The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), February 25
Israel camps around the Sinai area for a number of months while Moses meets with God on the mount until the Tent of Meeting is constructed. God lays out the rules and regulations for Israel's spiritual and communal life. Moses administers the first census, to determine how many people have come out of Egypt, and the camp is organized according to God's instructions.
God's final message to Israel before they set out from Mount Sinai highlights the blessings of obedience and the cursings of disobedience.
The message begins with a prohibition against idolatry and a command to keep the Sabbath and revere the Tent of Meeting. Idolatry rejects God's revelation of Himself. Forsaking the Sabbath exalts self-effort. Disrespecting the tabernacle disregards God's holiness and denies man's need of salvation.
The message continues as it highlights the benefits of obedience and consequences of disobedience:
The benefits of obedience, which begins with an exalted view of God's Word (Lev. 26:3-13):
- Bountiful rainy seasons (26:4)
- Fruitfulness of fields and orchards (26:4)
- Packed cupboards (26:5,10)
- Secure borders and military success (26:5-8)
- Favorable attention from God and His presence (26:9,11-12)
- Freedom from slavery (26:13)
The negative consequences of disobedience, which begins with a disregard for God's Word, increase over time (Lev. 26:14-39):
- Sorrow of heart caused by wasting disease and fever (26:16)
- Oppression from enemies and political paranoia (26:17)
- Drought and famine (26:19-20)
- Prey to wildlife (26:22)
- Pestilence and removal of protection (26:25)
- Meager provisions and desperate hunger (26:26, 29)
- Desolation of land (26:31-32)
- Invasion of enemies (26:32)
- Dispersion among the nations (26:33-39)
- Faintness of heart-extreme anxiety (26:36-39)
The message concludes with hope for those who repent and return to the LORD: "But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt- then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land" (26:40-42). Finally, the LORD promises Israel that He will not cast them away or break His covenant with them.
"In God We Trust"-and obey-is a better than a good idea!
Questions from today's reading (Leviticus 25:24-26:46):
What do the laws regulating land ownership reveal about God?
What do the laws regulating the treatment of those in poverty reveal about God and about community?