A Small Update
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here, so this will be more of a short blog/personal update. Earlier this month I celebrated my thirty-third birthday (I think? Who can keep track anymore?!) The day ended with homemade gifts from the kids, and all of us devouring the above-pictured cake. Recipe here, and let me say, the four boxes of chocolate it required were worth it.
Otherwise in the time since my last blog I’ve been grieving, praying, thanking, and trying to hang on tight to Jesus.
But, in blog news, I’ll be posting a new series beginning at the end of the month entitled: Unpopular Passages. This will be a look at different passages in Scripture that we often skip over because they might be boring, gross, or confusing. I don’t plan to theologically exhaust every part of the passage, but instead give a short reflection that uses the truths found in the passage and shows how they actually are quite applicable to us right now.
Hopefully this will be a good reminder that all Scripture is a treasure especially as many of us might be reading through the OT law in our Bible plans fairly soon. I’ve enjoyed thinking about the topics I have so far, and I hope they are a blessing to you as well. If you have any ideas or suggestions for additional passages, please feel free to email me.
A final thought…
Finally, I’d like to leave you with a reflection I had this morning as I read through the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus. The first section of the chapter lays out the blessings that will be bestowed upon Israel when they are obedient to the Mosaic covenant. But the bulkier second half of the chapter recounts the punishments that Israel will receive if they depart from him. They are pretty rough, and at first read it may sound severe. God might appear as nothing more than a vengeance-seeking God who will punish those who disobey. Perhaps this Old Testament God does not have as much grace?
But Leviticus 26 actually makes very clear this is not the case. Mixed in with the punishments is a repeated phrase that begins in verse 18: “And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again.” This sentiment is repeated in some form in verse 21, 23, and 27. So what’s the deal? Well this shows us that God’s punishment is not haphazard or vindictive.
Instead he’s is very purposeful. His discipline continues because his main desire is to draw his people back to himself. Another god of our making might be sick of the creation who continually rejects him. He might wipe them from the face of the earth, or leave them on their own. But not our God. Our God’s purpose is bent towards our repentance. He desires to draw us back to goodness and life in him, even though we continually run away from it (Rom. 5:8).
In verse 41, God tells them if they repent then he will remember his covenant with Jacob and Isaac. Yet we know by the preceding verses that God clearly never forgot his covenant. Of course not, he’s God. His purpose the entire time had been to bring his people back through repentance.
This outgoing attitude of grace, love, and mercy, is evident in the Old Testament, just as it is seen through the life of Christ-who is the very image of the Father. In Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund writes, “The cumulative testimony of the four Gospels is that when Jesus Christ sees the fallenness of the world all about him, his deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move toward that sin and suffering, not away from it.” We know he moved so near our suffering that he took it completely for us, bearing our punishment in his own body.
We see God’s grace and mercy for the first time in Genesis 3:16, we see it in Leviticus 26, and we see it throughout the whole of Scripture. That grace and mercy extends to us today. May we revel in the God who desires his children to experience his mercy and life in himself. And may we continually run to him in repentance. He will not turn us away.
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