It is a soggy morning in Eastern Washington. The chickens don’t mind the drumming rain, but the dogs and cat are not pleased. I am a little disappointed because it looks like it will be our last “warm” day of autumn, and I had hoped to finish up some outdoor cleanup. Plus, we recently discovered our roof leaks. C’est la vie.
Today we are headed out to witness my husband officially become a pastor. What a journey this has been! We are all excited, and nervous, trusting that God has everything in His hands. Even when it seems life is spinning wildly out of control… God’s got this.
Between settling into a new routine of working outside the home and studying through the book of Leviticus, I haven’t been blogging as much, and I’ve missed it! This weekend I read chapter 19 in Leviticus and had an “aha!” moment.
While everything that was inspired by God, written by man, and compiled into what we have as the Old and New Testaments is important and serves a purpose, there are times that reading about the bloody, but necessary, sacrificial system and other important-at-the-time laws can be a bit challenging, at least for me. But Leviticus 19 has instructions that apply to you and me, right here, right now.
” ‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God… And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, you shall offer it of your own free will… When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him… You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate your brother in your heart… You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD… Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits… You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD. And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself…’ ” ~ Leviticus 19: 3, 5, 9- 13a, 14- 17a, 18, 31a, 32- 34a
Oh, what a wonderful world it would be, if we would only follow God’s laws and commands! A world where:
* Families were honored, and honoring of one another.
* Everyone set aside a day to worship God, rest their souls, and invest in their families and communities.
* People freely gave of themselves and of their time, treasure, talents, to serve God and to serve others.
* The poor were fed and cared for, yet not with partiality.
* The rich were generous, not deferred to nor favored. The ground is level at the foot of the cross!
* No one stole, deceived, lied, cheated, robbed, bullied, or abused.
* God’s name was honored instead of sullied and profaned.
* Slander and gossip were paid no mind.
* Threats and hatred, even unto death, were no more.
* Vengeance and grudges were relinquished. And justice was righteous and true.
* The occult was recognized as a threat and not a source of entertainment.
* Children and the elderly, the unborn and the disabled, the immigrant and the alien- all would be cared for and protected, not threatened, mistreated, and deemed of little worth. Again, the ground is level at the foot of the cross!
Twice in this passage God told the children of Israel to love others as they loved their own selves. Isn’t that really what it boils down to, loving others as much as we love our own precious selves? Only through the redemptive work of the cross, by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and with the power of the Holy Spirit can we ever hope to truly love others as we love our selves.
Oh, how wonderful heaven and the new earth will be someday! 🙂
In the meantime, as for me and my house, we will trust and follow the LORD, wherever He may lead, do our best to follow His commands and love others as our selves, and figure out how to patch a leaky roof…