Introduction: Why does God give us His laws? Is it a test to see if
we are “good enough” to be saved? Or, good enough to be in a right
relationship with Him? Many people think that, but that is not what
the Bible teaches. Deuteronomy 4:5-8 tells us that God gives “decrees
and laws” to make us “a wise and understanding people.” God gives us
His directions in life to bless us with a superior life. Living well
brings glory to God and to us. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible
and learn more about God’s laws and unity!

  1. Living the High Life!

    1. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-2. What results from paying
      attention to God’s commandments and obeying them? (We are
      set “high above all the nations on earth.”)

      1. Is this still true? Or, was this a promise made only
        to Israel? (Read Exodus 19:5-6 and Romans 2:28-29. In
        Exodus 19, the “covenant” for which God is preparing
        His people is the Ten Commandments. In Romans 2 we
        learn that we become spiritual Jews if we live a life
        led by the Holy Spirit. If you believe that the Ten
        Commandments are still God’s road map for your life,
        and the Holy Spirit helps guide you toward right
        living, it is illogical to believe that the rewards
        for right living no longer exist. Rather, the
        Commandments are the manufacturer’s directions for
        living a superior life.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 28:3-6. Let’s test this idea. Is having
      children and good crops and good livestock depend on your
      efforts? Can you see a direct connection to obedience? (We
      cannot control the weather. They could not control
      reproduction back then. Thus, we need to acknowledge that
      these blessings are not simply a mechanical thing – obey
      and prosper. The kind of prosperity that God describes
      involves His directed blessings. The most accurate view
      of this is that God gives us the directions to living a
      great life, and God intervenes on our behalf to make it
      even better.)

      1. Do you know people who doubt this? Don’t we
        criticize the religious leaders of Jesus’ time
        because they thought they were better because they
        obeyed and were blessed? (Every one of us has seen a
        person who has suffered because of disobedience. An
        honest observer cannot deny the connection between
        obedience and better living.)

      2. How do we explain the disciples, Paul and Jesus:
        didn’t they all have a difficult life? (They had some
        very difficult times, but I think they were also in
        very specific and unique situations. Imagine what
        additional difficulties they would have faced if
        their lives involved regular disobedience to God?)

    3. Let’s skip down and read Deuteronomy 28:9-11. Would you
      like “abundant prosperity?”

      1. Some debate what is meant by “prosperity.” What kind
        of prosperity is God offering? Is it just feeling
        good about obeying? (Absolutely not. God describes
        exactly what He means by prosperity: many children
        and a successful business. If you still are not sure,
        read Deuteronomy 28:12.)

      2. Do you think that obedience to God is “all about us?”
        Isn’t this an invitation to greed? (These verses
        identify our good life with our God. By right living
        and a prosperous result, we bring glory to God.)

      3. I have a friend from years ago who no longer seems
        concerned about obeying God. She is extremely
        critical of Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of
        Lakewood Church, because of his house. He lives in a
        17,000 square foot home. Lakewood church averages
        52,000 attendees each week! If every pastor lived in
        a house whose square footage was 1/3 of the number of
        people who attend his church, would that be a

    4. Since our study is about disunity, what possible
      connection is there between prosperity and unity? (God’s
      plan was to have a successful and prosperous people who
      would be a living argument for following the true God of
      heaven. If this group has similar goals and rules, and if
      they realize the value of being part of this community,
      that brings unity.)

  2. Kingdom Division

    1. Read 1 Kings 11:42-43. Was Solomon a great King?

    2. Read 1 Kings 12:1-4. Rehoboam is going to succeed Solomon
      as King, but it has not yet happened. What do the people
      ask of him before making him king? (To lower the high

    3. Read 1 Kings 12:5. What do you think about Rehoboam’s
      answer to this complaint? (He shows wisdom in not
      answering immediately.)

    4. Read 1 Kings 12:6-7. What kind of leadership style do the
      elders recommend to Rehoboam? (Servant leadership. Listen
      to the people and they will follow you. Rehoboam shows
      that he wants advice.)

    5. Read 1 Kings 12:8-11. What kind of leadership do the young
      men recommend? (Ruling through fear.)

    6. Rehoboam accepts the advice of the young men. Let’s read 1
      Kings 12:16-20. How do the people react to Rehoboam’s
      promise to rule by fear?

    7. Let’s go back and read a verse that we skipped. Read 1
      Kings 12:15. Who is behind this rebellion? (God.)

      1. If you want to fully understand the background of the
        promise to Jeroboam, read 1 Kings 11. Later in life,
        Solomon was unfaithful to God. God promised Jeroboam,
        as part of the punishment of King Solomon, that
        Jeroboam would lead ten of the tribes after Solomon’s

      2. Let’s get back to the issue of disunity. What lessons
        should we learn from our study so far? Let’s pose a
        few questions:

        1. Does success and wealth always lead to unity?
          (God blessed Solomon – in accordance with the
          promises we discussed in the first section.
          But, Solomon’s wealth and success caused him to
          turn away from God. This resulted in harm and
          disunity in the kingdom.)

        2. What church leadership lessons should we learn?
          Or, does God’s promise to punish Solomon
          override anything we might learn about
          leadership? (Rehoboam listened to the advice of
          those who were selfish and arrogant. These
          young advisors benefitted from the heavy
          taxation of the people. God’s prosperity
          blesses all. The evil twin of prosperity,
          greed, takes money from others. The lesson for
          church leaders is to be faithful to God, and to
          avoid improperly burdening members.)

        3. Is rebellion sometimes God’s idea? (In this
          case it was. But, the Bible consistently warns
          against being a rebel. E.g. Proverbs 24:21-22.)

  3. Church Division

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10. How realistic is this? Can we
      just tell people to agree? Might there be some debate on
      the nature of the agreement?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 1:11-12. What is the source of the
      problem? (People have favorite leaders.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 1:13. Paul now gets into his logical
      argument against division. What is Paul’s argument? (That
      we are all united in Jesus. The role of the Christian
      leader is to point people to Jesus, not to himself.)

    4. What lesson can we find in this story to help bring unity
      to the church today? (We need to focus on our unity in
      Jesus. The person who converted us or baptized us should
      not be the focus of our spiritual life.)

    5. Read Acts 20:27-31. What other danger to unity exists?
      (“Savage wolves.”)

      1. What is involved in keeping “watch over yourselves
        and all the flock?” Should we take active measures?
        If so, what should they be?

    6. Read Matthew 13:24-30. What is Jesus’ solution?

      1. What is the meaning of Jesus’ warning about
        “root[ing] up the wheat” while “pulling the weeds?”
        (Good Christians might not understand all of the
        issues. For a lot of problems, it is best to just
        leave it alone.)

      2. What if you have a teacher or preacher that is a
        “wolf?” (This is a more serious problem than just a
        weed growing along side wheat. This is like the
        enemy that sowed the weeds. The church should not
        financially support the enemy that sows weeds.)

    7. Friend, do you value unity in the church? If not, is it
      because you do not realize the full blessings of being in
      unity with Jesus? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to better
      show you God’s will for your life?

  4. Next week: “That They All May Be One.”