Over and over again God told His people that blessings would come from Him, and in specific ways, if only they would obey the good laws He had put in place which were for their benefit. Yet, God knows human hearts and so He also tells them how they will be punished if they choose to follow their own stubborn, prideful ways. “And I will break and humble your pride in your power, and I will make your heavens as iron [yielding no answer, no blessing, no rain] and your earth [as sterile] as brass.” Even with the lessons of the past to learn from, today we are often no different than the generations before us. We are frequently bent in a sinful direction of selfishness. Oh, for the blessings that would flow if only we would choose to live in obedience to God.
Russell and I arrived in Texas during the drought of 2011. With the average rainfall for the year at about 11 inches, it made it the driest year of Texas history (and the history of droughts in the area goes back to the days of Spanish exploration in the 1500’s). Traveling the dry and depressing land to preach and to support our son’s soccer team, we read sign after sign, along the highways, in small towns and in bigger ones, with the words, “Pray for rain”. The sky was like iron and rain was desperately needed. In times like these it seemed like everyone was calling out to God for His intervention. But when the rains come, do we thank Him, or return to our prideful thinking that says we can live without Him?
Leviticus 26:19 AMP
Over the next forty years or so, God, through Moses, sets in place many laws and standards which affected the religious duties, diet, hygiene, the political and social responsibilities, as well as the morality of this young nation. These laws guided the Israelites so they could function on a daily basis. One law that gave interesting direction was about farming. Every seventh year the land was to remain fallow; dormant and uncultivated.
I am blessed to have had grandparents who were farmers, for I feel a sense of special connection to the earth. While riding through the countryside in various seasons I like to see how crops are growing. When I fly and look upon farmland from the perspective I picture God having, I’m fascinated how fields cover the earth like a well-stitched quilt. Although I am not an expert, even I know that fallow land normally does not produce food. But so the people in the time of Moses didn’t worry about starvation, God assured them: “I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years.”
When the Israelites followed the decrees and laws of God, they lived safely and were blessed with God’s good provisions. God is still the provider of what we need today. Even though Russell and I have never owned a home, we have never been homeless in all our years of placing God’s Kingdom first. Through many wonderful and varied situations we continue to be blessed by God’s provisions. The faithfulness of our Father is good to remember, for He wants us to be anxious for nothing but to talk to Him in prayer for what it is we need. And in doing so, to be thankful.
Leviticus 25:21 NIV
Moses, as God’s leader for Israel, helped the people in many ways as they grew to understand and live out what it meant to be in a covenant love relationship with God. They needed to know how to deal with sins that separated them from God. Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them. He came down after sacrificing the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the fellowship offering. Moses and Aaron then entered the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people.
God’s people in the time of Moses needed to be trained to be holy. We have that same need today. Through the sacrifice that Jesus made, once for all, on the cross, we are able to enter into in a deep relationship that depends fully on a holy God. But dealing correctly with our sin-nature does not come naturally to us. Like the Israelites, we too need training. Physical trainers are popular for fitness but we are more than physical beings.
God, please give us the coaches we need for our spiritual growth. May we be disciplined to value discipleship, may our spiritual muscles be strengthened by spending time in Your Word, and may we better understand Your Story. Help us to live out Jesus’ teachings so our lives are not wasted but instead used so Your glory shines through us. Amen.
P.S. Having raised children just a little older than ours, Susan Hodges continues to teach me and not just about children. I thank God for Pastor Gerald and Susan, serving faithfully for over twenty- five years at Westwood Baptist Church. Their mentorship in godly living has blessed many. Who has mentored you? Who are you mentoring?
Leviticus 9:22-23 HCSB