You are Cordially Invited

10:43 AMHeather

So, the other day, I was reading in Leviticus.  Listen--if I had a dime for every time I've said that.  Well, I'd have a dime.  Yep.  Leviticus.  Not a book we tend to camp out much in the Bible. If you are new to my little blog here, you may have missed the mention that my word for 2012 is GRACE.  And in my little search into that word, I found that the original form of the word grace is first translated as favor.  Thus, I am plodding through every verse discussing favor as my starting point for really investigating Biblical grace.  Which led me to Leviticus.  

I wasn't really all that excited about that, to be honest, and didn't think I'd dig out much treasure here.  Sorta yawned at the prospects.  To be sure, I was wrong.  Leviticus 26:1-13 just thrilled me as I found a treasure trove of riches.  I hope that you, too, will finish reading this post and agree with me on that point.  

Let me set the stage here.  The Israelites, God's chosen people, were disobedient and taken into slavery.  God used Moses to free them.  They quickly responded by building a golden calf that they worshiped, and somewhere in there they began to grumble and complain about the boring old manna they were being fed day after day as it rained down from heaven.  Charming, aren't they?  Leviticus is basically full of God's instructions and laws for his people.  Very tedious laws.  

Occasionally, as an adoption social worker, I get to read new laws and regulations.  Things as exciting as the Hague Treaty.  Leviticus is an ancient version of that.  Most of us New Testament believers find little value in reading these old ancient laws that do not apply to us.  Except that they are actually quite relevant when we read between the lines.

And, here's why.  Leviticus 26:1-13, in my study Bible, has the heading "Reward for Obedience."  Think of it like our own personal reward chart, much like we might make for our children.   And, check it out.  It's more swag than any Oscar attendee could ever hope to receive in their infamous party favor rooms.  

God says, "IF you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will:

*send rain in its season
*bring forth harvests for you
*you will eat all the food you want & not know hunger
*you will live safely in your land
*I will grant peace
*no one will make you afraid
*I will remove predators and savage beasts
*I will give victory over your enemies
*I will look on you with favor
*I will make you fruitful & your numbers increase
*I will keep my covenant with you
*I will meet your needs and more
*I will dwell among you
*I will not abhor you 
*I will walk among you
*I will be YOUR God
*You will be MY people
*I will keep you from chains and bondage
*I will enable you to walk with heads held high

Holy smokes!  Can I get an A-men?  Listen, that is some good stuff.  I dare you to go back and look through that list, considering what that looks like in your life.  What enemies do you need victory over?  What needs do you need met?  What chains do you need to be freed from?  What shameful pasts do you need to be able to walk out with head held high?  What sense of belonging can you glean from being a child of the Most High God?  What fears do you need to be released from?  In what chaos do you need to find peace?

In my adult years, as I've dived into Bible study, I have seen a recurring theme to sum up this thing called our Christian walk.  Obedience brings blessing.  Disobedience brings discipline (read on in Leviticus 26:14-46 if you want details on that part).  Lest we lose sight of the depth of that simple phrase, consider this.  A million times a day, we have a choice to make with our own free will.  We can choose God's way or our way.  We can hit snooze and neglect our time with the Lord.  We can lose our patience.  We can demand our rights and push our selfish agenda.  We can ignore that still small voice pressing us to call and check on a friend.  We can refuse to extend grace and gentleness.  We can get lost in a screen instead of in quality time with our little ones.  We can put our own needs before our spouses.

Or, we can remember this list.  We can stop and consider just how much the Father promises to pour out on us when we choose to obey.  We can mentally picture all these amazing tangible things and how they might translate into our lives, and we can be in awe.  We can pray for God to help our unbelief that we can taste the greatness of the blessings He wishes to pour out.  We can pray to be blinded to the temptations to choose good so that we refuse anything less than His excellent best.  We can be moved by a sense of awe from all the glory He wishes to show us.

Glimpse of grace:  It boils down to this.  We can fix our eyes on Leviticus 26:1-13 and see that we've been cordially invited to a party.  And, here's the thing.  If we don't attend that obedience party, we'll miss out on some incredible party favors.

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