Saturday, January 25, 2014
“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).
Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.
As per the Old Covenant, increasingly sinful Israel would endure five rounds of escalating chastisement from God, many divine attempts to reform the wayward nation (see Leviticus 26:14-39). The last course of judgment (verses 27-39) involved Gentile armies (Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Medes, Persians, and Romans) overrunning and defeating Israel, killing her people, taking off to foreign lands most of the rest of the Jews as prisoners of war. The Promised Land would be desolate of Jews. Israel would lose her Davidic kingdom, and the pagan Gentiles would rule over her instead. God was bound by His Word to weaken and curse His beloved nation!
Just before, during, and after that fifth course of judgment began, God sent His prophets to speak and write to Israel. The “Major Prophets” (Isaiah through Daniel) and the “Minor Prophets” (Hosea through Malachi) concentrate on two general themes: God’s judgment and Israel’s deliverance. These prophets clearly warned that, due to her disobedience, Israel would have many terrible days ahead (and the worst are yet to come!). Yet, these prophets surely comforted that, due to JEHOVAH’S faithfulness, Israel would have many wonderful days ahead (and the best are yet to come!).
Israel had forsaken JEHOVAH and His covenant, worshipped pagan idols, and legally, God declared her as sinful, worthy of His wrath and unworthy of His blessings—she had become Satan’s people. She was everything but the “holy nation” God wanted her to be (see today’s Scripture). The devil surely thought he had JEHOVAH defeated: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children” (Isaiah 49:24,25).
There was hope: JEHOVAH promised that Messiah would come and deliver Israel from Satan….