In the days before World War II, a lady was traveling through Georgia, on her way to Moscow. She happened to meet an elderly woman who lived in a humble cottage. When the old woman learned that the traveler was headed for Moscow, she anxiously inquired, “Would you mind delivering a box of home-made toffee to my son? He cannot get toffee like this in Moscow.” The son’s name was Josef Stalin. To the rest of the world he was the dictator of Russia and nothing more. But to his mother, he was one who loved toffee. The labels the world gave her son made no difference to her.
- God’s love is like that of the mother’s. It doesn’t matter how bad we look in the eyes of others; God will continue to love us. Consider how this kind of love directs God to seek us out, to offer a covenant relationship.
- What role does our faith play when God has not just sent His Son, but has taken the first step towards reconciliation? When we exercise our faith, how does that step affect our works, our every day deeds and actions? What are the dangers of emphasizing our works before exercising faith? Give an example.
- The definition of a covenant is a relationship entered into between two people, a bargain for mutual profit, an engagement for mutual friendship. In the Bible, again and again, we see God taking the first step to initiate a covenant relationship. If it is mutually beneficial to both parties, why is it that we wait for God to come to us? Why don’t we have the faith to at least meet Him halfway? What does God’s persistence say to the universe?
- Our covenant relationship with God is like a marriage. The strength of a marriage is not in its legality but in its relationship. A good marriage lasts not because of obligation but because of love. Based on this comparison, describe the “ideal” covenant relationship between God and you.
- As the existing love in a marriage is increased in proportion to the amount of quality time put into the relationship, think of two to three specific ways you can improve the quality of the time you spend in prayer and meditation. Consider having a “spiritual growth partner” who will encourage you and remind you to periodically reassess the time you spend with God.