Leviticus 26

 

 

THE first two verses of this chapter contain a prohibition of idolatry, and a command to

observe the sabbath and to reverence God’s sanctuary; that is, they repeat in summary

the substance of the Israelites, religious duty, negative and positive, as comprised in the

first table of the Decalogue.  They form, therefore, a prologue to the remainder of the

chapter, which solemnly announces:

 

  • The blessings which should result from obedience (vs. 3-13).
  • The curses which should follow disobedience (vs. 14-39).
  • The gracious treatment which would ensue on repentance (vs. 40-45).

 

Hitherto the Book of Leviticus has consisted of ceremonial and moral injunctions, with

two historical passages interposed. In the present chapter it rises in its subject and its

diction from legal precepts and a legal style to prediction and the style which became

a prophet.  We may trace in Joel 2:18-27 an intimate acquaintance on the part of the

earliest prophet of Judah with this chapter. The first promise there, as here, is that of

rain, and as here it is to be “in due season,” – (v. 4) so there it is “the former and the

latter rain,” – (v. 23) - that is, the regular autumn and spring rains. “The land shall yield

her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit,” – (v. 4) -appears in the

prophet as, “the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the

fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.” – (v. 22) -  The following clause, “your

 threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing

 time,”- (v. 5) -  as, “the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with

wine and oil;” – (v.24) the next clause, “ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell

 in your land safely,” – (v. 5) -  as, “I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye

shall be satisfied therewith,” – (v. 19) and “ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied;”

(v. 26)  - the clause, “I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none

 shall make you afraid,” – (v. 6) as “I will no more make you a reproach among the

heathen,” – (v. 19) and  “my people shall never be ashamed;” – (v. 26) - and the

clause, “I will rid evil creatures [not beasts] out of the land, neither shall the sword

go through your land,” – (v. 6)  as, “I will remove far off from you the northern army,”

(v. 20)  and “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm,

and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you.”

(v. 25) - The blessings and the curses rise one above the other in regular gradation:

on the one side, rain, abundance, peace, deliverance, victory, increase in numbers,

communion with God; on the other side:  (Which would you prefer?  CY – 2010)

 

  • horror, wasting, and the burning fever, hostile spoiling of the fields,

            defeat, and causeless flight;

 

  • the heaven iron, and the earth brass, failure of crops and fruits in spite

            of labor spent upon them;

 

  • the sword, pestilence, and famine;

 

  • wild beasts for the destruction of cattle, children, and men, desolation

            of the highways;

 

  • cannibalism, overthrow of their heathen idols and of God’s own house

            and worship, destruction of their cities, utter desolation of their lands, and

            their captivity among the heathen.   (America, which do you prefer? – CY –

            2010)

 

And even yet the full measure of their misery is not accomplished, for while the land

enjoys her sabbaths, the captives, if unrepentant, are to fall from one misery to another,

till they pine away and are consumed. Each of these grades is described as being

symbolically seven times worse, that is, incomparably worse, than that which has gone

before. Because these plagues would come, and in fact DID COME upon them as the

immediate result of physical or moral causes that could be traced, they are none the

less THE EFFECT OF GOD’S WRATH UPON HIS APOSTATE PEOPLE.

 

Confession of sin, recognition of God’s providence in all that had happened to them,

humility, and acquiescence in their punishment, WOULD RESTORE THEM TO

THEIR FORFEITED COVENANT RELATION. (vs. 40-45). Then God would

not abhor them to destroy them utterly,” but would “remember the covenant of

their fathers.” Thus it was that God brought them back after the Babylonish Captivity;

and thus it is that, upon their repentance, He replaces in a state of salvation Churches

and individuals that have fallen away from Him. In this way punishments become a

blessing, and men are able to “accept of them,” (vs. 41,43) or rejoice in them,

as the word might be rendered.

 

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. The word idols (elilim) means the

nothingswhich the heathen substituted for THE LORD GOD. The graven

image (here meaning a carved wooden image), the standing image

(meaning a sacred pillar), and the image of stone (that is, a sculptured

stone idol), are the three forms of images under which adoration was paid,

whether to the true God or to a false deity. The expression, to bow down

unto (or towards) it, forbids worshipping before an image as well as

worshipping an image.

 

 

Idolatry: Our Danger and Our Security (v.1)

 

Knowing, as we do, how widespread was the idolatry of the age and how

terribly tempted were the children of Israel to fall under its fascination, we

do not wonder either at the repetition or the fullness of this

commandment. God made it quite clear to His people, and impressed the

truth on their minds with strong emphasis, that they must not permit any

visible image to come between themselves and Him. He would sanction “no

idol, nor graven image, nor pillar, nor figured stone” (marginal reading).

Respecting idolatry we may do well to consider:

 

  • ITS NATURAL HISTORY. Men do not descend at once into the blind

and blank idolatry with which we are familiar.

 

ü      The first step downwards is when men take some object or construct

some image which shall remind them of Deity, or stand for God, or be a

sign and token of his presence, so that when they see that they shall think

of Him. This was the case with the “golden calf” which Aaron made.

The people presented their offerings to it in connection with a “feast to

the Lord” (Exodus 32:5). It is too great a mental labor to realize God’s

presence by pure thought and meditation; men crave a visible object

which shall remind them of the Supreme.

 

ü      The next step — deep into the thick darkness — is to identify the Deity

with the object which is the chosen sign of His presence; and the

constant, inevitable accompaniment of this act is to multiply the

number of divinities; for, as the visible images are many, the gods

become many also to the popular imagination. However antecedently

unlikely it may seem to us that men would commit such great folly as

this, universal history compels us to believe that they have done so.

Beginning with the demand for “a sign,” men have “bowed down

unto and worshipped the image, the pillar, the figured stone.

 

ü      Then follows mental, moral, spiritual degradation. The worshippers of

idols have attributed to their gods their own infirmities and sins, and

then their worship has reacted on their own character, and they have

sunk to the lowest depths of abjectness of mind, vileness of spirit,

 grossness of life.

 

  • ITS ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS. We must not identify idolatry with

those more shameless forms of it which historians and travelers have made

known to us. These are its last and worst developments. But the idolatrous

element is found where there is:

 

ü      a false association of God with an object with which He has nothing to

do, as (in the case referred to) where the Israelites associated Jehovah in

their thoughts with an image with which He had no connection

whatever; or:

 

ü      a false trust in an object with which God is more or less connected.

That was an idolatrous act on the part of the Israelites when they made

sure of victory because the ark of God was in the camp (I Samuel

4:3-11). God had connected Himself with the ark in an especial

manner; but the Jews were trusting in it rather than IN HIM,  and

they leaned on a broken reed.

 

  • ITS APPEAL TO OURSELVES. Our danger is not from the grosser

forms of idolatry, nor is it in the former of the two essential elements of it;

it is in the latter of these. We are liable to trust idolatrously in that with

which God is connected, but which has no virtue at all in itself. We are

invited, and sometimes find ourselves tempted:

 

ü      To imagine that a priest can bless us, independently of the truth

which he teaches or the spiritual help which he renders us.

 

ü      To suppose that we are nearer to God in sacred places, irrespective of

the consideration whether we realize His presence and draw nigh to

His Spirit.

 

ü      To seek sanctity, or even salvation, in sacraments apart from the

reverent thought and consecrated feeling which they should suggest

or excite. This is an IDOLATROUS DELUSION!

 

  • THE PATH OF SAFETY. This is:

 

ü      The avoidance of temptation. We must shun those Churches and

services which would seduce us from spiritual purity.

 

ü      The acceptance of the One Divine Mediator we have in Christ our

Saviour. There is “one man we can adore without idolatry — the man

Christ Jesus.”

 

ü      The use of our faculties for the worship of THE INVISIBLE!   We can

worship Him who is a Spirit “in spirit and in truth for the Father

seeketh such to worship Him.  (John 4:23)  We can realize the presence

of the infinite God; we can love Him whom we have not seen (I Peter

1:8); we can walk the whole path of life conscious of a Divine

Companion whose hand we cannot grasp, but who “leads us all

our journey through.”  By a living faith, “our fellowship is with

the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).

 

2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. 

These words are repeated textually from chapter 19:30.

 

3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them” –

The free will of man is recognized equally with God’s controlling power. 

 

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.  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.

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” – vs. 4-6 appear to have been in the

mind, not of Joel only, as already pointed out, but of Ezekiel in ch. 34:20-31. In

Leviticus we find, Then I will give you rain in due season;  (v. 4) - in Ezekiel,

“And I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers

of blessing.’’ (v. 26)  (I remember the song “Showers of Blessing” that was in the

hymnal [song book as we called it] in days of my childhood – With the wonders

of technology at 11:48 am I got on the internet and heard a beautiful version –

there were other renditions which I did not listen too, sung by a range of

people from the unknown to me to Willie Nelson.  CY – 2017) In Leviticus,

And the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield

their fruit; (v. 4) - in Ezekiel, “And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit,

and the earth her increase.” (v. 27) - In Leviticus, Ye shall dwell in your land

safely; (v. 5) - in Ezekiel, “They shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep

in the woods.” (v. 25) - In Leviticus, And I will give peace in the land, and ye

shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and will rid evil

beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land; (v. 6)

in Ezekiel, “And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil

beasts to cease out of the land.… And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen,

neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none

shall make them afraid.” (vs. 25,28) – The promise, Your threshing shall reach unto

 the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time”(v. 5) is similar to

that in the prophet Amos,  “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the

plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth

seed (Amos 9:13).

 

7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

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.” – “One

man of you shall chase a thousand:  for the Lord your God, He it is that fighteth

for you, as He hath promised you” – (Joshua 23:10) - For examples, see Judges 3:31;

15:15; I Samuel 14:6-16; II Samuel 23:8. 

 

 

Obedience and Prosperity (vs. 3-8)

 

The connection between godly conduct and material good may not seem to

us so close or so clearly discernible as that which is promised in these

verses. Still, the heart of the promise remains, and instances have never

been wanting to prove that “godliness is profitable unto all things, having

promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”  (I Timothy 4:8)

The prophecy of Amos (Amos 9:13) — evidently founded on this passage

of the Law — refers to gospel times, and reminds us that the declarations

of the text are capable of a spiritual application which invests them with

deeper meaning and grander results.

 

  • THE PROPRIETY OF OBEDIENCE.

 

ü      Man is unfit to guide his own way. “It is not in man that walketh to

direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 9:23)  He is a creature swayed by passion,

short-sighted, fallible in judgment. Nor can the united wisdom of the

multitude secure the framing of a code free from prejudice and error.

We may consult the instructions of Scripture as our unfailing chart;

we may listen to its precepts as the helmsman does to the commands

of the captain, assured that from his loftier position he can better

determine the course the vessel ought to take.

 

ü      The Almighty possesses irresistible claims upon our obedience. He is

our Creator and Governor, Father and Benefactor. He has bestowed

upon us all our earthly and our spiritual benefits, and in particular spared

not His only Son for our sakes. Supremely wise and holy, we cannot

without manifest incongruity refuse to follow His counsel and rule of

life. We are rebels if we neglect His injunctions. To pick and choose

which we will conform to is to assume presumptuous functions.

 

ü      The statutes are such as to commend themselves upon maturest

reflection. Any precept plainly contrary to reason or morality no will

has power to enforce. But the hexaplar verdict of the psalmist will be

pronounced by all who study the laws of God, “The statutes of the Lord

are right,” etc. (Psalm 19:7-9). The teachings of Jesus Christ are A

MASTERPIECE of skill, goodness, and purity. If universally adhered

to, the world would become an Eden.

 

  • THE REWARD OF OBEDIENCE.

 

ü      Blessings are promised to the obedient.

 

o       Plenty. The ground shall be fertile, the fruit gathered in harvest

shall more than suffice to carry the husbandman on to the next

ingathering. The gospel does at any rate teach Christian stoicism,

making a man contented with his lot, and he who has sufficient

for his wants cannot complain. But in the spiritual region we may

have a never-ceasing flow of gifts. For God is bountiful, and

loves to grant richest graces unto His people. If only we are

prepared to receive, the floodgates of His bounty will be opened.

(“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be
            meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the

Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven,

and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room

enough to receive it.”  - Malachi 3:10)

 

o       Peace. They shall dwell at home in safety, none causing terror.

Strife amongst God’s own people shall be unknown, the

inestimable blessing of tranquility shall diffuse its sweetness

over the land. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind

is stayed on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)  Calm of conscience is the

peculiar privilege of the believer in Christ. Bodily suffering

cannot destroy this peace. The testimony of a well-known

minister on his death-bed recently was, “Within I have deep peace,

`though around is constant searching pain.”

 

o       Victory, if foes attempt to molest. The Christian life is a warfare,

and this is quite consistent with the enjoyment of peace. It is an

external sphere of conflict, the enemy is determined and active,

but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through

our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57)  The obedient

soldiers are likeliest to come off conquerors when the general

is skilled in strategy. And as Havelock’s men, by their

observance of moral rules, were ever prepared for duty, so

are those who conform to the precepts of Christ certain of

success in the struggle against sin. The association is much

more intimate between obedience and spiritual triumph than

that which is here promised in the Law.

 

ü      These blessings are eminently desirable. It speaks a wise and gracious

God to have made it so greatly men’s interest to keep His laws. In any

case we are bound to do what seems right, yet, if this conduct were not

coincident with advantage, life would be a melancholy scene. Peace,

plenty, and victory are just what the heart desiderates (keen desire for

something lacking or absent) and men strive to attain.  God will not

offer what men contemn. It is true that the degraded may at

first fail to appreciate the joys of prosperity and tranquility, yet

education is possible, and even brief reasoning must convince

of the value of these inducements.

 

ü      The list is comprehensive. There is material prosperity and moral good,

and in the following verses religious satisfaction is promised — God

dwelling in the midst of His people. Nothing that can add to man’s real

happiness is absent from the catalogue of pleasures to be participated

in by the obedient.  (Contrast with those apart from God who are never

satisfied and never can be by the things of this world.  God has made

man’s heart too big for this world to fill.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

 

  • GENERAL REFLECTIONS.

 

ü      There is nothing wrong in allowing ourselves to be influenced by the

promise of rewards. Man is compelled to anticipate; prudence is a virtue.

All depends upon the character of the rewards. If they minister to base,

ignoble lusts, then to be moved thereby is indicative of an evil state of

mind. But if the blessings are legitimate and elevating, in accordance

with principles implanted by our Maker, then the hope of obtaining

them is a strong incitement to be cherished rather than checked. To

impel men to a holy life by preaching the bliss and glory of heaven

is surely allowable and to be commended.

 

ü      The worth of these rewards will be enhanced by a consideration of the

misery of their opposites

 

o       want,

o       turmoil, and

o       defeat.

 

Such is the lot of those who follow their own devices, blindly hurrying

to ruin. The prodigal imagined that he must see the world and leave his

father’s home in order to be happy, but he soon discovered his dire

mistake.

 

ü      History proves God’s faithfulness to His word. As long as the Israelites

kept the Law, their condition was one of security, development, and

honour. Every age has testified to the fulfillment of Divine declarations,

forcing from the skeptical an acknowledgment of “a power that makes

for righteousness.” Seeking first the kingdom of God and His

righteousness, all other things have been added. On the other hand,

it has been found hard to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:5)  (“The

way of the transgressors is hard.” – Proverbs 13:15)   What Carlyle

terms the “eternities” war against the evil-doer. As predictions have

been fulfilled in the past, so we are confident that ALL THE

PROMISES OF GOD SHALL ULTIMATELY BE REALIZED

in the experience of His faithful servants. (Take for instance,

the 321 or so times that the New Testament mentions the Second

Coming of Christ!  “The day of the Lord will come  - II Peter

3:10)

 

9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you,

and establish my covenant with you.  10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring

forth the old because of the new.”  The provisions of the past year would be so

abundant that they would have to be removed to make place for the new stores. 

 

11 And I set my tabernacle among you: - This was fulfilled, spiritually, as shown

to John in his vision of the new Jerusalem: “I heard a great voice out of heaven

saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them,

and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God”

(Revelation 21:3) -  “and my soul shall not abhor you.

 

12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be

my people.- These words are quoted by Paul as a ground of the holiness required of

God’s people (II Corinthians 6:16-18).  “Having therefore these promises, dearly

beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting

holiness in the fear of God” – (ibid. 7:1) 

 

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.  And I have broken the bands of your yoke. This

expression, used also in the parallel passage of Ezekiel above referred to (Ezekiel

34:27), and Jeremiah 27:2 receives an illustration from the ancient

method of harnessing oxen, still kept up in the East and South. The band

means the straight piece of wood laid across the necks of the oxen, by

which their heads are fastened together to keep them level with each other,

and by which they are attached to the pole of the wagon. The single collars

worn by horses in more northern countries have not the same oppressive effect.

 

 

 

The Blessedness of the Righteous (vs. 1-13)

 

In the words before us we have:

 

  • THE QUALITIES OF THE RIGHTEOUS DESCRIBED. These are:

 

ü      That they worship the true God.

 

Ø      They make no idols. Graven images. Pillars to memorialize

      advantages supposed to be derived from false gods. Witness the

      votive offerings of the papists. They might not superstitiously worship

      such stones of memorial as Jacob set up to memorialize the blessings

      of Jehovah (see Genesis 28:18; and comp. II Kings 18:4). The images

      of stone or “stones of picture” (see margin) would probably be statues.

      Note: men make their idols.

Ø      They respect Jehovah. He is the Maker of all things. He is

      Himself uncreated.  He is the Covenant Friend of the righteous.

 

ü      That they worship Him truly.

 

Ø      By keeping His sabbaths. Memorials of His works of creation and

                                    redemption, pledges of the rest of heaven. These are:

o        weekly,

o        monthly,

o        yearly,

o        septennial, and

o         in the jubilee.

Ø      By reverencing His sanctuary. The place of His presence, of His altar,

      of the congregation of His people.

 

ü      They serve Him obediently.

 

Ø      Walking in His statutes. This implies the study of His Word.

Ø      Keeping His commandments also implies prayer for Divine grace.

 

·         THEIR BLESSEDNESS ASSURED. They have the promise of:

 

ü      Plenty.

 

Ø      The elements were to be propitious to them. Seasonable rains.

      These are very important. They are here mentioned as

      representing all benign elemental influences — light, heat,     

      electricity, — all which are essential.

Ø      The result then is abundance (v. 5). Before they could have reaped

                                    and threshed out their corn, the vintage should be ready, and before                         

                                    they could have pressed out their wine, it would be time again to                                          

                                    sow.

Ø      This was to prefigure the abundance of grace which should mark

      the times of the gospel (see Amos 9:13-15).

 

ü      Security.

 

Ø      From the hostility of the elements. No plague should invade them.

Ø      From the hostility of men. No warrior should invade them.

                                    No robber should trouble them.

Ø      From the hostility of animals. Where population is reduced by

      wars and famines, beasts of prey prowl.

Ø      How the faithfulness of God has been verified in the history of His

                                    people!

 

ü       Victory.

 

Ø      God puts the dread of them into their enemies. They fly before them.

      Witness the flight of the Syrians in the days of Elisha (II Kings 7.).

Ø      He puts courage into their hearts. Witness the exploits of Gideon,

      of Samson, of Jonathan and his armor-bearer (I Samuel 14:6,12).

 

ü      Multiplication.

 

Ø      This is a blessing of the covenant. It is a real strength to a nation.

      It is a real strength to a Church.

Ø      But outside the covenant mere numbers may prove a formidable evil.

 

ü      Divine Favor.

 

Ø      I will have respect unto you.” Contrast with this Hebrews

      10:38.

Ø      The token of the favor of God is His Presence.

 

v      His tabernacle was amongst them in the wilderness.

      What miracles of mercy were shown to them then!

v      How glorious were the days of Solomon when the Shechinah

      entered the temple.

v      His tabernacle was set among His people in the presence

      of Jesus (John 1:14). But they did not know the

      blessedness of their day

v      How blessed is the mystical incarnation of Christ in the

      believer! (John 6:56; II Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1).

v      The glory of the tabernacle will culminate in the new heavens

      and earth (see Revelation 21:3).

 

All this blessedness was pledged in the emancipation from the bondage of

Egypt (v. 13), but more fully in the redemption of the gospel typified thereby.

 

 

 

 

Incentives to Obedience (vs. 3-13)

 

Religion has the first claim upon us as the supreme obligation of the soul.

We are bound to worship and honor God because we owe far more to

Him than to all other beings in the universe. The first and all-sufficient

reason why we should “worship and bow down” before Him (Psalm 95:6),

is in the fact that “He is our God” — that One from whom we come, in

whom we live, from whom cometh down every good gift. (Acts 17:28;

James 1:17). But God condescends to urge us to obedience by presenting

incentives to our minds. He wishes us to consider that He has made it infinitely

remunerative for us to do so; that, by so doing, we become recipients of the

largest blessings He can confer and we can receive. There is so much of contrast

as well as comparison between the blessings of the old and the new dispensations,

that we must divide our subject into two parts.

 

  • THE INCENTIVES WHICH GOD HELD OUT TO HIS ANCIENT

PEOPLE. These were importantly spiritual, but prominently temporal. If

they did but “walk in His statutes, and keep His commandments, and do

them(v. 3), they might reckon on:

 

ü      fertility in the field (vs. 4-5, 10);

ü      sense of security from without and disturbance from within

(safety and peace, vs. 5-6);

ü      victory in war (vs. 7-8);

ü      national growth (v. 9);

ü      God’s presence with them (vs. 11-12);

ü      His pleasure in them (v. 11); and

ü      His guarantee of their liberty and self-respect (v. 13).

 

  • THE PROMISES WHICH HE HAS MADE TO US. These are partly

temporal, but principally spiritual. They include:

 

ü      Sufficiency of worldly substance. God does not now say, “Serve me, and

you shall be strong, wealthy, long-lived,” but He does say, “Seek ye first

the kingdom of God,… and all these things” (food, clothing, etc.) shall be

added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “Godliness has promise of the life

that now is” (I Timothy 4:8). Those who are His children in Christ

Jesus may reckon upon all needful support from His bountiful hand.

 

ü      Consciousness of spiritual integrity. As God made His people to be

delivered from the yoke and to “go upright” (v. 13), so He makes those

who have returned to Him, and who have escaped from the yoke of sin, to

walk in uprightness of heart.” Instead of shrinking in fear, bowing down

with a depressing sense of wrong-doing, we have a happy consciousness of

integrity of soul. We say with the psalmist, “As for me, thou upholdest

me in mine integrity.”  (Psalm 41:12).

 

ü      Sense of reconciliation with God. God promises peace and a sense of

safety (vs. 5-6) to those who seek His favor in Christ Jesus. Being

justified by faith in Him, we have peace with God (Romans 5:1); and we

know that, whatever may be our circumstances, we are secure behind

the shield of His almighty love.

 

ü      Victory in the battle of life. If it be not wholly true that “our life is but a

battle and a march,” yet it is true that there is so much of spiritual struggle

in it, from its beginning to its close, that we all understand only too well

what is meant by “the battle of life.” There are many foes with which to

wrestle (Ephesians 6:12), and we need the invigorating power which

only the Spirit of the Strong One can impart. If we are His, He will help us

in the strife. “Our enemies will fall before us” (v. 7; see II Corinthians 2:14

and Romans 8:37).

 

ü      His presence with us and His pleasure in us. “God will set his tabernacle

among us;” He “will walk among us” (vs. 11-12). He will be “with us

always,” and His sustaining presence will uphold us in the darkest hour, in

the most trying scene. “His soul will not abhor us” (v. 11); He will take

Divine pleasure in us; we shall be His children, His guests, His friends, His

heirs.  (“...heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” – Romans 8:17)

 

ü      An everlasting heritage in Him. He will be our God (v. 12). The

sacred page does not speak of any duration; but that which is adumbrated

in the Old Testament is revealed in the New. Jesus Christ has brought life

and immortality out into the light (II Timothy 1:10) and we know that

him that overcometh will the Son of man make a pillar in the temple

of his God, and he shall go no more out,” etc. (Revelation 3:12), and that

to him that overcometh will He grant to sit with Him on his throne,” etc.

(ibid. ch. 3:21). The present and the future, the best of the one and THE

WHOLE OF THE OTHER are the heritage of those who “know the will

of God and do it.” Surely it is the choice of the wise to “make haste and

delay not to keep His commandments.”   (Psalm 119:60)

 

 

 

Punishment in Its First Degree (vs. 14-17)

 

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 

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: 

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:

(a proverbial expression for great distress - see I Samuel 2:33) — and ye shall sow

your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.  (see Jeremiah 5:17, and Micah 6:15,

“Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt

not anoint thee with oil”)…

 

17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies:

(as took place often in their after history, see Judges 2:14; 3:8; 4:2);  they that hate

you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. 

 

 

                                                Punishment in the Second Degree (vs. 18-20)

 

18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven

times more for your sins.  19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will

make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass (the result of no rain in a land

scorched by the fiery Eastern sun):  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.  (Compare I Kings 8:35; Haggai 1:10-11).

 

 

Punishment in Its Third Degree (vs. 21-22)

 

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.  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. So in the case of the Assyrians

transported to Palestine, “At the beginning of their dwelling there, they feared not

the Lord: therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them”

(II Kings 17:25) — and your high ways shall be desolate. Compare Judges 5:6,

“In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways

were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways.”

 

 

Punishment in Its Fourth Degree (vs. 23-26)

 

23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary

unto me;  24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet

seven times for your sins.”   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.  (That is, ye shall go into captivity)  26 And when I have

broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven

(whereas in ordinary times one oven was only sufficient for one woman’s baking),

and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight (rationed): and ye shall

eat, and not be satisfied.”   The famine that is to come upon them is described

as making ten women bake bread in one oven, ——See II Kings 6:25; Isaiah 3:1;

Jeremiah 14:18; and as illustrative of the last point, Ezekiel 4:16, “Behold, I will

break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and

with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment.”

Compare Ezekiel 5:12, “A third part of thee shall die with pestilence, and with

famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee:  and a third part shall fall

by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds,

and I will draw out a sword after them.” (for good measure – CY – 2017)

 

 

 

Our God and Ourselves (vs. 23-24)

 

The text suggests the question, How far does God’s treatment of us depend on our

attitude towards Him? And the answer must be somewhat complex.

 

  • IN LARGE MEASURE, GOD’S TREATMENT OF US IS QUITE

IRRESPECTIVE OF OUR CONDUCT TOWARD HIM. He has done

much for us from the promptings of His own generous and beneficent

nature. As the sun gives light because it is light, regardless of the objects

on which it shines, so our God, who is a Sun (Psalm 84:11), is sending

forth beams of truth, love, beauty, happiness, because in Him is all fullness,

and from that abundance there must flow blessing and bounty on every

hand (see Psalm 103:10-11; Matthew 5:45).

 

  • IN LARGE MEASURE, GOD’S TREATMENT OF US DEPENDS

ON OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD HIM.

 

ü      Right feeling on our part is reciprocated with kind feeling on His. If we

love Him, He will love us and come to us (John 14:23).

 

ü      Rebellious conduct on our part brings down adverse action on His part.

If we “will walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to us, and punish

us for our sins.” The greater part of this chapter (vs. 14-39) is a terrible

admonition that, if we provoke God by our willful disobedience, we must

expect to find His hand against us in all the paths of life, OUR

GROWING INIQUITY meeting with His multiplying wrath and

darkening retribution.

 

ü      Repentant action on our part is met by returning favor on His

(Jeremiah 3:22; Joel 2:12-14; Isaiah 44:22; 55:7). Let the prodigal

son arise to return, and, “while yet a great way off,” the heavenly

Father will run to meet and to welcome him (Luke 15:20).

 

  • GOD’S GOODNESS TO US WILL SEEM TO US TO VARY

ACCORDING TO THE RECTITUDE OF OUR SOULS TOWARD HIM.

As men seem to us to be just or unjust, kind or unkind, according to the

position we occupy toward them, so also does the Father of spirits. “All

the paths of the Lord are (and are seen to be) mercy and truth unto such

as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10). But the ways

of the Lord will seem “contrary” to the rebellious. With the merciful man

God shows Himself merciful; with the froward He shows Himself froward

(Psalm 18:26). The guilty will exclaim against the inequality of God’s

dealings (Ezekiel 33:17). He will seem unjust because they are unholy,

because their spirit is false and wrong (Matthew 20:15). Those who

fear God and love His Son their Saviour, join in the psalm of the Church on

earth, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways,… His tender mercies are over

all His works” (Psalm 145:17, 9); they anticipate the strain of the Church in

heaven, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3).

 

 

                                    Punishment in Its Fifth Degree (vs. 27-33)

 

27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise

you seven times for your sins.  29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and

the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.” - We find that this threat was fulfilled

in Samaria (II Kings 6:28-30), and in Jerusalem at the time both of the earlier siege

by the Chaldaeans, and of the later siege by the Romans (see Lamentations 2:20;

4:10; Josephus, ‘Bell. Jud.,’ 5:9, 3; and the terrible case of Mary, daughter of

Eleazar. Josephus, ‘Bell. Jud.’ 6:3-4 (see below:  excerpt from Wikipedia) 

 

The story of Mary of Bethezuba is a story of cannibalism told by Josephus in

hisJewish War” (VI,193)[1] which occurred as a consequence of famine and

starvation during the siege of Jerusalem in August AD 70 by Roman legions

commanded by Titus. The tale is only one account of the horrors suffered at

Jerusalem in the summer of 70.  Josephus relates that there was a Mary, daughter

of Eleazar originally from the village of Bethezuba in the district of Perea, east of

the Jordan River, who had previously fled to Jerusalem. Distinguished in family

and fortune, her property, treasures and food had been plundered by the Jewish

defenders of the city during the siege. Famine was “eating her heart out, and rage

consuming her still faster”. Maddened by hunger she took the infant at her breast

and said to him: “Poor little mite! In war, famine, and civil strife why should I

keep you alive? With the Romans there is only slavery and that only if alive

when they come; but famine is forestalling slavery, and the partisans are crueler

than either. Come you must be food for me, to the partisans an avenging spirit,

and to the world a tale, the only thing left to fill up the measure of Jewish misery”.

And in “defiance to all natural feeling” she killed her son, then roasted him and

ate one half, hiding the rest.  Almost immediately the rebels appeared (“sniffing

the unholy smell”) and threatened to kill her on the spot unless she revealed

what she had prepared. As she uncovered what was left of the child she offered

them a share. They left her in horror and the “entire city could not stop thinking

of this crime and abomination”. When the news reached the Romans, “some

refused to believe, some were distressed but on most the effect was to add

enormously to their detestation” of the enemy at hand. Titus disclaimed all

responsibility as he had repeatedly offered peace and amnesty for surrender.

                                                                                                (Josephus)

 

(Prophesied 1561 years before its occurence -  I bet you think we are beyond that! 

Then you do not know what sin is and its effects, nor do you have much confidence

in THE GOD OF ALL THE EARTH!  Without God in your life, the will to survive

will cause you to do unimaginable things.  CY – 2017)

 

30 And I will destroy your high places - By high places is meant the tops of hills or

eminences chosen for worship, whether of Jehovah (see Judges 6:26; I Kings 3:2;

II Kings 12:3; I Chronicles 21:26), or of false gods. The high places intended here

are the spots where the “sun-images” were erected (see II Chronicles 14:5; Isaiah

17:8; Ezekiel 6:4), and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses

upon the carcasses of your idols (that is, they should roll in the dust together)

and my soul shall abhor you.  31 And I will make your cities waste (as Samaria

and Jerusalem), and bring  your sanctuaries unto desolation” - by the sanctuaries,

which are to be desolated, is meant all the consecrated things: the holy of holies, the

holy place, the court, the ark, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt sacrifice -  “and I

will not smell the savor of your sweet odors.  So in Jeremiah 6:20, “To what

purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far

country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet”

(compare Isaiah 1:11-15) 32 And I will bring the land into desolation: (compare

Jeremiah 9:11): - and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 

(Compare Ezekiel 5:15).   33 And I will scatter you among the  heathenSee

Jeremiah 9:16, “I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither

they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have

consumed them.”  (At one time in my lifetime – one fourth of the world’s Jews

lived in New York City CY  - 2010)and will draw out a sword after you:

and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       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. 

35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your

sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.”  The land had not participated in the sins of

its inhabitants.  The latter had thought that, by the neglect of the sabbatical years,

they had enriched themselves by the fruits of those years which would otherwise

have been wasted. The result was that they lost the land altogether for a period

equal to that during which it ought to have kept sabbath, and the land “as long

as she lay desolate kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years” (II Chronicles

36:21). From the entrance into the holy land until the Babylonish Captivity

there elapsed eight hundred and sixty-three years, in which time there ought to have

been kept one hundred and twenty-three sabbatical years. As only seventy are made

up by the duration of the Captivity, it may be concluded that fifty-three sabbatical

years were observed by the Israelites; but this conclusion is very doubtful. It is more

likely that seventy, being a multiple of the sacred number seven, was regarded as

sufficient to purge all previous neglects, whatever they might have been. 

 

 

 

                                    The Final  Punishment (vs. 36-39)

 

36 And upon them that are left alive of you (that is, the surviving captives and

exiles), I will send a faintness into their hearts  (so Ezekiel 21:7, “And every heart

shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all

knees shall be weak as water) - 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. (Compare the blessings and cursings of

Deuteronomy 28 – CY – 2010)  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.  38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of

your enemies shall eat you up.   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.”  This is the concluding threat.  It is conditional in

its nature, and the condition having been fulfilled, we may say with reverence that

IT HAS BEEN ACOMPLISHED!   Those of the ten tribes who did not find their

way to Babylon, and so became absorbed in the body which returned to Jerusalem,

have been eaten up by the land of their enemies, and have pined away

in their enemies’ lands. Neither they nor their descendants are to be found in

any part of the globe, however much investigation may employ itself in searching

for them. They have been absorbed by the populations among which they were

scattered.

 

 

                                    Prophetic Maledictions (vs. 14-39)

 

The promises of God are prophecies of good; so are His threatening prophecies of evil.

Prophecy, therefore, gives no countenance to fatalism, since it is made to depend upon

conditions. God may, therefore, repent Him of evils threatened, viz. when sinners repent

of the sin that provoked Him.  So long as the Hebrews were faithful to their God, they

found Him faithful in mercy; when they rebelled, they found Him no less faithful

IN JUDGMENT!  What a commentary upon the verses before us is the history of the

Israelites! Let us review:

 

  • THE JUDGMENTS DENOUNCED AGAINST THEM IN THEIR LAND.

      For their rebellion:

 

ü      They were to be visited with plagues.

 

Ø      The plague of TERROR.  This is the natural plague of a guilty

      conscience.  The apprehension of formidable judgments.

Ø      Of CONSUMPTION.   This term expresses all chronic diseases.

Ø      Of BURNING AGUE.   This describes those diseases which are

      more acute.  All these plagues are to “consume the eyes, and

      cause sorrow of heart.”  (v. 16)

 

ü      They were to suffer from invasion.

 

Ø      The SWORD of the ENEMY was to consume them. How

      fearfully they suffered under the judges, under the kings, and        

      afterwards!

Ø      The EXTRACTIONS of the TYRANT were to distress them.

      When the INVADERS MASTERED THEM how grievously

      were they oppressed!

 

ü      They were to encounter the anger of their God.      

                                   

Ø      The plague and the sword of the enemy could not otherwise

      have visited them.

Ø      But in the source itself there is the most formidable terror.

      “I will set my face against you.”  (v. 17)

 

ü      Their obstinacy was to bring upon them aggravated evils.

Ø      The land was to become unfruitful. For the heaven was

      to be like iron, which might reflect the glare of heat, but could        

      distil no rain or dew.

Ø      Wild beasts were to come among them. When the people

become diminished by war and pestilence and famine, wild

animals multiply and become formidable (see Numbers 21:6;

II Kings 17:25; Ezekiel 5:17).

 

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31) Rather

LET  US SEEK HIS MERCY!

 

  • THOSE DENOUNCED AGAINST THEM IN THE LANDS OF

            THEIR CAPTIVITY.

 

ü      They were to be scattered amongst the heathen (v. 33).

 

Ø      Thus ten of the tribes were carried away by the Assyrians.

Ø      The two remaining tribes were afterwards removed by the Babylonians.

Ø      Some of these returned under Ezra and Nehemiah, and were ultimately

      carried away by the Romans.

 

ü      The sword was to/follow them there.

 

Ø      The sword of war.

Ø      The sword of persecution. So they suffered from pagans, from papists,

      from Mohammedans.

             

ü      They were to suffer astonishment (vs. 36-39).

 

Ø      Faintness of heart, suspicion of danger where it existed not,

                                    susceptibility to panic.

Ø      Pining in terror.

Ø      Perishing through the rapacity of their enemies.

 

ü      Their sufferings were to be protracted.

 

Ø      The land was to enjoy her sabbaths, Houbigant observes how literally

      this was fulfilled in the seventy years of the Babylonish Captivity.

      “From Saul to the Babylonish Captivity are numbered about four

      hundred and ninety years, during which period there were seventy

      sabbaths of years; for seven, multiplied by seventy, make four

      hundred and ninety. Now, the Babylonish Captivity lasted seventy

      years, and during that time the land of Israel rested. Therefore the

      land rested just as many years in the Babylonish

                                    Captivity as it should have rested sabbaths if the Jews had                                                    

                                    observed the law relative to the sabbaths of the land.”

Ø      The longer term of “seven times” thrice repeated (vs.21, 24, 28)

      is also notable. These are the “times of the Gentiles,” during

      which Jerusalem is to be trodden down of them (Luke 21:24).

 

ü      Meanwhile their land was to lie desolate (vs. 31-35).

 

Ø      Such has been its history, under the Romans, under the

      Saracens, under the Crusaders, under the Turks.

Ø      Who but God could have foreseen all this?

                                    HOW UNREASONABLE IS UNBELIEF!

 

 

 

Divine Retribution (vs. 14-39)

 

The Divine Legislator of Israel knew well that He must contemplate

disobedience as well as obedience to His laws. When He had intimated the

fullness of the reward He would bestow on the faithful, He was compelled

to pass on to “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do,” etc. It

is sad to think that it did not need Divine prescience to foretell this issue.

Human disobedience is too constantly occurring a factor in human history

to require that: it may always be safely assumed. We have now to deal with

God’s treatment of it; and we see:

 

  • THAT GOD PUNISHES IT WITH VARIOUS EVILS. (vs. 14-18.)

God always says to us, “If ye will not do my commandments, I will set my

face against you.” To the Israelites he threatened specifically:

 

ü      bodily sickness;

ü      unprofitable labor;

ü      defeat in battle;

ü      subjection to a hated rule;

ü      ignominious terror and flight.

 

If we sin we must expect to suffer in mind, body, or estate. Guilt and

misery are necessarily conjoined. Sin deserves to suffer: there needs no

further explanation of suffering than that God’s holy and righteous Law

has been transgressed. Yet, while the Divine Lawgiver visits sin with

retribution because it is right that it should receive this mark of His holy

disapproval, it is also true:

 

  • THAT GOD’S PUNISHMENT IS MEANT TO BE REMEDIAL. “If

ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me” (v. 18). Then it is clear that

these providential visitations would be meant to lead to a better spirit, to a

disposition to hearken and to obey. God, when He punishes, not only does

an act of righteous retribution, which His position as Supreme Judge

demands of Him, but He also does that which He desires shall lead to

penitence and restoration. He smites us in one member that He may heal us

altogether.  He takes away a little that He may give very largely, He sends

passing pain that He may give enduring joy. God’s retributions are His

corrections,” His paternal chastisements, His strong but kind admonitions.

By them He lays His hand upon us and says to us, in tones we cannot fail to

understand, “Repent and return, and be restored.” But we learn from these

verses:

 

  • THAT MAN TOO OFTEN REFUSES TO HEED THE DIVINE

CORRECTION. “If ye will not yet for all this hearken” (v. 18); “if ye

will not hearken unto me” (v. 21); “if ye will not be reformed by me by

these things” (v. 23). Often men do listen and learn and obey when God

comes to them in sickness or in sorrow; but only too often they do not.

They continue in or revert to their evil course, they fall again into crime,

into vice, into unconcern, into indecision.

 

  • THAT GOD LAYS A HEAVIER HAND ON PERSISTENT AND

OBDURATE (stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or course of action)

IMPENITENCE. He gave to His people fair and full warning of what they

were to expect at His hand. They knew that obduracy on their part would

entail gathering and growing evils, leading on and down to uttermost

destruction. There would come:

 

ü      the enmity of the elements, with consequent disaster in the field

(vs. 19-20);

ü      desolation and bereavement (v. 22);

ü      pestilence and famine (vs. 25-26);

ü      revolting and unnatural cruelties wrought among themselves

(vs. 28-29);

ü      exile and dispersion (v. 33);

ü      terror of soul (vs. 36-37); and,

ü      national destruction and impending extinction (vs. 38-39).

 

These solemn and fearful threatenings are, no doubt, directed against

Israel, the specially instructed people. As God “exalted that land unto heaven”

in privilege and opportunity, so He “brought it down to hell” in condemnation

and doom.  (Matthew 11:23)  But when we remember with what retribution

God visited the sins of the antediluvian world, of the cities of the plain,

the Canaanites, the great cities of Babylon and Nineveh, and when we

recall the sufferings and humiliations He has brought down on lands

and cities in more modern times, we may conclude that those nations

which will not learn when God speaks to them in wrath and in “His high

displeasure may look forward to a time of gathering disaster and final ruin.

God’s retributive dealings with nations have their counterpart in His action

toward individual lives. Men who sin and suffer, and who will not learn by

the things they suffer, may take to heart the truth that God’s manifested

wrath will reach them here or will overtake them hereafter; they may well

wish that it may arrive soon rather than late, for as time passes and as sin

hardens and blinds the soul, there is the less likelihood that the sacred

lesson will be learned before death shuts the book of opportunity, and

eternity opens that other book of judgment and award.

 

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;  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: 

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.  God’s pardon will, even yet, as always, follow upon confession

of sin and genuine repentance. They must recognize not only that they have sinned,

but that their sufferings have been a punishment for those sins at God’s hand. This

will work in them humble acquiescence in God’s doings, and then He will remember

His covenant with Jacob, and also His covenant with Isaac, and also His covenant

with Abraham, and for the sake of the covenant of their ancestors, He will not cast

them away, neither will He abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break His

covenant with them.  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.  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.  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.”  Whether Jewish

repentance has been or ever will be so full as to obtain this blessing, cannot be decided

now. Perhaps it may be the case that all the blessings promised by Moses and by future

prophets to repentant and restored Israel are to find their accomplishment in the spiritual

Israel, the children of Abraham who is “the father of all them that believe  (Romans

4:11), seeing that “God is able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew

3:9).  (The next verse is the closing paragraph of the Book of Leviticus; to which

another chapter has been added in the form of an appendix, on the subject of vows.) 

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.”

 

 

 

                        Temporal Rewards and Punishments (vs. 1-46)

 

(See Ecclesiastes 8:11; Isaiah 48:18; Matthew 5:44-45; and I Timothy 4:8. There is in

this chapter a distinct assertion of moral government exercised over Israel. If they

obeyed God’s Law, He would grant them great temporal blessing; if they disobeyed,

He would send them sore chastisement; but if after disobedience they became penitent,

He would remember their fathers and His covenant with them, and receive their penitent

seed into favor again. The whole question, consequently, of the “method of the Divine

government” is hereby raised. And here let us remark:

 

  • GOD’S JUDGMENTS, WHETHER REWARDS OR PUNISHMENTS,

            WERE EXECUTED WITH BECOMING LEISURE AND

            DELIBERATION. It is along the lines of natural law, as distinguished

            from miracle, that He proposes to execute His decisions. If the people prove

            obedient, then they are to have:

 

ü      bountiful harvests;

ü      national triumph and consequent peace;

ü      riddance of the beasts of the field, so far as they would injure their crops;

ü      great increase of the population; and

ü      the enjoyment of religious ordinances.

 

            On the other hand, if the people prove disobedient, they are to have

 

ü      sickness;

ü      scarcity;

ü      defeat;

ü      devastation by wild beasts;

ü      famine in its most fearful forms; and

ü      a sabbatic desolation in the Lord’s land.

 

Now, it is to the leisurely and deliberate element in the rewards and the punishments

that we direct attention. If God chose to execute His sentences speedily, if obedience

got its reward immediately, if disobedience got its punishment without one moment’s

delay, — then men would have no room for question, and no room for moral

education and decision. Such a childish regulation would doubtless prevent a large

amount of evil in the world, but it would keep men children always. It is a pitiable

stage of education when the child insists on seeing its reward before it obeys, and

requires the immediate “slap” to prevent disobedience. If men are to be trained morally,

they must be asked to take upon credit God’s promises and threatenings, and decide

in the interval before He is pleased to act. This leaves room for a large amount of evil.

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart

of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). Men may say,

because God does not show quickly His hand, that He may possibly not show it at all.

Hence they sin and say, “The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob

regard it” (Psalm 94:7).  The Lord’s delay is interpreted as Divine indifference.

This is one of the evils due to man’s sinful heart exercising its freedom under a

truly paternal government. Instead of God’s goodness in the delay leading men to

repentance, it is allowed to foster a hope that He will resign the reins of government

altogether and sit indifferently by, while men do as they please. An instance of this

tendency to misinterpretation is afforded by Professor Tyndall, in his ‘Fragments of

Science,’ where he has the audacity to deduce from Matthew 5:45, “He maketh His

sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the

unjust,” as the doctrine of the Master Himself, that “the distribution of natural

phenomena is not affected by moral or religious causes;” whereas the context

shows that the whole arrangement is prompted by love towards His enemies,

that they may be induced to become His friends. Men get easily warped in

their interpretations, and miss the point, or   WANT TO MISS IT!  On the

other hand, God’s delay in making good His promises and threatenings affords an

opportunity for humiliation and faith. When men believe He will be as good and as

severe as He says, then they humble themselves under His mighty hand, and supplicate

His forgiveness. When also, as His forgiven ones, they try to the best of their ability to

obey Him, then the delay of the promised blessing enables them to cultivate the

patience of hope” (I Thessalonians 1:3) and thus to complete their character. If,

therefore, there are drawbacks through man’s sin on the one side, there are vast

advantages to human character on the other attending this arrangement.

 

  • GOD’S JUDGMENTS, EVEN WHEN EXECUTED, HAVE NOT

THE AIR OF FINALITY ABOUT THEM. Notwithstanding the special

pleading of Warburton and his followers about the temporal character of

the Divine judgments among the Jews, and their consequent ignorance

about a future life,  it is evident on the face of the judgments that they are

not final. Little children perishing and eaten in the sieges (v. 29) could

not be regarded surely as a final judgment. Children suffering for their

parents’ sins could not be regarded as a final judgment. In truth, God’s

judgments among the Jews, like His judgments still, were imperfect, and

designedly so. “For observe,” says the Rev. Charles Wolfe, “if we found

every man in this life received just what he deserved, and every evil work

always brought swift punishment along with it, what should we naturally

conclude? There is no future punishment in store. I see nothing wanting;

every man has already received the due reward of his works; everything is

already complete, and, therefore, there is nothing to be done in the next

world. Or if, on the other hand, there were no punishment visited upon sin

at all in this world, we might be inclined to say, Tush, God hath forgotten;

He never interferes amongst us; we have no proof of His hatred of sin, or of

His determination to punish it; He is gone away far from us, and has left us

to follow our own wills and imaginations. So that if sentences were either

perfectly executed on earth, or not executed at all, we might have some

reason for saying that there was a chance of none in a future world. But

now it is imperfectly executed; just so much done as to say, ‘You are

watched; my eye is upon you; I neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4);

and my vengeance slumbereth not.’ And yet, at the same time, there is

so little done, that a man has to look into eternity for the accomplishment.”

 

  • GOD’S PROMISE TO THE PENITENT IMPLIES THAT THEY

ARE NOT PARDONED SIMPLY ON THE GROUND OF THEIR

PENITENCE. The Lord contemplates the Jewish defection as practically

certain. At the same time, He holds out the hope of the penitent people

being restored to favor (vs. 40-46). But it is surely significant that

penitence is expressly shown not to be the ground of acceptance.

Doubtless it is the condition; but were it the sole ground of acceptance, as

it is confidently asserted to be,  it is not easy to see why in such a case as

that now before us God would speak about remembering their fathers, and

throwing the radiance, so to speak, of their obedience round about their

children (vs. 42, 45). It is evident the penitents, even after they have

been punished, cannot stand alone. And in truth, when the whole matter of

acceptance is analyzed, it is seen to rest upon a covenant of sacrifice. The

sacrifices of the covenant; as we have already seen, point unmistakably to a

suffering Substitute, the glory of whose merits must encircle all accepted

ones. In a word, we are led straight to JESUS, THE LAMB OF GOD by

whose blood we are redeemed and received into covenant relations.

“Accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), we are careful to “abstain from

the very appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:22) and in the exercise of

new obedience we find a triumphant power bestowed. When we hearken

to His commandments our peace flows like a river, and our righteousness

becomes resistless like the waves of the sea (Isaiah 48:18).  (This is quite

a contrast of the wicked which are “like the troubled sea, when it cannot

rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”  - ibid. ch. 57:20)  We find that

godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that

now is, and of that which is to come” (I Timothy 4:8).

 

 

                                           Promises and Threatenings  (vs. 3-46)

 

In this chapter the prophet looks forward, and declares how God would deal with His

people; which should be according to the way in which they should act. In II Chronicles

36:14-21, the chronicler looks back, and shows how God had dealt with them; which

had been according to the way in which they had acted.  The promises and the

threatenings are to the nation, not to individuals; and the prophetical assurance is that

national obedience to God shall bring about national happiness and prosperity,

and that disobedience shall cause the RUIN OF THE NATION. In spite of the rough,

wild times of the Judges, and of the apostasy of Saul, the heart of the nation was on the

whole loyal to Jehovah till the end of the days of Solomon. And till that time there was

an upward growth in the flourishing estate of the peopletheir wealth, their power,

their prosperity, their happiness. In the latter days of Solomon, outwardly glorious

as they were, DECAY AND CORRUPTION BEGAN.  (This sounds very familiar to

me having lived with awareness of what is going on since the 1950’s, this being

2010 – CY)  King and people were alike affected by the splendid despotism which

one wielded and under which the other flourished in material prosperity. In that

prosperity they forgot the source of it. (Compare Deuteronomy 6:10-12)  The king

himself pushed his tolerance for foreign habits into idolatry, “His wives turned away

his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God,

as was the heart of David his father.… And the Lord was angry with (992 B.C.)

Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel (I Kings

11:4-9). Like prince, like people; a general relaxation of moral fiber and religious zeal

ensued throughout the kingdom. the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests

bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so:  and what will

you do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31) - Its culminating point had been

reached, and now there followed the rapid descent and fall which resulted from

disobedience. The first step to ruin (930 B.C) was the great schism, from the effects of

which neither the northern nor the southern kingdom ever recovered. (This also sounds

familiar in 2010 –CY – 2010 – as a footnote, now it is worse in 2017- CY – 2017)

(compare I Kings 16:21-22) - “Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: 

half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half

followed Omri.  But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people

that followed Tibni ….so Tibni died, and Omri reigned”  - (this in reference to the

modern blue states and red states in America and then the dismantling of the

country in Omri fashion!!!!!????? – CY – 2010; 2017)  Then followed the various

apostasies and punishments. In the southern kingdom, (972 B.C.)  Rehoboam

forsook the Law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. And it came to pass, that

in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak King of Egypt came up against

Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord” (II Chronicles 12:1-2). 

Jehoram (896 B.C.) - “walked in the way of the kings of Israel, like as did the

house of Ahab (for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife):  and he wrought that

which was evil in the eyes of the Lord.… In his days the Edomites revolted.…

Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and

of the Arabians, that were near the Ethiopians: and they came up into Judah,

and brake into it” (2 Chronicles 21:6-17). In the latter days of Joash, (878 B.C)

they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served

groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their

trespass And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came

up… with a small company of men, and the Lord delivered a very great host into

their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers” (II Chronicles

24:18-24). In the reign of Amaziah, (827 B.C.) Jerusalem was taken by Joash King of

Israel, because Amaziah sought after the gods of Edom (II Chronicles 25:14-24).

Ahaz (741 B.C – I recommend the II Chronicles 28 Spurgeon Sermon – That King

Ahaz – this web site - CY – 2010)  made molten images for Baalim wherefore

the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the King of Syria… and into

the hand of the King of Israel (II Chronicles 28:2-5). At the beginning of the reign

of Manasseh, (698 B.C. ) the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his PEOPLE:

but they would not hearken. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the

captains of the host of the King of Assyria (II Chronicles 33:10-11). And at last,

these partial chastisements having failed to bring about reformation, came the

BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY.  (588 B.C.) - “The Lord God of their fathers

sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because

He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling place: but they

mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and misused His

prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, TILL THERE

WAS NO REMEDY.   Therefore He brought upon them the King of the

Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary,

and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped

for age: He gave them all into his hand And them that had escaped from the

sword carried he away to Babylon (Chronicles 36:15-20). The transgressions of the

northern kingdom were even greater than those of the southern kingdom, and their final

punishment, therefore, fell upon them earlier. “For so it was, that the children of Israel

had sinned against the Lord their God,… and walked in the statutes of the

heathen for they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall

not do this thing And they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made

with their fathers Therefore the Lord was very angry,… and removed them out

of his sight” [721 B.C.]  -  (2 Kings 17:7-18). This occurred in the reign of Hoshea,

and in the case of the ten tribes we find no symptoms of repentance under suffering.

The two tribes produced a Daniel; and his prayer for the forgiveness of his people.  

(Daniel 9:2-19) illustrates the feelings of the better of his fellow-captives; and therefore,

according to the promise of here in vs. 40-42, God remembered His covenant with Jacob,

and Isaac, and Abraham, and raised up Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah to effect the

restoration; while the ten tribes pined away in the land of their captivity. Thus

Moses’ prediction was fulfilled.  God deals with other nations as with Israel; but we

have not the inspired record of His dealings. While Greece cultivated intellectual wisdom,

she flourished; when she turned to sophistry, she PERISHED! While Rome spread

order and law throughout the globe, she grew in strength; when she submitted to the

sway of arbitrary despots, SHE  FELL! What is Engand’s (The United States)

mission in the world? To disseminate at once true religion and true liberty. As

long as she does this, she will receive God’s blessing. As soon as she fails to fulfill

the purpose of her existence as a nation, she will be withdrawn from the scene, and

another instrument raised up in her stead. (with one disclaimer – in this age it seems

as if IT IS THE LAST TIMES and therefore the world is over – the theme of this

web site is THE TIME IS SHORT - CY – 2010)

 

 

Sorrow unto Salvation (vs. 40-45)

 

The chastisements of God, like the gospel of Jesus Christ, are either a

savor of life unto life or of death unto death; they either make or mar;

they may sanctify and save or they may leave the soul more bound in the

bonds of sin than ever. It is only godly sorrow — sorrow regarded in a true

light and treated in the way that God intended — that works repentance

unto salvation; otherwise it works death (II Corinthians 2:14-16; 7:10). The

right use of affliction is indicated in the text; there must be:

 

  • A SENSE OF ILL DESERT. The uncircumcised heart must be humbled

(v. 41). God seeks by His chastisements to break our pride, our

haughtiness of heart, our sinful self-complacency. Until this is done nothing

is done. When the soul is at ease in its iniquity, it is in a very “far country,”

a long way from God, truth, salvation. When trouble touches and pierces

our complacency, filling the soul with a sense of its rebelliousness, as soon

as the heart says, “I have sinned,” a large part of the work of the correcting

hand is wrought. Then necessarily and readily follows:

 

  • THE LANGUAGE. OF CONFESSION. Directly the heart feels and the lip

speaks. Too often men use the language of penitence when the feeling is

entirely absent. But He that searcheth the hearts makes due distinction

between the words which are true and those which are false. There is

nothing gained with God by adopting the language which we ought to be

disposed to use, but which does not express our actual condition;

everything unreal is offensive in His sight. But there is much gained by the

simple, natural, heartfelt utterance of penitential feeling. “If they shall

confess their iniquity,” etc. (vs. 40-42). “With the mouth confession is

made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). The spirit thus taught of God

through His servant, sorrow, has now:

 

  • THE SUBJECT WILL. It “accepts of the punishment of its iniquity”

(v. 41). It says, “Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne

chastisement, I will not offend any more: that which I see not teach thou

me,” etc. (Job 34:31-32). It is “in subjection unto the Father of spirits”

(Hebrews 12:9). It submits to His guidance and surrenders itself to His

will. And then comes:

 

  • DIVINE RESTORATION. God “remembers his covenant” (vs. 42, 45).

As He remembered the covenant He made with the ancestors of the

children of Israel, and “did not abhor them” (v. 44), but withdrew His

anger from them, so He remembers His promise with us, sealed with a

Saviour’s blood, to pardon our sins and to restore our souls to His Divine

favor. Yet there are:

 

  • LINGERING CONSEQUENCES OF SIN. With penitent Israel,

toward whom God was extending His mercy, “the land also was to be left

of them, and was to enjoy her sabbaths, while she lay desolate without

them(v. 43). With us, when penitent and restored, when taken back

into the family and kingdom of God, there are lingering consequences of

sin which even Divine mercy does not, cannot remove — consequences in:

 

ü      miserable memories which will visit the mind;

ü      enfeebled faculty that must work in a lesser sphere with smaller

influence;

ü      diminished reputation among men;

ü      abiding results in those who have been injured, and who are beyond the

reach of our restoration, etc. While facing this solemn fact — a fact

which makes sin seem to us the stern, sad, hurtful thing it is — we may

nevertheless find a glad relief in recalling:

 

  • THE BLESSED HOPE OF THE HOLY. There is a country where the

penal consequences of sin will be so removed from sight and sense that to

our consciousness they will exist no more. (Just the opposite of a penal

colony of history – a righteous colony – What a contrast! CY – 2017)

A penal colony is a settlement used to exile prisoners and separate them

from the general population by placing them in a remote location, often

an island or distant colonial territory – Wikipedia – Heaven has a different

design!  May God be praised for ever! – CY – 2017).  Sin and sorrow shall

never cross the stream that “divides that heavenly land from ours;” they must

always remain on this side of it. What will remain to us there is a remembrance

that will enhance our joy — a recollection of sin that has been forgiven,

and of sorrow that has been endured, both the one and the other

magnifying the mercy of OUR CROWNED AND EXALTED KING!

 

 

 

                                                Hope for Israel (vs. 40-46)

 

The curses of this chapter have proved prophetic. So, may we infer, will the blessings

prove. We may therefore hope to see the conversion of the Hebrews to Christ, their

restoration to their ancient inheritance, and the sun of prosperity shining brightly upon

them.

 

  • THEY WILL CONFESS THEIR SIN.

 

ü      Their personal iniquity.

 

Ø      They will have many things to confess, as all sinners have.

      They will humble their uncircumcised heart” (see

            Jeremiah 9:26; Romans 2:29).

Ø      In particular they will confess their capital sin in rejecting

      Christ. This crime filled up the measure of their fathers.

                                    “His blood be on us and on our children” -  (Matthew

                                    27:25)

 

ü      The iniquity of their fathers.

 

Ø      This was the same as their own. They will acknowledge

themselves, not in pride, but in penitence, to be the children

of their fathers.

Ø      Instead of attempting to extenuate their sin because of the

      example of their fathers, they will repent for the sin of their

      fathers as well as for their own. This is in accordance with the                    

      principle of the visitation of the iniquities of the fathers upon

the children.

 

ü      The justice of God in their punishment.

 

Ø      They acknowledge that they walked contrary to God (see Ezra 9;

                                                                        Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1-2, 29; Daniel 9:3-19).

Ø      That He has therefore walked contrary to them. Afflictions do

      not spring out of the dust.

 

  • THEN GOD WILL REMEMBER HIS COVENANT. Therefore:

 

ü       He will not destroy them utterly.

 

Ø      His providence will be over them. What else could have

      preserved them now for twenty centuries amidst untoward

      circumstances? They are, notwithstanding their sufferings, as          

      numerous today as they were in the zenith of their prosperity in

      the days of Solomon.

Ø      The remnant of them shall be saved.

Ø      How tender is the compassion of God! (Hosea 11:8-9).

           

ü      He will reinstate them in their land.

 

Ø      He will remember His land. For in the covenant they are

      promised the land “forever.”

Ø      Remembering the land also implies that it will recover its

      ancient fruitfulness (see promises in vs. 4, 5, 10).

Ø      In that condition it will be the appropriate type and pledge of

      the heavenly country (see Isaiah 62:4).

 

ü      He will make them a blessing in the earth.

 

Ø      They will grow into a multitude.

Ø      They will rejoice in spiritual blessings.

Ø      The miracles of the Exodus from Egypt will be repeated.

      (Micah 7:15, Zechariah 14:3)

Ø      The heathen will be startled into thoughtfulness (v. 45).

      Sixty-two times it says in Ezekiel “and they shall know

      that I am the Lord”, and many of them have reference to

      the last days!  (I recommend: Ezekiel - God’s Use of the Word

Know - this website - #223 – CY – 2017)

Ø      The heathen will once more learn the way of salvation from

      the lips of Hebrews.

 

ü      In all this they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

 

Ø      This is distinctly stated (v. 42; comp. Romans 11:26-29).

Ø      The patriarchs of the covenant are referred to in the order of

      ascent, viz. Jacob, Isaac, Abraham. Note: when the Jews in

      humility confess themselves the children of their more recent

      sinful fathers, God will acknowledge them as the children of

      their earlier faithful ancestors.

Ø      It is an encouragement to faith that the memory of DIVINE

      MERCY is far reaching, yea, EVERLASTING!

 

 

 

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Ver. 11.

God dwelling amongst men.

All possible methods were employed to attach the Israelites to the Law.

Solemnity of its promulgation, judgment executed on transgressors,

enticing promises and terrifying threats. Chief among inducements to

obedience was the promise of the text.

I. SETTING UP A TABERNACLE IMPLIES.

1. Settled residences in the midst of the people. This was more than an

occasional appearance on the mountain-top or in the wilderness. A tent is,

at least for a season, a fixed abode. The Almighty would never be far

distant from his lieges as he had seemed to be in preceding years.

2. Friendly, familiar intercourse with the people. He condescended to

their manner of life, inhabiting a home as they did, passing as it were from

one to the other. This is expressed in verse 12, “I will walk among you.”

Naught of pollution was suffered for the reason given in <052314>Deuteronomy

23:14, “The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of the camp.” A special

revelation of God is intimated, that he would be known, not as omnipresent

in space, but as peculiarly present, interchanging visits with his people.

3. The assurance of Divine blessing. Guidance, assistance, forgiveness, —

all are herein included. God would be always near to be entreated. At the

tabernacle sacrifices could be offered to purge away defilement. “The

heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary

shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (<263728>Ezekiel 37:28), God’s

presence is superior to any of his works; if we have him, we have all good

things guaranteed.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD MAY WELL WONDER THAT HE

SHOULD DELIGHT IN THEM AND NOT VIEW THEM WITH

ABHORRENCE. To abide with man would be impossible if disgust were

continually uppermost in the mind of God.

1. Consider man’s sinfulness. How repugnant to the pure and holy One of

Israel is every thought of iniquity, much less its overt commission! How

often must he be shocked at the sights and sounds that gratify sinful

creatures? Peter, awakened to a sense of his unworthiness, cried out,

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

2. Consider man’s imperfections, his ignorance and frailty, his dullness of

perception, his insensibility to refined and elevated tastes and emotions. If

one nurtured in good society revolts at the idea of close communion with

those inferior in the social scale, whoso manner of life and habits of

thinking are so different, how great must be the disparity between heaven

and earth! what a descent must God feel it to be to consort with creatures

of such petty selfish alms and. uncultured ways! Only real pitying love, a

desire to benefit and raise these miserable objects, a vision of what it was

possible for them to become by such fellowship with the Most High, could

have invested men with sufficient interest in the eyes of God to permit him

to dwell amongst them. If the people strive to fulfill the behests of the Law,

much of their degradation will vanish, and be succeeded by integrity and

righteousness, which shall gradually beautify their character and customs.

“My soul shall not abhor you,” if you honour my precepts by strict fidelity.

III. THE PROMISE VERIFIED.

1. In the local habitation of God at Shiloh and Jerusalem. There God

placed his Name and exhibited his power and favour.

2. In his personal manifestation in Christ Jesus. “In him dwelleth all the

fullness of the Godhead bodily.” “The Word… dwelt among us.” Then was

answered the question, “Will God in very deed dwell with man upon the

earth?” Christ sojourned like ourselves in a house of clay, mingling with

men and women in their daily tasks, sat at the same table with publicans

and sinners.

3. In the presence of God spiritually in the heart of the individual believer,

in the Church of Christ as a whole, making it the temple of God, and in the

various assemblies, small or great, of the saints. “Where two or three are

gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.” The

grandest fulfillment will be when the Lord God Almighty shall himself

constitute the temple in which they shall offer their worship and service.

“He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among (spread his tabernacle

over) them.” No more hungering nor thirsting, no death, sorrow, nor

crying, when God shall thus absolutely completely draw near to his people.

— S.R.A.

HOMILIES BY R.A. REDFORD

Vers. 1, 2.

Command to maintain the public worship of Jehovah.

I. PURITY OF WORSHIP. No idols or images.

1. Spirituality of religion.

2. Dependence of man on revelation. The deistic position of natural

religion untenable.

3. The worship of God should be the free and grateful remembrance of past

benefits received, therefore the leading elements of it should be faith and

praise, not, as in heathenism and corrupt Christian systems such as the

Roman Catholic, the slavish subjection of man to the fear of Divine wrath

and the mediation of priests.

II. CONSECRATION BOTH OF DAY AND PLACE. Sabbath and

sanctuary.

1. As necessary on account of the weakness of our nature. We cannot keep

the mind above the world unless we are separated at times altogether from

it.

2. The rallying point of fellowship. In the communion of saints there is

special spiritual help.

3. As maintaining the holy order of human life, giving distinction and

eminence to the highest things, predicting the future rest, revealing the

dependence of the bodily life on the life of the soul, and of the happiness of

earthly toil on the blessing of God.

4. The Christian sabbath as based on the resurrection of Christ has a new

form of obligation and a larger sphere of holy suggestion. It is not so much

commanded as vitally connected with the whole strength of Christian

motive. — R.

Vers. 3-39.

Promises and threatenings.

Verse 12, “And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall

be my people.”

I. The true law of human life.

1. Religion the upholding support of individual, social, national well-being.

Natural laws subservient to higher ends. Ascending scale in the universe,

the physical the basis of the psychical, the psychical of the moral, the moral

of the spiritual.

2. The covenant relationship of God and man the only true form in which

the ideas of religion can be realized and maintained. Personality of God,

freedom of man. Interchange of confidence. Living communion. Support of

prayer, which should embrace all wants and possibilities.

3. Illustration of the connection between providence and religion in the

history both of individuals and nations. Importance of insisting on the

truths contained in this chapter as against secularism and fanaticism and

mysticism. Religion is objective as well as subjective. Tremendous fact

that, notwithstanding both the promises and threatenings, Israel failed to

keep the Law. Illustration of human fall and dependence on Divine grace.

II. Divine government.

1. Righteous.

2. Merciful.

3. Revealed in connection with a system of truth and actual promises

appealing to faith.

4. Embracing those who know not God, as well as his people. — R.

Ver. 21.

Threatenings.

I. Actually fulfilled in history of the Jews, especially at siege of Jerusalem,

A.D. 70.

II. Illustrating the moral nature of man as connected with a moral

government.

III. Taken in order of announcement after the promises, reminding us that

God willeth not the death of a sinner. The brightness of the love on the

background of righteousness. — R.

Vers. 40-46.

The gracious invitation to repentance.

The covenant may be restored. Even in the midst of the declarations of

Divine sovereignty and government, long-suffering mercy meets “the

earliest and faintest breathings of a broken and penitent spirit.”

I. Confirm by history (see Judges and Kings). The restoration from

Babylon. All consummated in Messiah.

II. The free grace of God is the foundation of hope; “I am the Lord their

God;” “I will remember;” “for all that I will not cast them away” “of faith,

that it might be by grace.”

III. The forgiveness of God dependent on the fulfillment of declared

conditions. “If they shall confess;” “if their uncircumcised heart be

humbled.”

1. Spirituality of religion maintained from the beginning.

2. The purpose and. end of all Divine chastisements to produce an

acceptable state of heart.

3. The true penitence was the true circumcision, in other words, it was a

renewal of the covenant, therefore included faith and acceptance of the

Divine revelation and ordinances, Repentance and faith are one in the

higher light of the gospel, for they are both “toward” the covenant in Christ

Jesus. — R.