Set Futures - Leviticus 26:1-45

1.      What are some skills you have that requires practice? (Play the piano; cooking; carpentry; artist; athlete; teacher; etc.)

2.      What do you do that requires intentional practice?

3.      What benefits have you seen as a result of that intentional practice?

4.      What are the benefits to practicing a skill or a talent? (To become accomplished at the skill or talent. There are many people who have raw talent in a particular area but it requires focused, intentional practice to become the best you can be.)

An Apprentice is defined as: “A person who works for another to learn a trade.”

5.      In what since is the Christian life an “apprenticeship”? (God told the Children of Israel, “be holy for I am holy” in at least nine different places. Lev. 20:26 is one place. It takes focused attention and intentional effort to follow God’s command for us to be holy! That is the only standard we are to use for living!)

Holiness is the standard for living out our lives as Christians.  We are to give focused attention to living holy lives and there is no greater call to live for God than in the instructions God gives His people here in Leviticus.

God is fatherly in His attitude toward all men. He teaches us, disciplines us and sets the example for us to emulate, both here in the Old Testament and the New Testament in the person of Jesus!

 

Today, as we conclude our study in Leviticus, we will see how God promises to bless those who are faithful and obedient to Him and to discipline those who are not.

Promise! Read Leviticus 26:3-13 Everyone listen carefully for God’s promises to the Israelites.

 

(Write on the board: “If …,” “Then …”

1.      What are the “If” conditions God asked of the people of Israel? (List them on the board.)

2.      What are the “Then” promises God made to them? (List them on the board.)

3.      How does the future promised by God motivate a person to pursue obedience and holiness in this life here and now?

4.      How would you compare life in Egypt with a life filled with God’s faithfulness and blessings?

We can trust God to remove our heavy yokes and guide us, like the Israelites, into a life filled with His faithfulness. He knows how to bless and guide His children.

The Israelites’ actions did not determine their status as God’s people—that was settled! But their obedience or disobedience to God had implications on their fellowship with God, the fulfillment of His purposes for them, and their flourishing within the world.

 

God offered a bright future and a secure peace to those who faithfully obeyed His statutes and commands. Now let’s look for the warnings God issued.

Warning! Read Leviticus 26:14-16

 

(Finish the “If---Then” chart.)

1.      What do you think motivates a person more—a blessing or a warning?

2.      Can you have one without the other?

3.      How is facing a hardship as discipline an act of God’s mercy?

4.      How would you describe the relationship between love and discipline? (In parenting we want the best for the child more than we want what is easiest or most pleasant. In marriage personal discipline is required in order to care for and serve the spouse more than one’s own self.)

A relationship void of discipline is a relationship void of truth and true love!

 

            During the 400 years of the Judges God gave Israel opportunity after opportunity to repent and follow Him. They would turn back to God for a while then turn away again and God would bring judgment. The cycle repeated itself numerous times.  One particular Judge stands out in light of the consequences mentioned here, that is Gideon. Where was Gideon threshing wheat?—in a wine press! Why was he in the valley winnowing wheat instead of on a hilltop?—the enemy would take their wheat! You can find that account in Judges, chapters 6-8. Exactly what God said would happen if they didn’t follow His commands and statutes.

 After the monarch type of government was established nothing really changed. By the fourth king the nation was split into two nations—Israel and Judah. Judgment was brought on Israel (the northern kingdom) in 722 BC and it was never reconstituted as a nation. The Southern Kingdom lasted until 596 BC and was defeated by Babylon, but God brought them back 70 years later and is the modern nation of Israel today!

As parents sometimes we think, well I’ll give them one more warning and maybe they will do what I told them to do. I wonder if God thought about sending one more prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah before bringing judgment on His people!

 

God’s warning against disobedience was clear: personal hardship and defeat at the hands of the Israelites’ enemies would be the result. Now let’s look for the grace and hope that God offers, even when His people choose disobedience.

 

Return! Read Leviticus 26:40-45

 

(Complete the “If…Then” chart.

 

God is faithful, even when His people are not. In this passage God clearly states that He remembered His promises to the forefathers of the faith. Ultimately, those promises would find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus.

1.      What are the necessary ingredients for a return to fellowship with God? (Confession of sin and repentance. God asked that the Israelites own their sin by confessing it personally and as a people. God has always been most interested in the heart of His people. Genuine repentance before God allows the fellowship between Him and the people to be restored! Remember, as Christians, our relationship is always secure!)

2.      How does the certain promise of restoration through Jesus give you hope for yourself and your people? (Restoration is God’s specialty! He restored the Israelites physically and restores all His people spiritually. No situation is too far gone for God to restore. His power to rebuild and redeem has no end! The only thing God takes more delight in than restoring a wayward child is that child never leaving.)

3.      Why is it important for Christians to view repentance as a constant pursuit in their daily lives? (We sin every day on some level. We need to stay “fessed” up!)

4.      Read the following verses: Ps. 94:12, Prov. 3:12, Judges 2:1-2, Heb. 12:5-7, 1 Pet. 1:15-16. What do these passages reveal about God and His desire for His children?

5.      How do these verses change your perspective on God’s discipline?

 

God’s grace and forgiveness are not a license for us to go on sinning because He will forgive. God’s best plan for our lives includes a lifelong, loving obedience to Him.

 

Summary and Challenge!

 

1.      What blessings have you experienced as a result of being obedient to God, remembering that some blessings are found in what you avoided rather than in what you gained?

2.      What have you learned throughout this journey in Exodus and Leviticus?

3.      How can we help each other in our daily walk with God?

 

Our challenge: Yield yourself to God to be used in whatever way He chooses. Ask God to direct your life and renew your commitment to follow Him—wherever and whenever He leads!

 

Close with a prayer of commitment.

 

“If…..”

 

Follow my statues

Faithfully observe my commands

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You do not obey me and observe my commands

You reject my statues

Do not observe all My commandment

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Confess their sin and the sin of their fathers—their unfaithfulness

Humble their hearts

 

“Then…”

 

Give you rain at the right time

The land will produce its produce

Trees of the field will bear their fruit.

Threshing will continue until grape harvest

Grape harvest will continue until sowing

You will have plenty of food to eat

Live securely in your land

Peace to the land

Not be frightened

Remove dangerous animals from the land

No sword will pass through the land

You will pursue your enemies; they’ll fall by the sword.

Make you prosperous

Confirm My covenant with you

You will eat the fruit of last year’s crop

I will place My residence among you

I’ll not reject you

I will walk among you and be your God

You will be my people

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I will bring terror on you

I will bring wasting disease and fever

You will sow your seed in vain for your enemies will eat it.

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I will remember my covenant with them through their ancestors and restore their land.