The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 19
The Blessings and Cursings of Deuteronomy reveal both God's good intent toward His people and their evil response toward His goodness. "Life is good" for those who love and obey Him. "Life is bad, very bad indeed" for those who disobey Him.
"Life is good" - God's heart to do good to and for His people is revealed through the blessing statements, "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God" (Deut. 28:2). The store rooms of heaven burst forth in abundance toward those who obey Him. Moses lists four basic areas of blessings and then elaborates upon the benefits of those blessings (28:3-6):
- Urban and rural blessings - Blessings would be poured out on the Israelites regardless of where they lived in the city and the country.
- Fertility blessings - When God originally created plant and animal life, He commanded them to "Be fruitful and multiply." He will bless them with fruitfulness and multiplication.
- Agricultural blessings - Cupboards will be full and bread will never be lacking.
- In and out blessings - Israel need never fear her enemies.
God purposes to bless His people because His commands are right and good. Obedience places God's people in the way of blessing, while disobedience carries them off of that path and into the way of destruction.
"Life is bad, very bad indeed" for those whose disobedience takes them onto the path of judgment. God warns Israel of the consequences of continued disobedience. Not only does God withhold blessings, but He promises that evil will "come upon you and overtake you" (28:15). Moses lists four basic areas of cursing and elaborates extensively regarding those cursings (28:15-68):
- Urban and rural cursings - Those who disobey God cannot avoid judgment by changing their geographic location. Judgment overtakes them wherever they flee.
- Agricultural cursing - Debt, drought, and famine shrink the resources of those who continue in disobedience; yet they continue to disobey the LORD.
- Fertility cursing - Instead of multiplying, captors take the crops and children of those who continue in disobedience.
- In and out cursing - Oppressors overwhelm, lay siege, and eventually take a disobedient people into captivity.
The blessings and cursings reveal two basic truths:
- God's heart to do good for His people produces great blessing.
- Man's hardness of heart and rebellion toward God precipitate horrific consequences.
Two opposing paths weave their way throughout the Biblical narrative: the way of life and the way of death; the way of truth and the way of deception; the narrow way and the broad way. Every generation and every person chooses one path or the other. Blessing or cursing. Obedience or disobedience.
Questions from today's reading (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:1):
What attitude does giving the tithe communicate about provisions and God?
Why were the people of Israel to build an altar of whitewashed stones on Mount Ebal?
Make a list of the consequences of disobedience in chapter 28 and compare it with the blessing and cursings given forty years earlier. What heart attitude toward God does long-term disobedience reflect? (hint: 28:47)