The Hope of Discipline

Today's devotion from Leviticus 26.

What is your greatest blessing? What is the thing that God has done that is head and shoulders above everything else? For the Israelites, God tells them that if they will listen to Him and follow Him, then He will give them rains, produce, and bountiful harvest. He will give them peace and victory. He will grow their families. And, most impressive of all, He will dwell among them.

After only thirteen verses, God changes direction, and spends the next twenty-six, that's twice as many, devoted to disciplining them if they stray. Throughout these verses, time and again God talks of the punishment He would bring on the Israelites if they were to go wayward. Time and again He speaks of their rebellion. Time and again He speaks of the pain they would experience if they turned. The contrast is stark. Walk with Me and be blessed. Turn from Me, and be ware.

However, the greatest blessing is not the fruit, or the harvest, or even the peace. The greatest blessing is that God promises that He will not give up. Even after all of that, after all their rebellion and sin, He is still willing to forgive them. In fact, that is the whole purpose of the every disciplinary act He mentions. They are all designed and devoted to cause the Israelites to turn back to Him.

As I thought about this, I wondered if it would be fair or accurate to say that maybe the greatest blessing any of us can experience is the love of a God who passionately pursues His people in the hopes that they will accept His gracious offer of forgiveness? What's even more powerful is the thought that these promises are made to a people that are already His. He has claimed them. He is walking with them. This isn't a once and done kind of blessing. This is a promise that the offer of forgiveness is still there.

Maybe today, you're coming off a loss and you just feel spiritual defeated? You messed up. You're not quite perfect, and now you and everyone else knows it. That's ok. Turn to God anyway. No. Turn to God specifically because you know you've messed up. Throw yourself on His mercy. Plead with Him for forgiveness. Accept the greatest blessing there is to have: the love of a Heavenly Father who offers grace for those who deserve none.