March 14, 2017

Leviticus 26:3 “‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, …'”

Here we have the carrot for the Old Testament Law. (The stick starts from verse 14.) The blessings listed in the next 10 verses deal primarily with abundant provision and ample protection and victory. Certainly desirable things! Actions have consequences, and here the Lord is making it clear that obedience to Him is certainly no exception to that. It is interesting that from verse 10 through verse 39 it talks about the horrible consequences of disobedience, but then from verse 40 it talks about repentance and grace. All of this was necessary to lay a foundation for understanding our accountability before God. We would like to appropriate the good stuff and ignore the bad stuff, but life doesn’t work that way. Frankly, the accumulated weight of the sins of mankind has the world in a pretty horrible state right now. Far more people need to wake up to the reality of accountability to God and live accordingly. That said, the New Testament makes it clear that whereas we are incapable of keeping the Law in our own strength, God has opened the way to salvation by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The danger for many Christians today is in taking God’s grace lightly, failing to understand the seriousness of their ignoring God in much of their daily life. I’ve preached recently on the twin pillars of the Gospel: God’s love and God’s righteousness, both as expressed perfectly in Christ Jesus. (Appreciation to Steven Kaylor, who expressed that clearly in a conference I attended.) When we ignore the if/then statements in the Bible we are negating God’s righteousness, and we have abandoned the Gospel. As has been said, “Where God guides, He provides,” but we had better be following His guidance if we want that provision.

This of course applies to me as much as it does to anyone. Like everyone else, I am prone to take my own sins lightly and be judgmental of others. That doesn’t pass God’s smell test! Such activity grieves the Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 4:30) and must be repented of. I have been blessed greatly, but I’ve got to remember that every bit of it is grace. I am to walk in gratitude and obedience as a good steward of all that God has provided, both materially and spiritually. Hoarding is not a Kingdom mentality! I am to listen and obey, submitting to God and resisting the devil, (James 4:7) so that all of God’s plans for me may be fulfilled. And I know those plans are good indeed! (Jeremiah 29:11)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your plans for today, for the opportunities to be obedient to You and to resist the devil. Help me make full use of each of those opportunities (Ephesians 5:16) so that Your grace and love may flow through me unhindered, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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