I’ve been reading through the first five books of the Old Testament this year and this section of Leviticus jumped out at me. If you’ve ever read through that particular book of the Law you’ll know that it is full of very specific laws and rules governing the religious and civil practices of the Israelites. Some of the laws are actually based on common sense, like if a sore on a person’s body turns black rather than white then it is likely not too serious. Leviticus 17 has a section on dealing with mold on various fabrics or inside a house and how to ensure it is eradicated, another wise law.

Once readers get to chapter 26 they are almost done reading the book which is why, for me, these verses speaking about God’s character came through so strongly. The God of the Old Testament is depicted as a holy, righteous, and demanding God. He has very high standards for his people and little understanding for those who violate the Law. There are many examples where God holds people accountable; even Moses himself was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Chapter 26:44 then is one where God’s forbearance shines through. In his providence he knew that the nation of Israel would not be faithful in their obedience but he was not willing to reject them completely when they disobeyed. Despite all of the intentional and unintentional sins committed by individual Israelites and the nation as a whole, God maintained his covenant with them. To me, the phrase “Yet in spite of this…” is one of the most powerful expressions of God’s graciousness and forgiveness in Scripture.

Heavenly Father, I don’t deserve your forgiveness and can never atone for my sins on my own. Yet you choose to welcome me into your family, desiring that I live with you for eternity after I accept your son’s atoning sacrifice for me on the cross. I can’t even put my gratitude into words.

Throughout This Day: When you feel slighted today, and want to lash out, always remember how often you have experienced God’s forgiveness.

Photo Credit: Sergey Shmidt