The Judgment and Mercy of God
Today’s reading: Leviticus 18:1-20:27
You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.
My reflections: Why was God’s judgment so severe on Canaan and the surrounding people? The behaviors that are condemned in the law here were those practiced by the peoples of Egypt and Canaan including: incest, homosexuality, bestiality, prostitution, child sacrifices and necromancy (conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events.*) God’s patience with all this had come to an end and judgment on them was imminent. The wicked cultures would be obliterated and their land given to the Israelites who had been carefully instructed in the law of God.
God does not allow us to define sin by a poll of the majority. He alone may say with authority what is and is not good and ethical. In a modern democracy, like the USA where the shifting sands of public opinion define good and evil, our moral survival depends on the influence of God-fearing people who take the law of God as revealed in the Bible as good policy for our society.
From God’s viewpoint, mercy is being extended right now as wickedness, as He defines it, goes from being seen as merely acceptable to being noble. The solution to the problem of evil in the world is not to redefine evil as good but to call all people everywhere to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, whose death on the cross bought forgiveness for all kinds of sin committed by all who would believe in Him.
My challenge: If you are reading this and are caught in any or all of the practices which are condemned in these chapters, do you not fear the judgment of God to come? If you do, it is evidence that God is giving you the grace to repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ who said to the adulteress, “neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more” ( John 8:11). Heaven will be filled with sinners who have committed all the wickedness condemned in the law, but who also hate their sin and who through faith have found forgiveness in the One who took upon Himself the sin of His people. Our sin is great but His love and atonement are even greater. Repent and believe today!
If you are a Christian, do not fear to call sin “sin” (including your own), but do not fail to proclaim hope for sinners through Jesus Christ for “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (II Corinthians 5:17). You are, no doubt, like me still struggling with your sinful flesh, but do not despair, He is at work in you, forgives you, and will receive you into His presence where the new creation that has come will be completed ( I John 3:1-3).
Tomorrow’s reading: Leviticus 21:1-23:25
*Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.)