Right now in my daily Bible reading, I’m working through the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Now, if you have ever committed to reading the entire Bible, you’re probably aware that these two books are where yearly Bible reading plans go to die. Just about the time you really get on a roll with diligent daily reading habits, you turn the page to Leviticus, and the enthusiasm for devo time grinds to a screeching halt.
But the following passage today jarred me out of my yawn and pulled me straight to the edge of my seat. As I read this, I could feel my skin crawling with similar images of America in its potential future state.
Deuteronomy 28:1 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and…in the country. 4 “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. 5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and…when you go out.
7 “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways. The Lord will open for you…the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and…not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God…to observe them carefully, 14 and do not turn aside…to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 “Cursed shall you be in the city, and…in the country. 17 “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 “Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. 19 “Cursed shall you be when you come in, and…when you go out.
20 “The Lord will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.” And so on, and so on it goes with many more warnings of defeat.
As I finished my reading, I felt so many emotions. I found myself angry at the Israelites, venting to the air, “Unbelievable! These stupid people were warned AGAIN and AGAIN so plainly by the Lord! He was so blunt and clear about their inevitable destruction if they disobeyed, yet they STILL ignored His warnings and rebelled so blatantly! What was wrong with those crazy people!” And then it hit me: How much suffering have we Americans brought on ourselves because of our horrible neglect of God’s laws and blatant rebellion against Him? Even more stabbing was the question: how much suffering have I brought into my own life because of my blatant past rebellion against God?
As I went out for my walk and daily prayer time, my mind was overwhelmed as I considered what a complex and mysterious God we serve, who is so completely just, giving His people clear, fair, descriptive warnings of the blessings they would enjoy in their obedience, and the consequences they would surely face if they rebelled.
What an extreme God we serve, who holds nothing back; One who pours out so much blessing we cannot begin to absorb it all, yet His punishments for disobedience are so excruciating that we cannot help but be terrified of Him. What an awesome God He is, who is absolutely sovereign over the affairs of men; who sees all, knows all, and decisively deals with everyone; who responds to us with terrifying justice to the sinful, overwhelming blessing and provisions to the righteous, and beautiful mercy to the oppressed. What a mysterious God we serve, who can brilliantly marry absolute justice and overwhelming mercy into one phenomenal event: the torturous sacrifice of His only, perfect Son through the cruelest death known to man. What a gracious God we serve, who was willing to go through the torture Himself, in order to rescue the very people who brought about the punishment we deserve.
As I continued my walk, I found myself repenting of all the times I've tried to explain Him to others...all the times I've tried to shrink Him down to the box I've created for Him in my mind, so as to minimize Him into the words I use to describe His mysterious ways. I thanked Him for being too big for us to articulate.
We can't begin to understand Him. We can't possibly wrap our minds around His awesomeness. His thoughts and ways are SO MUCH higher than ours could ever be. We are so very foolish and naive to try to fully grasp Him. Aren't you glad He's so much bigger than our finite minds? Bigger than our world and all its chaos? Aren't you thankful that He can't be limited to our understanding?
Join me in worship today as I stand in reverent awe to worship such a mighty, gracious, terrifying, mysterious, merciful Heavenly Father, who passionately pursues our hearts and runs to save our souls.