The Way of Greatest Blessing
July 27-28, 2019
As we come to this last of the weekend studies, of course, we have some more that we're doing Wednesday at the verse by verse. We're just a little behind on Wednesday. That guy that teaches Wednesday is so slow. This is the last of the weekend studies. When we come to this chapter, we're coming into the chapter where God is speaking of the promises that He gives to Israel. These are blessings. These are blessings that God promised Israel because they were distinct people, because they were a holy nation. He called them out. In other words, He says, "I brought you out of the land of Egypt. I broke the bars of your yoke," He says, "So that I could be your Father. So that I could be your God."
That's a special relationship. It's distinct. Therefore, he's calling them to be different. This is one of the things we've been seeing in this latter half of the book. He says now, "Do not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you live. Don't live like they did." Then He goes on to say, "Nor are you to do what's done in the land of Canaan where I'm bringing you. Do not walk in their ways. I want you to be different. I want you to live differently because you're in the kingdom of God now and a whole different set of principles apply." He says this, "If you will walk in my ways, if you will take hold of my word, if you walk in my statutes, I will pour out my blessings on this nation and on this land and on each of you, personally."
That's what He's trying to show them. The way of greatest blessing. What does a blessing of God mean? It means the favor of God poured out. Do you believe that God's favor is upon you? This is the question that we need to apply to our lives. The answer is yes. What does it mean? It means that God sets forth a pathway of greatest blessing. Now, what we're going to see is there are principles. There are principles of blessing, God's blessing on us.
Those are the principles that we're going to see from God's word and you can build your life, take hold of these, build your life on these because these are principles that you should not ignore because not only does He give them the principles of blessings, He also gives them the warnings that will befall them should they turn their back on God. These principles found in Leviticus 26. God gives to Israel, but God gives blessings. The principles of blessings to believers in Jesus Christ. In fact, I suggest that we have greater blessings because the Scripture says we have better promises. We have better promises because they lived in the shadow of the reality, we live in the reality.
Would you rather live in the shadow of the house or live in the house? That's what he's saying. The shadow of Christ is found in the Old Testament. The reality of Christ is found in the New Testament. Believers in Jesus Christ have received the reality of the Son of the Living God and those promises are ours. He gives us these principles. Chapter 26, we'll start in verse one. He reminds them of what He said before to them several times. "You shall not make for yourselves idols nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a pillar nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it."
These were idols that the people in Egypt would go after, the people in Canaan. He says, "I am Jehovah," at the end of that verse. "I am the Lord and I am your God. I have nothing to do with those things." Then He says, "You shall keep my sabbath and have reverence for my sanctuary." Then He repeats His phrase many times. "I am Jehovah. I am the Lord." We have a relationship. You're in the kingdom of Jehovah now. Then He says this, verse three, "If you walk in my statutes and you keep my commandments and carry them out, I will give you rains in their seasons so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their future.
Indeed, your threshing will last until the great gathering and the great gathering will last until the sowing time and thus, you will eat your food to the full and live securely. I will bless you. I will bless your land and then I will give peace in the land so that you may lay down with no one making you tremble and afraid. I will eliminate harmful beasts from the land and no sword will pass through your land. You'll have peace but you will be the one who pursues your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword. In fact," He says, "Five of you will chase 100 and 100 of you will chase 10,000 and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.
I will turn towards you and make you fruitful and multiply and I will confirm my covenant with you." Take note of that phrase, "I will turn towards you," because later, we're going to see this principle as we turn toward God. There is that beautiful point of pouring out blessing and you will leave the old supply and clear out the old because of the new. "Moreover, I will make dwelling among you." This is one of the greatest promises. He's building it to a great crescendo. My presence is in fact that He gave to them. The presence of the living God was the greatest blessing of it all.
In fact, I suggest to you that the presence of God in your life and mine is the greatest blessing of our lives. "I will make my dwelling with you and my soul will not reject you. I will walk among you and I will be your God and you will be my people for I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you should not be their slaves. I broke the bars of your yoke and I made you to walk upright and the blessings of God just are flowing out of those verses. These are the ones that I want us to look at. I'll do the other verses, of course, at the Wednesday studies but I want us to see the principles.
I. Blessings Come in Many Forms
Starting with this, the blessings come in many forms. It's very important because sometimes people are confused when it comes to the nature of God's blessings and the principles behind them and how to receive them because there are different types of blessings of God.
A. There are blessings on a nation
There are national blessings. Blessings He pours out on a nation. There are conditional and then there are unconditional. I want to look at each of those because there are principles that we can gain for our own lives with each of them. Let's start with blessings that are blessings on a nation.
God promises to bless Israel as a people, as a nation. Israel is unique in this because they are a unique nation. God promised Israel and Israel alone that His presence would be amongst them as a people, as a nation. This is important. He's not speaking so much as the state of Israel but the people of Israel. Israel today, it's very important that we always pay attention to what's happening in the Middle East because the unfolding of prophetic events will be centered in the Middle East but Israel today is different than the Israel in the days of Moses or Joshua or David or the times of the kings because Israel today is not a theocracy.
That word means that God rules over them. Theocracy is where God is the one who rules. They are not a theocracy today. They are a secular nation very much like the United States as a secular nation. There are Christians in this nation but as a nation, it's secular. Here, we got to recognize something as a nation. God has not given up on Israel. Some people think He's turned His back in Israel. I suggest to you, no. God has not given up on Israel for God is preparing Israel for their Messiah. He will come at the end of the age. He is today, watching over Israel.
He is protecting them, and I suggest that He is preparing them for that Messiah that will come at the end of the ages, none other than the Son of the Living God and His name was Jesus Christ. When they see Him, when their Messiah appears, setting foot on the Mount of Olives and entering into Jerusalem, what would be their response? You would think after all of this anticipation of their Messiah. Today, there is an expectation even today in Israel. There's an expectation. Someday, our Messiah will come. In fact, their Messiah will come. How will they respond?
It's a very important question. You would think when their Messiah steps foot on the Mount of Olives, enters into Jerusalem, you would think that they would start shouting and celebrating and let the timbrels ring and let the cymbals ring. That's not what's going to happen. They're going to cry, start mourning. Mourning as one would mourn for an only son. Why would they mourn? Their Messiah has now appeared, because it says, "They will look on Him whom they have pierced, and they will mourn." They will then understand, He was he, it was the Son, it was Jesus, and we crucified Him. Then it says, and I love this verse, "He will pour it out on them, the Spirit of grace, and the Spirit of supplication and the forgiveness that is found in the blood of Jesus Christ will be offered to Israel and they will come, and be actually at peace, finally, with their Messiah, who has poured out grace upon them."
This is important because here in Leviticus 26 he's promising that if they would honor Him as their Father, the one who brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, that He would bless them as a nation, and the crescendo to it, the greatest part of that blessing is that He Himself would be amongst them, and that will be fulfilled at the end of the age, He will be amongst them, He will rule and reign the nations from Jerusalem, but it says, "See, this is the difference." We have to recognize. He's watching over them today, but His special presence is not amongst them today, but it will be at the end of the edge.
Verse 4. He says what it means that blessing when God blesses a nation. It's an abundance of blessing. He says in verse 4, He will give rains in their seasons so that the land will yield its produce and bear its fruit, and, in fact, the Scripture says that "You know that you're nearing the end of the age, because Israel will once again bloom, the desert will once again bloom." By the way, when you go to Israel, we're heading there this September. One of the great joys is to see the productivity of the land. It is amazing. In fact, the last time I was there, they took us all the way up to the north, where we could see Hezbollah, right there, you see those cars there. That's Hezbollah, and what? An amazing stark contrast because you're right there in the border, and you look across the ravine, and there it's just desert, dry, brown, and there is the armament of the terrorists and then you turn this way, and it is vibrant. Fig tree grows, great vineyards, and amazing pomegranates, and just the vibrancy, He bless that land.
Verse 6, "Peace from your enemies." He says. Today it's interesting, because in verse 7 He says, "God promises military superiority." He says, "Five of you will chase 100, a 100 will chase 10,000." I can tell you that we've seen in history, Bible and even recent history, so unfold to get that promise, because today in the Middle East, many of those countries would very much like to destroy Israel, but think very, very carefully before they attempt it, because of the history of the blessing that's been on that land. It's a fulfillment I suggest of Genesis 12:2, "I will make you a great nation." He says to Abraham, and I will bless you and make your name great, and then He says, "You will be a blessing. "See, in many ways, and I've been trying to say this, that the blessings of God that He promises Israel are unique to Israel in the sense that He has a covenant relationship, but in verse 9, He says he's going to confirm that covenant, verse 12, that He would walk among them be their God. That's the key. See, we live in the United States. This is not Israel, but are there national blessings for any nation that will honor God? Answer is, yes.
Proverbs 14:34, where it says, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." When we look around at what's happening in the world, I suggest to you that there is an increase in disgrace in our land. Anybody agree with me? Therefore it's a sign that we are nearing the end of the age, it tells us, and then there's this promise in Genesis 12:3, "I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." This is the promise to Abraham, but that verse I suggest is still very much relevant today. "Bless those who bless you." See, I believe that promise should be that which guides our foreign policy as a nation, and I'm very thankful that as a nation, we have stood by Israel for many, many years. Amen, and in fact, maybe hope you hope you follow the news. Whenever Israel is in the news, I pay close attention, but recently, our legislators in DC recently voted down this BDS movement, this anti-Israel movement, and they voted it down in great ways, like, "Yes, that's right, stand with Israel." Amen.
B. There are conditional blessings
Stand with Israel. Now we often must see this when you look at these blessings, is in the principles of them, then we understand this that there are also conditional blessings. There's national blessings, but there's conditional personal blessings. In chapters 26 and 27, God says, "32 times." He says, if you will do this, I will do that. That's a condition. There are blessings from God that are conditioned by what Israel does. They are to obey God. They are to keep His statutes, they are to keep His Sabbath, they are to revere His sanctuary, and then God will bless when they do those things, if they refuse, if they despise, it's not going to end well for them. In fact, He speaks to that in Leviticus 26. Just look at verses 19-20 because He speaks to it, "I will break down your pride and power." He says, "If you will be disobedient. If your heart and your heart against me know this, I will break down your pride, and I will break down your power, I will make your sky like iron and your earth like bronze, and your strength will be spent uselessly, and your land will not yield this produce, and the trees of the land will not bear their fruit." There is the consequence also of turning their back. It's important to recognize because are there conditional blessings for the believer in Jesus Christ? Yes. The Scripture gives insight into the nature of God's blessings that are conditional. Let me give you some examples.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15. Paul writes, and he says, "The fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which He has built." We're talking about now what you do with your life. What do you do with your life? If any man's work which he has built on it remains in other words, if you build on the founder of God, and that remains, He will receive a reward. If then a reward, but if any man's work is burned up, then he will suffer loss, but himself will be saved, but yet as though through fire. This is important because I think that many people have maybe a secret dream, a secret dream that they would one day win the lottery, and then if they want all the great wonders, millions or whatever it is, that they will then spend their lives in luxury, and retirement, and the abundance of people serving them, and I suggest to you that God does not intend for us to use the days that we have for our own pleasure and fulfillment of our own secret desires. Anybody agree with me? I suggest to you that you would lack purpose, and the life would be empty, but that God gives us meaning and purpose. God is the one who is the strength of our lives and He is our inheritance. He is our portion, be wealthy in the Spirit, and your soul will be blessed and overflowing. That's the life to live. Anybody agree with me? That's the life to live, and so see, even believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of their lives, not for punishment, that punishment that we deserve fell in Christ, but it says in 2 Corinthians 5:10, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body according to what he's done with your life." Whether good or bad. There are conditions God wants us-- use your life well because it says that He also will discipline us as a father disciplines his son. Hebrews 12:6-7, "For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines," but and He scourges every son whom He receives. See, God deals with us as with sons for what son is there whom His father does not discipline? That's a great analogy because we understand that. We do the same with our own children. If we have a child and that child becomes let's say, having a rebellious attitude, how do we respond to that? We don't respond by saying, "Oh my, how cute is that? Look at that cute rebellious attitude that is just so sweet." No, we don't say that because what we understand is that the blessings that we want to extend to them are a result of their acting with a good heart and responding well to the things we asked them to do. Is this not true?
I have a-- When my kids, we raise five, as you know, and we've adopted our granddaughter so now this is our sixth. You have to why'd you get certain speeches all ready to go. You know what I'm saying. I've raised five, I'm ready. If they resist, one of my speeches is, "Hey, listen, your “No’s” bring “No’s” for me. If you want to say no to what I'm asking you to do, then you're going to hear some “No’s” from me. No, I won't drive you around anywhere you want to go. I think I've decided I don't want to do that anymore. I want to bless you, however, so when you say “Yes” to the things I'm at asking you to do, I'm ready to say “Yes” to you. Amen.
C. There are unconditional blessings
Blessings flow. See with our children, there are blessings that we poured out on them that are conditional. Now, love itself, unconditional. You can't stop me from loving you. That's another speech I have. Nothing can stop me from loving you. I don't care what you do, I will never stop loving you. However, if you do your chores and the things I've asked you to do, oh what blessings will flow. Amen. If you refuse and you take on disrespect and disobedience, oh what consequences will follow. It's conditional. Then we must see this, there are unconditional blessings. There are blessings of God both for Israel and for us that are unconditional. The covenant that God made with Abraham, unconditional, God will fulfill it. Then there's Deuteronomy 31:8, "The Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed, never doubt that." I tell you we need to hear that today. This is a promise. Never doubt this. God will never leave you. God will never forsake you and nothing can stop Him from loving you. Stand on that truth. It's unconditional.
Now one of the best examples of God's amazing, unconditional blessing of God, the love of His faithfulness is found in Ezekiel 16. In fact, I say to adults, don't let your children read Ezekiel 16. It is not for children because that chapter, it will melt your ears. I know right now you're turning to it, don't do it. He calls Israel out in very graphic ways because their hearts when after these other gods that which He told them not to do, and many of these other gods were gods of sexuality. He uses that as the illustration. He calls them straight out, harlots, and then a graphic description of their unfaithfulness. Then when He finishes this very graphic dramatic description, He adds a word at the end of it, nevertheless.
Ezekiel 16:16-63, at the end of all of that, that He describes and He says, "Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with you as in the days of your youth. I will establish an everlasting covenant with you." This is the part, you see, unconditional, He doesn't quit, He will never give up. He'll never give up and this is important for you and me. God will never give up on you. God will never throw you away. He'll always pursue you. He says, "So that you will remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth again because of the humiliation when I have forgiven you for all that you've done." You'll be ashamed but you'll be forgiven because I will never quit. I tell you today, He says the same to Israel because God's not finished with Israel. He's going to pour out on them the Spirit of grace. He says the same thing to you and me, God will never quit on you. This is very important because many people, they have this thought that when they do something that they're ashamed of, they do something wrong in their lives, they're convinced that God throws them away. That God turns away from them. "Begone from me," they think, but God would never say that. God says, "I will pursue in my love for you and I will discipline if I have to but I will pursue you." It's like our position.
There are unconditional blessings for those who are in Jesus Christ. Now, here's the thing, even those unconditional blessings actually begin with the condition. Here's my point, our position in Christ, unconditional, if you will receive Him as Savior and Lord. Have you received Him as Savior and Lord? That's the foundation for the unconditional blessings. If you receive my offer, I hold out my offer to you, I hold up my hand to you, I am the one pursuing relationship to you, but you must take it. If you will take it, I will adopt you as a son or as a daughter. When I've adopted you as a son or as a daughter, no one can snatch you out of my hand. The unconditional blessings then flow. It's like Romans 8:15-16. "You have received the Spirit of adoption." I love that statement, the Spirit of adoption. We adopted three of our six children. I love the illustration of adoption because our two we adopted were the two boys were from Russia. The youngest one had some resistance that needed to be ironed out. Praise God, by the way, it is ironed out. He's a good, I can't say good boy. He's a good man.
II. Principles Guide God’s Blessings
I remember early resisting and He is, "I don't want it. You're not my father," He would say. "I'm going back to Russia," to which I will respond with the same answer, "Unless you've got more authority than that judge who said it, you're my son and you're staying my son, and I'm your father, and I'm not going anywhere." Amen. That's the key. Unless you got more authority than that judge, you're not going anywhere. You're my son and nothing's going to stop me from loving you as your father. I tell you what, love wins. Here's the thing we have to recognize, they're showing us that at Leviticus 26. There are principles that guide God's blessings. We need those principles.
A. The pathway of blessing has a direction
It's important because there are many teach wrongly at this point, wrong motives, wrong doctrines. One of the most important principles is this, that the pathway of blessing has a direction. The pathway of blessing has a direction, has to do with the direction of your heart is what I'm suggesting. The direction of your life, where is it headed? Is it headed toward God? The path of life, where is it heading? What is the direction of your life? Toward God or away from God? It's like Psalm 119:59, "I considered my ways and I turned my feet towards your testimonies." I'll walk that way. That's the way I'm going. I'm heading that direction. Where's your life headed? That's what He's asking, where's your life headed?
It's like Isaiah 45:22 God says, "turn, turn to me, go this way. Go this way, be saved. All the ends of the earth." He says, "for I am God and there is no other." See, we're talking about the blessings that God gives. Therefore, He says, "Walk in that direction. Turn your heart toward the Living God" Because I love this phrase where He says in verse nine, "I will turn towards you. My presence will be amongst you and my heart is turned towards you. Now you turn toward me." This is the key.
We're talking about the blessings of God. It's like Mark 12:33 He writes it this way, "To love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the string than the loved one's neighbor as himself, is much more than all the offerings and sacrifices. It's much more, it's the direction of your heart. Colossians 3:2-3, "Set your mind." What is the set of your mind? 'Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the Earth for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ." How about Matthew 6:33, "seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." See, this is important because it helps answer the question. What degree of righteousness is required to receive the blessings of God?
In other words, does God become angry at every imperfection? Because I suggest to you that if God's blessings are conditioned on perfection, then no one will receive the blessings of God. God knows the direction of your heart. That's the key. Where are you headed? See if the direction of your heart is toward God, that's the pathway of blessing. Proverbs 21:2, "All of the man's ways seem right, but the Lord weighs the heart. He knows. He knows the heart." Galatians 6:7-9, I quote this often because it's a great, great verse. "Do not be deceived God is not mocked for that which a man sows He will also reap." See, what are you sowing? What is it? What is it that is the theme of your life for the one who sows to His flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who's sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
B. The pathway of blessing is predictable
Do not lose heart in doing good in due time, you will reap if you do not grow weary and then there's this, the pathway of blessing is predictable. Leviticus 26, He sets forth these Spiritual laws for the nation of Israel and there are Spiritual laws for the believer in Jesus Christ. God gives instruction for how to live your life. Had a walk in the pathway of blessing. He gives instruction how to be godly fathers, how to be godly mothers or husbands or wives or businessmen or neighbors, and if you're walking with God and seeking His ways, that is the pathway of blessing. It's predictable. If you're walking in stubbornness, that's the pathway of trouble and difficulty is predictable. Someone might say, "Well, I don't like these laws." "I don't like these principles." "I'm going to do my own thing." "I am going to do things my way." In short, that's a foolish thing. It's like this. There are laws of gravity and those laws are predictable. If you decide you don't like the law of gravity, I think it's too restrictive and you decide to ignore it. I suggest that this will not end well for you.
There are laws of electricity. I have discovered there are laws of electricity. I learned this when I was young. When I was working on the farm and we had an electric fence. I learned the principle never crawl underneath an electric fence when you were wearing shorts. Anybody understand what I'm saying here? You will remember that well for many days there are laws that are predictable, and I suggest that the laws of God are predictable. His words are sure. Stand in these things and have your heart in this direction. I'll bless your life. See, the favor of God is poured out. Turn in this way. I'll bless your life.
C. Don’t hinder God’s blessing
I've always believed in the blessing of God. I've always believed in the favor of God. I've always believed that He would never quit. Even when I have done something dumb, yes, He'll discipline, but He'll be a Father that will still pour favor. Therefore, and we're going to end with this point, don't hinder God's blessing. Don't hinder it. There are ways that the blessings of God can be hindered. I'll give you just a short list, number one, not honoring your wife as a co-heir of the Grace of God because that hinders the blessing of God. 1 Peter 3:7, "Show her honor," it speaks to husbands, "Show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that your prayers will not be hindered."
Number two sin which requires discipline can hinder God's blessings because God in that instance is about the discipline, which is in fact a blessing. Really, it's just hard to see it at the time. It's like when we used to say to our kids, "Someday you'll thank me for this." I used to say to my kids many times, and then when they're in their twenties they thank you for that.
Number three, ignoring God's wisdom. If you ignore His wisdom, you are hindering His blessings because the wisdom that He gives to you is part of the blessing. I give you this wisdom to guide your steps and to show you the way of greatest blessing.
Number four disbelief. If you don't believe, if you don't believe that God is faithful to His word, if you don't believe that His promises are true, you'll have a very hard time trusting those promises. I've always believed that the favor of God will be poured out. Do you believe? Do you believe?
Father, thank you so much for showing us the way of greatest blessing because Father, we want to walk in through that way we want to take hold of your word. The promises found in your word, the wisdom that you give. We want to walk toward you. The direction of our lives is toward you. Church tonight, the foundation of all that I'm saying to you is a relationship to the Lord God through His Son, Jesus Christ. That's the beginning. That's the foundation of all of those things He wants to give to you.
Have you received Him into your heart? Have you opened your heart and asked Him to be Master and Lord and Savior, Forgiver of sins and the one who would adopt you as a son or a daughter? Would you open your heart to, and even now as we're praying, as all eyes are closed. I'm going to ask if tonight you would receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and received the forgiveness of sin and the promises that go with being adopted as a son as a daughter, if you would open your heart tonight, would you simply just raise your hand so I can say yes and amen and agree with you tonight. God bless you. God bless you. God bless you all the way back to God bless you and all the way back on that side. Thank you for raising your hand. God bless you right here in the middle. Anyone else? Anyone else?
Father, we are so amazed at how you move by your Spirit, how you take hold of our lives. We honor you. We thank you and we ask that you pour out your Spirit on everyone in this church tonight that we would say yes and Amen. We want to walk after you. The very direction of our lives is toward you. God, we thank you for that invitation that you would draw us to yourself. We give you things we give you honor tonight in Jesus' powerful name, and everyone said, can we give the Lord praise and glory