Leviticus Chapter 26

The commandments of God were given to the Israelite because they were His covenant people of ancient days. They are repeated time and time again throughout the scriptures so that we can know them and live them. We benefit greatly from the repetition of these things, just as a child benefits from hearing their ABC’s many times in order to learn how to read. The Lord continued his instructions and commandments in this chapter of Leviticus. It begins:

1 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.

The commandment to refrain from idolatry was given to the Israelites, in order that they might worship God, the only true and living God. Pagan worshipping of many gods was the way of the world. They had come from it in Egypt and they would see it in the world around them even as they lived in the promised land. Idolatry is the easy way out. It is easy to look to a statue, bow to it, make sacrifices to it and even to owe blessings to it, because it is some physical thing one can see and touch. It requires a greater faith, to never see God and to look to Him, bow and worship Him, make sacrifices to Him, and give thanks to Him for all the blessings given.

2 Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.

The Lord had established the sabbaths for man, and the Israelites were commanded to keep them holy and treat the Lord’s holy house with reverence.

3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
8 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.
9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.
10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.
11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
13 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.

Physical, or temporal, blessings would result from keeping the statutes and commandments of the Lord. It is an amazing blessing to know that one’s crops will give in abundance, that there will be rain when needed, that growing of crops will lead to the fullest harvest, and that there will be plenty of food. Moreover, it is a blessing to know that there will be safety in the land, that there will peace and not fear of others, that there will be no evil beasts, that there will be no fighting with the sword, and that enemies will be stopped and flee. Anyone would want these things, because without these blessings there is a real threat to happiness and peace. All the Israelites would need to do, was to follow His laws. God would do this for them, because they had made covenants with Him. He would bless them with the tabernacle, and His spirit would be there with them. He would bless them to become a great nation, just as had been promised to their covenant fathers of old.

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
15 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:
16 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.
17 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.
18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
20 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.

Quite the opposite would result, if they chose to disobey the laws of the Lord. If they broke the covenants they had made with him, God would allow the terrors of life and great sickness to come among them. The would be cursed to plant crops and not be able to harvest them because of enemies. He would take His spirit from among them, and they would no longer have His protection from their enemies. There would be fear in their hearts. God would punish and chastise them, causing them to be broken as to their pride and to use their strength to do work in vain.

21 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.
22 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.
23 And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;
24 Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
25 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.

If the Israelites willingly disobeyed God, He would allow plagues to come among them in great number. Beasts would take their children and cattle, taking away the blessings of a great number in their nation. Few would walk along their high ways. God would allow war and pestilence to come to them. They would be brought into the bondage of their enemies.

26 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.
27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;
28 Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.
29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.

They would no longer be blessed with all the food they needed. Their would be famines. The food made for them would not satisfy their hunger. They would be chastised by God and take advantage of their families to survive. I’m not sure if this promise was that literally they would eat their loved ones, but I am pretty sure that at least it meant that they would be a blood-thirsty and selfish people. They would no longer care for the well-being of their loved ones, but would seek to save themselves, even if it meant killing or destroying others.

30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31 And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33 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.
34 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.
35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

All the things that they would have come to worship and adore, would be destroyed. Their great cities would be destroyed and their temples and sacrifices will be gone. The Lord would no longer accept of things they sacrificed to Him. The land would become a land of desolation. The Israelites would be scattered among other nations and killed. Their beloved promised land would be wasted and without them, while they would be forced to live in lands of their enemies.

36 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.
37 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.
38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

Those who were once a strong and mighty people, would then be faint of heart. They would fear for their lives even when no one would come after them. They would be weak in the face of their enemies and die among them. All of these promises of destruction, remind me a lot of the prophecies of Isaiah. He described in great detail the destruction that would come to the unrighteous and rebellious children of Israel. His voice of warning was repeated many times and yet, they still rebelled and were scattered throughout the world. Those warnings are important for our time as well.

39 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.
40 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;
41 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:
42 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.
43 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.
44 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.
45 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.
46 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.

Any that remained living, would live with their enemies and waste away their lives in the consequences of their sins. However, if they would then confess what they and their fathers had done to God, recognizing that their sins were the cause of their destruction and loss of the spirit of God, becoming humble of heart and accepting of the punishment they deserve, then God would remember them. God would remember the covenants He made with their fathers, even Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God would remember the promised land of their inheritance. Then, God would be merciful to them while they lived in the land of their enemies. God would recognize the covenants that these Israelites made while encamped around mount Sinai.

The gifts of God are still ours today, if we will hearken to this counsel and keep the commandments and statutes of God. When we make covenants and live them every day, the Lord will give us more gifts than we can recognize with our mortal eyes. In Doctrine and Covenants 130 we read:

20 There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—
21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

Blessings must follow righteous living, because the Lord is bound to his part of the covenants we make (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10). Likewise, the Lord will withhold his blessings if we choose to disobey His law, or fall away into apostasy. We cannot think ourselves above that in our time. The Lord is no respecter of persons. When the early saints of this dispensation were made to suffer greatly at the hands of their enemies, the Lord answered the prayer of the prophet, Joseph Smith, with the following found in Doctrine and Covenants 101:

1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
6 Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
7 They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.

The saints had disobeyed the commandments given to them along with their covenants, and the Lord allowed them to be afflicted and chastened because of it. The Lord also said the following found in Doctrine and Covenants 43:25 which reads, “How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!” We cannot live as though these things do not apply to our day. The Lord has promised us, in Doctrine and Covenants 103:8, “But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.”

I hope and pray that the saints will remain faithful and strong in these latter-days. I know that times are going to get worse before they get better with the coming of the Savior. I am grateful that the Lord promises us safety and blessings through faithfully keeping his commandments, because I know that He is greater than anything that may threaten our lives. I know that if we put our trust in God, He will be there for us.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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