Leviticus 26 is terrifying! In this chapter, God promises the people that if they will do what is right, and will continue to follow Him, He will make them invincible. He will take them and turn them into an amazing force, bless them with food and resources, and give them peace and joy. All for being obedient to what they are supposed to do. That’s a good deal.
Then He discusses what happens if they won’t do what is right. At first, when you read it, it seems overboard in how rough it is. God says He will drive them from their homes, they will starve to death, they will have sores and diseases, and all sorts of bad stuff. At first read, God comes off like a jerk and a bully.
But wait, think about it. If they simply do what is right, do what they are supposed to do, God offers to bless them in one big act. Just for doing what they are supposed to do anyway.
But on the punishment, it comes in three waves. He gives the first level of punishment. Then, if they won’t stop being disobedient, He gives a second, tougher level of punishment. If they still won’t turn around, a third, even harsher punishment will drop. Do you see what He is doing? The rewards come in a flood all at once for simply obedience. The punishment comes gradually, in waves. In fact, the people do just what God warned them not to do, and the punishment took hundreds of years to fall on them. But at first, when they were obedient, they received ALL of the blessings He promised.
If that isn’t a sure sign of grace, He adds one more section at the end. Check this out:
40 “ ‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me,41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin,42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham…”
Even after they disobey Him repeatedly, forcing Him to use all three levels of punishment, if they will simply stop, turn around (that’s what repent means), and ask for His forgiveness, it will all stop. That’s all it takes. God’s blessings flow over them like a flood, His punishments trickle in over hundreds of years, and one honest act of repentance, and all is good again.
THAT is amazing. THAT is grace.
Maybe that’s why we sing the song…