Awesome Hands – Part 123: “Blessings and Punishments as seen in Leviticus 26”

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Awesome Hands – part 123

Blessings and Punishments as seen in Leviticus 26

October 20, 2017

Many times we think about blessings as positive things that happen to us and punishments as things that happen to us due to the Lord’s relationship with us going sour.

However, for Christians today, the way the Lord deals with us is much more for our growth in the new man than it is simply just to punish us for our sins.

Ultimately, the wages of sin is death, so we will certainly partake of those “wages”, but we also can participate in the love that the Father shows us in the forgiveness we have been given through and by Jesus Christ.

At the end of the day, we are being shaped into the new man so that we, too, can show forgiveness and mercy to those whose lives we affect and by whom we are affected. Our verses today should help us understand where the Lord is coming from as it pertains to these various sides of the coin of disobedience versus obedience and ultimately how we are to treat others in our lives.

Punishment for disobedience

It is often said by mainstream Christianity that the Lord loves us, therefore he doesn’t cause us to fear Him. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the fear of the Lord, and fear of disobeying Him, that causes us to realize the blessings of obedience to Him and the punishments for disobeying Him.

Another way to say it is He either gives us life or He gives us death. We are going to cover chapter 26 of Leviticus in this study since our “hand” verse for today are found in verses 25 and 46. The whole chapter will serve as a good foundation for this topic. First, let’s start with the punishment.

Lev 26:14  But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
Lev 26:15  And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
Lev 26:16  I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
Lev 26:17  And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
Lev 26:18  And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
Lev 26:19  And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
Lev 26:20  And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.

Things just got intense! In a very real sense, the Lord rewarded or punished His people in an outward way that everyone could see. So, these verses we just read, and will be reading, tell us that if you listen to or ignored the Lord, there were very serious results that happened.

For mostly everyone reading or listening to this study, we know that the power and might of the Lord is not something of which you want to be on the losing end. What we just read culminates in pride, one of the three things that is “all that is in the world” (1Jn 2:16).

What we are being told very bluntly in these verses is that the Lord will turn off the rains of the heavens and will cause the earth to no longer bear any fruit. “I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass,” should be something to which we all relate.

We shouldn’t think that we are any different than the Pharaoh was when the Lord sent Moses to free the Israelites. When the Lord is working on us, we tend to not enjoy the situation.

When I am disciplining my children, there have been times that they believe the discipline is not just or is unfair, so what do they do? What do we all do when we feel the Lord has “wronged” us somehow, when we have this mindset?

We double down on our position. We dig our heels in and stay the course of our mindset. Then, we lose against the “bigger” and “stronger” force and authority!

Lev 26:21  And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
Lev 26:22  I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
Lev 26:23  And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
Lev 26:24  Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
Lev 26:25  And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
Lev 26:26  And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.

When you look at all the symbolism in this chapter, it yells out to us just how much the Lord abhors the old man in us, but that He endures the old man so that the new man can come to life. This process happens throughout our whole lifetime, but as we see it happening, we start to get closer and closer to the Lord as more of the old man dies.

“Will punish you yet seven times for your sins,” tells us this is judgment happening for these sins. Ten women baking bread in one oven tells us that the flesh is completely going to be consumed by the Lord, and specifically the old man is doomed by what is produced by him. You’ll never get your fill and be content as it pertains to sinning and the old man.

Lev 26:27  And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
Lev 26:28  Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

Now, we’ve really done it! The Lord has poured out His punishments, yet we still do not hearken unto Him. We yet again “walk contrary” to what we know we should be doing, and the Lord is now going to pour His fury out on us. His complete fury is going to come on our entire household! Not only that, but we will turn on our OWN FLESH!

Lev 26:29  And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
Lev 26:30  And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
Lev 26:31  And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
Lev 26:32  And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
Lev 26:33  And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

Now we are going to see a shift of sorts. The Lord is going to cause us to leave the land onto which He has sent desolation, and we will become scattered, but even a scattered people still have their God! This process will allow the “land” (of which land you are) to find REST.

Lev 26:34  Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
Lev 26:35  As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
Lev 26:36  And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
Lev 26:37  And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
Lev 26:38  And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
Lev 26:39  And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

If we haven’t gotten the clue yet, the Lord means business. He’s not playing around. If you noticed, He has been very patient with us to a point, but when enough is enough, He will pour His fury out on us so that we, our households, our neighbors and our nation are all driven out and away from the blessings the Lord has given us. Yet, this is still hope if we understand what this all means for us.

What we need at this point is repentance. Think about the first words of Jesus’ ministry after being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

Mar 1:14  Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mar 1:15  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

What we need, all we need to do, to recognize the kingdom of God is at hand, is to REPENT. In the context of our study today, we need to repent of the iniquities and sins we’ve committed against the Lord.

What we are guilty of is allowing the pride of our life to dominate our relationship with the Lord. Of course, we know that the Lord has caused it all to happen. So we also must admit that He is FULLY in control and has caused us to act out against Him SO THAT we can then be reconciled to Him.

Lev 26:40  If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;
Lev 26:41  And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Lev 26:42  Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
Lev 26:43  The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.
Lev 26:44  And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God.
Lev 26:45  But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:46  These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

The Lord will not utterly cast us away if we do these three things:

1) Confess our iniquity and sins.
2) Humble ourselves.
3) Accept the punishment of our iniquity/sins

See, the Lord just wants us to acknowledge what He is doing in our lives. If we ignore that He is working the good and bad, He will just give us more of the bad until we wise up. There will come a time, if we continue down the destructive path of building up the old man, that the Lord will do everything it takes to bring us to our knees before Him.

Blessings for obedience

For the sake of this study, I reversed the order of how this chapter operates. No, I do not think I can do or say it better than that Lord can; However, I wanted to leave this study on a positive note for all the blessings the Lord will pour out on the new man in us as we follow His statutes, judgments and laws.

Lev 26:1  Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

It seems straight forward. Don’t worship idols. Now, you must take an inventory of what you do with your time and actions and determine what things are idols in your life. Then, eliminate them from your life. Simple, if you desire to please the Lord and follow His laws, and the Lord does give us the desires of our hearts when we are speaking about the new man and the “heart” of God.

Eze 36:26  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Psa 37:3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Psa 37:4  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Continuing, we must keep the sabbaths and keep them holy.

Lev 26:2  Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
Lev 26:3  If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4  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.
Lev 26:5  And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.

The fruit of our work and of our land will be manifest. The Lord will bless these things because we are willing to keep His commandments.

Lev 26:6  And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
Lev 26:7  And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:8  And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Lev 26:9  For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
Lev 26:10  And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
Lev 26:11  And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
Lev 26:12  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
Lev 26:13  I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

The Lord will bless us in many ways when we keep His commandments.

  1. We shall have peace in our land.
  2. We won’t be afraid of anyone
  3. Evil beasts will be gone from our land
  4. Our enemies will flee from us
  5. The Lord will have respect “unto us”
  6. We will be well nourished since our new fruits of the land will replace what we already have in store
  7. The Lord’s tabernacle will be set among us.
  8. The Lord will walk among us and be our God and we His people

Notice these eight blessings of the Lord! Everything we need is right here. Now, apply these inwardly, and you really get a picture of what the Lord promises His spiritual Jews of the HEART.

After all, that is where the circumcism happens so that we confess with our mouth our iniquities. This is where our humbleness finds its abode, and this is where we accept whatever it is the Lord has planned for us.

When we look at the 'one through eight' list above, we are the land, we will not be afraid of anyone or their doctrine, the Lord will cause our land to be cleansed of “beasts”, our enemies are anyone that are the enemies of the cross of Christ will flee from the doctrine of Christ that is in us because we are as He is in this world, and the Lord will have respect toward us because we are the bride of Christ whom He adorns.

We will be spiritually nourished by the Lord and the very land that He gives us. This land is our mind, and we will not be tormented but rather nourished by His mind. He will make us His TEMPLE, and He will walk among us there.

These are the things which we are promised now, both on the disobedience and the obedience side of things. It sounds very dreadful for the old man, but it is wonderful news for the new man in us.

This chapter should bring hope to us all because we are ahead of the curve so to speak. The disobedience towards the Lord comes from us all, and we gain the reward of that disobedience. However, because we know the laws and commandments of the Lord, we also are positioned to take full advantage of the blessings the Lord can pour out on us.

So, let us confess our sins, humble our hearts and accept whatever it is the Lord has planned for us because we KNOW He will work it all out for good for us and everyone around us. We might as well take advantage of the extra blessings as the old man is killed off.

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