The law of God teaches us about God. And the law of God teaches us about ourselves and our own nature. God’s law shows us just how greatly we need a Savior. And I think Leviticus 26 is a great example.
Notice these two opposite thoughts from Leviticus 26 set side-by-side.
Leviticus 26:3-4 – 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Leviticus 26:14-16 – 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.
Ok, nothing is complicated here. God told the people of Israel that, if they obey him, they will be blessed. The section from verses 3-13 is full of blessing after blessing after blessing. God says that he will bless the people so much if they follow him that they will be happy, healthy, and whole. It is really good.
But, if the people refuse him, if they ignore his standards and his ways, God is clear that he will curse the nation. Starting at verse 14, God spells out curse after curse after curse for the nation if they turn their backs on the Lord.
Now, as a quick reminder, the people had already agreed to all this. They, as a nation, swore before God on multiple occasions that they wanted to follow him, wanted his blessing, and would accept his judgment for their disobedience. So this chapter is no surprise.
But what gets me is what this chapter tells us about ourselves. You see, if you follow the history of Israel, you will find that they, as a nation, do not follow the ways of God. They turn from him. They begin to worship idols. They behave immorally. They turn from the Lord, ignore his blessing, and earn for themselves his curses.
What does this tell us about ourselves? We are nuts. If God holds out to humanity a hand full of blessing and a hand full of cursing, we will take the bad option 100% of the time. Sin has so corrupted us that we are incapable of desiring that which will do us good. We are sinfully so confused, warped, broken, and messed up that we will not choose the right if the Lord does not mercifully bring us to himself and change us.
Do you love the Lord? Let this passage in Leviticus and the subsequent history of Israel remind you that your love for the Lord is the result, not of your assessment of your situation, but of the kindness of God working on your rotten heart. Remember that you, like Israel, would have chosen the wrong 10 times out of 10 had God not grabbed your heart and made you alive together with Christ. Let this cause you to brim full with gratitude for the grace of the Lord.
Also, as you think about this passage, let it remind you that you are not going to convince a lost world to follow the Lord through simple logic. Logic would have told Israel to go for the good and turn from the evil. Simple logic would have said to behave well for blessing and avoid the curse. But they did not follow God’s ways. Adam and Eve did not follow God’s ways. No person you know will simply see the logic of their need and follow the Lord. It requires a miracle from God for people, deep down in their souls, to turn from sin and embrace Christ. We keep praying. We keep calling people to faith. And we keep trusting that the Lord will change hearts.