Week 32: Blessings for Obedience

Today’s Text: Leviticus 25-27

Key Text: Leviticus 26:3-5

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.”

I’m not much on the so-called “health and wealth” gospel.

The whole idea of “Send in this offering, preferably in tens and twenties; sow this seed of faith with cold hard cash and you will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams!” smacks of circus tent and traveling medicine shows if you ask me.

On the other hand, the scripture does promise real, material blessing as a result of obedience.

How do we reconcile the two?

I think the solution may be simple enough.

God instructs us in how we should live not because he is an angry, vengeful God demanding obedience to satisfy His great need – but because God simply desires that we be happy and blessed.

God loves us – and so instructs us as a loving parent instructs his or her children – that we may be blessed.

In other words, blessing is the result of “doing the right thing” – it is simply the natural result of living in holy and righteous ways.

Does it mean God’s people will always be “healthy, wealthy, and wise” according to the world’s standards? No.

It does mean, though, that God’s way of living is the best way of living and will often naturally result in experiencing health and happiness and blessing.

Eat right – and you are more likely to be healthy.

Live right – and you are more likely to be at peace and dwell in security.

Follow God’s counsel – and you are more likely to experience joy in its deepest sense, even if, for one reason or another you are not necessarily “happy.”

Maybe it’s not such a mystery after all.

God loves us – and desires the very best for us.

Isn’t it wonderful that He often instructs us on how to achieve that goal?

It’s just a question of whether we will follow that counsel – or take matters into our own hands – at our own risk.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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