I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. Leviticus 26:11-12
This blessing was based on Israel not worshipping idols (verse 1) and keeping the Sabbath (verse 2). Why these two things in particular?
Not worshipping idols means having no other basis for our self-esteem other than being a child of God. Often we look to earthly things to provide for us what only God can. We may look to our work, our relationships, our reputations, our monetary resources or our charismatic personalities for a sense of self-worth. Yet all these things are fading and God wants our lives to be on the firm foundation of our relationship with him.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). It’s an amazing privilege to be called a child of God but because the world doesn’t value godly beliefs, we’re tempted not to value our status with God either. God freely chose to send his son to establish a relationship with the people he created. In doing so, he demonstrated how important we are to him.
Keeping the Sabbath was an acknowledgment that work without God was futile. Work gives us a sense of success, significance and satisfaction. When the Israelites deliberately chose not to work on the Sabbath, it reminded them they couldn’t establish a right relationship with God by the work of their hands.
These two things, although expressed differently today, are still important—my status as a child of God is the only healthy basis for my self-esteem and without God my work is useless.