God's Providence

By Pastor Need

  • Leviticus 25:18-22

    Godís promise:

    Lev 25:18-22 Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. 20 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: 21 Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. 22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat [yet] of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat [of] the old [store].

    The above contains such a wonderful promise that I had to quot it all. No matter where one opens Godís Word, he is confronted with the if/then covenant. "If you will do this," says the Lord, "Then I will do that."

    Let us open with a couple comments:

    First, God can only command His blessings upon His people in terms of His Law-Word: As they do what is pleasing in His sight, He commands His blessings upon them.

    Second, God commands His blessings upon His people so they can expand His kingdom (influence) on earth. However, they misuse His blessings upon themselves.

    Andrew Bonar makes some excellent comments upon this section:

    Unbelief steps in, arising from human reason. The godly will not abuse the glorious ordinances of the Sabbatic year and the jubilee; but they may be tempted to unbelief. They may be ready to say, "what shall we eat?" Hence, our most gracious God anticipates such risings of distrust. Suspicion, an doubt, and fear, on the part of His own people are always most grievous to Him; and, therefore, he seeks to prevent them. How truly He knows our frame, our tendency to distrustful anxieties, is manifest in the words, "If ye say, What shall we eat?" It was this also which Jesus, dwelling among us in flesh, perceived too plainly when He said, "Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind" (Luke xii. 29). (Leviticus, 454, 455.)

    Lev 25 follows many laws that had been given by the Lord God. Then this passage, vv. 18-22, follows the command to give the land a seventh year (Sabbath) rest unto the Lord, vv. 2ff.; it follows the command to give liberty throughout all the land every fiftieth year, the jubilee -- at which time men and property were set free; it follows the command that neither the buyer nor seller of property take advantage of the other, for everything was to be measured from and to the year of release, the jubilee.

    In other words, the Law-Word of God clearly spelled out what God's people were to do, and their natural fear was that if they did what was commanded of them by their God, then they would not have enough food and clothing to survive.

    As a parenthesis, note the very close connection between families and the land: The same command, the Jubilee, included both men and land. Clearly, modern society has forgotten man's close connection with real property; that close connection with real property has been replaced with a close connection with paper "wealth," e.g., stocks, bonds, paper issued by the FEDS. The extremely high prices (on paper) in the stock market must lead to disaster, or God's Word is not true. (Therefore, Christians beware.) The investments in the market are not in terms of real wealth, i.e., physical property that one can take possession of.

    Christ clearly referred to the Lev 25:18-22 law in Luke 12 (see also Mat 6) when He told His disciples that their primary concern was to advance and support God's kingdom (influence or dominion) upon earth. The natural fear of man, and thus God's people, is that if he does not lay up abundant treasures on earth, then he will not have enough. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with laying up treasures on earth as long as it is not done in unbelief that the Lord can and will take care of His own, and not done at the expense of proper support of God's kingdom. In fact, did not God's people have to set aside for the coming three years when they could not harvest a crop at the jubilee? The jubilee forced self-control and laying up (savings) for what was known to be ahead.

    Bonar continues:

    The Lord pledges His providence in their behalf; and surely this should be enough for every believing man; even as now also He says, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things." Yet how often still is a man overcome by the fear of losing employment, place, support, friends, if he adhere to the Lord's cause! Oh, we little credit the Lord's faithfulness! How abundant is the promised provision, reaching over the three years of which they were in doubt even until the new fruits came in. May we not leave in His hands all our difficulties as to the manner of future provision, and His mode of operation? (Ibid, 455.)

    Divine Providence is defined as God working all things for the benefit of His people, Rom 8:28ff. The call here is for God's people to do what they are told in the Law- Word of God, and depend upon the Lord to work out all things for them. They are not to fearfully lay up store for the future, fearful either that the Lord can not or that He will work things out. (As we said, they can lay up store, but it must not be from doubt that the Lord can and will take care of them, nor can it be at the expense of using what belongs to God, e.g., the tithe.)

    Bonar continues:

    The blessings of the Lord, not their industry, or skill, or foresight, was to be the source of all their safety and plenty. Nothing else is in sight, to sustain faith, but the assurance given that the Lord is able and willing--His heat is full of love to them, His holy arm full of strength for them. (Ibid.)

    Clearly, wealth comes from the Lord, even wealth given to the ungodly, for God owns everything. Without His strength, no one gains wealth, e.g., He can stop the heart at a moment's notice regardless of one's wealth or spiritual condition:

    De 8:17, And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for [it is] he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as [it is] this day. Ps 49:10, For he seeth [that] wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Ec 5:19, Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this [is] the gift of God. Ec 6:2, A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this [is] vanity, and it [is] an evil disease.

    "His heart is full of love to them, His holy arm full of strength for them." But His love will only feed and keep His people safely in the land as they follow v. 18. He never promised the old nation of Israel nor does He promise the new Israel, the church, to unconditionally supply their every need:

    Php 4:19, But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

    The above passage will not stand on its own apart from its context: It concludes the book of Philippians where precise instructions had been given to God's people how they were to live and act in every situation in which they found themselves, e.g., 1:27; 2:8, 15. In fact, it concludes a section where Paul presented the importance of contentment.

    It is thus a serious error, one that leads to destruction, to even think that the Lord promises to care for His own as His own go their own way contrary to God's Word.

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