February 28, 2007

Crime and Confession

Leviticus 26:14-17, 40-45

"But if they will confess their sins ... and their hostility toward me ..." Leviticus 26:40


Have you ever thought God's gifts are not enough, that you need to manage things your own way? The "I can do it better myself" attitude may improve one's self-esteem, but what is that worth when your management of life and body produces only thorns and thistles?

God tells Israel before they even receive the land he is promising them that if they fail to follow his instructions, they will suffer serious consequences: the Owner's hostility (26:21-35). All their work on the land will be frustrated, and, finally, they'll be expelled from the land to perish in exile (26:36-39).

Though the crime and punishment are great, God's mercy is greater. God will hear Israel's confession about defiling land, life, and body. Though they have been faithless, God will be faithful and remember his covenant. That's good news for God's people everywhere.

God's faithfulness also includes experiencing God's judgment on our sin. As we remember Jesus' suffering, confess our sin, and humble ourselves before God, we also know that God will be faithful and remember his covenant promises. Of course, God's anger is a burden, and justly so. But on a Friday afternoon long ago, God placed that burden on his own Son, Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of his "I can do it better myself" people. That's how faithful God is.

O Lord, I confess my guilt. I have defiled your gifts. Forgive me and renew me, I pray. Thank you for your everlasting faithfulness and your great salvation. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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