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As we go through our activities this week, let's think about the fact that God wants to be close to us. It will help us to meditate on the friendship we can have with our Creator through our acceptance of His salvation.
Without the forgiveness of our sins, of course, any closeness to God would be out of the question. The wonder of God's grace is that He was not willing to leave us in our lost condition, alienated from His love and without any hope of being with Him in eternity. He did what only He could have done to bridge the gap and make possible our restoration to Him. For the time being, we cannot have the complete, perfect fellowship with God that we were created to enjoy, but the hope of the gospel is that, when He returns, an eternal fellowship with God will be granted to us.
It is truly unfortunate if our concept of God is such that we dread the thought of Him. God is surely to be reverenced, and there are many people who need to treat God with more respect. After all, God is God and we are His creatures. We are not to think of God in such familiar terms that we trivialize Him or trifle with His greatness. Nevertheless, this great God of heaven and earth is One who created us for communion with Him. His purpose is to have a close, loving relationship with us. In the Old Testament, the priestly blessing upon Israel said, "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace" (Num. 6:24-26). If we can see God's intent toward us as being one of friendship rather than enmity, it will impart a warmth and happiness to our obedience that we deeply need.
What God wants is our joy -- our joy in Him. The apostle John wrote about the "fellowship" we can have with God through Christ: "that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete" (1 Jn. 1:3,4). To us, even more than to Israel, God is saying, "And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people" (Lev. 26:12). Throughout this week, let's enjoy and give thanks for the closeness to God we can have in Jesus Christ.
Monday: John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-12
Key Idea: God loves us.
Questions for Family Growth: Does one person really love another if he does not show it in some way? How has God shown that He loves us? What does it mean that God sent His Son "that we might live through him" (1 Jn. 4:9)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 20:30.
Tuesday: Numbers 6:22-27
Key Idea: God wants to bless us and keep us.
Questions for Family Growth: Who was to pronounce this blessing over the people of Israel? What is a "blessing"? What do you think this means: "the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:1.
Wednesday: Genesis 5:21-24; 6:9
Key Idea: God wants us to walk with Him.
Questions for Family Growth: Who was said to have "walked with God"? What kind of friendship does this suggest these two men had with God? What kind of thoughts do you think these men had about God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:2.
Thursday: 1 John 1:1-4
Key Idea: God wants to have fellowship with us.
Questions for Family Growth: What does the word "fellowship" mean? What can keep us from having fellowship with God, and what has God done about that? What good things does God want to share with us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:3.
Friday: James 2:21-24
Key Idea: God wants us to be His friends.
Questions for Family Growth: Who is the man who was called a "friend of God"? Why was he called that? Is there any reason that we today can't have just as close a relationship with God as this man had? What practical things can we do that will contribute to such a relationship?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:4.