Crossroads: Following God

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Psalm 119:33-40

Your Story

Talk about a time when someone helped you follow the rules. Maybe it was a friend of yours, or perhaps it was one of your parents or a teacher. How did they help you follow the rules? Were you able to follow them after that?

My Story and the Bible Story

I loved to talk when I was a kid. I talked all the time. And at school, there are times when you’re supposed to be quiet. But sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I talked to the people around me. And of course, I got in trouble. I got I’s (needs Improvement) and sometimes U’s (for Unsatisfactory) on my report card for talking. My mom needed to help me learn how to follow that rule, so she told me that if I got an S (Satisfactory) on my report card, if I stayed quiet in class and got that S, then she would pay me. I forget how much she said she’d give me. It was probably only $5, but it motivated me. I learned how to stay quiet and when my report card came, I was proud to show my mom that I had done it! I had gotten that S. She gave me the money she said she would and then she said that now I knew how to stay quiet, and she expected me to be quiet when I was supposed to be. And it worked! I didn’t have a problem with talking at school when I was supposed to be quiet. Sometimes we need help following the rules. There are times when we need guidance to help us do what we should.

Read Psalm 1119:33-40. From the NIV: Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Sometimes it’s hard to follow the rules. It can be hard to remember everything that you’re supposed to do. Sometimes, the rules don’t even seem to make any sense, and we have a hard time understanding why we’re supposed to do something. For instance, why can’t I carry an ice cream cone in my back pocket on a Sunday? (That’s illegal in Georgia.) Why can’t I keep a donkey in my bathtub? (Also illegal in Georgia.) These are silly, but sometimes rules don’t really make sense.

There are times when God’s rules don’t make much sense either. But instead of saying “these are stupid, I’m not going to follow them,” the Psalmist does something different. He writes, “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” The Psalmist asks for help in following God’s laws. He asks God to teach him to follow, and to help him understand why those laws are important. It can seem like God has a lot of rules. And sometimes it seems like those rules don’t make sense, or they get in the way of what we want to do. But, if like the Psalmist, you ask God for help following God’s rules, and you ask God to help you understand why those rules are there, it will be much easier for you to follow God’s rules. Here’s the thing about God’s rules: there’s a reason for them. God’s rules help us live better. And they help us show love to others and help the people in our lives. When you need help understanding God’s rules, all you have to do is ask God. And when you need help following them, you can ask for that too. God is always there for you, and God’s always ready to help. All you have to do is ask!

Discussion

• Ask your children to talk about a time when they have needed help following the rules. Who helped them?
• Talk about some of God’s rules that are sometimes hard to follow (for instance, loving your neighbor as yourself or not lying about others).
• Ask your children if there are rules that you can help them follow.

Prayer

Ask God for helping in following God’s laws. Ask God to help you and your family understand God’s rules.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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