Leviticus 26:2-4 “You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord. If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”
One of the things I am often humbled by as I read the Bible is how the One who created the universe, the One Who made everything and knows everything, the One Whose infinite knowledge all of the scientific disciplines that exist have only begun to plumb, has given us a book, written in black and white, to communicate His thoughts and wisdom to us. I don’t know what it must have been like to have a conversation with Einstein, but I’m sure most of us would have been quickly lost if he had ever begun to share his deepest thoughts with us. Yet here is One of infinitely more wisdom that has reached out to us and not only wants us to read His Word, but is just as concerned that we understand what He has said. That’s why He has given us His Holy Spirit as an indwelling teacher, for without Him we all would be hopelessly lost.
Nevertheless, God has also given us a mind, which He also has created, and He intends that we put it to use as we seek to know Him. He has told us that we are to love Him, “with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind.” One of the ways we do this is to make every effort to use our minds to the best of our ability as we seek to understand His Word. Think of the mind that is behind this Word. Think of the wisdom of the One Who created the eye, Who designed every minute detail of the hundreds of components that magnificently function together to allow us to see. It is this same God Who created language, so we are wise to recognize that everything God has told us has been said to us in the exact manner that He meant to say it, with the exact words. Therefore, as we study His Word, it is a good practice to think deeply on the individual words He has used to convey His mind to us.
For example, let’s consider the verses above. In Leviticus 26 God is conveying to Israel the importance of obeying His commands. He lays out for them the blessings associated with obedience as well as the punishment that will accompany disobedience. In so doing, He uses a variety of words to convey the same general ideas, but it is in the meaning of the words He has used that we can get a much richer sense of what He’s saying to us. So let’s look at the variety of words He uses to convey to us what it means to obey. They are the words keep, reverence, walk, observe, and do.
“To keep,” in the Hebrew language in which Leviticus was written, means “to guard, protect, attend to; to keep watch, observe, and honor.” It carries the idea of being attentive to what God has said in His Word. We are to be careful to guard and protect it. It should never be altered. He has meant what He has said and said what He has meant, and we are to be careful to read His word as such.
Then the word “reverence.” This carries the idea of fearing, in the sense of a child who loves his father yet has a healthy respect and fear of punishment should he disobey. We are to take God’s Word very seriously, recognizing that there are severe consequences if we do not. It’s a reverent respect for what God has said, for what He has told us is life itself, and to disregard what He has said is death.
Then He has told us to “walk” in His statutes. This means that our manner of life is to be directed by what God has told us. Every day, in all that we think, in all that we say, in where we go, and in what we do, we are to seek to glorify God and we do this by acknowledging Him and His Word in all our ways. His Word should essentially “flow in our veins,” guiding our every step, for it’s that critical to us.
Then, another word the Lord has used to convey His thoughts is that we are to “observe” His commandments. Here in verse 3 of Leviticus 26 He uses the very same word that was rendered “keep” in verse 2. It’s repeated for emphasis for we are to peer into His Word and meditate on it. It should be the utmost focus of our attention, for it’s His Word that contains the most important things that have ever been said to us.
Finally, we are simply told to “do” what He has told us to do. The Hebrew word from which the word “do” was translated means “to do or make in the broadest sense; to labor or work at something.” The word implies putting effort into something. The things God has commanded us don’t typically come naturally to us. They are things that are at odds with our sinful nature. We don’t naturally want to do what God has told us to do. In our sinful, natural condition, we so often think, act, and “do” things that are the opposite of what God has said because we actually think that our way is better! Those specific thoughts may not be what we consciously think, but isn’t that what we’re saying with each and every sinful thought, word, of deed?
May God help us to peer deeply into His perfect Word and use our minds to the best of our ability to discern what He has said to us. And may He help us to actually do what He has said, for there are great blessings in store for us if we do. It’s always been that way, and it always will be, as the following words reiterate, this time in the words of James from the New Testament: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:25).”
Praise be to the infinite God, Who has made every effort to condescend to us in such wonderful ways as to make known to us His very being and thoughts so that we may know Him in ever-increasing ways.