Vol. 12 No. 5 May 2010
By Bonnie Rushmore
Throughout the Bible, God promises His children wonderful blessings—IF we obey Him. Leviticus Chapter 26 is one of those instances. Verse One begins with God demanding total allegiance to Him—and Him alone. The Israelites were warned not to make graven images of any size. Furthermore, they were to keep the Sabbath Day and revere the Tabernacle. Then, God gives the conditional phrase, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give…” (Leviticus 26:3-4). The Israelites were promised: rain when needed, crops would flourish, plenty to eat, safety in the Promised Land, no fear at night, God would rid the land of evil beasts and their enemies would fall before them with the sword. God would renew the covenant made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He would walk among them because He was their God.
What a wonderful life God promised His children! They had no worries—they had food in abundance, plenty of children raising them up to be a great nation and no fears from wild beasts or enemies. The life God promised the Israelites was a foretaste of heaven.
On the other hand, IF the Israelites failed to keep God’s laws, they would experience terror, wasting diseases and fever; enemies would eat that which they sowed; their enemies would defeat them, and the children of God would serve those who they hated. The wild beast would return and take their children and their livestock away (Leviticus 26:14-21).
God made one more promise to the Israelites. IF after refusing to obey God, they realized the grave error of their ways and repented, God would welcome them back with open arms. The Lord said He would once again renew the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Leviticus 26:40-45). The books of Judges through Malachi show the Israelites repeating over and over again the pattern of obedience, rebellion, punishment and repentance throughout the time period of the Old Testament.
I have heard individuals comment that they do not understand how the Israelites could turn their backs on God knowing the promises from God. All they had to do was obey his commands. Some have hinted that if they had lived during the time of the Israelite nation, they would not have fallen away from God, but would have whole-heartily obeyed His every command, reaping the great blessings He bestowed upon them.
Are Christians today any different from the Israelites of long ago? I think not! We have been promised a wonderful home in heaven. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). In heaven, there is no night for God will give the needed light (Revelation 22:5). Heaven will be a beautiful place with each occupant living in a mansion (John 14:2-3; Revelation 21). An eternal home in heaven belongs to each who obediently follows God. God has also promised an eternal home of punishment if, we refuse to obey Him (Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8). Yet, there are many people who ignore God’s laws.
Thousands of individuals across the planet have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. Many of those same individuals own Bibles or have access to the Bible written in their native languages. Still, many refuse to obey God’s commands, placing themselves in an unsavory relationship with God.
Unfortunately, many who once loved and followed God’s commands have turned away from Him. They choose to enjoy the “pleasures of sin for a season” rather than adhere to the love of God and enjoy His wonderful blessings (James 1:12-17). Sin may seem pleasurable at the time, but the consequences of sin can lead to a heartbreaking, miserable life for the sinner, his family and his close friends.
Just as God promised the Israelites that He would once again walk among them and be their God if, they would repent of their evil ways, God will welcome us back with open arms when we repent of our sinful ways (Luke 3:13, 15; Acts 8:22; 17:30; James 5:20).
Let each of us examine our lives (2 Corinthians 13:5), making course corrections as needed, so that each of us may live a life in accordance with God’s will. Doing so will lead to a happier life on earth and an eternity in heaven one day!