Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20080806.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
4. Learning To Heed God At The FOURTH Level Of His Discipline
(Leviticus 26:1-13, 23-26)
Lesson: When Israel incessantly kept disobeying God even after increasing disciplines by Him, He caused them to suffer great trials in war, siege and captivity that they might return in earnest to Him.
- 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 repeatedly disciplined us for sin, but we still incessantly fail to heed Him, though He is gracious, He will VASTLY intensify His discipline much more, urging us thereby to repent:
- Learning To Heed God At The FOURTH Level Of His Discipline, Leviticus 26:1-13, 23-26.
- 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 cursing 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 FOURTH level of discipline in Leviticus 26:23-26 as follows:
- God warned that if Israel incessantly kept failing to heed Him, as the fourth level of discipline, He would be hostile toward them sevenfold, bringing a sword against them where they would come under siege and suffer disease, be taken captive and suffer hunger, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 212.
- Samples of this discipline occurred in Judah's fall to Babylon as testified in the prophecy of Jeremiah 9:13-24, and was testified by the people themselves who were taken captive to Babylon in Psalm 137.
- We view first Jeremiah's prophetic testimony and its lesson in Jeremiah 9:13-24 as follows:
- Jeremiah announced God's charge against Judah for forsaking His Law to walk in their own ways, to practice Baal worship and to trust in human might and wealth versus God, Jer. 9:13-14, 23.
- Consequently, God promised hard times, that Judah would be fed bitter wormwood and poisoned water, figurative for intense suffering, Jer. 9:15; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Jer. 9:15.
- Specifically, they would be scattered by the invading Babylonians, and chased by their soldiers until they were consumed as a fighting force, only to be taken captive, Jeremiah 9:16.
- As a result, their women would mourn with eyes gushing out tears (Jer. 9:17-18), grieving over death that has come upon child and young man alike (9:19-21) with no one to bury the men (9:22).
- Consequently, God called for His people not to glory in their own wisdom or in false gods, nor in human might or wealth (Jeremiah 9:13-14, 23), but to glory in what God delights, in understanding and knowing Him Who exercises loyal love, judgment and righteousness, Jeremiah 9:24.
- We view next the witness of Judah's captives in their testimony of Psalm 137 and its lesson as follows:
- After the captives from Judah had arrived in Babylon, they sat down and wept, recalling their city of Zion that now lay in ruins behind them, Psalm 137:1.
- Their Babylonian captors mentally tormented them, calling for songs of joyful worship they once knew in the temple of God, a torment to which they could only respond by hanging their harps on the willow branches that lined the river in Babylon, Psalm 137:2-3.
- Thus, the captives began to strengthen their resolve to love Jerusalem (137:4-6), and to ask God's vengeance on the Edomites who helped Babylon harm them (Psalm 137:7) and to urge God to destroy the Babylonians for slaying their infants so brutally, Psalm 137:8-9. In other words, the intense suffering of the wayward people of God in their fall to Babylon and their ensuing captivity began the long process of repentance and rededication to God needed for them to stay true to Him!
Application: May this record of Israel's discipline spur us to abandon relying on pagan, man-based beliefs, and on human might and wealth (Jeremiah 9:13-14, 23) that we humbly cleave unto the Lord!