Dec 16, 2010

God's Promise of Restoration

Leviticus 26:40–45

“When they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them” (Lev. 26:44).

Judgment and exile are the consequences of disobedience to the Lord’s covenant (Lev. 26:14–39), but they are not the whole story when it comes to looking at how God deals with the world. As we have seen over the past few days, our Creator promises to deliver from His wrath all those who put their hope in Him alone (Ex. 6:1–8; Ps. 130; Mark 10:42–45). And He does not stop acting for His people once He has delivered them from judgment, for He also promises to restore what they have lost in their exile. This is the great hope promised in Leviticus 26:40–45.

Reading the list of covenant curses in Leviticus 26:14–39, we would be discouraged if that was the last word. Fortunately, the curse of God is not His last word, for in verses 40–45 we see that though the Israelites might break the Mosaic covenant, the Almighty could by no means forget His covenant promises to them. Having sworn to give Abraham many descendants and a great inheritance (Gen. 15), God could not allow the nation to dissolve while in exile. A remnant would have to be preserved if the promise was to be fulfilled, but this remnant would have to repent in exile and turn back to Him in order to experience a restoration to their former state (Lev. 26:40–42). The later prophets understood that this restoration from exile in Assyria and Babylon would be glorious indeed, and would culminate in nothing less than a new heaven and earth (Isa. 66:22–23). Israel’s eventual return to her covenant Lord would mark a new beginning for a fallen world (chap. 25–26; 66; Ezek. 36).

Adam and Eve were given a great garden of blessing, but they fell and were evicted from it (Gen. 3). All hope was not lost, however, for God pledged to remedy their situation, as seen in Adam and Eve’s hope for the Lord to provide a man who could lead the return to the garden (v. 15; 4:1). Centuries later, the nation of Israel repeated Adam’s failure. Forgetting their covenant with God, the Israelites fell again and were evicted from the blessing of the divine presence in Canaan (2 Kings 17:7–23). Again, hope was not lost, for the righteous remnant hoped in the Father to send a man who would lead the people back to blessing (Luke 1:46–56; 2:22–38). This man — the Lord Jesus Christ — did come, and even now He is restoring His creation as God has promised.

Coram Deo

There are consequences for disobeying the Lord, but He also promises to restore all sinners who turn to Him in faith, no matter what they have done. Until Christ returns or death occurs, whichever comes first, there is always hope that sinners can turn from their wickedness and begin to experience restoration in Jesus. We should never be afraid to pray for the salvation of those who seem the most far gone.

For Further Study