Today, pastor's challenge friends, we finish Leviticus! God was straightforward with His law. He was straightforward with what would happen when it was broken. Sadly, man's heart is so broken that he still fell away.
Last night Jenn and I took our girls over to house of one of our church leaders. As we do every time we go visit a church member, we laid out our expectations to our girls. Pulling into the driveway I looked back to the back seat and asked our girls how they were supposed to act. Their response was classic. "We are not supposed to act like howler monkeys, we should act like young ladies." Friends, that is high expectations. Well, dinner went off with out my girls turning into howler monkeys, it was a good night.
I know, I know, you are probably wondering what my children, howler monkeys and the end of Leviticus have in common. He is the common thread: We all live with certain expectations in our lives. As you read through Deuteronomy and Leviticus, you were left with no shortage of laws that were given to help you see God's expectations for you. As God laid out those expectations, He also laid out both blessings for following them and the punishments and results for failing. If there is one thing we leave Leviticus knowing it is that God is specific in his expectations for us.
I'm going to give you a preview of what is to come. As the story of Jesus moves forward in scripture, we will see the people of Israel, who fully knew the expectations of God, reject God and his way and choose to worship and serve themselves. When this happens God was faithful to do what he promised in bringing punishment to them for their wickedness. All the results promised in Leviticus 26 came true.
God did not simply write the law and say that once it was broken, one could never be made right with Him though. God knew the condition of mans heart and He knew that man was incapable of following him and living out His expectations. Within His expectations He also built redemption. Simply he said that when punishment came, all Israel would have to do was turn to him and he would rescue them.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We live with the same expectations that the people of Israel did. God expects us to live up to his expectations and serve Him. That said, God also knows that we have broken and fallen hearts prone to fall away. God is a redeeming God. Despite our sin, God desires redemption. God worked fully when he sent Jesus Christ to take the punishment that we deserved for our failure to meet God's expectations. What does God ask of us then? He asks that we turn to Him and accept his forgiveness and grace. In this we are made right by the sacrifice of His Son and are given His own Spirit so that He may empower us to live where we by ourselves would fail.
God demands obedience. We as men fail. God sent his son to take our punishment. We are called to turn to Him. God forgives us and fills us so that we might know and serve Him.