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This chapter seems to form a brief summary of the arguments, by which the laws contained in the foregoing chapters are enforced; in that it points out the blessings to obedience, and the curses which will follow upon disobedience. The conclusion of it is very remarkable, in that it ends with gracious promises, even to the most rebellious, when their heart is turned to seek the LORD.
I would request the Reader, in the very entrance upon this chapter, to remark, as he goes on through the perusal of it, how very striking the process of divine grace, both in mercies and in threatened judgments is carried on. I have often read the chapter on this account with peculiar pleasure. May the HOLY GHOST make it profitable also, for the same reason, to the Reader! It begins with that truth which we so often meet with in the Old Testament scriptures, the LORD'S jealousy for his honor! How precious is it to the true believer in CHRIST, to discover that by grace he is kept from idolatry, and from that horrible state of nature, to which but for grace, he would be equally exposed; and which the Apostle ascribes to the polite, and (as the world would call them) the learned inhabitants of Rome. See Romans 1:22-25 .
Here again it is precious to the believer to remark how a gracious GOD hath secured his people, in the observance of those precepts. Ezekiel 38:23 . From Leviticus 26:2-12 , let the Reader observe as he goes on, the loving-kindness of the LORD, in those exceeding great and precious promises contained in them. First, a plenty of the sweet influences of the heavenly bodies; in the rain and the dew and the clouds dropping their fatness. Deuteronomy 33:13-14 .
Secondly, the blessed effects of it in the extent of the mercy from harvest to harvest. Amos 9:13 . But surely the gracious Reader will not overlook gospel mercies, as veiled under those promised earthly enjoyments. Under the blessed SPIRIT's influence, since JESUS returned to glory, what a continuation of an harvest of souls is gathered and still gathering to CHRIST? See that promise, Malachi 3:10-12 . Observe, GOD promiseth not only plenty, but peace and enjoyment in the plenty. And the soul who hath found peace in the blood of the cross, will find with it a sweet and holy serenity in all his enjoyments. This heightens joy, and softens sorrow. Ephesians 1:3 ; Hosea 2:18 .
Thirdly, not only peace at home, but success abroad: victory over all our enemies. And this considered in a spiritual sense is very sweet indeed. See that precious promise. Isaiah 54:17 .
Fourthly, the blessings of increase. See here again, in a gospel sense, that promise. Colossians 2:19 . Fifthly, and which is the fountain of all blessings the LORD'S favor. David's prayer is to this effect. Psalms 106:4 .
Sixthly, JESUS tabernacling in our nature is the ground and assurance of all. Revelation 21:3 . Compared with Amos 9:11 .
Seventhly, as by the grace of the LORD JESUS, his people are secured in all the privileges of redemption; so on the covenant relationship into which they are brought with GOD their FATHER through him, their present and everlasting happiness is founded. Zechariah 13:9 .
Lastly, redemption-work is the sole cause, founded in the FATHER'S gift, the Saviour's purchase, and the SPIRIT's application. Here indeed the LORD hath broken the yoke of worse than Egyptian bondage, even the yoke of sin and Satan. See that sweet expression, in a gospel sense, Psalms 107:14-15 .
Here the subject changeth, and an awful but comes in. I would request the Reader to remark with me the progress of sin. First it begins in refusing to hearken to GOD. Malachi 2:2 .
Secondly, after refusing to hearken, the sinner learns to despise GOD'S judgments. This was a sad step in the first unhappy transgression. Genesis 3:4 . Thirdly, after breaking GOD'S covenant, depend upon it, the transition from forgetting GOD to the disowning GOD is quickly made. And what is every man by nature, when left to himself, but like that sinner of old? Exodus 5:2 .
Reader, remark with me the gentleness with which GOD begins his punishment. Sickness is among the kind rods with which the LORD manifests his love, as a Father to his children. Hebrews 12:6 ; Deuteronomy 8:5 .
If the FATHER'S rod will not do, GOD will try what the enemies' sword will accomplish. David's prayer is instructive on this point. 2 Samuel 24:14 .
Reader, remark how graciously, even in punishment, the LORD deals with his people. He doth not give them up; but calls upon them with a louder call, and by more alarming providences. He makes all nature to be at variance with them. Reader! it is highly profitable to see the LORD'S hand in all the LORD'S appointments. David here again instructs. When Shimei came forth against him, David saw that the trial was of the LORD; so let him curse, said David, for the LORD hath said. 2 Samuel 16:10 . Reader! it is a sure mark of grace in lively exercise, when in our troubles we lie low at the foot of the cross, and open not our mouth in a way of justification. Psalms 39:9 .
Reader in this view of the divine progress in correction, do not overlook that all is in tender mercy. It should seem that the prophet had in contemplation this chapter when he speaks of GOD'S four sore judgments. Ezekiel 14:21 .
These punishments were literally accomplished in the days of Israel's captivity. Isaiah 3:1 ; Jeremiah 39:0 .
Reader! still keep your mind in contemplation on the process of divine judgments. From temporal punishments the LORD proceeds to spiritual. And when it comes to this, that the sanctuary is desolate, and the LORD abhors all offerings; how ripe is that church, or that person, for destruction. Hosea 4:17 .
Reader! I detain you in this place, to remark the abundant grace of our gracious GOD. Read these verses twice, and if possible never forget them; well might Paul say, where sin abounded grace did much more abound. Romans 5:20 . And let me observe for your comfort, as well as my own, on this grand point of confessing our iniquity, which is an evidence of grace in the heart, that this becomes the truest test of the real conversion of the soul towards GOD; and wherever this appears, it carries with it a most decided proof that GOD is reconciled in the blood and righteousness of his SON. For of this we may be very confident, that wherever a soul is made a partaker of the riches of his grace, most heartily and fully will that soul subscribe to the rights of GOD'S justice. This is accepting the punishment of our iniquity. See instances, Psalms 51:4 ; Joshua 7:19 ; Ezra 9:6-15 .
Reader! do not overlook the original cause of all mercies; namely, the faithfulness of a covenant GOD in CHRIST: not for the value or merit of repentance; not even our misery, or in short anything in ourselves; but all in and through CHRIST in GOD. See Ezekiel 36:32 .
OH! what a gracious merciful GOD is the GOD with whom we have to do, of whom it may be truly said, he punisheth us less than our sins deserve. May it be my mercy, O LORD, through thy sovereign grace, to walk with thee in all thy statutes and in all thine ordinances, with a jealous eye to thy glory; that the LORD may give me all these blessings both in a temporal sense and in a spiritual; that my heaven may never be iron, nor my earth brass. But chiefly, while a bountiful GOD and Saviour gives me all things richly to enjoy, neither the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, nor the precious things put forth by the moon, may be half so precious to my soul as the good will of him that dwelt in the bush. And, dearest LORD, in all thy rebukes, for the manifold departures of my soul from thee; oh, give me grace, that the most gentle of thy chastisements may call my heart home from its rebellions. LORD! evermore give me to hear the rod, and who hath appointed it. May it never be my case to seek comfort by hiding or lessening my transgression; but in confessing and forsaking it: and so to seek peace with GOD through our LORD JESUS CHRIST. And blessed JESUS, let me add, may the precious teachings of thine HOLY SPIRIT continually lead me to this sure conclusion; that all my pardon and peace is obtained, not for anything that I have done or can do; but from the covenant righteousness of GOD in CHRIST; what thou hast done and suffered; and what the FATHER of mercies hath engaged to perform, for his own sake, and for his righteousness sake, to whose holy name be all the glory!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20