“If you live by my decrees and obediently keep my commandments, I will send the rains in their seasons, the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. You will thresh until the grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting time; you’ll have more than enough to eat and will live safe and secure in your land…I’ll set up my residence in your neighborhood; I won’t avoid or shun you; I’ll stroll through your streets. I’ll be your God; you’ll be my people. I am God, your personal God who rescued you from Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians. I ripped off the harness of your slavery so that you can move about freely.” Leviticus 26:3-5, 11-13 (MSG)


When new neighbors move onto your street, there is a temptation to see who they are before they move all the way into their new home. But when new neighbors are moving into the neighborhood, you don’t really have control over who they are, how well they mow their grass, or if they keep the noise down at night.  When they set up residence in your neighborhood, they are there to stay.

When the Israelites left Egypt and were walking in the desert, God sent specific instructions to Moses about how the people should live. If they were going to experience the blessing and provision from God, they were going to have play by His rules.  The book of Leviticus outlines many of the instructions God gave to the Israelites that would help them live well.  If they followed God’s decrees, then God promised that He would help them and bring them provision. But, most of all, He promised to be near them. God was setting up residence with the people. But the Old Testament promise was confirmed in the New Testament sacrifice of Jesus. God sent Jesus to pay the price for your sin and mine so that God could be near us.  And instead of moving in next door, God invites us to have a relationship with Him by Jesus taking residence in our hearts.  His promise is the same: He removes our slavery to sin so that we can move without hindrance toward life and His promises.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.