“But if you will not listen to me and obey all these commands, if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my commands but cancel my covenant; then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you — wasting disease and chronic fever to dim your sight and sap your strength. You will sow your seed for nothing, because your enemies will eat the crops. I will set my face against you — your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.”-Leviticus 26:14-17
In my last post I dealt with the blessings of prosperity that would overtake Israel if they carefully obeyed YHWH’s commands.
Now we move to the other side of the equation.
From verses 14 and 15, were told about the terrible consequences that will come as a result of DISOBEDIENCE to YHWH’s Torah.
We are given a series of curses that will overtake the lawbreakers.
And again notice how God says “I will do this and I will do that“.
The Lord is not allowing bad things to happen, he is going to take proactive action to make sure you are downright miserable.
And the first point of attack will be on your health.
The significance of this may not impart a strong impression to the young folks out there, but for anybody who has reached their golden years it’s pretty well understood that if you don’t have your health, it really doesn’t matter what else you have.
Moving on, we’re told that all of the hard work Israel put into plowing and tilling their fields will have been for naught.
For the fruits of their labor will NOT be enjoyed by them but by their enemies.
We’re next told Israel will be overrun and eventually defeated by their enemies.
And to make matters worse, in verse 17, we’re told that the people will be plagued by constant fear and anxiety even when they’re not being attacked by their enemies.
Have you ever found yourself in constant state of worry for no reason at all?
You couldn’t pinpoint exactly why but you just felt like a dark cloud of doom had settled upon you and there was nothing you could do to shake it?
Well, that’s what’s being talked about here.
God will attack one’s physical health and then move to attack one’s mental health.
You’ll suffer from fear, depression and anxiety for reasons you’ll never be able to understand.
Moving onward, verse 18 tells us “If these things don’t make you listen to me, then I will discipline you seven times over for your sins.”
What we’re being shown here is a ratcheting up process.
See, God does not immediately destroy.
In the beginning, minor nuisances and irritable events will occur that will for sure make us uncomfortable and at times just downright miserable but we’ll still be able to recover from these events.
What’s important to understand is that this disciplining is all about YWHW’s love.
God disciplines because He hopes the sinner will turn back and repent from the wicked ways in which he was walking.
God does NOT want to permanently separate a member of His own family from Himself.
And He certainly takes no pleasure in destroying one of His own children.
But here’s the thing and understand that this doesn’t just apply to physical Hebrews but applies to all believers everywhere.
If He has to, God will disown and destroy one of His own.
He did it in the past and He will do it again.
If one of His own absolutely persists in his or her rebellion and refuses to repent and turn back, then that fateful day will arrive when YHWH will have no choice but to utterly and completely separate from that person which would ultimately spell eternal death for the poor unrepentant individual.
However, there is a positive side to all of this.
If in the midst of their suffering, the people of Israel come to their senses and realize that their unfortunate circumstances are due to the disciplining of their Father in Heaven, and then they decide to repent and change their ways, THE DISCIPLINING WILL STOP.
When you start to experience a seemingly supernatural series of unfortunate incidences, it’s important to understand that what’s happening to you is NOT bad luck.
It is the disciplining of God.
When you realize this, you should rejoice!
Because that means there’s still hope!
The Lord is calling you back.
Remember being disciplined by God does NOT mean He has abandoned you, it means the exact opposite!
When you have this realization, it’s time to sit down for some serious quiet time and reflection and ask yourself what you may have done to arouse YHWH’s anger in light of His Torah.
On the other hand, if you attempt to ignore the Lord’s disciplining in your life and just try to blow it off by saying “that’s life” or “this happens to everybody“, then you can expect the disciplining to intensify in God’s own perfect timing.
The problem is most people go into denial when the Lord begins disciplining them.
Instead of repenting and turning from away their wicked ways, they’ll try to insulate themselves from God-sent disasters by doing futile things like trying to build stronger houses, finding better ways to cure their health “ailments” , and purchasing better insurance etcetera.
Of course, don’t misunderstand me and think I’m saying that everything bad that happens to you is because of God’s wrath.
Bad things do happen to good people.
That is the result of the fallen state of the world we live in.
The story of Job is a perfect testimony to that.
However, what I am saying is that when there seems to be an uncanny connection between your behavior and a series of unfortunate bouts of bad luck, it’s time to take a pause and reflect to see if how you’re living your life is in accord with YHWH’s will and His Word.
For example, do you think it was coincidental that Hurricane Katrina occurred on the very weekend that the United States demanded Israel’s land be divided?
This action resulted in many Jewish citizens being forcibly kicked out of their homes in Gaza!!!
Remember, there is NO equivalent Hebrew for our English word “coincidence“.
How many pastors, priests, ministers and Bible teachers really understand that Hurricane Katrina was divine discipline for attempting to mess with God’s Holy Land?
I’m not saying the people of New Orleans were exceptionally wicked or were especially deserving of the disaster that struck their area.
They were just the ones who had to suffer from the mistakes the American government made.
Remember God judges nations collectively as a whole as well as judging individuals.
I have to put my foot down and make it clear that those pastors and teachers who would say that God does NOT judge today because He is all-merciful and and only a God of love are just plain wrong.
Most gentile believers have no idea of the connection between Israel, the Palestinians and Hurricane Katrina for one simple reason.
They don’t know anything about God’s Torah.
And because they don’t know God’s Torah, they don’t have the means to recognize whether they are being obedient or disobedient in their walk with the Lord.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.
Endure hardship as discipline;
God is treating you as his children.
For what children are not disciplined by their father?
If you are not disciplined—
and everyone undergoes discipline—
then you are not legitimate,
not true sons and daughters at all.
Moreover, we have all had human fathers
who disciplined us and we respected them for it.
How much more should we submit to
the Father of spirits and live!
They disciplined us for a little
while as they thought best;
but God disciplines us for our good,
in order that we may share in his holiness.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness
and peace for those who have been trained by it.”