If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. — Leviticus 26:3-4
Not long ago, my nephew Andrew came home from school saying that a bully had taken his lunch money. Andrew told his mother that the bully threatened to beat him up if he didn’t hand it over. What my nephew had that day was a very negative introduction to the if/then progression.
Many people associate this form of logic only with threats. “If you don’t do this, then bad things will happen.” However, in spite of its sometimes sinister application, the if/then expression is neither good nor bad. It is deductive logic, pure and simple.
People have accused God of being threatening and looking for ways to punish. They view God’s words as only “Thou shalt not.” This perspective is incorrect. God does require obedience, but it is an if/then situation. If you follow God, then He will richly reward you. If you fail to obey, then you will not be rewarded. That is fair. If people do not meet the criteria, why should they expect the reward?
In Leviticus 26, God provided the Children of Israel with this kind of logic. In verse 3, we see that God provided the “if” component. He plainly laid out what the conditions were. Look at the payback they received for following these criteria! The “then” blessings and benefits were extensive.
If negative consequences occurred, it was because Israel chose not to obey. The consequences were the loss of the blessings that God would provide if they stayed with Him. It was not God’s plan for the Israelites to suffer in this way, but it was their choice whether or not to follow Him.
The same choice is ours today. It is God’s plan for us to be blessed by obedience, but we choose whether or not we follow His instructions. Simply put, if you keep God’s commandments, then you will be blessed. If you do not, you won’t be!
Today, let us make sure we have aligned ourselves with the instructions in God’s Word. As we do, we can be sure that His blessing will be upon our lives!
This chapter contains a general re-enforcement of the laws given by Moses. The Children of Israel were promised rewards for obedience on one hand, and warned of the consequences for disobedience on the other. If they held proper regard for the Sabbath and did not turn to idolatry, then the Lord promised to bless them in many ways. These precious promises, though they appeared to relate chiefly to the life here on earth, were also indicators of the spiritual blessings God had for His faithful followers. All covenant blessings were summed up in the covenant, “I will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
After God set forth the blessing that would make them a happy people if they would be obedient, He warned what would occur if they turned Him and His Commandments aside. The blessings provided (or held back) covered many facets of the lives of the Israelites. They included an abundance of the fruits of the earth, peace and safety under divine protection, victory and success in time of war, and the increase of their people. Even more of a blessing was the promised favor of God, the tokens of His presence and His grace.
There was no mistaking the consequences of disobedience. The loss of these blessings would be as devastating as having them would be of benefit.
If the Israelites confessed their sins, then God would again illustrate His faithfulness and willingness to freely forgive and restore blessings withdrawn while they were disobedient.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The way of fellowship with God
E. By heeding God’s promises and warning in the land (26:1-46)
1. Promises of prosperity for obedience (26:1-13)
2. Penalties for disobedience (26:14-39)
3. Promise of restoration (26:40-46)
God is not vengeful or threatening. He does not issue ultimatums to catch us so we can be punished. While He insists on our obedience to His commandments, for that obedience we receive immeasurable blessings. Let us not forget the then blessings God has for us when we love and follow Him.