Thursday, April 28, 2011

Leviticus: Chapter 26

The fact that this is a prophetic chapter is a perfect opportunity for me to caution readers about a weakness in my writing.  My dear pastor often reminds me that although my heart is continually drawn to the personal applications, the historical is the first and primary application.  There is tremendous power in understanding the real-world application of this passages, and I am not a good source for that perspective.  All that said, WHAT A CHAPTER!

The commentary points out that 'if' is used nine times in this one chapter.  Obedience matters; it has a direct correlation to blessing.  For the Israelite nation, obedience would determine occupancy of the land, harvests and peace.  Again and again through scripture we are confronted with battles, destruction and captivity--all resulting from turning away from God.  The same is true in our lives today:  at salvation we enter into eternal life.  Too often, our rebellion to God's ways propels us out of His kingdom and back into the realm of death ruled by Satan. 

Much of this chapter pertains to the consequences of disobedience.  Mid-way through the passage, three failures are mentioned that could threaten the covenant Israel had with God:  failure to hear, failure to obey and outright hatred of God's ways.  Today's Daily Bread points out that the rejection of God produces ever-increasing hatred and rejection of Him--and this chapter bears that out.  God promised Israel that He would practice 'tough love.'  He would progressively increase the consequences for disobedience...He does the same today.  In this chapter we see that judgment progresses from dis-ease (emotional and physical upheaval and failure) to full-blown devastation.  The process in between includes assaults from nature and mortal enemies.  Addiction always provides me with a picture of progressive judgment:  it begins with a 'high' and descends into the depths of depravity which devastates individual lives and future legacies.

A final note on something mentioned yesterday:  the 490 years of captivity.  Sometimes sin seems so minor (to us) that no impact is visible.  God is not blind or confused; our actions have long-term potential consequences.  That is a daunting thing to me:  what I do with my life may mar the lives of countless future souls.  Hope, though, is found as we near the end of the chapter:  for you and I and our descendants always have the option to repent of our sins and those of our ancestors.  God promises that He will then hear and be LORD God for all who do that.  We serve an awesome God!

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