Friday after Cantate
Scripture: Leviticus 26:1-20 (NKJV)
1 “‘You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. 2 You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.
3 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. 7 You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.
9 ‘For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. 10 You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new. 11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.
14 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.
18 ‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.'”
“I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” The Lord wants to walk with His people. The Lord walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. Sin ruined that walking together and man became estranged from the Lord, choosing rather to be “like God” rather than be content walking as the “image of God.” When the Lord collected His people from Egypt He desired to walk with them. To do this He would need to forgive their sins and cleanse them from their impurity. He would need to give His holiness to them. He did these things through the Divine Service in the Tabernacle where He dwelt with Israel. This was not how the Lord would spend eternity with His people. He desired to walk with them again.
He does this in the incarnation of the Son of God. The second person of the Holy Trinity assumes human flesh so that He may dwell with His people in a way far superior to the Tabernacle and Temple. Christ dies as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. He gives the gifts of the cross to His people through the Divine Service of Word and Sacrament, thereby dwelling with us in time so that we may dwell with Him forever in Paradise once again.