Leviticus 26

Sunday Evening Bible Study

November 9, 1997


The whole book of Leviticus is about holiness. It’s all about God’s people becoming more and more like Him. And less and less like the world.

We now see the practical results of obedience and disobedience.

Leviticus 26

:1-13 The Blessings of Obedience

:1-2 The foundation of obedience

God wants His relationship with His people the center of their obedience.

Are they right with God?

Getting right with God allows all the other things to fall into place.

:3 If ye walk in my statutes

The Condition

Notice it doesn't say to "walk around His statutes".

It's as if God sets out two straight lines and says, you are to walk within these guidelines for your life.

Part of the problem our society has cooked up for itself is that kids aren't given guidelines anymore as to what they can and can't do. They need the feeling of safety that comes from a parent telling them where it's safe and where it isn't.

Note: There is an aspect in our lives where our relationship with God is no longer conditional.

We are saved by grace.

We are no longer under the law, but under grace.

Our relationship with God, as His children, is not based on our performance, but on the fact that Jesus’ blood was valuable enough to pay for all of our sins.

I don’t "disown" my sons because they’ve been bad.

But there’s still an element in our lives where we see great blessings that come from obedience.

We would be foolish to think that there’s no good going to come from obeying God, or that there might not be consequences if we disobey Him.

Many of the consequences are simply natural. If you jump off a ten story building, you’re going to get hurt.

:4-12 The Specific Results of Obedience

:4 rain in due season

We see that sometimes God will use a drought to turn the people back to Him.

:4 fruit

We see fruitfulness in our lives when we walk in God’s ways.

(Psa 1:1-3 KJV) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

:6 peace in the land

Even in our own lives, we’ll experience a greater sense of peace when we’re walking in God’s ways.

(Phil 4:9 KJV) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

:7 ye shall chase your enemies

Obedience will give us greater victory over our enemies, over Satan.

It’s not that we won’t be tempted or attacked, but we’ll be in a better position to handle the attacks when we’ve practiced righteousness, when we’ve walked in His ways.

:12 I will walk among you

Obedience results in greater intimacy with God.

This is not getting on a "works" trip.

But the more time you spend with a person, the more you start acting like them, and the closer you are to them.

:14-17 Results of Disobedience

:14 if ye will not hearken unto me

The problem is that we too often don’t look for the long term results that obedience brings, and instead get sidetracked with the fast life of the world.

We get like Asaph, who wrote –

(Psa 73:2-5 KJV) But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. {3} For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. {4} For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. {5} They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

The sad part is that sometimes we forget what kind of blessings we’ve got, until we lose them.

:15 ye shall despise my statutes

That's what disobedience boils down to, rejecting what God says is best for you, and deciding that you know better than He does for your life.

:16 I also will do this unto you

This kind of sounds like a legal contract, doesn't it?

"If the party of the first part does such and such, then the party of the second part in turn will to such and such..."

I can kind of hear myself saying this kind of thing to my son when he's got that look of rebellion in his eye.

"David, if you hit your brother one more time, I'm going to get out the paddle. It's that simple, you hit Daniel, I hit your bottom."

:16 terror

NAS has "sudden terror"

The opposite of peace (see vs.6)

Generally, a person who's right with God experiences peace.

When our lives are consumed with fear all the time, something isn't right.

1JO 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

When things aren't right with God, it's not hard to develop a kind of paranoia, wondering what's going to happen next.

:16 consumption, and the burning ague (fever)

Some people jump to the conclusion that all disease is caused by sin. If you're sick, there must be sin in your life.

Not so! There are many reasons why we can get sick.

But, don't throw out the baby with the bath water! Some sickness is indeed caused by sin and rebellion!

1CO 11:29-30 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

:16 sow your seed in vain

The opposite of fruitfulness (see vs.4-5)

This happened many times to the nation Israel, particularly in the book of Judges.

Remember the story of Gideon? Remember the situation the land was in?

The people were harassed by the Mideonites, who would wait until the Israelites had harvested their crops, then would come swooping down upon them and steal all their grain. (Judges 6)

Have you ever been in one of those moods where you knew God wanted you to do something, and you didn't want to do it, and everything else you tried just got more frustrating and harder and harder?

I remember times when I've wanted to buy some new thing, yet I knew that God wanted me to wait on buying it. But off I went, going from store to store, but either the stores were closed, or they were out of whatever I was looking for.

:17 slain before your enemies

Defeat, the opposite of victory (see vs.7-8)

It's hard to stand up to Satan's attack when you don't have the Lord standing between you and Satan.

:18-26 Results of Further Disobedience

:18 if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me

Note that the following sections serve as follow up to a lack of repentance and further disobedience.

If the first thing doesn't work, then God is going to try something else, and hopefully repentance will come.

God doesn’t let the worst consequences of our sins hit us off the first time we blow it.

But He will gently keep turning up the heat on us, in hopes that we’ll respond.


Don’t despise God’s chastening. Learn from it.

(Heb 12:5-11 KJV) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: {6} For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. {7} If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? {8} But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. {9} Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? {10} For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. {11} Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

God only spanks us because we’re His kids.

We can get the most out of our spankings if we learn to respond quickly and follow where He’s leading.

NOTE: Not all difficult times are "spankings". Sometimes we simply go through the fire, not because we’ve been bad, but to further stretch our faith and further refine us.

:19 I will break the pride of your power

NIV - "stubborn pride"

The phrase "pride of your power" (with the same Hebrew words) is found four more times in Scripture. (Eze 24:21; 30:6; 30:18)

(Ezek 33:28 KJV) For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

It seems to be an actual phenomena, this pride of power.

God is saying that He's going to destroy one of the very sources of their sin, pride in their own strength, in their own ability.

When we find ourselves becoming confident in our own ability to accomplish anything, we are in a dangerous spot.

When we start thinking that we can do it on our own, we are in a dangerous place.

(John 15:5 KJV) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Sometimes God has to break our strength, so we’ll learn to come and lean on Him.

:19 heaven as iron, and your earth as brass

These ideas are found only in one other place, a parallel passage in Deuteronomy:

DEU 28:23 "And the heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron.

What does this mean?

Some people use the phrase "the heavens are as brass" to refer to a feeling like God isn't listening to your prayers.

It probably refers to the sky not producing rain, and the soil drying up, hardening, and becoming unfruitful for crops.

:21 If ye walk contrary …

Again, if further rebellion continues...

:24 will I also walk contrary unto you

It’s hard enough to be going through chastisement, but when you find yourself actually walking against God, whew!

:26 deliver you your bread again by weight

This is talking about famine conditions, where bread is scarce, where it’s measured out to make it last.

:27 if ye will not for all this hearken unto me

This section is kind of the last straw for Israel.

This is as hot as it gets.

:29 ye shall eat the flesh of your sons...

This actually happened, cannibalism.

(2 Ki 6:26-29 KJV) And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. {27} And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? {28} And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. {29} So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son.

:30 I then will destroy your high places...

God, looking to the future, knew that they would eventually fall into idolatry.

It all gets back to the basics, having no other gods before Him (26:1)

This was partially fulfilled by Josiah (2Ki 23:15-16), then completed by Nebuchadnezzar.

:31 I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours

This almost seems the saddest of all.

What are "sweet odours"?

Acceptable sacrifices.

Just in Leviticus alone, the phrase "soothing aroma" is found 16 times, each (except for this one) referring to the sacrifices that would be made to God, and how they would please Him with their "soothing aroma".

see Lev.1:9; 1:13; 1:17; 2:2; 2:9; 2:12; 3:5; 3:16; 4:31; 6:15; 6:21; 8:21; 8:28; 17:6; 23:13; 23:18.

It's not that God's people would stop making sacrifices, but that when they did, God wouldn't pay attention to them anymore.

For us, one of the things that becomes a "soothing aroma" to the Lord is our praise and worship.

But if we are living in rebellion to the Lord, if we are stubborn over an area of our life that God has confronted us on, and we are unwilling to do anything about it, we will find that our worship becomes "flat", it looses its ability to please God.

:32 your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it

When Assyria took the northern kingdom into captivity, and then brought in foreigners to repopulate the land, they had problems with the wild animals.

They decided that the God of the land wasn't being properly appeased, so they brought back some of the Jews to make sacrifices, who eventually intermarried with the new people, forming the race of Samaritans. (2Kings 17:24-33)

:33 I will scatter you among the heathen

Assyria took the northern kingdom away in 722 B.C.., Babylon took the southern kingdom away in 586 B.C..

:34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths

We taught on this back in chapter 25, concerning the Sabbath years.

Apparently God knew that the people wouldn’t be obeying the laws of the sabbath years, giving the land a rest from the crops.

The people were in captivity for 70 years, which would cover a period of 490 years, or seventy times seven.

One commentator (Pulpit Commentary) thought that since there were 863 years between entering the land and the Babylonian captivity, requiring 123 Sabbath years, that it was pretty unlikely that the Israelites kept very many if any of the Sabbaths at all. The number seventy, being a multiple of the sacred number seven, was regarded as sufficient to purge all previous neglects, whatever they might have been.

:37 they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth

A picture of ultimate defeat, running when nobody is even pursuing.

True paranoia.

:39 pine away in their iniquity

NAS - they will rot away...

Sounds pretty bleak. It would be too if we didn't continue on in the passage.

:40 If they shall confess their iniquity...

Here's the place God's been trying to get them to all along. This is the way out of discipline.

God, as our Father, is not satisfied with just spanking us for being bad, He wants us to understand what we've done that's wrong.


Agree with God.

That’s what confession is all about, coming around to God’s viewpoint and agreeing with it. That you’re sinful. That you need help. That God loves you. That He forgives you.

Tying together the Bible - - Daniel 9:1-11

Daniel has become aware of Jeremiah's prophesies concerning seventy years in Babylon, he's realized that's its been seventy years, and he's responding to the promises in the Law for the restoration of Israel, if they would confess their sin, and so he prays and confesses.


Discipline involves learning.

Parents, this is a good lesson for us to learn. Discipline isn't over until the child knows why they've been disciplined. They need to understand what they did that was wrong, and that it was wrong.


Discipline comes in many forms and intensities.

For parents: Note how many different kinds of punishments God had planned to use, for varying degrees and stages of rebellion.

Parents need to be careful not to get stuck in a rut and spank their children for everything.

Sometimes a child simply needs their attention changed to something new.

Sometimes they need to be picked up and moved to another location.

Sometimes they need a stern "NO".

Sometimes they need a time out in another room.

Sometimes they need a paddle on the bottom.

But different kinds of discipline for different kinds of sin.

This whole theme of blessings for obedience, cursing for disobedience, and restoration for confession is repeated again at the end of Deuteronomy (Deut.27-30), and again when Solomon dedicates the temple in Jerusalem (2Chron.6-7).

:42 then will I remember

This is speaking about God’s promises to the patriarchs concerning the land, for returning the people to the land.

:44 I will not cast them away

All along, God is not planning on dumping them for some other nation that could do better.

God's intentions in disciplining us is not to punish us and leave us, but to make us come to our senses, so we'll come back to Him.

:45 I will for their sakes remember

When the people turn around, God will remember His covenant and restore them to the land.

Here’s the goal of discipline – Restoration.

(Gal 6:1 KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

God’s not out to destroy us, He wants us back on our feet.