Disobedience brought about other consequences. Those consequences include military defeat, lack of rain, failed crops, disease, fever, plague and terror.
“IF you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and IF you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength.” (Leviticus 26:14–16)
“IF” is a tiny word with enormous ramifications.
IF we listen to the Lord and keep His commandments, then we don’t need to fear terrorism, plagues or any evil thing. God will keep us safely under the shelter of His wings (Psalm 17:8).
Today, terrorism is such a concern everywhere in the world, but especially here in Israel. And yet, the reality is that God promises to keep us safe from terror if we will obey Him.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
“Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)
Suffering is not always brought about by God’s judgment, so we must be careful not to fall into simplistic thinking.
Take, for instance, the example of Job. Although he was a righteous man, he suffered the loss of family, finances and health.
Job linked his suffering to fear, which perhaps indicates Satan’s root of access.
“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25)
His friends were convinced that he was guilty of secret sin and was, therefore, responsible for the suffering that came upon him. Job denied this, and God eventually vindicated him.
Job’s suffering actually came about because he was righteous. God blessed him because of that righteousness, and Satan targeted his blessings thinking that they were the very reasons Job served God.
But even with everything stripped away from him, he still served God.
Sometimes the reasons behind a person’s suffering are surprising.
In John 9, Yeshua (Jesus) came upon a man who had been blind since birth, and his disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
Yeshua said that neither were the cause. The man’s blindness was not due to anyone’s sin. The purpose of the blindness was to reveal the glory of God!
“This happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)
If we jump to conclusions about the source of someone’s suffering, we risk losing an opportunity to pray for that person and to see the glory of God manifested before our very eyes.
God’s Faithfulness Is Unconditional
Although God’s rewards for obedience may be conditional, His covenant with Israel is most definitely unconditional.
“When they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.” (Leviticus 26:44)
Even when the people of Israel suffered because of their sin in the nations where they were persecuted, tortured, and killed, God did not reject them. Neither did He destroy His people completely, nor forget His covenant with Israel.
We can look at the example of Israel and gain wisdom for our own personal lives and for future generations.
There are so many areas where we might actually be disobedient and, therefore, not experiencing everything God has for us; for example, harboring anger, unforgiveness, hatred or anti-Semitism, and ignoring the plight of the poor may be robbing us of His blessings.
In this Parasha, the Book of Leviticus ends with an important source of divine blessing—to give the ma’aser (tithe), which is holy, to the Lord.
“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” (Leviticus 27:30, see also Numbers 18:21–26)
Failing to contribute financially to the Kingdom of God can have undesirable consequences in our lives.
We must never forget that everything we possess belongs to the Lord, and that we honor him by giving a portion back to Him. This includes giving to those who have less than us (Deuteronomy 26:12).