Leviticus 26:23, 24
And if you will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary to me;…
The text suggests the question, How far does God's treatment of us depend on our attitude towards him? And the answer must be somewhat complex.
I. IN LARGE MEASURE, GOD'S TREATMENT OF US IS QUITE IRRESPECTIVE OF OUR CONDUCT TOWARD HIM. He has done much for us from the promptings of his own generous and beneficent nature. As the sun gives light because it is light, regardless of the objects on which it shines, so our God, who is a Sun (Psalm 84:11), is sending forth beams of truth, love, beauty, happiness, because in him is all fullness, and from that abundance there must flow blessing and bounty on every hand (see Psalm 103:10, 11; Matthew 5:45).
II. IN LARGE MEASURE, GOD'S TREATMENT OF US DEPENDS ON OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD HIM.
1. Right feeling on our part is reciprocated with kind feeling on his. If we love him, he will love us and come to us (John 14:23).
2. Rebellious conduct on our part brings down adverse action on his part. If we" will walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to us, and punish us for our sins." The greater part of this chapter (verses 14-39) is a terrible admonition that, if we provoke God by our willful disobedience, we must expect to find his hand against us in all the paths of life, our growing iniquity meeting with his multiplying wrath and darkening retribution.
3. Repentant action on our part is met by returning favour on his (Jeremiah 3:22; Joel 2:12-14; Isaiah 44:22; Isaiah 55:7). Let the prodigal son arise to return, and, "while yet a great way off," the heavenly Father will run to meet and to welcome him (Luke 15).
III. GOD'S GOODNESS TO US WILL SEEM TO US TO VARY ACCORDING TO THE RECTITUDE OF OUR SOULS TOWARD HIM. As men seem to us to be just or unjust, kind or unkind, according to the position we occupy toward them, so also does the Father of spirits. "All the paths of the Lord are" (and are seen to be) "mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies" (Psalm 25:10). But the ways of the Lord will seem "contrary" to the rebellious. With the merciful man God shows himself merciful; with the froward he shows himself froward (Psalm 18:26). The guilty will exclaim against the inequality of God's dealings (Ezekiel 33:17). He will seem unjust because they are unholy, because their spirit is false and wrong (Matthew 20:15). Those who fear God and love his Son their Saviour, join in the psalm of the Church on earth, "The Lord is righteous in all his ways,... his tender mercies are over all his works" (Psalm 145); they anticipate the strain of the Church in heaven, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints" (Revelation 15:3). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me;