Close your eyes and open yourself as you relax into a peaceful state. Be willing to expose yourself for who you are as God created you to be. Breathe deeply as you prepare to hear God’s Word.
Leviticus 26:3-20 (NRSV)
If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.
But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.
Twenty years ago while participating in a study group, a colleague shared with the group a theme that seems to be consistent from the beginning of the Bible to the last word in Revelation. I have never forgotten what she said and have shared her words many times while teaching. She said, “The rhythm of the scriptures is obedience=blessing, disobedience=curse.”
The scripture above reaffirms God’s people being blessed for obedience and punished for disobedience. How could something that sounds so simple be so difficult to live out in our daily lives? Perhaps the temptation experienced by humanity in the Garden of Eden is the same temptation we face while struggling to remain obedient. Why should we expect life to be any different for us than it was for Jesus, who was also tempted?
God, give us strength through your grace to live faithful and obedient lives. Amen.
Go with God.