IF YE WALK IN MY STATUTES
Leviticus 26:3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them;...
In Paul's letter to the Romans, we read: Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God (Rom. 11:22). Indeed, Paul could have very well used the subject text to illustrate the goodness and severity of God to the Christians in Romans. Maybe we would have a better understanding of this verse found in Romans if we study this Old Testament example.
In the 4th through the 13th verses following the lesson text, we find the goodness of God - the blessings that were promised to the children of Israel if they would walk in the statutes of God, keep his commandments, and do them. Verses 14 through 39 tell of the severity of God - the curses that were promised Israel if they refused toobey His commandments, despised His statutes, abhorred His judgments, and broke His covenant. In this example, God tells all mankind that He is a good God, but also a severe God. He will reward those that are obedient to His will but will punish those that disobey His commandments. Is this not the same responsibility of parents today? Shouldn't we expect the same from our Heavenly Father?
Let us look at a few verses that show the goodness of the Heavenly Father to His obedient children. In verse 4, God told Israel through Moses, that He will bless them materially. He will send sufficient rain that will yield bountiful crops. Historians tell us that grain was generally sown in Judea towards the end of autumn (around October). The grain was generally harvested after Passover (from the middle of March through April) which was followed by the vintage, or the grape harvest. Verse 5 tells us that the thrashing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time. In other words, the yield would be so bountiful that there would be no interval between the gathering of the various crops. Due to the goodness of God, harvesting of one crop or another would practically be continual year round.
They would, not only have plenty to eat, but they would also have safety and peace. Verse 6 says that they could go to bed each night in peace, being unafraid of attacks by animals or enemies. Even when attacked by enemies, they could easily be repelled and defeated. Through the goodness of God, His protection and guidance, five of you (Israelites) shall chase a hundred (enemies), and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight (Vs. 8). They would be fruitful, and multiply. Food would be so plentiful that the old crop wouldn't be completely eaten before the new crop would be harvested. God would dwell among them, show His great affection for them, and walk among them. Finally, He says that I will be your God, and ye shall be My people. (Vs. 9-12).
The severity of God is now shown in verses 14 through 39. God, through Moses, tells the Israelites, that if they refused to heed His guidance and do his commandments; if they despised His statutes, abhorred His judgments, and broke His covenant, they would be severely punished. They would be punished with sickness and sorrow (Vs. 16), defeated and ruled over by their enemies (Vs. 17), their crops would fail and their orchards would be barren of fruit (Vs. 20), wild beasts would slay their children and livestock (Vs. 22), their cities would be destroyed by pestilence and enemies (Vs. 25), they would hunger to the extent that they would eat the flesh their children, (Vs. 29), and their cities, sanctuaries and land would be laid to waste and desolate (Vs. 31-33). And finally, ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies will eat you up. 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 (Vs. 38-39).
However, in the remaining verses (Vs. 40-46), God tells Israel that He is also a forgiving God. When they sinned against Him and disobeyed His commandments, if they would confess their iniquity, and seek His forgiveness, that He would allow them return to Him. He would be their Father and they could be His children and enjoy His goodness once again. This same forgiveness was available to the Romans to whom Paul preached and it is available to you and I today. Behold the goodness and severity of God. Behold, also, He is a forgiving God, if we will return to Him, seek His forgiveness, and remain obedient to His will.