Richard Agee

Leviticus 26: Blessings of obedience and curses of disobedience

Richard AgeeIt is only God Who can restore life from death, not only the death of a person but the death of a nation. God warns Israel and He will destroy their nation if they walk in idolatry but he will also restore their nation if they will humble themselves and accept their guilt. 

There’s a lot of “meat” in Leviticus 26. In Leviticus 25, we talked about the seventh-year sabbaths of the land. This chapter tells us what God will do to the people of Israel if they do not follow His rules and do not give the Shabbat for the land at its time. 

Don’t look at this as a prophesy per se. I’d encourage you to look at this as warning. 

“You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 26:1 NASB)

You can make an idol out of anything or out of nothing. An idol is not necessarily a graven image. You can make an idol out of a fellow human being, bowing to them. God is telling us not to bow down to emptiness, to those things that have no power or eternal value. 

Paying homage to a dignitary such as a king, is not a sin, even bowing the knee in homage is not a sin. We Americans do now bow to anyone. We pride ourselves on this but when the Son of God comes, all people will bow down, Americans included. 

It is when the homage crossing the line into worship, that is a sin. The Japanese used to bow to their Emperor, not as a monarch but as a god. That is sin in God’s eyes. 

God covers all the bases of idolatry by mentioning four different kind of idols:

  1. idols — worthlessness, vanity
  2. an image — carved image on wood or clay
  3. sacred pillar — tree or tree stump
  4. figured stone — stone carving

God is saying in many ways that He doesn’t want us to make anything with our hands to represent Him, except His tabernacle/Temple. 

The first verse is what God doesn’t want them to do. The second verse is an instruction of what God wants them to do. This is God saying He wants to be the only God, no substitutes. 

If we worship God, walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, there are many physical and material blessings God will give. All the blessings are recorded in Lev. 26:3-13. These are 10 verses telling us the blessings of obedience. He will be on their side. 

The rest of the chapter (Leviticus 26:14-39) details the consequence of giving into idolatry and failing to allow the land to have its sabbaths. There are many negative consequences. 

“But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up.” (Leviticus 26:14–16 NASB)

The first thing God will do is frighten you to death, bring terror on you. God is a terrorist to the unrighteous. He will bring judgement on the individuals and on the nation. He will not be on their side. 

“And if by these things you are not disciplined but walk sideways with me, then I too will walk with you in skewed anger, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.” (Leviticus 26:23–24 New English Translation of the Septuagint)

If after their land loses its fertility and the wild animals encroach, they still don’t return to God’s instructions, the people of Israel will suffer additional punishment and suffering. 

However the chapter doesn’t end in desolation and hopeless. There’s a way to return and repent, not only of their sin but the sin of their ancestors. A confession includes accepting the punishment humbly. Once you come to realization that you have sin and you have deserved the punishment, and repented, God will begin to restore the person and their nation back to health. 

“If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also in their acting with hostility against Me — I also was acting with hostility against them, to bring them into the land of their enemies — or if their uncircumcised heart becomes humbled so that they then make amends for their iniquity, then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land. For the land will be abandoned by them, and will make up for its sabbaths while it is made desolate without them. They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their iniquity, because they rejected My ordinances and their soul abhorred My statutes. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. But I will remember for them the covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 26:40–45 NASB)

Ancient Israel and ancient Judah paid the price and even the United States of America will pay the price. That is a very heavy statement and we will have to accept those judgements. Once Israel repents and accepts their punishment, he will bring back the covenant He made with Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. Go back and read the promises made specifically to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. These covenants are closely tied to the names of these men. 

We have to ask God what He wants us to learn when we read His word and He will tell us how to apply it to ourselves. We are not supposed to know everything. We are supposed to know and apply what God shows us. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy. 

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