With this reading we come to the end of the Book of Leviticus. Chapter 26 brings the book-proper to a close (Chapter 27 is an appendix “focusing on a variety of laws pertaining to voluntary offerings and taxed obligations to the sanctuary). Chapter 26 emphasizes the favour and blessing which will accompany walking in obedience to statutes and commandments of the Lord (vss 3-13)—Obedience will affect the very weather and soil of the land, even as dis-obedience (in the Garden of Eden) had brought a curse on the ground. Then follow five necessary warnings of the consequences for getting out from under the Protection afforded by obedience to God’s directives. Each of these warnings is preceded by “But if you do not obey Me”—or, “And after all this, if you do not obey Me”—or, “Then if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me”—or, “And if by these things you are not reformed by me, but walk contrary to me”. The clear implication is that it is the LORD’s desire that these severe disciplines will draw His people back into His way of life, not away from it! Verses 34-35 deal with the recovery of the Land if Israel is finally ejected, the plight of Israel in exile without God (36-39); and the restoration of the people when they at last humble themselves and turn back to seek His ways. “It is the Lord’s mercies which lead us to repentance.” These closing words would be a comfort, an encouragement to repentance, a hope of a future for Jews—both during their future exile in Babylon, and through an even greater exile down to today.
As we complete our way through each of the Books of Moses, it is customary to end the reading with the following declaration:
“Chazak, Chazak, v’Nit’Chazek!!”
“Be Strong! Be Strong! And may we be Strengthened!”
*Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NIV): “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.’”
This is a wonderful passage to pray over the Body of Messiah in Israel. It is so essential that we be weaned from trusting in our own natural abilities—otherwise, we will not even see true prosperity when it arrives. We know that ‘heat’ will be coming, and in many forms . But it is God’s desire that we be so rooted in the streams of His living Spirit that His grace will keep us green and fruitful, even during those times.
PLEASE PRAY: that we be nurtured and trained in placing our trust and confidence totally in Him. We pray the same for you!
*Jeremiah 17:14: “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be ashamed. ‘Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the source of living water, the LORD.’ Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.”
HaTiqva—“The Hope”, is the name of Israel’s national anthem. The ‘hope’ in that song is “to be a nation free in our Land.” But Israel will never be truly ‘free’ in her land until the Son has set her free and she is “free indeed” (John 8:36)—until she realizes that the LORD alone is her ‘Hope’. EACH YEAR WE SEE THIS MORE AND MORE BEGINNING TO HAPPEN!! Please continue to pray that more and more Israelis will find the “Source of living water”—our healing, our Salvation—and that He become “Our Praise!”
[The Parashah for next week is called B’Midbar—“In the Desert”: TORAH: Numbers 1:1—4:20; HAFTARAH: Hosea 1:10—2:20 (Heb: 2:1—2:22) .].