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Blessings, Curses, and Obedience
Discover the consequences for ignoring the promises of Deuteronomy 28
Deuteronomy 28 spells out the blessings to be had for obeying God’s Law and the curses to expect for setting them aside.
Rather than writing about Deuteronomy 28, I'll start off by quoting/summarizing the entire passage. I encourage you to read along in your Bible and consider how these blessings and curses might apply to our society presently. In my next post, I'll draw out ONE example from the text below.
Introduction to Deuteronomy 28 Blessings
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
Blessings for Obedience
You be in the city and the country.
Be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground, the increase of your herds, and the offspring of your flocks.
Be your basket and your kneading bowl.
You be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
The Lord will:
Cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
Command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.
Open Heavens and Blessings Galore
Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Introduction to Curses for Disobedience
But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
You be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.
Be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
You be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
The Lord will:
Send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me.
Make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess.
Strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron.
Change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
Cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away.
More Curses, Sorrow, and Confusion
Moreover, the Lord will:
Strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.
Strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you.
Strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
Bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods—wood and stone. And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the Lord will drive you.
Lower and Lower Until Destroyed
The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you.
If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses.
And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.
[End of passage]
Are We A Blessed or Cursed People?
Honesty demands we recognize these curses are presently upon us1 — and we should not be surprised — for we have turned away from God's good laws as a means to rule self and society.
If we want physical, spiritual, and emotional blessings to abound as spelled out in this passage, we must rethink our view of life and politics. As Abraham Kuyper, past Prime Minister of the Netherlands said, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'"
Or as Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matthew 12:30).
The Myth of Neutrality
In other words, there is nothing in this Universe which is neutral, including education, economics, civics, politics, elected leaders, entertainment, philosophy, medicine, etc.
Christ does not merely claim Lordship over Christians and the Church. On the contrary, Christ claims crown rights over all things visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, families, and nations (Colossians 1:16-18). Though God has declared Christ as head “of” the Church, He has also given Christ as head over all things "to" the church (Ephesians 1:22).
Christ's Preeminence Is Universal
God gave Christ to the Church as head over all things so we could proclaim His preeminence over all things, including education, economics, civics, politics, elected leaders, entertainment, philosophy, medicine, etc., (Colossians 1:18-20).
Hopefully not yours, but the majority of churches in the United States and abroad have failed here. Many churches have adopted and do preach that governments, learning institutions, the sciences, etc., are neutral. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything in the world (apart from Christ) lies in the hands of the evil one (1 John 5:19). If we look to godless medicine, education, and government to guide us and our children, we should expect to be taken under the sway the realm of darkness. And we have.
The church's job is to bring all these things in submission to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). He paid the price for that to happen on the cross (Colossians 1:20).
What Institution Is Excluded?
Every person and institution is either for Christ or against Him. They either lie under the sway of Christ or Satan. There is nothing in between. Until we adopt this truth, we cannot understand where we have strayed, nor can we get back on course.
When we proclaim Christ's Lordship over all things, the enemy may snarl, scream, and even bite — but in the end, Satan cannot stand against the truth of God's Word. The devil is already defeated at the cross. Satan and his minions must flee when we resist them (James 4:7). They can do nothing else. Christ came the first time to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). When we understand these truths and begin to apply them to all of society, God can (and will) bless the nations as He desires.
It can only come through the obedience of faith (Romans 16:26; Matthew 28:18-20), i.e., keeping God’s commandments, precepts, and statutes through the power of the Spirit and applying them to (and over) ever sphere, institution, discipline, philosophy, and realm.
The next chapter will put some flesh on this by looking at one example from Deuteronomy 28: the fruit of the womb.
Receive new posts and help me proclaim the preeminence of Christ over all creation.
The good news is that these curses are not in the final stage. That means there is still time to turn from our wicked ways. God promises that “if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it” (Jeremiah 18:8). There is still time.