Spoken Prayer: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
Reward for Obedience and God's Commands
by Tom Richards
Today’s reading is from the book of Leviticus. My study bible says “Exodus gave the directions for building the tabernacle, and now Leviticus gives the laws and regulations for worship there including instructions on ceremonial cleanness, moral laws, holy days, the Sabbath year and the Year of Jubilee”. The theme of Leviticus is holiness. We read about holiness In Leviticus 20:7 and several other places. “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord who makes you holy.”
With this background, our assigned reading highlights two of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus chapter 20). The First Commandment as stated in the Lutheran Catechism is “You shall have no other gods.” The Third Commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
I have often thought that if we could keep the First Commandment we could probably do well with the remaining nine. The Jews had a problem with idolatry throughout their history. The story of the golden calf found in Exodus 32 is an example. However, don’t we have the same problem today? Money, career, recreation, self … all have a way of becoming “gods” in our life and inevitably, sin follows.
And what about the Third Commandment? In Exodus 31:12, we read “Then the Lord said to Moses, Say to the Israelites, You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy". Observing the Sabbath seems to align with “You shall have no other gods.” When we take time to honor God with worship and rest on Sundays, aren’t we stopping our pursuit of other gods? Isn’t this a way to show others and ourselves that God is important enough to be our top priority --- that we have “no other gods”?
God called the Israelites to obedience to these commandments because it was for their best. The remainder of our reading focuses on the blessings that resulted from this obedience. He does the same for us. We may not always see “rain in its season” from an earthly perspective, but clearly demonstrating obedience to God’s commands leads us to our best life, and most importantly, a closer walk with him.
Father, thank-you for direction in our lives through your commandments. We know that we can never meet the requirements of the law through our own efforts, but because of Jesus, we are justified and holy in your eyes. What an incredible blessing! Amen