Leviticus 26-27
(Final Terms)
February 6th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verses

You will be victorious over your enemies; five of you will be able to defeat a hundred, and a hundred will be able to defeat 10,000.

- Leviticus 26:7-8 (GNB)

Summary of Chapters

In these final two chapters of Leviticus, God describes the rewards for obedience, the punishment for disobedience, and the price for redeeming a person or property previously pledged to God.

The penultimate chapter of Leviticus begins with the LORD reminding everyone of the first commandment: “ ‘You shall have no Gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3 - NIV).” Then, in a relatively short group of chapters he describes the rewards for obedience to all his commandments, such as rain for the crops, peace in the land, and the ability to overpower enemies, even when vastly outnumbered. We will read how these blessings come to fruition in future books of the Bible, for example a number of amazing stories of military successes by the underdog Israelis.

The remainder of chapter 26 is a relatively lengthy description of the consequences for disobedience. The LORD explains what he will allow to happen if the people do not listen to him and fail to carry out his commands:

The people who did not follow the instructions but were not exiled or dead would live in fear and want. The fields that were not made fallow on the Sabbath, in violation of the LORD's Commandments will have an opportunity to become replenished after the inhabitants are expunged. Likewise, if after all this punishment the Israelites become humble and confess their sins, then they too will have an opportunity to be replenished, forgiven, and restored. We will see that this disaster eventually takes place and is followed by redemption, as described in subsequent books of the Bible.

The final chapter describes the terms for reclaiming a person or property that has been dedicated to God. For example, a family can dedicate their son to serve in the temple until the next jubilee. If they change their mind they have to pay a price to reclaim (redeem him). The same principles apply to the contribution of any asset such as a house, land, or livestock.

Reflection and Application

The structure of Leviticus is similar to vassal treaties of that era between a conquering king and his subjects. The book of Leviticus concludes in the same manner as these ancient treaties, with a final set of terms reminding the weaker party of the benefits of adhering to the treaty and the recourse of not following it. We see similar patterns in modern day contracts. In most cases, the section on recourse is among the lengthier ones in the document.

God used rewards and punishment to shape his people. They eventually achieved their goal of arriving in the Promised Land where they prospered in health, bountiful harvests, peace, and safety, as promised. Then they forget their part of the agreement, turned to false idols that could not protect them, and were eventually invaded by foreign nations and taken into exile.

Consequences from God are meant to help us grow in wisdom. The people were humbled during the lengthy time of the exile, and the wise ones understood what they did wrong that led to this situation. We also face consequences for our actions. These consequences may be the natural course of events, they may be the enforcement of the laws of our society, or they could be an intervention from God to give us a message. Whichever the case may be, we can use these periods of consequence to reflect on our previous actions and grow wiser from it.

It’s worth nothing that not all calamities are our own fault. We should recognize and take responsibility for the ones of our own creation, but not feel guilty for actions of others or acts of God. We live in a broken world where many are often subjected to punishment because of the actions of others. The Israelites faced the same situation. Not all of the people were guilty of idol worship and other sins, but the entire nation suffered because of the sins of their leaders and the actions of a significant portion of the population.

God spoke to the people through the prophets, such as Jeremiah and Isaiah, during their lengthy period in exile. He reminded them of how they got there and encouraged them to believe that they will one day be returned to their land again:

God has plans for you to prosper also.

He listens when we pray, allows himself to be found when we seek him with all of our heart, and sent his son to redeem all of us, so that we are no longer bound by the law, but are saved by faith. How do we seek God? One way is to study his message, as recorded in the books of the Bible, and follow his commands. As we reflect on the entire text of Leviticus we can consider how we can apply the principles from this book to our present day lives in ways that help us to draw closer to our Creator.

What themes and words best represent what we have read in Leviticus. What word would you figure was most often mentioned compared to any other word in this book. Think about your answer and then click on the link below for the word cloud from the 66 clouds website: Leviticus word cloud

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What was the first contract that you ever signed?
    2. How do we know when we are seeking God with all of our heart?
    3. What are God's plans for you?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father, please help us to seek you and wait patiently to hear you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Overview of Numbers and Numbers 1-2 (The First Census)

    Comments and Questions

    Thank you for all of your comments so far! We welcome any thoughts today from our friends in the legal profession who might offer insights on the relation between modern contract law and the vassal-type treaty between God and his people, as described in the book of Leviticus.

    If you have comments or questions, please add them to our Comments page, email to the author at ted@listeningforGod.org, or share your comments or questions via the Listening for God Twitter account www.twitter.com/listeningforgod