Obey His Laws, Tend His Commands
Lev 26:1-13 GW The LORD continued, "Never make worthless idols or set up a carved statue or a sacred stone for yourselves. Never cut figures in stone to worship them in your country, because I am the LORD your God. (2) Observe my days of worship and respect my holy tent. I am the LORD. (3) "This is what I will do if you will live by my laws and carefully obey my commands: (4) "I will give you rain at the right time. The land will produce its crops, and the trees in the field will produce their fruit. (5) Threshing time will last until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until planting. You will eat all you want and live securely in your land. (6) "I will bring peace to your land. You will lie down with no one to scare you. I will remove dangerous animals, and there will be no war in your land. (7) You will chase your enemies, and you will defeat them. (8) Five of you will chase a hundred of them, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand of them. You will defeat your enemies, (9) and I will be pleased with you. Your families will be large, and I will keep my promise to you. (10) You will clear out old food supplies to make room for new ones. (11) "I will put my tent among you, and I will never look at you with disgust. (12) So I will live among you and be your God, and you will be my people. (13) I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt so that you are no longer slaves of the Egyptians. I have broken their power over you and made you live as a free people.
By way of review, last week, we talked about 3 specific areas of concern that God has expressed about His people. Number 1: God does not want us to engage in idolatry. We are to turn to Him and Him alone for our help, comfort, and guidance. He alone is worthy of our worship and praise.
#2. We talked about His command to remember the resting day. We are to give one day of our week to rest. This day is to be set aside to remember His creation and His gifts to us. On this day, we are to set aside our normal work and simply enjoy Him and His gifts to us. This commandment has become a joke to the typical Christian, but believe me, God is not laughing!
Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy has just as much force behind it today as Thou Shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and all the other commands of God. I wonder why so many Christians are battling to have the Ten Commandments put in public places, when in reality they are only serious at best about nine of them.
#3. We talked about the necessity to esteem and respect His dwelling place. No longer dwelling in the tent and temple of the OT, He now resides in all baptized believers and in each and every local congregation. Therefore we are to hold our individual body and soul in high esteem, we are not to abuse it in any way.
Since He also dwells in other believers we are to esteem them (body and soul) higher than our selves, (think about that husbands and wives, sons, daughters, and all other brothers and sisters in the Lord before you launch into your next verbal assassinations of each other) and since He also dwells in the local congregation, we are to recognize His holy presence in our worship and in all that we do as the Body of Christ.
Today, we will begin in verse 3 of Lev 26 and look at the promises of God connected with our obedience to these and His other laws and commands.
Lev 26:3-46 GW "This is what I will do if you will live by my laws and carefully obey my commands:
God will do the following for His people if they live by (actively obey) His laws and tend His commands. (Thatís the idea behind carefully obeying) Tending His commands means to put a hedge around them. Preserve them in their original state. Donít allow the weeds of compromise to overrun them, they are to be a matter of personal diligence and care taking!
If we do this, He promises to do the following:
(4) "I will give you rain at the right time. The land will produce its crops, and the trees in the field will produce their fruit. (5) Threshing time will last until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until planting. You will eat all you want and live securely in your land.
These passages speak of fruitfulness. God promised to send rain at the proper time to maximize the production of the land. The people would not want for food. There would be no dry spells, it would be a continuous supply with food production lasting until the grape harvest and the grape harvest lasting until the next planting.
Thatís well and good for the people of Palestine, but how does it apply to you and me? First of all let me say that we are blessed to live in this land. Have any of you ever been wanting for food? We are greatly blessed. Amen? Yet, there are warning signs that this fruitfulness may come to an end.
Given our national debt and individual consumer debt situation we are on the brink of a national economic calamity, and should it occur, youíll be amazed at how fast we will go from feast to famine. It wonít be very pretty. So let us beware. Let us seek the Lordís continued blessing by believing His promises and obeying His Laws and tending His commandments.
But there is more to this ďpromised fruitfulness.Ē As we mentioned last week, much of what we read here in Leviticus is typology and symbolism. The rain spoken of here is a type or a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Joel spoke of this symbolism and typology in:
Joe 2:23 GW People of Zion, be glad and find joy in the LORD your God. The LORD has given you the Teacher of Righteousness. He has sent the autumn rain and the spring rain as before.
This prophetic word concerned the pouring out of ďThe Teacher of Righteousness...the Holy Spirit, and it likened that pouring out to the ďautumn and the spring rainsĒ that came at ďjust the right timeĒ for maximized harvest in Israel.
The church today is the antitype of Israel, this ďrainĒ is promised for us. And if we, the church, will live by His Laws and tend His commands He promises to provide the necessary amount of the Holy Spirit in a timely fashion to produce a sustained revival, and isnít that what itís all about?
How many know that all my preaching, and all our witnessing and praying and pleading will not bring forth one piece of fruit, one harvested soul, unless the Holy Spirit shows up and does His work? We need this Timely Rain from God for effective ministry. We need this Heavenly Shower in order to fulfill the Great Commission.
Therefore, we must do our part. We must live by His laws and tend His commands. He promises then to send the timely rain.
But thatís not all! (I feel like one of those TV infomercials, ďbut thatís not all...if you order within the next 30 minutes,,,blah, blah, blah)
But seriously, that is not all, look at more of His promise involved with our obedience and tending!
(6) "I will bring peace to your land. You will lie down with no one to scare you. I will remove dangerous animals, and there will be no war in your land. (7) You will chase your enemies, and you will defeat them. (8) Five of you will chase a hundred of them, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand of them. You will defeat your enemies,
This speaks of the blessing of security doesnít it? Do you feel as secure as you did 4 years ago? 9/11 changed a lot of things didnít it? I mean, whoís chasing who these days. One terrorist chases many, five will chase a hundred.
Even dangerous animals are showing up in our land and attacking joggers and bikers in the mountains out west. When security becomes an issue in a nation, it is a sign of God withholding His blessing, because the people are disregarding His commands.
But again, letís look at this promise from a spiritual perspective. A people who obey Godís Laws and tend His commands will have spiritual victory.
With Godís power and blessing we will see victory over the devil, his demons, and all of their associated bondage. Are we seeing that today? Looking at the number of self-help groups in the church today, Iíd have to say we have a problem here and it can be traced back to our individual and corporate disregard for Godís laws and commands, which result in a lack of Holy Spirit power in battling our spiritual enemies. .
(9) and I will be pleased with you. Your families will be large,
Large families are a sign of the Lordís blessing, but whatís happened? We have turned it around and viewed large families as a curse. Was God kidding when He said:
Psa 127:3-5 GW Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him. (4) The children born to a man when he is young are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. (5) Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the city gate.
Right now, we arenít even producing enough children to keep the status quo of our population. This is a major concern especially in the declining population of Europe. We have bought the lies of the over-population alarmists, forgetting that just a couple of years ago, the entire population of the world was able to fit into one single city in Florida.
Christians have forgotten that God is to be the author and finisher of life. We have become short-sighted and concerned only about the here and now. Oh that we would see the eternal bliss that awaits the soul brought into this world by us through Godís creative process, and then brought to faith in Christ and kept in that faith by the Holy Spirit.
And we want to dam up that process, we want to hinder it? What are we thinking? We are thinking only of the here and now, only thinking of ourselves.
Listen to what God says concerning His purpose for marriage in Malachi 2:15
Mal 2:15a GW Didn't God make you one? Your flesh and spirit belong to him. And what does the same God look for but godly descendants?
Part of the purpose of a Christian marriage is to, by the grace of God, populate heaven! We can do that by bringing children into the world or by adopting children already here and then seeking to train them up in the way they should go.
So God promises the blessings of large families, (physical and spiritual families) to those who obey His Laws and tend His commands.
ďand I will keep my promise to you.Ē
Here He speaks of not breaking His covenant of salvation with His people. Itís not that our obedience wins salvation, itís that our obedience proves our salvation. It is the evidence of our faith. The evidence of Christ living in us. As long as there is evidence, there is faith, and where there is faith, there is God and he will keep His end of the deal.
(10) You will clear out old food supplies to make room for new ones.
Again the promise of abundance (physical and spiritual blessings)
(11) "I will put my tent among you, and I will never look at you with disgust.
God lived among the Israelites, but He promises to dwell in the NT believer. He will remain in those who obey His Laws and tend His commands, because this is evidence of remaining in the faith. . These are the people who care about Godís Word and seek to live it. Anything less and we grieve the Holy Spirit of God and He will remove His lamp stand.
Rev 2:4-5 GW However, I have this against you: The love you had at first is gone. (5) Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first. I will come to you and take your lamp stand from its place if you don't change.
What did you do at first? Did you not obey His Laws and tend His commands? Did you not love His Word? Jesus? Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, repent and turn back to your first love!
Not only will God continue to dwell in you, but HE will not look at you with disgust. This is the most precious promise of all. In order to appreciate this promise, we need to understand how much God loathes sin.
God is holy! He is infinitely pure and absolutely loathes the smallest impurity. Think of the grossest thing you have ever seen on Fear Factor. Think of the grossest food that you would gag on.
How can anyone put a worm in their mouth and eat it? Or a cockroach? How can they allow snakes to crawl all over their body? What is it that absolutely repulses you? Well, whatever it is multiply it by infinity and understand how much God loathes and is repulsed by sin. And will have nothing to do with it!
Since you and I, in our natural state are sinners, covered with that which repulses God, He has every right to look on us with disgust.
De 25:16 "For all who do such things, all who behave unrighteously, are an abomination (disgusting and detestable) to the LORD your God.
Yet, if we obey His Laws and tend His commands, He promises to not look at us with disgust! Herein lies the problem. We cannot obey His laws and tend His commands in our own strength. We will mess up, we will remain loathsome.
So how can this holy God dwell in us and no longer look at us with disgust? Something has to happen to our impurities, to our sin. That something is Jesus.
In this Lenten season, our thoughts are directed toward Jesus and the cross. We rightly reflect on the pain and agony He endured because of our loathsomeness...our sins. Mel Gibson captured this loathsomeness in a powerful way in his movie ďThe Passion of Christ.Ē
With every crack of the whip, one can almost hear our holy God saying, ďI hate sin! Every swing of the hammer. ďI loathe sinĒ ďHere sin, put this crown of thorns on, I hate you!Ē Every slur hurled at Jesus, every slap in the face, was a result of God demonstrating His hatred and disgust of sin. Yours and mine!
But in so punishing His Son, He has made it possible for you and I to be a fit dwelling for Him, and instead of disgust, He looks at us with the love of a perfect Father. Even though we continue to do disgusting things, if we confess them as sin, and put them under the blood of Jesus, He no longer views us with disgust. He only sees us as His sons and daughters. He only sees us as He sees Jesus. Pure and loveable.
God never said to be AS holy as HE is holy, only to be holy, and we can only be holy if Christ dwells in us. We must hide our unholiness in the wounds and death of Christ just as Moses hid himself in the cleft of a rock when the glory of God passed by.
Oh, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee! It is only in hiding myself in Jesus that I am looked upon with favor by God. It is only while hiding in Jesus that I am able to have true fear and respect for Godís Laws and commands.
It is only while hiding in Jesus that He uses His laws and commands to discipline me and help purge me of my sinful ways. It is only in Jesus that I can realize all these precious promises of God concerning fruitfulness, security, and numerous godly offspring.
(12) So I will live among you and be your God, and you will be my people. (13) I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt so that you are no longer slaves of the Egyptians. I have broken their power over you and made you live as a free people.
So it is because of Jesus that God will live among us and we will be His people. He is the God who intervened in history and delivered His people from Egypt, and this event was only a foreshadowing of how He would intervene in history with the life, death, resurrection, and deliverance of Jesus.
Jesus, who would live a perfect, sinless, pure life, and then take the punishment for all of our sins so that the power of the devil would be broken and we could live as free people.
People who do not obey Godís laws and tend His commands out of compulsion, but out of a Holy Spirit driven love of God, that freely rejoices in His Word and anticipates the fulfillment of the loving promises of a God who never fails.
Oh Lord, help us to believe Your gospel promises and help us to obey your Laws and tend your commands, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, and Lord, hide us in the Rock that is Jesus, in His name we pray, Amen.