After reading Leviticus 26, I retreated to my treadmill, struggling to find words to express what was taking hold of my heart; every promised blessing and pledged penalty was meant to draw His people to Himself.
And then I heard it, a love song from the 60’s that seemed to capture the essence behind what can easily be construed as legalistic and harsh.
“Always Something There to Remind Me” tells of a love now cast aside; but the dejected lover, consumed by his memories, cannot let go of what was once his. Every turn he makes brings him face to face with a stark reminder of his elusive heart’s desire.
Of course all human analogies fall short of expressing the whole truth of God’s perfect love; God is not elusive. But did you see Him, there in Leviticus 26, Always There to Remind? Both His lavish blessings and severe penalties were meant to bring to His people’s remembrance the truth: they belonged to Him, and He was to be their God.
As the LORD was establishing a theocracy, a civilization called to live by faith and submission to Him alone as their Supreme Ruler and King; it was essential His people live as His called out ones, as distinctly His, walking in obedience.
Consider Him, Always There to Remind
His people would be distinct and enjoy the blessings of the LORD God, their majestic monarch. And the blessings of faith demonstrated in obedience are categorically expressed.
“You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God. 2 You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the Lord. 3 If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,…” (26:1-3).
The LORD painted the beautiful picture of the new land He was giving them, a place lavished with His grace and bounteous provision. He promised, if they believed and followed Him in obedience, He would pour out the most extravagant of blessings:
“then I shall…” (26:4).
And He goes on to describe His prepared paradise, fruitful and lush for food, free from enemies, war and sickness. And then, the most glorious grace gift of all…
“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. 12 I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect,” (26:11-13).
Who wouldn’t take Him up on such an offer? Faith always does! But alas, the sad truth is His people were stiff-necked and rebellious in their unbelief.
But still we see Him, Always There to Remind, leaving no stone unturned in His full elaboration of the horrific and inevitable consequences of rejecting His statutes, abhorring His ordinances, acting with hostility through disobedience, and continuing to refuse to turn to Him.
Behind His depiction of the devastating ramifications of rebellion and disobedience, we hear His heart of grace, entreating His people to to turn to Him, the place of blessing.
- “But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, 15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, 16 I, in turn, will do this…” (26:14-16).
- “If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will…” (26:18).
- “If then, you act with hostility against Me and are unwilling to obey Me, I will…” (26:21).
- “And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me, 24 then I will…” (26:23-24).
- “Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, 28 then I will…” (26:27-28).
Can you picture Him, Always There to Remind His people of their propensity toward unbelief, idolatry, rebellion, hostility and disobedience?
It’s important that we consider the context carefully. He was not calling His people to earn His love or redemption through obedience. He was calling them to a life of faith, believing Him and His Word, as they consecrate themselves under His rule and reign; and as they did He would bless the land.
- “…then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit,” (26:4).
- “I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble,” (26:6).
- “So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you,” (26:9).
Choosing to doubt and distrust Him, and dismiss, disregard, and disobey His statutes would result in the land’s desolation.
“I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. 33 You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste,” (26:32-33).
And while the land would not receive His intended blessing as a society representing holy God to surrounding nations and the people would bear the consequences of their own choices, the LORD promised forgiveness to His people if they would but turn to Him in faith through humility, confession and repentance.
“If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me… or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land,” (26:40-42).
He is Always There to Remind His own of His longsuffering, grace and love; it is often the consequences of behavior that capture one’s attention most definitively and securely. Even in such rebellion, He promised He would not reject or destroy His people. He is Always There to Remind His people He is the faithful, covenant-keeping One, Who brought them out of bondage to be their God.
“Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord,” (26:44-45).
How do we respond to Him, Always There to Remind?
As we consider Him, Always There to Remind, let us remember His truths from Leviticus 26.
- Remember: The Lord still calls His people by faith to a place of extravagant blessing.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Ephesians 1:3).
- Remember: The Lord still calls us to live by faith under His rule and reign that the world might know He is God.
- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:14-16).
- Remember: The Lord will never leave or forsake those who are His by faith, but He will discipline us for our good.
- It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?… 10 but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, (Hebrews 12:7 10-11).
- Remember: The Lord will forgive our sins as we come to Him by faith, in humility, confession and repentance.
- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
- Remember: The Lord is faithful to His Covenant in the shed blood of Christ, our eternal security.
- “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one,” (John 10:27-30).
- Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen, (Jude 24-25).
Oh, let us live every day in gratitude that He Is Always There to Remind; that we would take hold of every Reminder to live by faith in Him and His Word and to daily consecrate ourselves under His rule and reign. And as we do, we can pray in faith and expectation that He will bless our families, churches, communities, and even our land.