Leviticus 26 - the big points
1) There were many blessings for being faithful to Jehovah. They would have rain in due season, crops aplenty and victory in battle to name a few.
2) The best thing about obedience was that God would dwell among them and be their God.
3) Disobedience had a set of curses - drought, famine, cannibalism, exile, servitude... The curses got greater the longer the Israelites refused to obey God.
4) God does not say that he would forsake them or choose another people. He would punish them, but they were still his.
5) But - the minute they repented... God would forgive them and heal them and bless them immensely again.
‘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.
You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.’ (Leviticus 26:1-2)
It begins with the second and fourth commandments. The ones they would struggle with throughout their history. “If you are obedient,” God tells them, “I will bless you. You will have rain when you should and more food than you can eat. Your enemies will fear you because you will display great fervor and skill in battle. I will give you all these things and more. I will dwell among you and be your God.”
Which one of the other nations could say that their god dwelt among them? Not one.
They had representations of their god but those pagan gods was never a real presence. Yet the Israelites had a real opportunity to connect with their God on a daily basis.
On the other hand, if they did not obey they would be cursed with diseases, famine and defeat in battle. They would be punished seven times for their sins. There would be droughts and wild beasts. The curses seemed to get worse and worse.
But you know, I find grace in that.
Did you realize that the punishment got worse because the disobedience continued? If at any point they repented God would relent and the curses would stop and he would bless them again.
Here’s another grace factor: as much as God says he would be mad and “abhor” them, he never said that he would leave them permanently or find another people to bear his name. Don’t you think that’s grace?
My favorite part is found in verses 40-42:
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.
Let me pull out the highlights so that you can see the beauty of this promise:
“But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers… if their hearts are humbled… and they accept their guilt… then I will remember My covenant…I will remember the land.
What a God we serve that he is willing to forgive his people after idolatry and irreverence and breaking his Sabbaths and all his commandments – and we call that: grace.
Great Redeemer, thank you always being gracious to relent from your anger the minute I confess and turn from my sin. Thank you for being willing to bless though I have done nothing to earn your favor. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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