Rewards and Punishments

Krista Williams

Day: 36 | Plan: Leviticus-Hebrews

Today's Reading: Leviticus 26

Leviticus 26:40-42 (NIV) “But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.”

Throughout Leviticus God has been giving His people detailed instructions on how to worship Him and live a life set apart for Him. In Leviticus 26, God makes it very clear He expects obedience from His people.

There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from obeying God. Jesus Himself said, “My food … is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). And “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28). 

God promises Israel if they obey His commands, keep His Sabbath, and reverence His sanctuary, He will reward them. They would be blessed with rains, good crops, and bountiful harvests. They would dwell securely in peace and subdue their enemies. They would be fruitful and multiply. He would enable them to walk in strength and dignity. They would not be put to shame. And best of all, He promises His presence.

Truly, God is the rewarder of those who seek and serve Him—who listen to and obey His commands.

But …” If they refuse to listen and obey, they will encounter serious consequences. Over half of this chapter references God’s disciplinary action towards His people if they disobey. His discipline becomes sterner the longer they continue in their disobedience. This reveals the consequences of continued disobedience can be horrific.

God wants what is best for us. His goal, His redemptive purpose, is to bring His erring children back to Himself. As painful as God’s discipline may seem, it is designed to produce a harvest of righteousness for those who are willing to be trained by it. (Hebrews 12:6-11) 

Even in the worst situations, when sin deeply entangles us and God’s discipline is severe, there is hope. God is merciful. He is loving, forgiving, and long-suffering. He always leaves the way open for restoration, and He stands ready to forgive His children. He makes it clear punishment does NOT have to have the last word. 

If His people will confess their sin, humble their hearts, and return to Him, He will forgive and restore them. (Leviticus 26:40-42a)

God promises He will not reject those who confess, repent, and come to Him with humble hearts. He is faithful and just. (1 John 1:9) Even when we are unfaithful, God is still faithful. (Leviticus 26:44; 2 Timothy 2:13)

Prayer: Father, You are forever faithful. You remain faithful to Your Word and faithful to Your children. You are gracious and merciful. Thank You for loving us enough to discipline us. Thank You for inviting us to come to You so we can receive Your cleansing and forgiveness. Today, Lord, grant us the grace to humble ourselves, the wisdom to quickly confess our sin, and the courage to turn away from sin and run to You. Help us obey You today, even when it is hard. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Love and obedience go together. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands”... Read More

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