Chapter Twenty-Six

By the middle of my reading of Leviticus this morning, I found myself biting a nail. 
Just one, but definitely doing some anxiety gnawing. 
Have you read Leviticus 26 lately? Then here's a overly-simple outline:

It starts out so joyful - all the rewards for obedience. Thirteen verses of blessing!
Blessings in nature, blessings in occupation, blessings of peace and security at home, and His abiding presence. 

The next twenty-six verses are not so joyful. 
The punishments for disobedience are enough to make anyone bite a nail! "If you ..... then I will ...." God says these terrible consequences are all aimed a bringing a repentance in the people.  Disease, famine, enemy attacks, panic, and personal opposition
SIDE NOTE: I once found My Oldest sitting on my bed with our copy of Bringing Up Boys. He had turned to the appendix and was intently studying the photographs of childhood diseases. As I got closer, I could hear him praying, "And please never let me catch that, or that, or that..." That's how I felt while reading the consequences section of chapter 26!

The last seven verses are a comfort though - "But if they confess their iniquity ..." 
Verses of hope leading back to the blessing verses of the start of the chapter!

  What a great model for parenting! 
(or coaching, or teaching, or babysitting...)
As always, the Scriptures are the map, our guidebook for this life, especially in the crazy journey of parenting. Some take-aways for me today:

Children should know the deal - they should be aware of what's going to happen if they obey and what will happen when they don't. Consequences should not be a mystery, triggering a what will happen if I do this  scenario. It's fair to equip them with enough information to make the best choices, whether for obedience or disobedience.

Obedience should have real rewards to be enjoyed, celebrated and appreciated -enough to reinforce additional positive decisions in the future. 
***This was a shortfall (one of many!) in our earlier child raising years. When managing the herd, too often obedience fell in the category of an 'expected standard', going un-noticed. Nothing BAD happened to them, and that was their blessing. 

There should be hope! Offering a way to repentance leading to forgiveness and restoration is repeated over and over in the Book and can be imitated in parenting. Even a long and ugly stint of stubborn disobedience is not enough to get thrown out of the game completely. "... if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember my covenant ..."    

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