From Deuteronomy 28-29
Ever heard of the covenant blessings and curses given to the Jews?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
We have just read through a large amount of the Jewish law. Deuteronomy ends in a similar manner to Leviticus. At the end of a series of commands, Moses exhorts obedience by describing the blessings God will favor them with if they obey, and the curses if they don’t.
28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. (Dt 28.1-6)
If we compare the two sections (blessings and curses) one will notice the blessings section is shorter. This next passage is only the start of the curses.
15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. (Dt 28.15-19)
Moses will go on describing what the LORD will do to Israel if they are disobedient. Essentially disobedience implies they do not believe in the LORD and have wandered away to other gods. The curses are in part warnings. God sends these warnings so they may realize what they have done and return back to the LORD.
I’ve broken the curses down into specific categories;
- Pestilence, disease and drought (Dt 28.20-24)
- Defeated by enemies (Dt 28.25-26)
- Boils and tumors (Dt 28.27-29)
- Increased crime, family and property plundered (Dt 28.29-35)
- Foreign rule (Dt 28.36-37)
- Locusts (Dt 28.38-40)
- War, Exile and Captivity (Dt 28.41-44)
- Famine and Starvation (Dt 28.54-57)
The LORD says at the end;
58 “If you are not careful to do 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, 59 then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. 60 And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. 62 Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God. 63 And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
64 “And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. 68 And the LORD will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer. (Dt 28:58–68)
Story of Israel
Of the two blessings and curses, Israel was mainly cursed by the LORD. They continued a pattern of disobedience which revealed they had unbelieving hearts. God was faithful to his covenant promise to curse Israel and he did, eventually sending Israel into exile. Both Daniel (Dan 9) and Nehemiah (Neh 9) call God righteous because he did so.
Story of Jesus
When Jesus died and rose again he brought blessings. One of God’s promises to Abraham was that through him all nations would be blessed (Gen 12.3). Paul announces the fulfillment of this gospel message in Galatians.
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Gal 3.8-9)
Those who are blessed are believing Gentiles like you and me.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.