Spreading God's Love Thru Prayer
Good Evening, and praise the Lord, everybody. We are continuing with the series on disobedience. Please turn with me to Leviticus chapter 26.
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright. But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord. These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
I have a rhetorical question that doesn’t require an answer. Why in the world do we test the Lord? Why do we not take Him at His word? I mean, we are talking about the Creator of the universe, who put the waters in their place. God spoke, and things happened. No one else in the world has that kind of power, try as they may. God is God alone, and we’re not.
This is an example of how the Lord tried to get through to the stubborn and foolish children of Israel. He gave them regulations for them to follow. Let’s call them do’s and don’ts. It was very simple, but they made it so hard. We are the same way.
He told them not to make any idols. You might remember this from the Ten Commandments. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. God is a jealous God, and will not share His glory with anyone or anything else. What did they do? As soon as Moses went up on the mountain to commune with the Lord, they couldn’t wait to get things popping. They wanted Aaron, with his weak self, to make a golden calf, because they didn’t really believe that after 40 days, Moses was coming back. They had the audacity to say that the calf was the god that brought them out of the land of Egypt. That’s blasphemy, by the way, which we talked about in the previous series.
We already know the story, and what happened. Moses came back, and was angry to see that these rebellious people were acting up. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe about a third of them died that day due to their disobedience. Yeah, that’s harsh. What’s even more unbelievable is that while we don’t bow down to a literal idol, we have them in our lives as well, and God is not pleased.
Before you open your mouth to protest, let me show you what I’m talking about. How much are you paying for your home? What type of car are you driving? Are you home schooling your kids, or do you pay for tuition for the most expensive private school or college? Is your closet full of clothes that you couldn’t possibly wear for the next 5 years?
I mentioned in the previous study that the words in the Lord’s Prayer mention us asking the Father to give us this day, our daily bread. Please understand that I don’t have anything against having money in the bank, a nice house and car, and giving our kids the best education that we can afford. However, is it really necessary to have a million dollar home, when a 50,000 one will do? Do we really have to drive a Bima, or is a Ford ok? If our kids don’t have a free ride for all four years to Harvard, will it be ok if they go to Boston University?
You see, we have money, or the lack thereof as an idol. We make our obese house, our super intelligent kids and the car we drive an idol. If these things get in the way of serving the Lord with gladness, and it’s a distraction, then you’re bowing down to it. Don’t see what I’m talking about? Hold on for a minute, I’m going somewhere with this.
If you have a job that you have to work overtime, getting home at midnight during the week, and working on weekends in order to make ends meet, that’s a problem. If you have to have the designer clothes in order to win friends and influence people, that’s an issue. If your kids don’t understand that you can’t afford to get the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip for their birthday, because you have to pay the mortgage, you might want to check your motives.
The word of God says that money answers all things, and I will add that you have to pay for. If you can pay for rent, bills, food and a car note, then you’re probably doing pretty good for yourself. The basic necessities are food, clothing and shelter. A car is extra. Cable is extra. Internet is extra. If you’re not tithing, because you have to pay for the niceties of life, you’re doing too much.
After everything I just said, you may be wondering how this ties into disobedience. I’m glad you asked! Here’s the thing. God is everything. We are nothing but glorified dust. Because He loves us, He gives us good gifts, just like we try to give to our children. The problem is that in our flesh, there is no good thing. We turn everything around to our benefit, and that is disobedience.
Please understand that God is good all by Himself, and He doesn’t have to do anything for us. He can snatch the very air we breathe at any moment in time. He isn’t obligated to wake us up in the morning. That’s a good place right there to praise Him, because He does. We need to stop being ungrateful and selfish, and worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. He deserves all our praise and adoration, because of who He is, not because of what He can do for us. God is not Santa Claus, coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve to give us toys. He is not Aladdin, granting us three wishes.
He said let there be, and it was. We might want to think twice about who He is and what He means to us in retrospect and reflection to what we have and what we’re trying to get. He means so much more than a lifeless idol. If we simply serve Him, He will take care of us, and give us the desires of our heart.
At the end of the day, we need to decide whether we’re going to be obedient to His word and serve Him wholeheartedly, or if we want to chase after people, places and things, that will certainly fade away. People walk away and die, places get destroyed, and things don’t last forever. Choose this day whom you will serve. May the Lord bless you.