This was also intended to remind them to be obedient to God’s commandments. The contrast of their lack of obedience would be noted and they would hopefully be inspired to improve their lives by getting closer to God’s holy standard.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Deuteronomy 31:19, 26, 27
- In what way was the song of Moses a witness for God, but against the people?
Romans 3:19, 20
- What can’t the Law do for us?
- What can the Law do for us?
- Why can’t our obedience be enough to cover our sins?
Tuesday: That You May Prosper
In the world, success is measured by our creativity, self-reliance, talents, and willingness to take risks. In God’s eyes, however, success is the by-product of obedience to His Law. The closer we come to God’s character, which is reflected in the Law, the more successful we are in our relationship with God and each other.
Joshua understood the kind of success that counts for God’s people. He said that meditating on God’s Law would lead to our prosperity and success. See Joshua 1:8. Only by our unwavering obedience to God’s requirements will we ever achieve goals that are worth our effort (Joshua 1:7).
Many times in the Bible our obedience is linked to our faith. Revelation 14:12 says the saints will both keep the commandments and have faith in Jesus. Paul, in Romans, talks about our obedience to the faith, that we receive through God’s grace, of course. See Romans 1:5 and 16:26.
Joshua also recognized the value of having God’s presence with us. And this is because it is only through His grace that we are enabled to keep the Law (Joshua 1:9).
Bible Verses to Consider:
- What are the measures of success that Joshua pointed out to the people?
- Why are both of these descriptions of God’s saints important?
Romans 1:5 and 16:26
- What does Paul mean by “obedience to the faith”?
Wednesday: The Toils and Struggles of Law Keepers
Many wonder why keeping the Law is so difficult for some people. Let’s remember that we live in a very sin-filled, evil world. In addition to this unfavorable environment, multiple generations have resulted in physical and mental losses that often make it even more difficult for some of us to keep the Law.
Despite all these challenges, however, people still have choices and still suffer immensely for those choices. Whether it’s the choice to follow Satan or to follow God, we are all impacted favorably or unfavorably by our actions. But the sad truth is, sometimes we prosper and sometimes we don’t, no matter what choices we’ve made.
It’s a highly unpredictable, insecure planet on which we find ourselves, and it won’t get better until the Lord re-creates the entire earth. He has promised a new heavens and earth for us someday–our only hope for a more secure future (Revelation 21:1).
Bible Verses to Consider:
Hebrews 11:13-16, 36-40
- Why us there such an uncertain future for those who keep the faith and the commandments of God?
Mark 6:25, Job 2:9, 10, and 2 Corinthians 11:24-27
- Why did these people in the Bible suffer for keeping the Law and others don’t?
- Who else can you think of who suffered and why are their stories shared in the scriptures?
- What is meant by this verse?
Thursday: Jesus, Our Example
It’s no doubt that Jesus is our example in many areas of our life. His example of a life of self-sacrificing, humble service to others, of love for all classes of people, and His unwavering loyalty to God are all things that appeal to us.
When it comes to Christ’s obedience to the Law, however, some of us aren’t quite as interested. We flinch and squirm when we hear Jesus say, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10). The same verse says that if we keep His commandments, WE will abide in God’s love.
This makes perfect sense, because if properly kept, the commandments ARE the most perfect reflection of His love available to mankind. Therefore, abiding in God’s love is the same as abiding in (or keeping) His commandments.
We must remember that part of Jesus’ example includes His life of obedience to God’s Law. That obedience is seen and understood to be how Jesus “walked”. And 1 John 2:6 says we should “walk just as He walked.” The Father will lead us into paths of righteousness, just as He led His Son Jesus while He visited us here on earth (Psalm 23:3).
Bible Verses to Consider:
Philippians 2:8 and Hebrews 5:8
- Why does society find the idea of obedience so repulsive today?
- How can we see it in a more favorable light?
John 15:10 and 8:28, 29
- How did Jesus keep the commandments, and why?
- How does man often keep the commandments differently than Jesus did, and what is the result?
1 John 2:3-6
- Why is keeping the Law of God a safe measure for how close we are to God?
James 2:17, 1 Corinthians 13:13, and Psalm 19:7, 8
- Why is love considered greater than faith and hope?
- How did the Psalmist feel about God’s law, and why is God’s law thought to be perfect?
God uses as many ways as possible to teach us about His love. Because love is who He is (1 John 4:8). He walked and talked directly with Adam and Eve in the Garden and continued to use the family unit to teach us about His love.
As we’ve also seen this week, God has chosen to write about His love on two tablets of stone. These Ten Commandments describe the kind of behaviors we will have when we choose to love and serve Him. The Law was meant to show us clearly how loving and perfect God is.
Unfortunately, Satan has stepped in, like he has so many times in the past. In order to obscure God’s love, to make it difficult to understand, he has intervened in ways that are subtle and devious. God’s enemy has found a way to infiltrate and twist God’s Law, making it a combination of truths and lies, just like the ones he used to deceive Adam and Eve. See Daniel 7:25.
Moses and other Bible writers have encouraged us to study God’s law. The purpose of the Law is to reflect God’s love and guide us into ways that are pleasing to Him. We must not neglect letting the Law be our teacher. To do so would be the same as neglecting our heavenly Teacher, the one who, out of love, gave us that Law.
Next Week: “The Eyes of the Lord”: The Biblical Worldview
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