Scripture: “Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.” Leviticus 26:44 ESV
Observation: Having pronounced the protocol for the year of jubilee, which called for the restoration of the land, the sojourner, and the poor, the rest of chapter 25 elaborates on the charitable treatment of the indigent—including redeeming fellow Israelites sold into slavery. Then, as presented in chapter 26, the Lord reviews with Moses the blessings and curses directly correlated with obedience and disobedience. The list of blessings begins with the promise of “rain in their season” to yield abundant grain and fruit. And the list continues with:
- peace in the land,
- safety from harmful beasts,
- victory over enemies,
- preservation of stored food, and
- the favored presence of the Lord.
In contrast, disobedience will lead to:
- wasting disease,
- persecution from enemies,
- famine, and
- exile to enemy lands.
Thankfully, the covenant’s stipulations do not end on this pessimistic note. Yahweh provides an addendum: if they confess their sins and that of their ancestors and humbly repent, the Lord will restore Israel according to the promises of the Abrahamic covenant.
Takeaway: Through the lens of our New Covenant of Grace, this cause-and-effect relationship with God seems counter-intuitive. Is there no pre-Messiah element of grace for Israel? Is their salvation based solely on behavior? The above verse provides a clear answer: No! Even under the dire scenario of wasting away in exile, the Lord will not turn his back on his covenant people. Indeed, when whoring Israel would one day turn her back on her loving Creator and chase after the lifeless gods and hedonistic lifestyle of pagan nations, the Lord will keep pursuing his beloved. And while the prophets would continue to pronounce judgment, they would also foretell a future with their God. Whether Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Hosea, their messages of hope align and point to fulfillment in Christ, for there is no more remarkable example of the Father’s unfailing love than giving us his only begotten Son (John 3:16).
So how does this Good News speak to our lives? Israel proved time and again that they could not uphold the Mosiac law. Hence, from the beginning of creation, the Father covenanted to send his Son to dwell with us and fulfill all the law’s requirements on our behalf and defeat our accuser (Genesis 3:15). And God initiates each step of our journey toward salvation through his Holy Spirit and the Word:
- bringing us to the end of our resources,
- stirring in us a desire for something more out of life,
- enlightening us in the truth of the Gospel, and
- granting us the faith and courage to believe without seeing.
And if he takes us this far, our Covenant Keeper will see his salvific work in us to completion at the “day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you and praise you for being our Covenant Keeper, for we are prone to disobey and violate your covenant. So would you please work in us a deeper understanding of your grace and a growing desire to obey you borne in our love and gratitude for you? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling