I want to tell you about something I read recently that brought tears to my eyes. Surprisingly to me, it was in Leviticus 26.
Let me start by saying I’ve never read through the entire Bible. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every book by now at one time or another, but I’ve never read it straight through. But earlier this year I got a copy of The Bible Recap by Tara Leigh Cobble, which takes you through the Bible in chronological order. This has been really cool…partway through Genesis, we changed gears and I read the book of Job. Then came back to Genesis. Then in the middle of Exodus, I think it was, I read a Psalm that Moses had written during that period of time. It’s been so, so cool.
But I digress, although I could go on and on about how fruitful this has been for me.
Going back to Leviticus 26, it’s a chapter where God is laying out for the Israelites “Blessings for Obedience” and “Punishments for Disobedience”.
In the blessings portion, God is putting on the table everything you could hope for, pray for, strive for – and all he’s asking in return is obedience. He’s pretty much saying, My ways are perfect. I created you to live in a specific way – set apart for me. The world has rebelled against me and no longer follows me. I only ask that you do. That you choose to be different. In doing this, you will find life and find it abundantly.
In exchange for obedience, he offered bountiful provision, favor, peace, safety, and victory over your enemies. Read verses 1 – 13. It is truly amazing.
Again, surprisingly to me, it’s this next part that brought me to tears.
The next section, verses 14 – 46, goes over the punishment section. This is a list of warnings for those who rebel against God, those who openly reject him. Those who despise him. Those who refuse to live in his perfect ways. If you read this section, there are 6 levels of disobedience, each one worse than the last. But this is what got me…after each level, God offers the chance to return to him. If you rebelled and were punished, God offered the chance to return. If you continued to rebel, he still offered the chance to return…the level of rebellion and the level of punishment grow to astonishing heights, and yet still, he never gives up. He says, “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile…I will not cancel my covenant with them…” Will they pay for their sin and their rebellion? Yes. But do they have the chance to return? Yes.
This is what had me tearing up. It was proof, right in front of my eyes from God himself, that he does not give up. That his love never fails. That his mercies are new every morning. All those things that David sang about in his Psalms were playing out right before my eyes.
A weight lifted off my shoulders after reading this chapter, because I now have proof that it’s not too late for anyone. It’s not too late for me. It’s not too late for you. I try to live a life that honors God, but I know I fall short. I hate that I fall short. But falling short is something I’ll wrestle with until the day I pass from earth to heaven. I thank Jesus that he sent the Holy Spirit, who is now my guide and counselor. That even though I am not perfect, I have the Bible to guide me in being made more like Christ, and learning more every day who God is and what it looks like to live set apart for him.
If you’re feeling like you’re too far gone, stop. You’re not. Read Leviticus 26 and let it be a picture for you of all God wants to offer you, a warning for what a life of rebellion is like, and an assurance that he loves you with an everlasting, unfailing love that’s ready to accept you back at a moments notice.
Leviticus. Who knew?