Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blessings For Obedience

"If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely. I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and non shall make you afraid."
Leviticus 26: 3-6

Wow! The author of Leviticus paints this amazing picture of human flourishing under the reign of God. God says that he will give rain to the Israelites, the land will be blessed, it will produce abundantly, the Israelites will be satisfied completely, they will dwell securely, there will be peace, and there will be no more fear. What a glorious promise! This passage is a description of total human flourishing. 

However, there is one hitch. All these promises are contingent upon the Israelites obedience. If Israel keeps and obeys God's commandments, the outcome will be this immense blessing from God resulting in total flourishing. So, the question is, what happened? Did Israel obey?

Well, the short answer is no. Much of the Old Testament captures Israel's repeated failures to follow God and to obey his commands. Israel, like a stubborn child, refused to live as God's chosen people. Yet, God remains faithful. Despite Israel's numerous failures, God keeps making these promises to restore that which is broken. God keeps talking about this desire to bless his people and return them to this state of flourishing described in Leviticus 26. So, how does God accomplish this?

The answer is Jesus. Where Israel failed to obey God, Jesus obeyed perfectly. In Leviticus 26, we see the obvious blessings for obedience. The truth is, we all radically fail to obey God's commands. Left to ourselves, we don't deserve any of God's blessings. The good news is that Jesus came to fulfill the commandments of God perfectly, so that by his life, death and resurrection, the blessings in Leviticus 26 may be secured for us. 

Talk about a good deal! This literally is too good to be true, yet it is true. Jesus took upon himself the punishment for our disobedience, and in return, we get the blessing of his obedience. This can't be attained through any of our own goodness, but it is attained through repentance and faith. The ultimate blessing for which we were created to be in relationship with God. Only then will we be satisfied, secure, and at peace. In Romans, Paul describes how Jesus Christ's perfect obedience justifies us before God. 

"For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners,
so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."
Romans 5:19

No comments:

Post a Comment