Lev. 26, Rewards and Punishments

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Helen, Dec 22, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    chapter 26 begins with two laws repeated:

    1. Do not make idols, set them up, or worship them anywhere in the land.

    2. Observe the Sabbaths

    a "new" one is given which is not new at all, but put into words here: "have reverence for my sanctuary."

    And then the rewards and punishments are listed. The list for rewards is not as long as the list for punishments, which is of necessity specific, but the rewards list is still hard for us to comprehend in its depth and scope. It includes:

    -- rain in season
    -- good crops
    -- more than enough food
    -- safety in the land
    -- no enemies to cause fear
    -- savage beasts gone from land
    -- no war in their own territory
    -- in any battles a few Israelites will defeat many enemy
    -- many children
    -- God will be with them and live with them

    However, disobedience yielded consequences that, looking back, could easily be termed prophecies

    -- sudden terror
    -- wasting diseases and fever
    -- enemies will eat the harvests
    -- defeat by enemies
    -- those ruling over them would hate them

    IF after all this, they remain in hostility towards God, the results would continue:

    -- no rain
    -- no crops

    If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me...

    -- afflictions to be multiplied seven times over
    -- wild animals will kill their children and cattle
    -- their population would decrease drastically

    If, in spite of these things, you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me, I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for our sins seven times over.

    -- war against them
    -- plague
    -- famine

    If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over.

    -- they will have to resort to cannibalism
    -- destruction of their temples and cities
    -- God will refuse their offerings
    -- they will be scattered among the nations
    -- God will continue to pursue them with sword drawn
    -- land will be laid waste
    -- those who are left in the land will be filled with fear and end up wasting away

    BUT IF THEY WILL CONFESS THEIR SINS and the sins of their fathers -- their treachery against me and their hostility toward me, which made me hostile toward them... then God will turn back to them.

    Yes in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely...for their sake I will remember the convenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt...I am the Lord.

    Thus, we see God will give them four times of correction before allowing them to be dispersed among the nations. We can trace some of this in the books that follow, especially in Judges for the first episodes of discipline. This study will be referred to several times in the coming months as we go through the Israelite history in the Promised Land and watch how God's warnings became prophecies due to their disobedience.

    It might also be noted that although God knew all of this would happen, He still gave them the options, still would call Israel His inheritance, and still made a point of saying in verses 27-28 and 40-42 that His punishment will be a reaction to their disobedience, with no indication that they do not have the option to obey. This option is presented to them first, with magnificent promises attached.

    Maybe too magnificent? Who could really comprehend that much good here on this earth in our lives? Nevertheless, there was the promise for obedience just as surly as there was the promise of discipline and punishment and wrath for disobedience.

    [ December 22, 2002, 01:08 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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