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Blessings and Curses in Deuteronomy 28
Conditional Blessings . . . IF . . . and Curses . . . IF
The blessings and curses consigned to Israel are enumerated at length and with great detail. This solemn event took place on Israel's first entrance into the Promised Land. This chapter pretty much lays before them their whole destiny . . . and it all boiled down to their obedience OR disobedience. We can learn much if we have a mind to do so. Blessings and the curses are real and have real effects.
The blessings are put before the curses. God is amazingly slow to anger, but is swift to show mercy. It is His delight to bless people. Blessings are promised, BUT, there is a condition: they must diligently hearken to the voice of God. My friend, it has NOT changed since this event took place all those years ago, no matter what false teachers say. Only upon obedience to God, would His providence prosper in their lives, back then and today!
God shall pour out His blessings from Heaven upon us, as a soft gentle rain on dry ground IF we obey Him! Those blessings will overtake us (Deut.28:2). Good people who really desire to love and obey God, are represented as on their way to the kingdom of God, and God's blessings follow and overtake them in their heavenly journey. What a wonderful God we have! Today the Kingdom is in our hearts, but soon we shall enter the literal Kingdom. It cannot be long before our Lord returns for us! (John 14:2-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18). Also see: (Mat.25:31-46; Isa.9:6-7; Dan.2:44-45; 7:13-14; 8:18-22; Zech.14; 2 Thes. 1:7; Jude 1:14; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:11-20:7).
Deut. 28:1-2 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. (KJV) . . .
There are some things in this Passage worthy of our careful consideration:
- #1. IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. . . . The voice of God MUST be heard. Without a Divine revelation, HOW can God's will be known? And IF we do not know what it is, how can we fulfill it? So, HOW do we hear the Lord's Voice? Is it actually audible, that we can hear with our ears? No, contrary to false preachers saying it is, I believe they are wrong. It is the Holy Spirit that speaks to us! Matthew 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (KJV) John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (KJV) 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (KJV) . . . God has given me poems over the years. I am NOT a poet! The words come to me through the Holy Spirit. To God be the glory in all things, never me! I have never heard His literal Voice. All I know is, the words come into my head and I write them down.
- #2. When God speaks, we MUST hear and obey the words of His Mouth. Anyone who does not open their spiritual ears and hear, will not nor cannot obey.
- #3. Anyone who hears and obey the words of God are on their way to the Kingdom of Heaven. Curses shall fall on anyone who stands in the way of sinners reaching out to God, and curses will overtake anyone who pauses and lingers in their own way of righteousness.
- #4. All those who walk in the way of God's testimonies shall have an abundance of blessings, for in their walk through life they shall continue to receive fulfillment of the many different promises of God, with each blessing overtaking them in the right time and place where most needed.
The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 are Passages that people really like. Very likable words! People quote the verses and are more than ready to apply them to themselves. Also, some pastors like to use the verses to pray for their congregations.
BUT, few people have any desire to read the rest of the chapter. Are you guilty? Have you ever “Read the Bible through in a Year”? Many churches do this. Many inmates do this. I have one inmate who has read through the Bible multiple times, 20? 30? But, in my estimation, that is all he has done . . . read! I honestly do not think the Words of this magnificent Book penetrate his heart. He is not applying what he reads to his life. I pray I am wrong.
When you read verses 1-14, you relax and even gladly apply the verses to yourself. BUT, when you reach verse 15, many seem to freeze, or just read and do NOT consider what is really being said. When you read the "good" verses, you have no qualms. Then you come to verse 15, and the 54 "bad" verses that follow and you become tense and uneasy. You start to seriously consider just what is being said.
Almost 5 times as many "bad" things (curses) are mentioned as "good" (blessings)! WHAT is God trying to tell us? It is quite simple! Israel's obedience to God’s commandments was the condition for the blessings of the first fourteen verses. See the IF in the following verses.
Deut. 28:1-2 And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. (KJV) Deut.28:9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, IF thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. (KJV) Deut.28:13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; IF that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: (KJV) . . . IF! IF! IF! Emphasis mine. Conditional! IF they (and we) obey God!
Disobedience to God’s commandments is the condition for the curses in the following fifty-four verses. See below.
Deut.28:15 But it shall come to pass, IF thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (KJV) Deut.28:58 IF thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; (KJV) . . . IF! Emphasis mine. Conditional!
It seems that Moses took extra time to explain the curses as a warning to the people. WHY??? He, as a servant of the Most High, had a deep desire that they understand, and obey! He followed the example of God in Leviticus 26 where God also gave him similar warnings.
Moses had previously summarized these warnings. Deut.11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, IF ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, IF ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (KJV) . . . Emphasis mine. Again . . . IF! Conditional!
A careful study of the history of the people of Israel when they eventually occupied the Promised Land reveals how all these blessings and curses came to pass in their lives. They had blessings and prosperity when they diligently obeyed the commandments of God, BUT curses and punishments came when they disobeyed the commandments. My friend, it is the same with Christians today!
What do you want from God? His blessings? Or His curses? God has NOT changed! Just as Israel had to OBEY God to be blessed, we too must OBEY God OR His curses and punishment shall follow. We as Christians must diligently, willingly and lovingly obey His commandments in the Scriptures to have His blessings. Obey Him and His blessings will be yours. Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV) . . . Jesus' words.. . . Do you see what our Lord is saying? LOVE covers ALL the Old Testament! (verse 40). The Christian's command today is LOVE. Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV) Romans 13:9-10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (KJV) James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: (KJV) IF you follow the Golden Rule, you will NEVER do or say anything bad or evil against anyone!
God knows our hearts! We CANNOT fool Him at any time, at any place or anywhere in this world. Don't try!
Blessings? or Curses? Which is it for you?
Blessings and/or Curses
Blessings, Curses, Mountains of
Blessings IF . . . Curses IF!
Blessings, Free Will To Choose
Blessings from God
Blessings Promised to the Righteous
Blessings Promised By God
Blessings to Abraham
BEWARE!!! . . . ??Hundred-Fold Blessings?? . . . BEWARE!!!