Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20080723.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Leviticus: Fellowship With A Holy God
Part III: Acceptable Living Before A Holy God, Leviticus 11:1-27:34
R. Learning To Heed God's Discipline From Israel's Five Levels Of Discipline, Leviticus 26:1-46
2. Learning To Heed God At The SECOND Level Of His Discipline
(Leviticus 26:1-13, 18-20 et al.)
Lesson: For persistent rebellion against God's Law, in two cases He sent first a famine on Israel until His NAME taken in an oath regarding the Gibeonites was HONORED, and a later famine on Israel until His REPUTATION as GOD was upheld over the rebellious promotion of false Baal worship.
- God is a gracious God, but He is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29), a God to be revered and obeyed.
- Thus, after He has disciplined us for sin, and we have still failed to heed Him, though He is gracious, He will intensify His discipline upon us, teaching us to REPENT in earnest (as follows):
- Learning To Heed God At The SECOND Level Of His Discipline, Leviticus 26:1-13, 18-20 et al.
- We before learned that Leviticus 26 is written in a vassal treaty format with a section on blessings for obedience and an extended section on cursings for disobedience, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 211-212.
- We thus learned that heeding the Law would bring rain and rich harvests (Lev. 26:3-5; Ibid., p. 212), peace and dominance over foes (Lev. 26:6-10, Ibid.) and the gift of God's presence (Lev. 26:11-13, Ibid.).
- Likewise, there would be extended divine discipline for disobedience (Lev. 26:14-39) where God would bring five increasingly painful levels of discipline for continued disobedience, J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, vol. I, p. 444-446. We view the SECOND level of discipline in Leviticus 26:18-20:
- God warned that if Israel kept failing to heed Him, as the second level of discipline, He would mount His discipline sevenfold, breaking her pride with drought and continual crop failure, Lev. 26:18-20.
- Samples of this level of discipline occurred in king David's era for an atrocity by Saul (2 Samuel 21:1) and in wicked king Ahab's day for his incessant rebellion against God (1 Kings 16:29-17:1).
- We first view the sin of Saul and how it was rectified under the Law (as follows):
- Saul had violated an oath taken in God's name by Joshua of old not to harm the Gibeonites, Canaanites who had tricked Israel into taking that oath. Saul rationalized that since the Gibeonites were Canaanites, he could slay them regardless of the oath, 2 Samuel 21:2; Joshua 9:3-6, 14, 26-27.
- However, God had said that if they had taken an oath in His name, it was to be kept to protect God's reputation (Joshua 9:19; Exodus 20:7), making Saul's intentional violation of the oath intolerable!
- Thus, God judged Israel with a second level of discipline, a three-year famine, 2 Samuel 21:1.
- David asked the Gibeonites what should be done to atone for Saul's sin, and they asked for seven of Saul's sons to be hanged up as curses according to the Law (Deut. 21:23) unto the Lord, 2 Samuel 21:3-6a. This was a reasonable request, for these seven sons had apparently been directly involved in helping Saul slay the Gibeonites, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to 2 Samuel 21:6; Deut. 24:16.
- Accordingly, this request was honored, and God's righteousness was met, 2 Samuel 21:14b.
- We next view the sin of Ahab and how it was countered under the Law for blessing:
- Unlike his idolatrous forerunners, king Ahab went beyond worshipping Jeroboam's golden calf to wed the pagan Jezebel and promote her pagan Baal worship in Israel, 1 Kings 16:29-33.
- Such rebellion led his subjects to sin to where Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho in defiance of Joshua's curse, and he lost his eldest and youngest sons in line with that curse, 1 Kings 16:34; Joshua 6:26!
- Accordingly, God sent a 3 1/2 year famine in the land, 1 Kings 17:1; 18:1-2; Luke 4:25.
- In grace, God used Elijah to call Israel back to God, sending fire from heaven to light a sacrifice versus the failure of Baal's prophets to do so as proof of God's superiority, 1 Kings 18:22-40.
- God then graciously sent rain to end Israel's drought, and enabled Elijah to run faster than Ahab's horse drawn chariot in added proof of God's power over Baal, 1 Kings 18:41-46.
Application: If we note we face INTENSIFIED hardships, may we check to see if we have PERSISTED in some form of REBELLIOUS disobedience, and accordingly REPENT for blessing!