14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments,
15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant,
16 then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
17 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you.
18 And if in spite of this you will not listen to me, then I will discipline you again sevenfold for your sins,
19 and I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.
20 And your strength shall be spent in vain, for your land shall not yield its increase, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.
21 “Then if you walk contrary to me and will not listen to me, I will continue striking you, sevenfold for your sins.
22 And I will let loose the wild beasts against you, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock and make you few in number, so that your roads shall be deserted.
23 “And if by this discipline you are not turned to me but walk contrary to me,
24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.
25 And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall execute vengeance for the covenant. And if you gather within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy.
26 When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.
27 “But if in spite of this you will not listen to me, but walk contrary to me,
28 then I will walk contrary to you in fury, and I myself will discipline you sevenfold for your sins.
29 You shall eat the flesh of your sons, and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters.
30 And I will destroy your high places and cut down your incense altars and cast your dead bodies upon the dead bodies of your idols, and my soul will abhor you.
31 And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas.
32 And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it.
33 And I will scatter you among the nations, and I will unsheathe the sword after you, and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.
34 “Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths.
35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.
36 And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. The sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues.
37 They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues. And you shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
38 And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
39 And those of you who are left shall rot away in your enemies’ lands because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.
40 “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against me, and also in walking contrary to me,
41 so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies–if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity,
42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
43 But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.
44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.
45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.”
I was on my way to see my grandson play some flag football, and listening to the book of Leviticus. You know, when I am listening to Leviticus, I honestly don’t expect to hear something that arrests my thoughts and get me to thinking.
The following passage did just that.
It seems the Lord is warning His people of their conditional security throughout this passage.
Throughout the passage, the mercy of God seems to scream out at me. When I was strongly encased in the eternal security camp, this passage usually brought a confusion to my thinking that I either did not want to discuss, or simply considered the passage to not be applicable to me.
After all, it was a completely different covenant! What could this passage teach me as a Christian?
As we consider this passage, I would like to preface it with a few comments
- I realize this passage is speaking to Old Covenant believers, but I would like to consider the security God offered His people at that time.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
We have this passage in the Word for our edification – that is, we can learn from it as Paul expected us to.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
- I also see a progression of rebellion and apostasy, leading from the loss of security to entering into war with the covenant God.
It occurred to me as I was listening to the passage that this may typify the progression of a backsliding Christian. If so, it may be highly instructive to heed the passage as a warning for ourselves.
Lets read the passage.
Initial Disobedience of a Covenant People
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:
Response of the Covenant God – Security is Slipping Away!
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:
and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
17 And I will set my face against you,
and ye shall be slain before your enemies:
they that hate you shall reign over you;
and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
A Refusal to Repent
18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me,
Continued Action of the Covenant God – Further Loss of Security
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:
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.
Before we continue, it may be important to bring up the phrase that struck me on my ride to the football game. You see, when the term “contrary” came up, it struck me as odd, and in my study afterwards, I found out that it is synonymous with hostility.
A few things are worth noting.
* The hostility originates with the covenant people.
* The hostility is a response from God towards those already at war with Him.
* The hostility in verse 28 becomes extreme
Hostility from the Covenant People – Open Oppression
21 And if ye walk contrary unto me,
and will not hearken unto me;
Continued Action of the Covenant God – Increasing Danger
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;
and your high ways shall be desolate.
Continued Hostility from the Covenant People – Increasing Rebellion
23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things,
but will walk contrary unto me;
Introduction of Hostility from a Covenant God
24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you,
and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
It is difficult to place where all security has vanished for the covenant people, but from this point on, it seems this is it. When the covenant God speaks of hostility towards His people, it seems evident that security has evaporated!
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.
26 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.
Hostility of the Covenant People
27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me,
but walk contrary unto me;
Extreme Hostility of the Covenant God
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.
30 And I will destroy your high places,
and cut down your images,
and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols,
and my soul shall abhor you.
31 And I will make your cities waste,
and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation,
and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32 And I will bring the land into desolation:
and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33 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.
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.
36 And upon them that are left alive of you
I will send a faintness into their hearts 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.
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.
Prior to the offer of restoration, the Lord describes the end of the covenant people, that is of those left.
….they shall pine away.
What does that mean? The word is a verb meaning to waste away, to rot away. It means to dissipate, to decompose, to putrefy; used of Israel as a people in exile (Lev_26:39; Eze_4:17; Eze_24:23; Eze_33:10)…
Prior to any restoration conditions offered, all security and safety has evaporated, with no hope.
Conditions of Restoration – An Opportunity to Regain Security?
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.
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.
At this point in the progression of apostasy and restoration, it may be necessary to remind those of the eternal security camp that the refusal to cast away His people comes after the condition of restoration has been performed.
What are the conditions to regain security?
1. If they shall confess their iniquity
2. If they shall confess the iniquity of their fathers with their trespass which they trespassed against me
3. If they shall confess that also they have walked contrary unto me
4. If they shall confess that I also have walked contrary unto them
5. If they shall confess that God brought them into the land of their enemies
6. if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled
7. if they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity
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.
Security is a blessing, and this security is available to those who satisfy the conditions.
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