I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high. ~ Leviticus 26:9-13
This is the final passage of the promise of blessing for the Israelites if they obey God’s commands. God promises them other things earlier in chapter 26, but this passage stuck out to me. There was something about it. I would love to say that this is a promise that we can claim that is literal, however I feel like it’s more metaphorical. We know that as believers we are grafted in as God’s chosen people, adopted into the family. And we also know that because of that, we are also included in the promises that God gives His people. This one starts with God reestablishing that He will fulfill His promise that He would greatly increase their numbers. While we might first take this literally as God increasing the population of the Israelites, I think it points to God increasing the spiritual number of His people- believers. So I think that we should continuing reading this passage in a spiritual perspective instead of a literal one.
The next sentence speaks of great harvest, which we are interpreting as a spiritual harvest. This says that part of the blessing of obeying God (His decrees and commands) is that the harvest one year will be so plentiful that is will overlap with the next year. There will not be time to have finished everything with the first harvest before the second begins. Can you imagine? Can you imagine seeing such a big harvest of new believers that our churches haven’t finished following up with, plugging in, and discipling last years’ believers when a whole new group begins to come in? This is what my soul longs to see. Multiplying the body of Christ instead of slowly adding to it. Sounds a lot like the harvest that Jesus mentions in the New Testament.
So we see this idea both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. There is a large harvest. God has given us a large harvest. So where is it? If this is one of the symptoms of obeying God and His commands and decrees, than we have to work backwards and ask if we’re not being obedient somewhere. The fact that the only specific instructions mentioned are not worshiping anyone but God and then observing the Sabbath and having respect for His sanctuary- I would think this is a good place to start. And yes, there are plenty that worship things other than God but I think probably the biggest grievance of these among believers is probably the Sabbath. At least from what I’ve seen, we tend to not treat it as the sacred assembly that God asked us to.
Now, I don’t really want to focus on the second portion of chapter 26 with all the punishments for being disobedient, but if we’re going to take a quick look at the promised rewards and consequences it can give us a really good, quick pulse on which side we are leaning more on. Just like a fever is a symptom of an unhealthy body- the presence of some of these consequences can be a symptom of disobedience. But throughout these verses there was one thing- one symptom- that kept sticking out to me.
They will run as though fleeing from the sword, and they will fall, even though no one is pursuing them.
~ Leviticus 26:36
I think this is a direct contrast to the end of our first verses. “I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” How much more opposite can you be than one person walking with their head held high and another person fleeing and falling even though no one is chasing him/her. The first person seems so grateful and thankful for his/her freedom that nothing can bring him/her down. But the second seems to be defeating himself/herself. No one is fighting him/her, but the fear is so strong that fear itself becomes the victor.
So the question is begging to be asked- which symptom do you have more of in your life? Do you walk with your head held high? Are you seeing such an incredible harvest that you don’t complete one wave before another comes? Or is fear itself the victor over you? And if this is the case, what area would the Lord have you repent in order to restore?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Numbers 1, 2