couple looking at map 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

Whether on a mobile device, computer, or on paper, we consult a map to find the right way to our destination. If we make a wrong decision we end up where we don't want to be. We need to make the right choice.

The decision whether we will follow a godly path or a worldly path is more important than a destination on a map. A godly path leads to peace and blessings from God. A worldly path leads to destruction; however, forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life are found in Jesus (more...). Hopefully, this Bible study will help us make the right choices which will lead us 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 the LORD is working for her in the wilderness. He leads her by a pillar of cloud in the day, and a pillar of fire at night. The LORD is her banner as he defends her from the attacks of enemy nations. He provides food and water for the Israelites in the wilderness and promises to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. God enters into a covenant relationship with her, promising to bless her if she is obedient. But, while Moses is on the mountain receiving the law to govern the people and instructions on building the tabernacle, a portable worship center—Israel is worshipping a golden calf idol! The LORD is angry and almost destroys them! But, under Moses’ pleadings, he relents and forgives them.

After their relationship with LORD is restored, they begin building the tabernacle. 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 the book, the LORD gives a conditional covenant of blessings and cursings to those who obey or disobey his decrees. If the Israelites obey, he promises they will have a perpetual harvest, peace in the land, and his favor. The LORD ’s blessings are on the righteous, and they sense his presence and pleasure. If the Israelites obey, he will also give them protection from their enemies. If they disobey, however, God will curse them. They will have terror from enemies, drought and famine, the Almighty will be against them, they will corrupt themselves to the point of being cannibals, and they will be conquered by their enemies. Finally, the Israelites will be expelled from their land.

Today, we Christians are also forgiven of our sins, and are in a new covenant relationship with the LORD. He wants us to live pure, be dedicated to him, and obey his Word, the Bible. In return, he will bless us and make our efforts fruitful (John 15:1-11; Psalm 37:3-9). 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; however, he will suffer for any or all of these things. God will be against him—the LORD disciplines us for our good that we might be holy. He cares too much to let us get away with disobedience and dishonoring him with our life (Hebrews 12:6,10).

There was hope for Israel and there is hope for us if we turn from our wrongdoings (Leviticus 26:40-45 and 1John 1:9). The LORD forgives the Israelites and keeps the covenant he made with them whenever they turn from their sins to him for forgiveness. Likewise, God forgives us for our sins and restores us whenever we do the same.

Leviticus 26:46 seems to be a summary and end to the book, but no, we have one more chapter. It appears something occurs which causes Moses to write an appendix to cover regulations concerning vows (Leviticus 27). Perhaps after the Israelites heard 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 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 for the vows are set as they are, but the high cost insures that the Israelites will consider their oaths before they make them. If later the Israelites change their minds to reclaim what they pledge, they are to add twenty percent to its value. Some things can not be redeemed. This discourages taking back their property or livestock which are devoted to the Lord. Are we to make vows today? Here is what the Bible says.

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, however, are found in Jesus (more...).
  • God wants our obedience, and for obeying him he will bless us and make his presence known.
  • The LORD is offended by unholy living; he cares 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. We should be committed to fulfill our promise or not make a vow at all.

Focus Verses

Psalms 34:12-14 (NIV) “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.”

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A Look Ahead: Holiness is difficult. How do we Maintain God's Holy Standard? Find out in our Next Lesson as we move to the book of Numbers.

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