God had made a covenant* with Abraham.* He made many promises to Abraham and his family. He promised Abraham that he would give them a land of their own. He promised to make them a great nation. He promised to be with them and guide them. He promised that they would bring a blessing* to all of the other nations.
Many years after Abraham died, Abraham’s children became slaves in Egypt.* They lived there for 400 years and they could not leave. But God rescued them from Egypt. Moses became their leader. God gave Moses the ten commands to guide the people. The commands told them how to live to honor* God. And God made promises to the people. If they obeyed the commands, God promised to bless* them. But if they did not obey, God would punish them. They would lose the blessings God had offered to them.
The ten commands were the rules that God gave them. He gave them the commands to bless them. If they lived the way the commands told them to live, their nation would be great. They would live in peace.* The people were happy to hear these commands. And they all promised to obey them. Moses was to help them understand the commands.
The children of Abraham did become a great nation. David* became their king. They lived in the land God gave to Abraham. But they did not obey God. Again, and again, they turned away. They did not obey the commands. They did many things that did not please God. God would correct them. God even sent prophets* to tell them to obey the covenant again. But they did not turn back to God. They did not listen to the prophets. They even began to follow other gods.
Many years after Moses and David had died, God punished his people. God brought a great nation to fight against them. This nation would take many of the people away from their land. For many years, Abraham’s children would have to live in a strange land. God sent prophets to them. The prophets told them that God was not pleased with them. They had broken their promises to God. But God had not broken his promises to them. If they would obey him again, he would bring them home to their land. And God did bring them back to their land. But even then, the people did not do what they had promised.
What was wrong with Abraham’s children? Why did they keep doing wrong things?
They did not obey God because they had the same problem that every person has. They were sinful.* From the very beginning, our first parents chose not to obey God. When they did this, sin* entered our world. Adam and Eve* chose to sin. They did not want to listen to God. They did not want to obey the one command he had given them. They believed the Evil One.* They doubted that God was good. They turned away from the God who made them.
Ever since then, every person is born in sin. David says,
‘I have done bad things since I was born.
I have wanted to sin since the day of my birth.’
Sin is the wrong things people do against God and other people. When we do not follow the rules that God made, we sin. When we do not do what God wants us to do, we sin. All people are sinful. Something is broken inside of us. We are born with bad desires. And we choose to follow those bad desires.
No person, born of a man and a woman, has ever obeyed God in every way.
That is why the scriptures* says,
‘It is true that there is no one on earth
who does only what is right and never sins.’