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The Old Store and the New
“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. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 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…And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 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. But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 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: I also will do this unto you;…I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 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.” (Leviticus 26:1-20)
Our great and glorious God is ever gracious, ever merciful, constantly displaying himself as a God who, unlike all the imaginary gods men have invented, “delighteth in mercy.” He is a God ready to pardon. We see this even at Mt. Sinai, when he gave Moses the tables of his holy law.
Given at Sinai
Remember, what we have before us are the commandments of God given at Mt. Sinai, at the very time God gave his law to Moses and to Israel. From chapter 1 through chapter 24, the laws and instructions are things given to the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness. They are commands spoken at the door of the tabernacle. But that which we read in chapters 25-27, we are specifically told, was given at Mt. Sinai (25:1-2; 26:46; 27:34).
Then he gave us all that is revealed in this chapter about the sabbatical year to be observed every seven years, the year of jubilee to be observed every fifty years, and the kinsman redeemer. In chapter 26 he declares both the blessing he promised to all who keep his statutes and the curse that shall fall upon those who despise them.
The Lord God is talking here specifically about the statutes regarding the sabbath year, the year of jubilee, and the kinsman redeemer — the gospel of Christ. And he tells us that all that is written in this chapter was also given at Sinai (v. 46).
Then, in chapter 27, the Lord summarizes all the Levitical law he gave at Sinai by the hand of Moses. Everything in that law, everything in the law of the Old Testament pointed to and typified our Lord Jesus Christ and his great salvation. Though the specific commands (chapters 1-24) were not given until Israel was in the wilderness, the whole Levitical law was summarized at Sinai (Leviticus 27:34).
The voice of mercy sounds throughout the Book of Leviticus. Mercy is God’s remedy for woe. At the very foot of Mt. Sinai grace sweetly smiles. What is grace, but the recovery of lost sinners? Even here, as God gives his holy law, the very law that condemns our race, the gospel shines brightly. What is the gospel, but the revelation of God’s salvation in Christ? Saving sinners by his free grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, justice remains just, truth continues true, and holiness appears holy. Honor bends not from its highest throne. We see these things in the Book of Leviticus in a long parade of types and pictures of redemption and grace by Christ.
As we walk through the hallowed ground of these twenty-seven chapters, we see something of the depths of redemption. Here we drink from the cup of wisdom and see clearly that “where sin abounded grace did much more abound.” Here we see grace reigning through righteousness by Jesus Christ our Lord. Here we see our God in his great glory as “a just God and a Savior.”
So, at the very giving of his law in Sinai, before the children of Israel started their wilderness wandering, the Lord God graciously impressed upon them not only the perfection and strictness of the law they had broken, but also the method of grace, salvation, and deliverance from its curse and condemnation. Even at Sinai’s fiery mount, the Lord God graciously set before hell-bent sinners the wonder and grace of redemption by Christ. He says to a fallen people, “I have found a ransom!”
If you go to hell, you will go to hell, as it were, pushing the God of all grace out of your way, hardening your proud neck, setting your face like a flint, sticking your fingers in your ears, covering your eyes, and wilfully choosing death instead of life, wrath instead of mercy, perdition instead of pardon.
The last three chapters of Leviticus are full of instruction for eternity bound sinners. Hear and heed the message of God in these chapters. May the pen of the Almighty write their message upon the tablets of your heart and mine, for Christ’s sake!
Read the first thirteen verse of Leviticus 26. Here we are given the commands of God, the sovereign, holy Lord God against whom we have incessantly sinned from our youth up. Yet, they are given in the tender words and phrases of a loving father’s counsel to his erring child. In these thirteen verses the Lord God shows us what great blessings of grace he will bestow upon all who obey his Word, upon all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
In verses 14-46 we read about the eternal miseries that shall befall the unbelieving rebel. Emphatic pictures are drawn to deter rebellion and woo the rebel to reconciliation. Two signposts are here raised before our eyes. The one points to peace and urges us to follow its way. The other warns of misery, wrath, and everlasting woe, and cries, “Flee! Flee! Flee for your life!”
The chapter begins by telling us that we must call upon the name of the Lord, we must worship God alone, acknowledging him as the Lord our God, finding rest in him (vv. 1-2). Salvation is believing God. It is knowing God, trusting God, worshipping God as God, as he reveals himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3).
“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. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 26:1-2)
The only way of life and peace is faith in Christ. Salvation, eternal life, and rest for our souls is found in Christ. Believing on the Son of God is worshipping God alone in Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 10:9-13).
Promises of Grace
The Lord God himself woos rebel sinners, calling us to himself, by promises of bounteous riches of goodness and grace in Christ. Here, in verses 3-13, are Sinai’s promises, God’s promises of grace given at Mt. Sinai.
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 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. 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. 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. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 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. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 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.”
What a dazzling catalogue of goodness this is! Henry Law rightly observed, “It is a picture in which plenteousness abounds. The earth in season yields luxuriant crops. Scarceness and need are buried in deep graves. Peace waves her gentle scepter. Invading hosts scare not the quiet valleys. No ravening beasts watch for their prey. And if assailing armies make attack, they move to sure defeat. A little band puts multitudes to flight. A happy progeny rejoices in each house.”
These things are spoken of in the language of external, earthly things; but earthly language is used here only to convey spiritual blessedness, spiritual delights for our souls, delights scattered by God’s infinite hand. These bounties of God are promised to all who walk in his statues and keep his commandments. That is to say, to all who believe on his Son. That is not a whimsical stretch. That is exactly what God says obedience to his law is (Romans 3:31; 10:1-4; Galatians 3:19, 24; 1 John 3:23; 5:1-3).
12 Sinai Promises
Here are twelve Sinai promises of grace. What the law of God requires, the grace of God supplies, and the gospel of God proclaims.
1. God promises us that he will send his rain from heaven (symbolizing his Word, his Holy Spirit, and his grace) at the appointed season (v. 4).
2. Next the Lord God promises that his grace toward us will be constantly bounteous constantly satisfying our souls. He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
“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. 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.” (vv. 4-5)
(“In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” (Hosea 2:18)
“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)
3. The Lord God promises safety and security to all who trust his Son. “And dwell in your land safely” (v. 5).
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)
4. Then, in verse 6 he promises us peace. “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.”.
“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 4:16-5:11
5. The Lord God, our Savior, promises that all who trust him shall prevail and triumph over their enemies, all of them.
“And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 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.” (vv. 7-8)
“You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:28-39)
O my soul, believe God, and chase away your enemies! — All who assail and accuse you. — All who would condemn you. — All who would charge you with evil. — All who would separate you from his love. — And Satan too (Romans 16:20).
6. God promises to bless us with his favor. — “I will have respect unto you.” (v. 9)
He says, I will look upon you with delight and pleasure. My eye will be upon you to care for you, watching over you to do you good and protect you from all evil. I will turn myself away from all others to you, having a distinct and particular regard for you. Cast all you care on me, and I will care for you.
7. Then he promises to make you fruitful. — “I will have respect unto you and make you fruitful.” (v. 9)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” (Psalms 92:14)
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:15-16)
8. Next the Lord graciously promises to multiply us. — “I will have respect unto you and make you fruitful, and multiply you.” (v. 9)
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood anymore. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah 54:1-5)
9. Then, he promises to establish his covenant with you. — “I will have respect unto you and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you” (v. 9), his everlasting covenant of grace, ordered in all things and sure (Isaiah 55:3; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:38-40).
10. “And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new” (v. 10). — With those words, the Lord our God promises to every believing sinner a constant supply of grace.
There shall be granted by God an unbroken continuity of grace to our souls forever, grace sufficient to meet our souls needs without fail. His supplies of wisdom, love, joy, peace, and power to our souls are always enough and more than enough for our needs. The flow of his grace is uninterrupted. If it comes to us in jets and spurts, it is because we have put some obstacle in the way, to choke the channel of mercy and quench his Spirit.
Our great God and Father, the God of all grace, is ever pouring forth his own self for us to take. There is no limit to our reception of his goodness, but our capacity and our desire. There is no reason for a moment’s break in our joyful experience of his mercy, love, and grace, of his peace and joy, except our own withdrawal of our souls from beneath the Niagara of his grace. As long as we keep our poor vessels below that constant downpour, they will be full. It is all our own blame if they are empty.
Why should we have these dismal times of famine in our souls, these times of spiritual deadness, these times of paralysis? In our Father’s house there is bread enough and to spare. He promises, “Ye shall eat of the old store, and bring forth of the old because of the new.”
“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” (Psalms 31:19)
Still, there is more in the this 10th verse. We must not be satisfied with just the old store. Oh, yes, we rejoice in and feed upon past experiences of grace. Let us never look upon past goodness with contempt. But there is a sense in which we must forget those things that are behind. We must pull out the old grain to make room for the new. Let us constantly cast away old experiences and come to Christ with empty hearts to be filled anew with the bounty of heaven (Philippians 3:10).
11. Then, in verses 11 and 12, the Lord God promises us his constant, abiding presence.
“And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
12. In verse 13, he promises to grant to every believer the blessed assurance of redemption, grace, and salvation.
“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.”
Oh, come to Christ and live! Come, taste and see that the Lord is gracious! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you are welcomed home as God’s child — God’s heir. Your seat is at his table. Hear his assuring voice, “All things are yours — all are yours, for you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). At every moment you may draw near. You may tell out your every sorrow and your every need. The ears of love receive. The hand of power relieves. Supplies of grace are largely given. The heavens come down in showers of goodness.
The gift of Christ leaves no gift withheld. — “He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Faith finds abundance in the land of grace. For every sin there is a fountain to cleanse. For all unrighteousness there is a glorious robe. — “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” For every burden a support is at hand. — “Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.” Light, guidance, and peace shine upon our souls from the throne of grace! When Satan terrifies, the cross is seen. When conscience trembles, the dying Savior shows his hands and side. When the law thunders, Calvary spreads its sheltering wings. When heart-corruptions vex, the Spirit comes with reviving grace.
The past is one wide flood of mercy. The present is a river of grace. The future is an infinite ocean of glory. And when the end comes and the freed spirit wings its upward flight, who can conceive the rapture? Then our all-glorious Christ is revealed. No distance intervenes. No separation can again occur. If faith finds him so dear, what will be the sight!
And when the grave restores its prey, when this poor body puts on immortality’s attire and shines more brightly than a thousand suns, we shall be like Christ, exactly like Christ forever — One with him in perfection! What then? God then shall be fully known, and fully loved, and fully praised, while endless ages build the glory higher. Eternal love planned all this blessedness. The blood of Christ purchased it. His promise seals it. His Spirit fits us for it. His power will soon bring us into it.
Terror, Nothing But Terror
It is sweet joy to linger on this scene. But God in faithfulness presents a contrast. The scene now changes. Beginning in verse 14, we see a scene of woe, nothing but woe! — Wrath, nothing but wrath! — Terror, nothing but terror to you who will not believe on the Son of God.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 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: 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. 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. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: 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.” (vv. 14-20)
God’s Word is as fixed as heaven’s high throne. He speaks. Performance is at hand. You have madly scorned his rule. You have rashly followed your own heart’s desire. Except you repent, nothing but judgment awaits you. The gospel prized is all this everlasting joy. The gospel scorned is all this everlasting woe. O Holy Spirit of God, grant that these who now read these lines may hear the voice of the Son of God by your power and live!
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)