The beginning of 2009, I was led to study the Bible in a new way (to me). I have been writing down the Scriptures (starting at the Genesis 1), Word for Word, and studying as the Lord leads and time allows. This has been such a MAJOR blessing to me! God has revealed so many new, interesting and exciting things from His Word, that I always want to share. I haven't had time to blog, sooo ... I am going to attempt to marry blogging with my morning study. I hope I can, in some way, impart my blessings to you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Leviticus 26:1-2 ~ Conditions of Blessings ~ Reciprocity: Part One

Good Morning, fellow travelers in the narrow way!  When we last met, we shared Leviticus 25:50-55: click here to review.  We dined on God's principles of Reckoning and Redemption of the Israelite slaves in the promised land.  Thank God, Jesus has paid the price for our redemption, once and for all ... the whole enchilada!
The Lord finished up Chapter 25 with a Reminder, that He repeats already, in the very first verse of Chapter 26 ... and again in verse 2!  It is clear, that this foundational point needs to be repeated, a LOT ... to get it through our thick (sheep-like) heads, into our hearts and through to our very souls!!!

Friends, seekers of truth, weary travelers ~ come on in, sit down ~ we are pleased to share with you, refreshment from the Word of God.  The table is set for the Lord's principle of reciprocity (responding to a positive action with another positive action).  This morning, we shall serve a rather rich appetizer, to stimulate our appetite for the meal to follow.

Here in, Chapter 26, the LORD begins to lay out the Conditions of Blessings in the Promised Land: (1) No Idolatry  (2) Keep the Sabbaths  (3) Reverence the Sanctuary

"You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I AM the LORD your GodYou shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I AM the LORD your God."
:1 ~ "You shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear up a standing image, neither shall you set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I AM the LORD your God.

God never commands us to do anything, without telling us why.  I find this extremely comforting; perhaps not always in the "warm and fuzzy" sense ... but comfort, in that the LORD has a plan and a reason for everything He does.  This is sure and something we can always count on.  We don't always know the reason ... but we always know that God does ... and ... that it is for our best good.  How reassuring that is!

Here, the LORD is commanding the Israelites, in no uncertain terms, to not make idols, nor make, rear up or set up any graven or standing image, nor any image of stone for themselves to bow down to.  Pretty clear, don't you think?

But what form of images, or idols, do we create, look up to, or "worship" in our own lives?? Yikes, what a horrendous thought!  But, we humans, unfortunately, tend to hold "things" and/or other people in pretty high esteem.  We often let them take space in our lives and our hearts, that God alone should occupy.

It is time to take a good look ... what situations we have made for ourselves, what have we set up in our lives, that takes that "high place" from God???  Do we bend or "bow down" to anyone or anything, besides the LORD our God?  Our employers, spouses or peers?  Maybe money, house or vehicle?  What controls us and our time?  TV, video games, organizations .... pastors?

Obviously, the LORD speaks here of actual graven (or carved) idols or images of any person or thing ... that have been created by human hands.  Idols or graven, standing, or stone images have no life and are not to be made, lifted up, nor worshiped, period.

Hebrew translations from Biblos Lexicon:
idol ~ thing of no value, vain, insufficient, worthless
graven image ~ carved image
standing image ~ something stationed, memorial stone, sacred pillar, column
bow down ~ depress, prostrate, pay homage to royalty or God
image of stone ~ carved on stone, the wall or any object; showpiece, figure, imagination, conceit, imagery, picture, wish 

His reason: "for I AM the LORD your God."  This is not at all like what we tell our children; "Because, I'm your Mom, that's why."  Although, we want them to learn to obey the God-given authority over them... neither Mom, nor Dad, is perfect and neither are constant or sure or true as is our Almighty God!  While we desire the best good for our children; we are but creations, certainly not the Creator.  We have only limited vision and knowledge.  God, on the other hand, knew His plans for each individual, even before the foundation of the earth!  Bless His heart!

HE alone is the LORD GOD.  The GOD of Moses, Israel, Isaac, and Jacob ... AND you and I!!!  His statement here is extremely personal ... "I am the LORD your God."  He states this over and over, throughout the Bible ... "for, I am ..." ... "that, you know that I am ..." and many many more.

NOTE:  This is a wonderful side-study to do.  Look up, in a concordance, all the instances of "I am the LORD your God," find them and mark them in your Bible.  The GOD of all creation, reveals Himself to us, in His Word, in such awesome and very personal ways.  This exercise is a great faith-builder!!  He loves us SO much!!  Hint: dig deeper into the surrounding Scriptures ... for really amazing treasure!

Jon Courson, points out, correctly, that: "... in reality, no image, no idol, no false god can ever stand."  For a link to Pastor Jon's wonderful (free) online Verse-by-Verse Audio Study of Leviticus 24-27 and much more: click here.  I highly recommend his in-depth, Topical Study of Leviticus 26:1 ~ Overcoming Idolatry.  Jon's Application Commentary is a must-have-handy on my Bible Study book shelf: click here to learn more.

This subject is as deep and relevant today, as it was these thousands of years ago ... and just as vital to overcome!  Still today, God speaks to us through His Living Word.

:2 ~ "You shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I AM the LORD."
keep ~ watch, preserve, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.
sabbaths ~ intermission, i.e (specifically) the Sabbath -- (+ every) sabbath.
reverence ~ to fear; morally, to revere, to honor
sanctuary ~ consecrated place, asylum, hallowed part, holy place

OK, the LORD has already reestablished His Absolute Authority!  He is already Reminding us, again, of the "Why!"  I believe this is also a Warning.

He commands the Israelites, while they are in the Land, to keep, guard, protect and preserve His sabbaths, as hedging them about with thorns.  Thorns would keep others things and people from intruding into or interrupting His ordained rest.  Wow!  I just now saw that!  It is obvious that GOD seriously wants that time!!!
"Noon Rest from Work "(after Millet) Vincent VanGogh 1890
We are not told to rest, if we can, or if we have the time, or if it is convenient for us.  The LORD scheduled specific periods of rest for the best good of the people, their lands, their jobs and many aspects of their lives.  Our Maker commands His people, not suggests to them, to keep His time of rest!

We are unfathomably important to our Creator, therefore His rest is vital to our well being.  The same principles that were true yesterday; are true today and will still be true tomorrow!!!  I believe God's principles and laws are historical, applicable, scientific and prophetic ... like all of His Word.

The LORD also commands us to reverence His sanctuary, His holy place, His consecrated (anointed and set apart) place.  Back then, His tabernacle and holy place were consecrated with the blood of lambs.  But now, His sanctuary has been consecrated by the very Blood of His Son Jesus our Christ!  Wow, oh wow.  We should never take lightly, entering in to that consecrated place, where GOD abides.  We are not to disregard nor disrespect that place which He has set aside, cleansed with His Son's Blood, as a holy place for Him to dwell.
Zion National Park, Utah
Reverence requires regard, with deep respect and honor ... with fear and awe of the power, holiness and sanctity of God.  On this earth, right now, the LORD has chosen to abide in us (of all places!), through His Holy Spirit!  Therefore, this command IS very personal!  I am left speechless ...

GOD says what He means and means what He says.  We tend to minimize, rationalize, "interpret" or otherwise reason away and/or bend the Words of Almighty God.  We may say, "Well, that was the Old Testament ... Jesus fulfilled the Law ... so that does not apply to me."

In Galations 3:23-26, Paul writes, "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."  Are we not to have learned from our schoolmaster??  Even if we are no longer directly under his/her authority?  According to  2 Timothy 3:16-17"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Aert de Gelder Schoolmaster with his pupils~not dated
We may "reason" that God intended these commands only for the Israelites.  We may "interpret" His Word, to suit ourselves, in any number of ways ... or we may even deny that the Bible contains the actual Words of God.  Our flesh will do anything to escape being responsible and accountable for the Truth, that we see and hear from God.  The enemy and the world will tell us, that the Bible was written and translated by men, therefore full of "mistakes."  Many argue the authority or authenticity of one version of the Bible over another.

Well, folks, no matter what we may think, construe, imagine or argue ... I do not believe that the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, wastes His time nor His breath.  I believe that we need to listen to every Word, that He deemed important enough to preserve for over 2000 years, virtually unchanged.  In Mark 4:4, Jesus said:  "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."

Surely, He does not want us stuck in legalism, like the Pharisees .. nor in our own dogma, like the Sadducees.  But I do believe that God instituted spiritual Laws as surely as physical laws.  We are about to find out how He says these laws work.  I think we should listen up ... don't you?

Until we meet again,  Док не меет агаин (Serbian) 

I am blessed every day
with some new revelation of God's Word.
I will be sharing my measure of manna
with all who come to my "tent."
Please, let me know if you have been blessed
by the way it was prepared for you this day.