Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 24 February 21:
Leviticus 26:3-12 — “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you…. rains in their season…. fruit…. bread…. peace…. I will remove harmful beasts from the land…. your enemies, and they shall fall before you…. I will… make you fruitful and multiply you…. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
Leviticus 26:14-23 – “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments…. I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you…. I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins, and I will break the pride of your power…. And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit…. I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins. And I will let loose the wild beasts against you, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock and make you few in number, so that your roads shall be deserted…. I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins…. I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy…. And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it. And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 ) However, there are consequences for your actions. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) According to God’s word above, God blesses obedience with positive outcomes outside of mankind’s control, but most importantly, He blesses with His presence. On the other hand, God curses disobedience with panic, disease, blight, defeat, natural disaster and catastrophe, and He does this personally – “I myself will devastate the land.” Disobedience is cosmic treason, challenging or belittling the Sovereignty of God, warring against Him, trampling on the blood of Christ. In disobedience, you are no longer walking with God, and today God warns, “If… you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me, then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you,” a statement God repeats several times for emphasis. (Leviticus 27:21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 40, 41)
- Hebrews 12:9 — Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
The God of Justice disciplines in justice but also with mercy and grace. God offers opportunity for repentance.
- Revelation 3:19 — ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
God calls us to repentance so we can receive His forgiveness and reconciliation – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) As today’s verses say, “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me, so that I walked contrary to them… if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity… I will remember the land…. I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly….” (Leviticus 26:40-44) When God forgives, He forgives completely –
- Hebrews 8:12 — For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.
- Psalm 103:12 — As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. [Note: On a globe, if you travel north, you will eventually travel south, but if you travel east, you will never reach west – God’s forgiveness is infinite.]
God’s grace frees us from the eternal penalty of sin and also frees us from the bondage of sin – we no longer have to be controlled by sin or be consumed by the guilt of our sin. We are called to live joyfully and obediently in the power of God’s grace while we await Christ’s return and our eventual freedom from the presence of sin in our lives. Our confident obedience to God and our firm reliance on His grace glorifies God before the world.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 Feb 21: Today, don’t take God’s commands lightly, pray that God will reveal to you where you are currently dishonoring Him with disobedience, pray for the Holy Spirit’s conviction, and repent. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) “Go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)