Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 182

From Handbook to God’s Promises

LIFE HAS A DIVINE PURPOSE

God Is So Good
(Deuteronomy 10:12–13)

Sometimes teenagers think freedom is the right “to do what I want” and that rules are parents’ irrational way of limiting that freedom (for “whatever” reason). Parents, on the other hand, view freedom as the opportunity “to do what I ought,” rules being the parameters within which true freedom can be safely and beneficially enjoyed.

Why the disconnect between the two views? The answer goes beyond parent-teen relationships to the sometimes painful transition from immaturity to maturity. When a mother tells a small child that he can play anywhere he wants to in the front yard, but that he must not step down the curb and go into the street, the child sees a limitation to test. The mother, however, knows that she has just given her child the best of both worlds—complete freedom (within wise boundaries) and total protection.

When children and young people mature, and especially when they start having children of their own, their views of freedom suddenly align with those of their parents. Abruptly—sometimes, almost miraculously—they understand that the rules their parents laid down were for their own good.

We see the same dynamic at work in the early years of God’s relationship with His childlike nation, Israel. For four hundred years the Hebrews had chafed under Pharaoh’s rules, enforced, not for the good of the slaves, but for the good of Egypt. So when God started giving out new rules—first ten major ones followed by more than six hundred lesser ones—they may have wondered if they had been “redeemed” from one version of slavery into another. They lacked the insight that the rules were being given for their good, not God’s (Deut. 6:1–3, 24–25).

Do you ever view God’s rules, or His actions, as designed to limit your enjoyment of life? Scripture frequently reminds us that, like the wisest of fathers, God has a good purpose for everything He asks us to do—and not to do. Where God’s guidelines for life are concerned, wisdom is revealed when we stop chafing against His law and start embracing it.

God’s Promise:
His commands are the doorway to freedom and fullness of life.