In the last 2 chapters of Leviticus, God details what happens when the people obey and disobey His rules. God made a covenant — an agreement with the Israelites. It’s a binding contract. Then, He gave them the terms of the agreement through Moses. God keeps His promises. If you obey the laws, you will be blessed. If you disobey, you break the covenant agreement and face the consequences. And it’s interesting how the number 7 is featured here.
Why do we need to read this? Because we are human sinners, breaking God’s laws every day. We are doomed to suffer punishment in hell. Enter Jesus, our Savior, to take our 7-fold punishment for us! Let’s dig in….
Leviticus 26 and 27
“Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the Lord your God. 2 You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
3 “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. 5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.
6 “I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. 7 In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.
9 “I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.
Points to Ponder
- Notice how He starts with idolatry! God knows everything! He knows that they will disobey and turn to idols.
- Look at the list of blessings:
- And He reminds them that He brought them out of slavery in Egypt. You’ll see how quickly the generations forget.
So, what happens if they don’t obey?
Punishments for Disobedience
14 “However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commands, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you. I will bring sudden terrors upon you—wasting diseases and burning fevers that will cause your eyes to fail and your life to ebb away. You will plant your crops in vain because your enemies will eat them. 17 I will turn against you, and you will be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you will rule over you, and you will run even when no one is chasing you!
18 “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins. 19 I will break your proud spirit by making the skies as unyielding as iron and the earth as hard as bronze. 20 All your work will be for nothing, for your land will yield no crops, and your trees will bear no fruit.
21 “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins. 22 I will send wild animals that will rob you of your children and destroy your livestock. Your numbers will dwindle, and your roads will be deserted.
23 “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, 24 then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins. 25 I will send armies against you to carry out the curse of the covenant you have broken. When you run to your towns for safety, I will send a plague to destroy you there, and you will be handed over to your enemies. 26 I will destroy your food supply, so that ten women will need only one oven to bake bread for their families. They will ration your food by weight, and though you have food to eat, you will not be satisfied.
27 “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, 28 then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins. 29 Then you will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. 30 I will destroy your pagan shrines and knock down your places of worship. I will leave your lifeless corpses piled on top of your lifeless idols, and I will despise you. 31 I will make your cities desolate and destroy your places of pagan worship. I will take no pleasure in your offerings that should be a pleasing aroma to me. 32 Yes, I myself will devastate your land, and your enemies who come to occupy it will be appalled at what they see. 33 I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you. Your land will become desolate, and your cities will lie in ruins. 34 Then at last the land will enjoy its neglected Sabbath years as it lies desolate while you are in exile in the land of your enemies. Then the land will finally rest and enjoy the Sabbaths it missed. 35 As long as the land lies in ruins, it will enjoy the rest you never allowed it to take every seventh year while you lived in it.
36 “And for those of you who survive, I will demoralize you in the land of your enemies. You will live in such fear that the sound of a leaf driven by the wind will send you fleeing. You will run as though fleeing from a sword, and you will fall even when no one pursues you. 37 Though no one is chasing you, you will stumble over each other as though fleeing from a sword. You will have no power to stand up against your enemies. 38 You will die among the foreign nations and be devoured in the land of your enemies. 39 Those of you who survive will waste away in your enemies’ lands because of their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
40 “But at last my people will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for betraying me and being hostile toward me. 41 When I have turned their hostility back on them and brought them to the land of their enemies, then at last their stubborn hearts will be humbled, and they will pay for their sins. 42 Then I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. 43 For the land must be abandoned to enjoy its years of Sabbath rest as it lies deserted. At last the people will pay for their sins, for they have continually rejected my regulations and despised my decrees.
44 “But despite all this, I will not utterly reject or despise them while they are in exile in the land of their enemies. I will not cancel my covenant with them by wiping them out, for I am the Lord their God. 45 For their sakes I will remember my ancient covenant with their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of all the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.”
46 These are the decrees, regulations, and instructions that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai as evidence of the relationship between himself and the Israelites.Leviticus 26 NLT
God here is basically telling them how they will disobey Him and what will happen to them. The covenant is with the Israelites, at that time and all the generations following. The problem will be that the subsequent generations will disobey and break just about every rule that God laid out.
In chapter 27, God details regulations regarding vows and the dedication of people, animals and property. I’ll not bore you with the first part, but you can read it here. We pick up the final verses of Leviticus…
30 “One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. 31 If you want to buy back the Lord’s tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. 32 Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the Lord as holy. 33 You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.”
34 These are the commands that the Lord gave through Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.Leviticus 27:30-34 NLT
This is where we get the whole 10% tithing deal. God expects us to give Him 10% off the top of our income. Not the leftovers. God doesn’t need money or animals or grain or fruit. No, He wants to see our obedience and gratitude for His blessings toward us. He loves a cheerful giver!
Where does Jesus fit in?
Again I turn to the Bible study, “Jesus in all of Leviticus” from Spoken Gospel from the free YouVersion Bible app….
The sacrificial system Leviticus has described doesn’t stand on its own. It is part of a larger covenant between Israel and God.
The covenant was made in Exodus (Exodus 19:5). If Israel obeyed God’s commands, he would dwell with them, make them into a great nation, and bring them into the promised land.
If Israel obeys God’s commands, they will be richly blessed. They will live safely in the Promised Land with God and ample physical provisions (Leviticus 26:6).
But if the people break the covenant, God will break out against them. Multiple times, God says he will avenge them sevenfold for their sins. He will kick them out of the land, bring their enemies against them, and they will die (Leviticus 26:17).
In fact, the specificity of the punishment makes it seem like this is exactly what will happen.
But, God offers a lifeline to this future people. He says that if they repent and soften their hearts toward God, he will return them to the land and bless them once again (Leviticus 26:40).
God says that even though his people will utterly forsake him, God will still keep the covenant (Leviticus 26:44). He will bring them back despite their sin. He will change their hearts no matter how hard they are. He will give them life no matter how close to death they come.
This is God’s vow to his people.
Where is the Gospel?
Later in their story, Israel was in exile. Enemies occupied their land. But in this dire season, God did not abandon his people. Instead, he did the opposite. He came in the flesh and actually lived with them. He pitched a different tent, the tabernacle of his human body in the person of Jesus (John 1:14).
Jesus accomplished absolutely everything prescribed in the book of Leviticus. He was the final offering, the final day of atonement, and the ultimate covenant keeper.
Yet, he who kept the covenant for us did not receive the blessings described in this passage. Instead, he received our sevenfold curses. This number 7 should remind us of at least two things from Jesus’ ministry.
He taught that he was bringing the final year of Jubilee, which was the seven times seventh year in Israel’s calendar (Luke 4:18-19). He also taught that we must forgive seven times seven when people sin against us (Matthew 18:22). Jesus takes our sevenfold punishment so that he could give us seven times seven blessings and forgiveness.
Now we who are in exile anywhere on this earth, no matter who we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter how unrepentant and hard our hearts are, we can come to Jesus, put our hand on him through faith and receive all the covenant blessings of God (Ephesians 2:5).
We can be present with God. He will give us every spiritual blessing in Christ. And we will live with him forever in the new heaven and the new earth.“Jesus in all of Leviticus” by Spoken Gospel
We, as humans, can never be perfect. That is why, because He loved us SO MUCH, that God sent His only Son to be the final sacrificial lamb for us. He was perfect where we could never be. And He suffered so we wouldn’t have to.
Only THROUGH JESUS can we be saved from God’s wrath that is in store for ALL sinners! The Good News is that Jesus’ Salvation is available to everyone who comes to Him sincerely, with a repentant heart.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
Our next journey is through the Book of Numbers, also written by Moses. We’ll journey with the Israelites through the wilderness. Subscribe so you don’t miss out!