Today’s reading comes from Leviticus 24-25. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word.
Today in our reading we find two contrasts. God shares what he will do if they follow him … seasonal life giving rains, constant work because of bountiful harvests, plenty of food, peace in the land, no wild animals, deliverance from enemies, being a fertile people, and God living among them. On the other side, if they do not follow him … punishment, sudden terrors, disease, enemies eating and destroying crops, defeat from enemies, oppression of foreign peoples, disaster, and ultimately hostility from God. Now I do not know about you, but I pick the first one.
Sometimes I wish I could read God’s word as if I did not know what was playing out. I wish I could read it as if I had never read it and it was like a fun new exciting novel. Because if I had read today’s reading that way, I would have been rooting for them to get it, to follow God. Now that might be naivety since we have already seen their sinful nature … complaining to Moses about food, water, and weariness. We have seen them resort back to making a golden calf to worship when Moses disappears on Mt. Sinai. But maybe, in my optimistic mind, they might just get it and follow him.
Would not life be grand for them if they just did what he asked? Unfortunately we are going to in the next several months witness the negative play out because they do not follow him. But here’s the cool thing even in this destruction God does not abandon his covenant with them, he keeps a remnant and prepares the world so that all peoples on earth would be blessed through Abraham … and he said he would in Leviticus 26:40-45 NLT …
““But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. Then 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 must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.
“But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
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