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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Leviticus 26

Verses 1-46

  1. Intro:
    1. Read last verse 1st.
      1. “made between” – speaking of “covenants” w/God.
      2. 8 times(covenants)in this chapter(9,15,25,42{3 x’s},44,45)
    2. Illustration: If you represent the U.S.A. in the space program you must have an unconditional respect for authority!
      1. Astronaut General Charles M. Duke(Apollo 16)reported that he had to follow an intricate plan, & the exact & precise instructions “if they wanted to return to earth!” He said they landed “heavy” when they touched down on the moon, he was refereeing to their fuel supply. They had plenty left…how much…One minutes worth! – A rebel or renegade doesn’t make it in the space program.
      2. A rebel or renegade doesn’t make it in God’s program either!
    1. This is the summary of man’s obligation to God.
    2. 4 reasons why to obey Him!
      1. (2a) Who God is! – the I AM(the Lord).
      2. (2b) What God did! - He made Israel special/unique in giving them these days of rest.
      3. (2c) Where God dwells! – The surrounding nations made their own gods, yet the God that dwelt in the midst of Israel “made them”.
        1. Today our bodies of course represent the dwelling place of God!
      4. (3-13) What God promised! – The people of Israel were but children in their faith, & you teach children primarily through rewards & chastisements.
        1. A young child doesn’t learn by lectures on ethics.
        2. They eventually learn that both commandments & chastisements are expressions of love for their own good.
    1. This is the blessings of Obedience to God.
    2. Covenants reminded them of their spiritual relationship w/Him & the responsibilities to that relationship.
    3. If they obeyed the terms of the covenant, they’d remain in the promise and & enjoy His blessings.
      1. God doesn’t promise material success to His New Covenant people today, but He does promise to be w/us & meet our every need.
      2. Note: “if” comes up 32 times in this & the next chapter.
    4. “If you walk” – “If I’m walking in one direction & God is walking another, I’m moving away from His presence; & God isn’t about to changeHis direction!” (Warren Wiersbe; pg.135)
      1. If I continue to walk contrary to Him, I’m going to have some serious problems.
    5. (6) Note “peace” the shalom of God. Living in harmony w/God!
  4. IF YOU DO NOT OBEY ME! (14-39)
    1. ​​​​​​​This is the chastening of Disobedience to God.
      1. You’ll see “7 times” many times(18,21,24,28). It refers to the intensity of the suffering(remember, “heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated”) – Deals w/degree, not duration!
    2. Gods covenants always include both blessing & chastening, for He won’t share His goodness w/rebellious children.
      1. “Enjoying the gifts while insulting the giver is both selfish & idolatrous.” (Warren Wiersbe.)
    3. We should obey God, not to deserve His blessings or even avoid His chastening. But to show our love to Him & our desire to please His heart.
      1. Q: Why do you obey Him? What’s your motivation? {the reward of it, to escape His discipline, or out of love?…“The love of Christ compels me”}
  5. IF YOU CONFESS! (40-46)
    1. ​​​​​​​This is God’s faithfulness to His Covenant!
    2. A Gracious God always leaves the door open for restoration.
    3. They may break their promise(15); but God will never break His promise to His people(44).
    4. God forgets our sins but remember His Covenant!
      1. This isn’t an excuse for sin, but it’s an encouragement for sinners to repent & turn to the Lord.
    1. ​​​​​​​Covenant defined: An agreement between persons or parties. Promises of God revealed in scripture.
      1. “A covenant is unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God & man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.” (Wayne Grudem; pg.515)
        1. “Agreement” = 2 parties; “divinely imposed” = man can never negotiate.
      2. God’s Word, or promise, or covenant cannot fail!
        1. Ps.89:34 “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.”
        2. He is a covenant keeping God!
      3. It is also defined “to cut an agreement”.
        1. Jer.34:18 “'And I will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of (also see Gen.15:7-21)
      4. It is like a contract…but different.
        1. Contracts are usually made from equally bargaining positions.
        2. Both parties are free to not sign the contract.
        3. A covenant is also “an agreement”, but usually is not between equals.
        4. Often times there was a covenant between the conquering king & the conquered.
          1. These were called the Suzerain/Vassal Treaties (soo-zer-in)
          2. Suzerain= Lord; Vassal = slave.
          3. There were no negotiations between the parties.
      5. Elements of a Covenant: (R.C. Sproul; pg.72)
        1. ​​​​​​​[1] Preamble: Identifies the sovereign.
          1. The 10 commandments start w/ ”I am the Lord your God.” (2)
          2. [2] Historical Prologue: rehearses the history of the relationship of the parties.
            1. “I brought you out of Egypt.”(13)
          3. [3] Stipulations: Outline the terms of the cov. (3-46)
          4. [4] Oath/Vows: The promises that bind the parties to the terms.
            1. If…then! Statements.
          5. [5] Sanctions: The blessings & the curses to be enacted for keeping or breaking the cov. (blessings 3-13; curses 14-39)
          6. [6] Ratification: The sealing of the cov. By blood. (40-46)
          7. We serve a God that pledged Himself to our full redemption!
    1. ​​​​​​​God’s eternal plan for man is found in the Scriptures, in the promises He has made.
      1. “His promises are Yes & Amen!” – “He cannot lie!”
    2. Theologians have come up with 2 ways of looking at this.
      1. Theological Covenants or “Covenant Theologians”.
      2. Biblical Covenants or “Dispensationalists”
      3. The 1st places “the plan of salvation” as the primary purpose of God
      4. The 2nd sees obviously the plan of salvation as an important aspect of His eternal purpose, but not His total plan.
        1. This view teaches that God’s plan for history is to reveal His Glory, & He does this not only by saving men but by fulfilling His purpose & revealing Himself through His dealings w/Israel, w/the church, & w/the nations. (Chafer & Walvoord; Major Bible Themes; pg. 141)
    3. Theological Covenants – “Covenant Theologians”. They see 3 basic theological covenants.
      1. Covenant of Works – When Adam & Eve were created they stood in a moral relationship w/God, their creator.
      2. [1] God entered into a “Covenant of Works” w/Adam & Eve.
        1. God required perfect & total obedience to His rule.
        2. He promised eternal life for obedience – death for disobedience.
      3. [2] All humans are instant members in God’s Covenant of works.
      4. [3] All human beings are violators of the covenant of works.
        1. A single sin is enough to violate this covenant & make us debtors.
      5. [4] Jesus fulfilled the covenant of works.
        1. He is the only human being to ever keep the covenant of works.
        2. He was the only one to make it to heaven on His Good works!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
      6. [5] The covenant of Grace provides us w/merits of Christ by which the terms of the covenant of works are satisfied.
        1. So, they can become “our” good works when we receive Christ by faith.
      7. Covenant of Redemption – Between God the Son(I promise to provide the redemption) & God the Father(I promise to accept the sacrifice).
      8. Covenant of Grace – Christ is the mediator of the covenant & the representative of those who trust in Him.
      9. This view blends Gods plan for Israel & Gods plan for the church.
    4. Biblical Covenants – “Dispensationalists”. They see distinctions in various stages in human history, which are revealed in the dispensations(or ages).
      1. (Not that God “changed His mind” on how to deal w/man, but instead “purposefully altered” how He was going to deal w/man in different time periods)
      2. Conditional – God will do His part, when the human requirements are met.
      3. Unconditional – It may include certain human contingencies, but God will certainly do His part, in His time & in His way.
      4. Of the 8 Biblical Covenants only 2(Edenic & Mosaic) were conditional.
      5. [1] Edenic – (conditional) {Gen.1:26-31}
        1. Life & blessing, or death & cursing were dependant on Adam’s faithfulness.
        2. Adam & Eve failed & disobeyed by eating the fruit, thus the penalty of death for disobedience was imposed.
        3. Ended in the fall of man.
      6. [2] Adamic - (unconditional) {Gen.3:16-19}
        1. God declares to man what his lot in life will be. (serpent cursed; woman pain in childbirth & submission to husband; man work 6 days sweat of brow; earth cursed)
        2. Continues still today.
      7. [3] Noahic - (unconditional) {Gen.9:1-18}
        1. Introduces new principles of human gov. as a means to curb sin(i.e. capitol punishment)
        2. Continues still today.
      8. [4] Abrahamic - (unconditional) {Gen.12:1-4}
        1. The promise that he personally would be blessed; a great nation would emerge through him(Israel); & through him a blessing to the entire world.
        2. Continues still today.
      9. [5] Mosaic -(conditional) {Ex.20-31}
        1. To Israel. If they were obedient God would bless them, disobedient/curse them.
        2. God anticipated they’d fail, yet promised He wouldn’t forsake them. Terminates at the cross.
      10. [6] Palestinian -(unconditional) {Deut.30}
        1. Unconditional covenant regarding Israel’s final possession of the land.
        2. Even though kicked out a few times ultimately Abraham’s seed will possess the land.
        3. 1st phase has returned to the land in 1948, but ultimate promise in the future.
      11. [7] Davidic - (unconditional) {2 Sam.7}
        1. The promise of an unending royal lineage, a throne, & a kingdom forever!
        2. Ultimate fulfillment in millennium.
      12. [8] New - (unconditional)
      13. 1st to Israel - Jer.31:31-33
      14. 2nd to the Church – This is given to the church in the Lord’s supper “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
        1. The New Covenant” or “New Testament” was an agreement ratified by the shed blood of the redeemer.
        2. It is also called the “Better Covenant” because it is of Grace!
        3. The Law was written on stone, the New on our hearts!
        4. The Law required animal sacrifices, the New provided the perfect & final sacrifice…The Lamb!
        5. The Law was of works, the New is by faith!
    5. END: Read Ps.1
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.