Saturday 27 July 2013

Bible Book:

Leviticus 26:27-42 Saturday 27 July 2013


This passage shocks. The people of Israel are warned that ifthey are disobedient they will suffer unimaginable horrors: defeatat the hands of their enemies, terror in their hearts, and exile.Most shocking of all, if they are hostile to God, they will end upeating the flesh of their own children.

What have the people of Israel done to deserve this? The answeris simple: repeatedly ignoring God's rules. One example of this isthe failure to observe God's law (Leviticus 25:1-7) that every seven years theland should rest for a year. When the people are thrown off theland, and the land lies desolate, then the land will have thefallow time it needs. This is a pointed reminder that God will haveultimate sovereignty. Even if God's people disobey his law and arehostile, God's order will prevail. The land will have its sabbathrest.

This is a difficult passage to read. It feels hard to recognisein this vengeful God, who threatens the cannibalism of loved ones,the loving, self-sacrificial God we see in the person of JesusChrist.

And yet even when we are tempted to despair, we are reminded ofthe faithfulness of God. If we recognise our sinfulness and makeamends, then God will remember the promises made through thecovenant. God will remain true to the people and to the land.

Part of making amends involves the people of God not onlyconfessing their own iniquities, but also the sins of theirancestors. This is an important reminder that, although we are notresponsible for the actions of our ancestors, we can certainly bebeneficiaries of their sins. We call to mind the example set by theBaptist Union of Great Britain in 2007 when they made an apology for Baptist involvement in thetransatlantic slave trade, recognising that in order to buildright relationships now, repentance needed to be made for pastwrongs.

God did not abandon the people of Israel, and God has notabandoned us today. Getting into a right relationship with Godrequires us to recognise our sins and the sins of our ancestors. Weare challenged to repent for, and put right, the ways in whichhuman beings have been contravening God's plans for us to live inharmony with one another and with the planet.

To Ponder

  • How did you feel reading about the God's punishment forcommunities which disobeyed God's commandments?
  • What are the sins of your ancestors from which you havebenefited?
  • Can you think of ways in which you need to put right yourrelationship with God, people and the planet?
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