Leviticus 26-27: Blessing and Punishment

Leviticus 26 is devoted to explaining what will happen to the Israelites if they obey or disobey God. The blessing for their obedience is filled with crops abounding, wealth increasing, enemies being conquered, and God’s presence coming near. The punishment for disobedience (which takes up two thirds of the chapter) is essential the exact opposite of the blessings. They will be conquered by their enemies, starved because of famine, struck down by the Lord Himself for their idolatry, and much, much more.

How should we read and understand this passage?

As with Job, we must come with an eternal perspective. We must come with the understanding that the abundance of blessings the Lord bestows upon His people are realized when we meet Him face to face. Ephesians 1 says that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, meaning that we have those blessings now, but as long as we are bound by this world, they will not be fully realized.

Likewise, we understand the punishment to be eternal as well. We do not expect that the wicked will perish and the good will prosper on earth. In fact, the Bible is full of examples of the wicked prospering over and above those who follow after God. We must read these punishments as ultimate results for unrepentant sinfulness, that God will turn His face against us in His wrath forever if we disobey Him now.

Praise God that He sent Christ so that we may not have to bear the punishment for sin, and that He sent the Holy Spirit that we might grow in obedience and holiness until we meet Him face to face.

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