Friday 26 July 2013

Bible Book:

Leviticus 26:1-20 Friday 26 July 2013


What an image of peace and prosperity: the rains fall in theirseasons, the land is fruitful, you shall eat what you need and livein security. This is the vision of what life will be like for thepeople of Israel if they follow the commandments that God has laiddown for them. God has given them back their human dignity,breaking the yoke and making them walk erect, and now they have thechoice of whether to follow God's laws or not.

But the consequences of not observing God's rules will be severe- illness, hunger, victory for their enemies, a breakdown in theseasons. The pride of the disobedient people will be broken.

This is not a simplistic prosperity gospel - do what is rightand you will prosper materially. Here the consequences of observingor disobeying God's law are not individual. There is not a sensethat the good will be rewarded or the bad punished. Instead God isspeaking to his people as a whole. The behaviour of that entirecommunity, whether they cherish the values of God's law in theirsociety, will lead to that community thriving or breaking down.

And what are these values? Essentially they are faithfulness toGod and love for one another. When people treat one anotherunjustly, act with hatred, idolise or stigmatise, then societystarts to unravel. But when humans follow God's law for interactingwith each other and with creation, they thrive.

If we reflect on areas of creation which are unravelling, andwhere things seem to be falling apart, we need to ask how are we,as a global community, failing to observe God's laws. Climatechange might be one example of this. Through human behaviour, weare approaching a situation where the climate of the world might beirrevocably changed, with devastating consequences for a hugeproportion of the population. As is often the case, those who arepoorest will be hit first and hardest. It is only throughrepentance of our exploitation of the earth's resources and acommitment to put things right that we will be able to recover thepeace-filled, prosperous and abundant image of faithful living thatthis passage presents.

To Ponder

  • What do the consequences of right living by God's values looklike to you?
  • What actions could you take in situations where creation isunravelling?
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