getting directions from a policeman February 25 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Leviticus 26, 27

Make the Right Choice

We may ask directions from a policeman when we are indecisive about which road to take. There are, however, certain decisions in our lives that are pivotal. Some of these decisions are: to marry or not to marry; to divorce, separate, or stay together; to have children or not; to pursue further education, or to change careers. As important as these decisions may be, the decision whether we will follow a godly path or a worldly path is even more important. A godly path leads to peace and blessings. A worldly path leads to destruction. Forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life are found in Jesus (more...). Hopefully, this Bible study will help us make the right choices that will lead to a better life.

In the second century B.C., the nation of Israel is encamped at the base of Mt. Sinai in the Sinai desert. Three months earlier God had delivered her from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 19:1). Now God defends her from the attacks of enemy nations. He provides for the Israelites in the wilderness and promises to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. But, while Moses is on the mountain receiving the law to govern them and instructions on building a portable worship center (the tabernacle), Israel is worshipping a golden calf idol. God is angry and almost destroys them, but under Moses’ pleadings God relents and forgives them. Now that their relationship with God is restored, they begin building the tabernacle (a portable worship center). On the first day of the first month of the second year of their deliverance they set up the tabernacle (Exodus 40:17). Moses gives them a manual of instructions for their worship and regulations to keep them holy, pure, and dedicated to God in their worship and daily living (the book of Leviticus).

Towards the end of Leviticus God gives a conditional covenant of blessings and cursings to those who obey or disobey his decrees. If the Israelites obey God’s commands and decrees, he promises they will have a perpetual harvest, peace in the land, and his favor. God’s blessings are on the righteous, and they sense his presence and pleasure. If the Israelites obey, God will give them favor and protection. If they disobey, however, God will curse them. They will have terror from enemies, drought and famine, God will be against them, they will corrupt themselves to the point of being cannibals, they will be conquered by their enemies. Finally, they will be expelled from their land.

Today, we Christians are also forgiven of our sins and are in a new covenant with God. He wants us to live holy lives and to obey his Word. In return, He will bless us and make us fruitful (John 15:1-11). Like the Israelites, however, it is possible for Christians to fall away from the Lord and to get into trouble again. For instance, a Christian who is married may have an affair (a euphemism for adultery); he may become involved with pornography; he may lie, cheat, and steal, but he will surely suffer for any or all of these things. God will be against him. God disciplines us for our good that we might be holy (Hebrews 12:6,10).

There was hope for Israel and there is hope for us if we repent from our wrongdoings (Leviticus 26: 40-45 and 1John 1:9). God forgives the Israelites and keeps the covenant he made with them. Likewise, God forgives us for our sins and restores us.

Leviticus 26:46 seems to be a summary and end to the book, but no, we have one more chapter. It appears something occurred that causes Moses to write an appendix to cover regulations concerning vows (Leviticus 27). Although this is only speculation, it could be that after the Israelites hear the blessings and cursings recorded in Leviticus 26, they want to make the right choice; they make a covenant to keep God’s decrees so that they will be blessed. To seal their commitments they want to offer themselves, their families, their animals, and their property to the Lord. Therefore, there is a necessity for God to issue regulations concerning the vows. No explanation is given for the reason values are set as they are, but the high cost of the vows insures that the Israelites consider their vows before they make them. If later the Israelites change their minds to reclaim that which they vow, they are to add twenty percent onto its value. Some things can not be redeemed. This discourages taking back their property or livestock that are devoted to the Lord. Are we to make vows today? Read what the Bible says about vows:

It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows. (Proverbs 20:25, NIV)
When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, NIV)

“Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” (Malachi 1:14, NIV)

Jesus says,

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37, NIV)

Lessons to live by: (regarding making the right choice)

  • A godly path leads to peace and blessings; a worldly path leads to destruction. Forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life are found in Jesus (more...).
  • God wants our obedience, and for obeying him he will surely bless us and make his presence known.
  • God is offended by our unholy way of living. He cares for us too much to let us get away with disobedience.
  • It is pleasing to God for us to make the right choice and dedicate ourselves to God (Romans 12:1-2). We must make sure, however, that we keep our commitments. We should not make commitments lightly, because vows are serious to God. Be reasonably sure you will fulfill what you promise or don't make a vow at all.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

Psalms 34:12-14 “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (NIV)

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