Read: Leviticus 26

Parents give many warnings to their children. To observers, these warnings can seem harsh. Sometimes they seem harsh to children as well, but loving parents issue them anyway. They know that the world’s dangers are real and that their warnings will help their children in the long run.

The passage for today completes God’s instructions for Israel’s everyday living by summarising the rewards for obedience to God, the consequences of disobedience, and by telling how to dedicate something to the Lord. It is a clear statement of why we should obey the Lord. The point is that, there is only one true living God, and so it does not make sense to live for money, possessions, or other idols. Not only that, but such a living is dangerous.

Some people think that the Old Testament portrays God as harsh, pointing to passages like Lev. 26:14-39 as an example. But this passage shows what God really wanted to accomplish with such warnings, and also what God meant when He said that He is slow to anger (Exod. 34:6). God warned His people of sin’s consequences for the same reason parents warn their children of danger – to protect and provide for them out of love. God wanted His people to prosper. Even if the Israelites chose to disobey God and were scattered among their enemies, God would still give them the opportunity to repent and return to Him (Lev. 26:40-45).

Our day-to-day experiences, though overwhelming, are used by God to help us grow. We need to see that God’s purpose is to help us live as He designed and to bring about continual growth in us (Jer. 29:11). To retain hope while suffering shows that we understand God’s merciful ways of relating to His people. What stresses and problems are you facing today? Endure hardship as God’s teaching tool, and ask Him to teach you through every difficulty.

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