Seven blessings on obeying His
Moses under the Old Testament gave Ten Commandments to the people of Israel. In addition to the Ten Commandments, he also gave diverse laws and ordinances. The first and foremost commandment is – “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing…” (Exo.20: 4). He further amplifies this commandment in Lev.26: 1 as follows:
“Ye shall make you no idol 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.”
Amplified version says, “You should not erect a graven image, pillar or obelisk, nor shall you place any figured stone in your land to which or on which to bow down…”
This is not merely about making any graven image but also about rearing up a standing image or setting up any image or figured stone in the Promised Land.
You may not either make any graven image of foreign gods or worship them. However, you may be rearing up a standing image of any of your national leaders or of any servant of God or any head of your church organization. Do we attach undue importance to their policies or doctrines, which run counter to the truth of the Bible, or the doctrines of Christ?
Literally speaking, we find statutes of our national leaders, either dead or alive, in our Government or Parliament buildings. There is nothing wrong with this. However, setting up their images in the holy place is tantamount to placing the “abomination of desolation” as depicted by Daniel in his prophetic book.
There was a holy place in the Temple of God under the Old Testament. Similarly, there is a holy place under the New Testament. The gathering of the people of God redeemed by the Blood of Jesus is the holy place under the New Testament. As the chosen of people of God under the New Testament, we may not make any graven image nor bow down before it but may rear up a standing image of any human being which will surreptitiously pave the way for bowing down before him. This is nothing but combining the corrupt political power of the state with the untainted spiritual power of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Making a graven image is different from rearing up or erecting a standing image or an image of stone of any person. Making a graven image is the first stage of idolatry. However, rearing up or erecting a standing image is the second stage of idolatry. It is preserving or maintaining the graven image already made and making it stand out. Bowing down before such an image in the holy place, the third stage of idolatry is an abomination unto the Lord.
God has brought us into the Promised Land through the Blood of Jesus. In this holy land, we should not only make any graven image in order to bow down before it but also should neither rear up nor maintain this mage. Bowing down before such image means accepting and acting on the words of such leaders.
Moses gave another commandment – “Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord” (Lev.26: 2)
Under the Old Testament, the people of Israel were supposed to observe the Lord’s Sabbath on the seventh day. They had to work six days and to rest on the seventh day. However, under the New Covenant of grace, we are required to observe the Lord’s Sabbath on all days by resting in the Lord. It does not mean that we should cease to work with our hands. Resting in the Lord means believing and relying on Him 100%. God has given us this spiritual rest in Christ Jesus, whereas the people of Israel under the Old Testament were offered only physical rest and that too, on the seventh day.
Do we reverence His sanctuary under the New Testament? His sanctuary is the holy place where His people are gathered for worship and ministry. These days, the people of God do not fail to assemble themselves on Sundays for worship. What about the ministry in the holy place? Under the New Covenant, all of us, without any exception, are the priests of God. If we are the priests of God, we have to minister in the holy place.
Reverencing His sanctuary does not mean bowing down before the altars in the churches or removing our shoes while entering the church or while going to the altar for partaking of the Lord’s Table. I do not say that we should wear our shoes in the church. Reverencing His sanctuary means our accepting the God-given authority of the Church, the Body of Christ in this world. The Body of Christ is founded on the apostles and the prophets. Do we recognize and accept the authority of these ministers of God in our midst?
A single commandment of Christ under the New Testament
Christ summed the whole of law and of the prophets in two commandments i.e. Loving God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and Loving your neighbor as yourself (Matt.22:37-40).
If you love your God in the above manner, you will neither make any graven image nor rear up any such image. If you keep His Sabbaths and reverence His sanctuary, you will love His Body, the Church. The Church means the universal and mystical Body of Christ. You should not hate any person who is of the Body of Christ, though she/he may belong to a different denominational church.
Jesus gave the above two commandments to a lawyer who tempted him. However, in John 16:12, Jesus gave yet another commandment to His disciples. He called it a new commandment: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35 and 16:12). Since Jesus knew that His disciples loved God, He did not give them the two commandments which He gave to the lawyer. Instead, He gave this single commandment to His disciples.
John in his first epistle confirms, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning…..” (1 John 2:17). He further says: “This commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also”. (I John 4:20-21). If anyone who claims to love God but chooses to hate his brother in Christ, he is “in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (I John 2:11). He is none but a liar and a hypocrite.
You may have a thorough knowledge of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. If you do not have love in your heart for the Body of Christ but only have the gifts of the Spirit and “all knowledge”, you are “nothing” (I Cor.13:2). The greatest of these (faith, hope and charity) is charity (I Cor.13:13). We, the disciples of Jesus Christ, have been given a single commandment by Christ Jesus. If we love Christ and His Body, we will neither make any graven image nor rear up any such image, and will love His sanctuary. If we love one another in the same manner as Christ loved us, we will be fulfilling all the law. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Gal.5:14).
Blessings on obeying the commandment of Jesus Christ
Blessings that flow from obeying the commandments of God are described in Lev.26:4 to 13. The same blessings hold good under the New Covenant also.
The land yielding its fruit
The first blessing concerns your land. The Lord will give you rain in due season and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit (Vs.4).
In your family and ministry, the Lord will pour out His blessings “in due season”. He will be neither too early nor too late. He will be on time. In due season, He will bless you. You need not remind God about certain material blessing which will become due to you over a period. It may concern the marriage of your children or something else. The Promised Land in which you live today shall yield her increase if you obey His commandment. Nobody, even the Devil, can prevent the yield. The trees of the field i.e. your own children or your spiritual children shall yield their fruit. They will attain the salvation experience in due season. They will obey you and will prosper both spiritually and materially.
Overflowing of His blessings
Your threshing time shall reach to the vintage, and the vintage time shall reach to the sowing time; and you shall eat your bread to the full (Vs.5).
You will overflow with His blessings in such a manner as described in this verse. Vintage means the gathering of grapes and preparation for wine-making. There will not be any slackness on the part of the Husbandman in working in the Vineyard to bless you. His blessings will be constant throughout the season. We have a Husbandman Who neither slumbers nor sleeps in His Vineyard (Ps.121:4). Oh, He takes care of all the vines and toils in the Vineyard so that you eat your bread to the full. Today, many of the children of God are not able to eat due to chronic diseases. If they obey God, they will eat their bread to the full.
Security and safety in the Land
The third blessing concerns your security and safety. You will dwell in your Land safely. And the Lord will give peace in the Land. You shall lie down and none shall make you afraid. The Lord will rid evil beasts (Antichrist and his False Prophet) of the Land, neither shall the sword go through your land (Vs.6).
You will enjoy full safety and peace in the Promised Land. You need not be afraid of any person on this earth. The influence of the Antichrist and his False Prophet will not overshadow you in the Promised Land because the Lord clears these evil beasts out of the Land. When the Antichrist reigns over the whole world, the Lord protects you and your family by casting out the evil beasts. The sword of the Antichrist does not go through your Land. You are protected from the perils of war and violence in the Land.
Chasing your enemies
The fourth blessing concerns deliverance from the enemies. You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword (Vs.7-8).
Are you oppressed by the evil spirits or by the emissaries of the devil in the Promised Land? You shall cast out the evil spirits in Jesus’ Name and they shall fall before you by the Sword of the Spirit.
In your evangelical mission field, the enemies of the cross who persecute you will flee and fall before you. The Devil will vacate the land swayed by him. Five evangelists shall chase an hundred evil spirits. A fellowship of five people of God shall put to shame an hundred unbelievers. A fellowship of hundred people of God shall deliver ten thousand people of this world from the Devil. A fellowship of hundred people of God shall bind the work of ten thousand evil spirits in this world. Why cannot we start a fellowship of a minimum of five people of God to be bonded together in the cords of love? Five will increase to hundred in due course. These days, the people of God only defend themselves from the attacks of the Devil. They should be offensive, attacking the Devil always and chasing him out of the Promised Land.
Making you fruitful and establishing His Covenant
The fifth blessing concerns your fruitfulness. The Lord of the Heaven and of the earth will have respect unto you, and will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish His covenant with you (Vs.9).
The Amplified Version says, “I will be leaning toward you with favor and regard for you, rendering you fruitful, multiplying you, and establishing and ratifying My covenant with you”. What a great privilege for you! It is the Lord Who renders you fruitful and multiplies you. It is the Lord, and not any person or any organization, who is going to make you fruitful in the ministry. It is the Lord, and not any person or any organization who is going to multiply your spiritual children.
The Lord had already made His Covenant with us through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Now He is establishing and ratifying His Covenant with you in a personal manner. The Lord under the Old Testament delivered the whole nation of Israel from the slavery of Pharaoh and Egyptians by His judgment upon the firstborn of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The Lord passed through the Egypt to smite the Egyptians. And when He saw the blood of the lamb upon the lintel and on the two side posts, He passed over the door and did not suffer the destroyer to come near the houses of the people of Israel. Here, the Lord personally and individually saved the people of Israel and thus established His covenant through the blood of the lamb with each household of Israel. The Lord confirmed His Covenant already made with Moses with each family of Israel in a personal manner through the event of the Passover.
Though God made a New Covenant with the people of the world through the death of Christ 2000 years ago, He still establishes and ratifies this covenant with each individual soul who has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior.
Eating the old store
The sixth blessing concerns the new wine. You shall eat the abundant old store of produce long kept, and clear out the old to make room for the new (Vs.9 – Amplified Version).
We first finish the old wine in the stock because the new wine has to arrive in the store room. Until and unless we clear the old wine, we cannot allow the new wine to enter. Under the New Covenant, God has given us grace and truth through Jesus Christ, whereas the law was given by Moses under the Old Covenant. (John 1:16-17). The people of God under the Old Covenant had eaten the old store of produce in the Land of Canaan, and were looking for the new. However, they could not taste the New Wine. Nevertheless, we, the people of the God under the New Covenant have received the New Wine (the Holy Spirit). Though we received the New Wine, yet we lead our lives like our forefathers of the Old Covenant. Our eyes are not yet opened to the wonderful blessings under the New Covenant and we still continue to bear the burden that was on the shoulders of our forefathers of the Old Covenant. We still eat the old store. We do not lead the victorious or the over-comer’s life of the New Covenant.
God living and walking among us
The seventh blessing concerns the personal fellowship of God with us. The Lord will set His tabernacle among us: and His soul shall not abhor us. And He will walk among us, and will be our God, and we shall be His people (Vs.11-12).
The above promise of God was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came into this world on the day of Pentecost. The Lord has already set His tabernacle amongst us. However, we build tabernacles with our own hands and want the omnipotent God to dwell in the tabernacles made with men’s hands. The Tabernacle of God under the New Covenant is the gathering of the people of God in the one Body of Christ. We do not yet see the Tabernacle of God in our midst because we do not love one another in the Body of Christ. We draw a circle around us and do not allow the Holy Spirit to enter this circle. We want to cage the Omnipotent Spirit in our churches. We do not perceive the universal and mystical Body of Christ. Though we claim to be members of the Body of Christ, we are still blinded with nationalism and racism. We do not look beyond the horizons of our churches, our towns and our nations. If we love the Body of Christ, we can perceive the Tabernacle of God in our midst. Today the Lord walks among us but we are unable to see Him because we do neither love the Body of Christ nor have fellowship with the other members of the Body of Christ all over the world.
The people of God still in bondage
“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”, says the Lord in verse 13.
The Lord has brought us out of the kingdom of the Devil so that we should not be his bondmen. But many of the children of God are still remaining in bondage to the Devil and the present day Egyptians. Their lives are not better than that of the unsaved people of this world. Though the Lord has broken their bands of their yoke through the Blood of Jesus Christ, yet they find themselves enmeshed in the snare of the Devil.
- Job Anbalagan