Leviticus 26 (Part 3)
The Unending Mercy of God
David tells us in Psalms 62:12, that, “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that God would say, through Moses, in Leviticus 26 that despite all the rebellion of the Israelites, “If they shall confess their iniquity … Then will I remember my covenant (Leviticus 26:40a, 42a).”
We often treat God as if He is a vegetable in those “slap-chop” gizmos. We throw Him in, and slice and dice and deal with
His attributes as separate entities; rather than as a composite whole. God is not His attributes; He is. All that He is, He always will be, and always has been! Thus, though we read in this chapter of the horrendous crimes which the people of Israel would eventually commit (i.e. walking away from the covenant, worshipping idols, and the subsequent curses), there is a enveloping sense that God will remain changeless through it all. God makes it clear what His action will be in regards to either obeying or disobeying the covenant He gives. For obedience He will give blessing, for rebellion He will resist, oppose, and bring a curse.
The entire history of Israel is one of a colossal failure on the part of man. The Israelites broke the covenant surprisingly quickly. Yet, through it all God extends this Gospel promise: “If they shall confess their iniquity … Then will I remember my covenant (Leviticus 26:40a, 42a).” It is not as if their confessing jars God’s memory, but rather, their repentance and returning will discover unto them the fact that God is not slack in keeping His promise (2 Pet. 3:9).
When David tells us that God both possesses mercy and will “render to every man according to his work,” our jaws ought to gape with utter wonder. How can a God who renders unto every man according to his work, also possess mercy? Don’t those two contradict? Here is where the sweet balm of the Gospel is a salve to our sin-stricken soul. The wages of sin is death, and therefore we are justly deserving of eternal death, for our eternal crimes against the Eternal One. But, do you realize that the mercy of the Lord never ceases, and He looks on Christ crucified and can pardon us? In view of such a great mercy, how can we refrain from offering out entire lives unto the praise of His glory.
This whole chapter reveals a God of kindness, goodness, and love. God desires to pour out blessings of life and health upon those united unto Him in the covenant; but if you refuse to obey this great covenant, God has declared what the consequences will be. Yet, to conclude up these verses of dark gloom and rebellion God, if you repent, if you turn, if you return, you will find that He is the same as He has always been.
Believer, cherish the mercy of God. We have been given a better covenant than the Israelites were given; yet the consequences of disobeying this greater covenant is more severe. It is not mere earthly disaster, it is the eternal damnation of your soul. Our faith rests on the fact that our God does not change, and therefore, flee to Christ. We are unable to keep the covenant, but One came who alone can keep the law of God; He is our hope and everything and our all!
Hebrews 8:7-13 speaks a word of assurance for the wayward race of man: “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”