Leviticus 26:1-4,14-16,18,21,23-24,27-28,36,40-45 “‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God. “‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. “‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit... “‘But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it... “‘If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over... “‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve... “‘If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over...
“‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over... “‘As for those of you who are left, I will make their hearts so fearful in the lands of their enemies that the sound of a windblown leaf will put them to flight. They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them... “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected my laws and abhorred my decrees. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the LORD their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the LORD.’”
Never before have I had to select so many verses to draw what I believe God is speaking to us and I do hope you will read the chapter before your read any further because the above highlighted verses don't fully draw out the essence of the chapter.
We are now living in times when many great thinkers and authors seem to be using their combined learnings of various religions and beliefs to create a concept of spiritualism, a mantra the seeking world is fast accepting.
Religion appeals to few but a watered down version is palatable and some ex-christians twist the word of God to their own benefit showing the character of God to be different from that of Jesus and revealing the God of the Old Testament as a hateful and heinous God, therefore not deserving of our love or care.
When we read chapters such as today's passage, it seems easy to be misled by such questions and so what then is really the truth?
From chapter 3 of Genesis when Adam and Eve's sin is recorded, everything seems to have gone downhill from that point. The beauty of God's creation and the love of God was squandered in an instant by man's poor choice and even today, we live with that consequence.
As a race, we still fall prey to the schemes of the devil and eat the forbidden fruit of sin and are blinded from the reality of God's love and blessing to us.
We fail to appreciate God's goodness to us in creating us, the world around us, the tangible and the intangibles but instead we are focussed on living for our selfish interest and nothing else.
God reminds us of the great blessing He will provide us when we love Him, follow His words and ways and submit ourselves to His will.
However, just like a parent who seeks the best for their child corrects them in earnest, God reminds us of the consequence of living away from His will and as harsh as it might seem, the only reason for the punishment is to better us.
The degree of God's punishment increases with our continued disobedience and yet at the end of the chapter, God shows us incomprehensible love by offering to receive us even though we have become a prodigal child.
In the Mosaic times, there was hope only in following God's law but years later, God provided us His son Jesus Christ through whom we now have redeeming hope through His sacrificed blood.
We are no longer justified by our good works or apparent obedience to God's law but are saved by simply accepting Jesus' sacrifice of His life for our brokenness.
Reconciling the difference between the law and grace seems way too much for us but that is a love that is beyond human comprehension and is only possible through the person of the God.
Are you as formless clay trying to describe the potter or are you willing to let the potter shape you into something of beauty that magnifies the beauty of the potter?
In His Loving Service,