And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you. (Leviticus 26:23-24)
Every parent understands what is being expressed here. When a child — particularly one who is old enough to know better — becomes so obstinate and rebellious that they refuse to follow the house rules, a parent has to take a hard stand. Not to do so would simply enable bad behavior to continue — that cannot be. In this scenario, the child (Israel) has gone so far as to turn their back on the parent (The Almighty) and so He is compelled to turn His back to the child, hence the statement, “I also will walk contrary to you.”
In effect, He was telling them that if they were going to be so hard-hearted, He would have no other option but to remove His Presence from their midst. This had come close to happening at least once before following the incident with the Golden Calf. Had it not been for the intercession of Moses, Israel would have been in a precarious position, wandering the wilderness without the comfort of knowing God was with them. In other words, where the consequence of sin is concerned, there could be no worse consequence than the removal of His Presence.
When people become so rebellious that they refuse to “see” Him, and He is forced to remove His Presence, it makes it very difficult for them to see truth. In fact, there are some who, because they didn’t receive the truth, will be given over to “strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). So the point is then, we should always be willing to embrace the truth of God’s Word, even when it hurts. Furthermore, with our whole heart, we should turn to Him and truly seek His face. When we do this, we have the promise of His Presence in our life, meaning that He will turn His face toward us and so we pray:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Blessings and Shalom,