"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

LEVITICUS – A HOLY PEOPLE’s ACCESS to The HOLY GOD – Chapter TWENTYSIX

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Complete Study of Leviticus by pastor Chuck Smith 

LEVITICUS 26: “The Way of Blessing and of Cursing” – by James Fire, Facebook video available here.

INTRODUCTION: GOD desires to bless people because He is a kind, gracious, generous LORD with a tender heart and limitless resources. Think of a billionaire Grampa who has lots of grand babies. That pales compared to GOD! Throughout the Old Testament, GOD held out His hand, graciously inviting His people to partake of His goodness and provisions, and all they had to do was obey Him. And therein lies the problem. They didn’t, so He couldn’t.

It came down to a matter of heart: the human heart is desperately wicked (JER 17:9), and even the Old Testament saints that were approved by GOD and seen as upright in heart, still had to offer up sacrifices for their sins. Someone had to pay the price for sin! And it was either GOD’s people or the animals they sacrificed!

The sin nature has to be dealt with! GOD would have to instill in people a new nature after His own godliness and that’s what Ezekiel prophesied in EZEK 36:26. It’s what our LORD spoke about in JOHN 3:3-5. A new nature, a spiritual rebirth. And even then, we New Testament saints have this wrestling match going on inside of us, the Spirit against our sinful flesh (GAL 5:17). We rejoice in knowing that one day, our sin nature will be extracted from out of our very being, and we will be completely holy without even the possibility of being corrupted by sin, or even tempted to sin.

Until that day, it’s a constant visitation to the cross, where we have to crucify flesh, die to self, and let Christ Who lives IN us, to live THROUGH us.

LEVITICUS 26:1
1 'You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God
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Idols, carved images and sacred pillars were all devotions to pagan false gods that were masquerades for demonic powers and the LORD GOD, knowing the dangers of interacting with demonic spirits, forbade these things to the children of Israel. Much as a loving parent would warn and keep safe a little child from a hot stove that could burn them.

The only One worthy of devotion, and of worship, the only One worthy of surrendering our lives to is the One Who gave us both physical life and life eternal through our LORD Jesus Christ, Who gave His own life for our salvation.

There is no one or nothing else that is worthy of our devotion, of dedicating our lives to. Is there, at all?

If there is anything fighting for the affections of our lives, anything that is distracting us from giving our affections to the LORD – that by definition is an idol and must be cast down.

LEVITICUS 26:2-5
2 You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD. 3 'If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last till the time of vintage, and the vintage shall last till the time of sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely
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The LORD is commanding the people of Israel, that He delivered from bondage in Egypt to keep His holy days - His sabbaths as well as His sanctuary.

In the same way, the LORD is commanding us, His church to keep the Sabbath that is Jesus: that is, to abide in Jesus and rest in salvation from the deliverance from this world of sin, from judgment and hell – that He has provided at the Cross, and to keep His sanctuary (that is, the temple of the Holy Spirit – our bodies, our minds and hearts in sanctification and honor (1 THESS 4:4)). The Tabernacle belonged to the LORD: “MY sanctuary” He said. Just so, we are purchased with the blood of Christ, and we belong to the LORD, not to ourselves:
1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's
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The words in this chapter are the Mosaic Covenant; it’s a conditional covenant, in which if the children of Israel did their part, then GOD would do His. If they keep the LORD’s statutes and commandments, THEN He will bless the land with rain, and produce and grain. He will also bless the people with peace and safety:

LEVITICUS 26:6-8
6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. 7 You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you
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Victory follows obedience – this is a spiritual principle for which there is no short cut. Do you want victory? Then surrender your will, your life the way you want it; all to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. That is the way to victory. 

In the world if you want victory, they say, Never surrender! Fight to the last ounce of your strength to get the victory you want! 
But in the kingdom of GOD, the way to victory is surrender – never to our enemy, but to our ally, the LORD Jesus, Who alone is victorious over sin, death, hell and all the powers of darkness.

Just as the LORD assured victory to the children of Israel, where five shall chase a hundred, and a hundred shall put ten thousand to flight – in the same way, you and Jesus against all the powers of hell make up a majority. HE is our champion (as armies of old used to fight – recall the battle between David and Goliath (1 SAM 17): If Goliath won the contest of battle, Israel would become slaves to the Philistines; if David won, Philistia would become slaves to Israel) and as our Champion, Jesus won the victory for us all over sin, Satan and this fallen world.

LEVITICUS 26:9-10
9 'For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. 10 You shall eat the old harvest and clear out the old because of the new
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As much as the LORD blesses us with so many good things in life, the greatest blessing He gives us is Himself! In this sense, He confirms His covenant with us by declaring that we are His! He claims us as His very own and is not at all ashamed to call us His family:
HEBREWS 2:10-13
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." 13 And again: "I will put My trust in Him." And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me
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LEVITICUS 26:11-13
11 I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright
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The LORD delivered the children of Israel from Egypt because He intends to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham, the covenant of the land that GOD would give him and to his descendants and also a great people beyond numbering (GEN 15). See the teaching (video link included) on this chapter by yours truly at SHINE BRIGHT Church here!

Later, the LORD made a covenant with David and promised to build him a house from which would come the Messiah (2 SAM 7; see the TTUF teaching on this chapter entitled COVENANT KEEPER For The KING: ESTABLISHING The ETERNAL THRONE of DAVID By GOD’s PROMISE), who will reign over Israel from His throne, forever and ever. Jesus is that chief cornerstone (PSALM 118:22-26) upon which all of these promises are fulfilled:

So when we read here in LEVITICUS 26, vs. 12, that the LORD will walk among Israel and be their GOD, that holds true here, but it’s ultimate fulfillment will be when the Messiah, in His glorified body, returns and physically walks among His people in the Millennial kingdom!
On that Day, Israel will be reborn spiritually and receive salvation and the LORD Jesus will deliver them from this evil world that will seek her destruction and He will break the yoke of sin from them and cause the nation to walk upright.

This is the work that the LORD has done for us as well: He broke the yoke of sin from us so that we may “walk upright”, no longer bowed down under the guilty weight of sin, but freed from that curse and able now by GOD’s grace to walk pleasing in His sight!
COLOSSIANS 1:10-11
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy
;
LEVITICUS 26:14-17
14 'But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you
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This admonition from the LORD is very much the same as what is later recorded in DEUTERONOMY 28 & 29. Both here and there, a listing of blessings are promised if they walk obediently to the commands of the LORD. And if they are disobedient, there is a listing of curses.
It’s very simple – obey and be blessed; disobey and be cursed. What determines either are the actions of the people. Again, this is the Mosaic covenant – this covenant demands obedience to acquire blessing.

We are under the grace of GOD in the church, so all the blessings that are in Christ are ours already – not based on our merit, not based on our performance, but upon GOD’s grace. Look through the New Testament and see if you can find anywhere where the child of GOD (this is one who is born again of the Spirit of GOD, that’s important to remember!) must perform obedience before GOD grants His blessings which are found in Christ, to us.

The blessings come first for the child of GOD – His grace and love, His peace and joy, His empowerment and guidance: all of these come to the child of GOD, who by the Spirit of GOD abides in Christ (JOHN 15), and if His Word abides in us, as it should, we receive all the more of these blessings! This is allowing the Word of GOD to do the work it does, as we read, study, meditate and obey what the Scriptures tell us to do.

These blessings found in salvation come to us with GOD’s expectation that obedience will follow; that we will produce fruit and good works (LUKE 13:6-9).

What obedience is then required?

Simply to express genuine faith in the Gospel and to walk in the Spirit – that is to say, living your life just as Jesus lived His – and our ability to live this way isn’t even determined by our own strength or will power, but is itself granted by the Spirit of GOD’s grace. We simply choose to “sow to the Spirit”:
GALATIANS 6:8-9
8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart
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LEVITICUS 26:18-20
18 'And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 I will break the pride of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain; for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit
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We don’t typically think of something being broken as a good thing. Broken things tend to be useless things. Unless you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes, so that they are no longer stiff and uncomfortable, but yields to your foot as you walk. The same for wild horses – once broken, they are yielded to the rider and are useful. And you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs! 

When we rely on our own power, when we have unconfessed sin that rules our lives instead of GOD ruling our lives, this is pride! The LORD has to break us. And once we yield and surrender, once we are obedient to the LORD, we are not only useful, but blessed, because then the chastening – even as severe as seven times more – will be over with. We can leave the woodshed, the spanking is over – always a blessing!

But until we let go of our pride, and obey the LORD where GOD is directing us to obey, the heavens will be as impenetrable to our prayers as iron. And any fruit we desire to see grown in our lives will be impossible as the soil of our hearts will be as hard as bronze!

LEVITICUS 26:21-26
21 'Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock, and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate. 23 'And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, 24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins. 25 And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of the covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you; and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. 26 When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied
.

LEVITICUS 26:27-33
27 'And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, 28 then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. 30 I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. 31 I will lay your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the fragrance of your sweet aromas. 32 I will bring the land to desolation, and your enemies who dwell in it shall be astonished at it. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste
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America has been blessed for centuries because we followed the principles laid out in the Word of GOD. We were a great nation – one nation under GOD.

Alexis De Tocqueville, a French political commentator of the 18th century reportedly stated the following when he visited the united States of America:
"I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there . . .. in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there. . .. .in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there. . .. in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."
Saints, there is a great deal of talk in “Making America Great Again” but I’m persuaded that this is not possible without repentance, without a returning to the old paths (JER 6:16), without living in righteousness provided for through the LORD Jesus Christ.

America cannot be great until she is once again good.
The WORD of GOD stands and testifies to the sins of America, and there are yet some faithful and prophetic voices in the land calling out for this nation to turn from her wickedness. But like Israel, back in the days of Jeremiah, when that weeping prophet implored his fellow Jews to return to those old paths and walk in righteousness, the proud, unrepentant American calls back and says,
“We will not walk in those paths.”

Can we not begin to see the ruin of our nation as here described in these verses from LEVITICUS? I believe the sun is setting on America, that her day as a nation is done. “Wild beasts” are robbing us of our children in the public school system (Centers of Humanist Indoctrination) and by almost every facet of society including the media:

Recently a popular rap artist, Travis Scott was performing at Astro World in Houston, TX, where 10 people were trampled to death, one of them, a nine year old boy by the mob that stampeded up to the stage; hundreds were injured. Blood was everywhere, people were passing out, some were going into convulsions. There were even reports by fans that something evil was present among the crowds. Some said that they could sense something entering into them!

All of the American idols, including the US dollar, sexual freedoms and perversions, cheap killer drugs and so many others – are all crumbling down around us. Devotion to these false gods has brought us nothing but disappointment and destruction.

Now the LORD is turning to individuals in the nation and seeking out those last remaining few souls who are yet hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
And in these darkening days, I believe the finest hour for the church here in America may yet be ahead of us: where we will be given the opportunity to SHINE BRIGHT in one last testimony to the truth and declare with one voice the glorious Gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ!

LEVITICUS 26:34-39
34 Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall rest-for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.
36 'And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues. 37 They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; also in their fathers' iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away
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One of the many sins of Israel was her greed: she failed to allow the land her Sabbath rests. Just as man was given a Sabbath every seventh day, the land also was to rest every seventh year (LEV 25:2); no crops were to be sown, no harvests gathered. Doing this assured that the land wouldn’t become sterile: stripped of her vital nutrients.

But Israel failed to allow the land to rest, and GOD saw that if this continued, the land would suffer irreparable damage. So, because of this sin, and so many others, the longsuffering patience of GOD came to an end. For all of His continual warnings of coming judgment through the prophets, Israel turned a deaf ear until finally the land “vomited” her out of the land, just as GOD said it would (LEV 18:28; LEV 20:22).

LEVITICUS 26:40-43
40 'But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, 41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt- 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. 43 The land also shall be left empty by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes
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The LORD is ever merciful and willing to forgive – as I’ve said many times before: GOD drags His feet to bring judgment, but He sprints to deliver mercy!

We see this in:
2 CHRONICLES 7:14
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land
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LEVITICUS 26:44-46
44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 But for their sake I will remember the covenant of 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.'" 46 These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the LORD made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses
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Just as GOD is faithful to remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so He will not break His covenant with the people of Israel, specifically those who repent and turn to the LORD with their whole heart.

Likewise with us, those of us who have repented, and turned with our whole and humble heart to the LORD, and bowed the knee at Calvary, confessed our sin and turned from our wicked way, and have sought His face – the LORD will remember and not break His covenant with us, the New Testament in the blood of the LAMB! HE is ever faithful to us His children.
May the cry of our heart be, LORD cause us to be faithful to You as You are to us!

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