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Bible Commentaries

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
Leviticus 26

 

 

Verses 1-46

Chapter26

They are not to have idols, or graven images, or standing images, set up any image in the land to bow down to it: for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. [Now God says,] If you will walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them ( Leviticus 26:1-3 );

Walk, keep, do. Some of the commandments of God involve our walk, some of them command our actions, and some of them are just sort of negatives, the things that we are to keep and to keep from. So God is now laying out, "If you will now do this, if you will obey, if you"ll walk, if you"ll keep, this is what I"m gonna do." God lays out the conditions of blessings. "I want to bless you. These are the rules and laws that I have given, the laws of prosperity, and if you will keep them, this is what"s gonna happen to you."

I will give you rain in due season, the land shall yield her increase, the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall reach to the vintage, the vintage shall reach to the sowing time: and you shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. ["So I"m gonna just bless you and prosper you in the land, you"re gonna have plenty of food, plenty of crops, the seed will last clear over till the sowing time, and you"ll eat bread till you"re full, not only that",] I will give peace in the land, an ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: [Not only that] I will rid the evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. [So, "I will give you peace in the land, lying down, not being afraid, the sword not passing through the land."] And ye shall chase your enemies, [I"ll give you power,] and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight ( Leviticus 26:4-8 ):

Remember the story of Gideon? Three hundred fellows surrounded the Midianites, a hundred and thirty-two thousand of them? "And your enemies shall fall before you by the sword".

For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. [That verse refers to your children, you"re gonna have beautiful families, grandchildren. You"ll be fruitful and multiply, and again the promise of plenty.] Ye shall eat the old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. [In other words, your crops will last over and you"ll still be eating from last year"s crops when you"ve already harvested this year"s.] And I will set my tabernacle among you: [So God"s presence is promised.] my soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people ( Leviticus 26:9-12 ).

What a beautiful national privilege is offered now to these people. The blessings of God abundantly, peace in the land, power for the people. The posterity being blessed, and beyond all this, God"s presence dwelling there in the midst of the people, God walking with him, and dwelling with him. What more could any people desire or want? The only condition is that, "Now that you have My statutes, walk in them. Now that you have My commandments, just keep them, and you"ll have all of this."

Now these things that God is promising, the prosperity, the peace, the power, these are the things for which men are seeking today. But Jesus pointed out the folly of seeking these things. He said, "After all of these things do the heathen seek. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you"( Matthew 6:33 ). That"s what God is saying here. "If you will just follow Me, if you"ll just obey Me, if you"ll just look to Me, then I"ll do this for you."

But you see we"ve got things so reversed in our minds, and in our concepts, that we are so busy seeking these things, we don"t have time to seek God. "Well Lord, I"d really like to seek You, but I don"t know how I"m gonna pay for this new television unless I take this Sunday job." You know all of these things I"m seeking after that take me away from time with God, whereas if I would just give God the first of my heart, the firstfruits of my life, and just worship Him, and follow Him, and obey him, He would do all these things for me. You say, "Well how?" I don"t know anymore than I don"t know how gravitation works. I know it works, I don"t know how. I know that electricity works, I don"t know how. "Oh, but I don"t want to put my trust in anything that I don"t understand." How many of you ladies are you gonna drive home tonight? Do you understand the internal combustion engine? "Well, that"s different." It always is; isn"t it?

Now God said,

I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of Egypt, [Why did I bring you out? I brought you out and this is why,"] that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and I have made you stand up straight ( Leviticus 26:13 ).

Boy, under the bondage. I mean, these guys were bent over with loads that you can"t believe. You know after years of carrying these heavy loads you get to where you just walk humped over because they would carry hundreds of pounds upon their backs. You just get to where you just walk stooped over. But God said, "Look I set you free from that so you can stand up straight, because I"m your Lord, and I brought you out that you would no longer be their bondmen, you would no longer be their servants. I want you now to be My servants. As servants of God you can stand up straight." Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you. My yoke is easy, My burden is light"( Matthew 11:29-30 ). There are people who would try to make you think that the burden of the Lord is a heavy onerous thing to bear.

During the days of Jeremiah these prophets or so-called prophets were going around saying, "Oh the burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord." Like it was some heavy thing. So God said to Jeremiah, He said, "Jeremiah there"s a phrase I"ve heard so often I"m so sick of it, I never want to hear it again. Jeremiah if you use this phrase I"m gonna refuse to talk to you from now on. It"s that rotten phrase, "The burden of the Lord". I"m sick of it. Don"t use it; just delete that from your vocabularies. These guys all going around saying, "The burden of the Lord, the burden of the Lord". Jesus said, "My burden is easy, My burden is light."

"Oh brother, I"m praying that I"ll just be able to hold on under this heavy load that God"s laid on me." Who laid it on you? Hey, if your load is so heavy you can"t carry it; I have to assume that you"ve taken on yourself something that God never put on you, brother. If you find it so hard that you can hardly make it, then that isn"t the Lord"s yoke. His yoke is easy. If it"s so heavy you"re really struggling under it, that isn"t His burden. His burden is light. But we often take upon ourselves things that God really wasn"t putting on us. Why do we take them on? Oh, because I would like the glory of man. So when they"re taking pledges, "Oh I"ll be glad to, brother. Everybody see me? I"ll be glad to." So before men I make commitments. That"s sad because then it gets so heavy. "Oh serving of the Lord is such a heavy burden." No, no. Serving my flesh is a heavy burden, but serving the Lord is glorious. His yoke is easy His burden is light.

Now if you find yourself straining on the burden, then dump it. It"s not His anyhow. Find the Lord"s burden. Serving the Lord"s exciting, glorious, pleasurable thing. "I delight to do Thy will O God" ( Psalm 40:8 ). That is the way it should always be.

Now the Lord said in verse fourteen,

But if you will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if you shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhors my judgments, so that you will not do all of my commandments, but break my covenant: Then this is what I"m gonna do for you ( Leviticus 26:14-16 );

So the conditions, "Keep the commandments, I"m gonna bless you. Break the commandments, I"m gonna break you."

for I will appoint over you terror, consumption, the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: you will sow your seed in vain, your enemies shall eat it ( Leviticus 26:16 ).

You remember when Samuel, or when Gideon was threshing the wheat? He was doing it in a cave to hide it from the Midianites because the Midianites would stand back and let these guys harvest their fields, bring it all in, thresh it, and then the Midianites would move in and take it away from them. That wasn"t so dumb, I guess, as far as the Midianites were concerned, but it"s awfully hard when you"re doing the work.

I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: and they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none is pursuing you. And if for all of this you will not hearken, [if you"re still stubborn, resistant, you won"t listen,] then I"ll punish you seven times more for your sins. I"ll break the pride of your power; [Now He promised them earlier that He"d give them power; now He"s gonna break the pride of their power.] and I will make your heaven as iron, your earth as brass: [He was gonna cause the land to bring forth abundantly, but now He"s gonna make the earth as hard as brass.] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land will not yield her increase, and neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if you continue to walk contrary to me after this, and you will not hearken unto me, then I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. And 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; And if you"re still not reformed by me in these things, and you still are walking contrary to me; then I will also walk contrary to you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. I"ll bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when you are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. ["You"re gonna experience actually constant hunger."] And if for all of this you will still not hearken, but walk contrary; Then I will walk contrary to you also in fury; and I will chastise you seven times for your sins. Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and daughters. And I will destroy your high places, cut down your images, cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I"ll not smell the savour of your sweet odours. ["I"ll not accept your sacrifices anymore."] And I will bring the land into desolation: by your enemies. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste ( Leviticus 26:17-33 ).

Now what is the story of the Bible in the Old Testament as we read the historic part? The story is just the fulfillment of what God said. As long as they sought the Lord, God prospered them and God blessed them, and they were strong and they dwelt in peace and they had plenty. But when they forsook the Lord, then God forsook them. All of these things that God said would happen, did happen to them, even their eating their own children during a time of the siege of Samaria by Benhadad. All of these things took place until finally, as God said, they were dispersed into all the nations of the world. So that God literally fulfilled those things that He said He would do to them. He did. Their land lay desolate for centuries, the cities desolate for centuries.

Now it is interesting to go through the land of Israel also because you"ll see interesting looking mountains, which aren"t really mountains, they"re hills, which aren"t really hills. They are tells, and they are the ruins of the city, and its hundreds of tells all over the land. Sometime when I take one of these seven years off, I"d like to get a shovel and just go digging in some of those tells. Because of all the cities that have been just ruined, and they"re just lying there, and they"re covered now with dirt and just totally desolate just like God said.

And then shall the land rest and enjoy her sabbaths, [It surely has done that.] and as long as it lies desolate it will rest; because you did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the land of your enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf will chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from the sword; and they shall fall when none is pursuing. [It"ll give them a fear in their hearts. Wherever they go they"ll be fearful people because of the persecutions that will arise.] And they shall fall one upon another. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away, [And so forth, but then God declares,] If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass they have trespassed against me, that also they 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 then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and then they accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham and I will remember; and I will remember the land. And the land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, and lie desolate: But then yet for all of that [verse forty-four] when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away from their enemies, neither will I abhor them, nor destroy them utterly to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God ( Leviticus 26:34-44 ).

In other words, "I will preserve them as an ethnic group," which God has done. He kept His promise. He kept His word. No other nation; no other nation has had that same fate. Every other nation who has been without a homeland has disappeared as an ethnic group. Not the Jew; he has remained a Jew to the present day. God kept His word.

Now these are the statutes and the judgments and the laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses ( Leviticus 26:46 ).

So God gave them the laws, and then He gave them the conditions. "If you keep them, I"m gonna bless you; break them, and these are the things that are gonna happen." So the things that happen are just things that God said would happen. And you can"t really blame God, because they did happen because God said they would. If you would"ve only listened to God; you would"ve known it.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliography Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 26:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/leviticus-26.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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