A Blessing and A Curse
Deuteronomy 11:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. 2 Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the Lord your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, 3 and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land; 4 and what He did to Egypt’s army, to its horses and its chariots, when He made the water of the Red Sea to engulf them while they were pursuing you, and the Lord completely destroyed them; 5 and what He did to you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben, when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, their households, their tents, and every living thing that followed them, among all Israel— 7 but your own eyes have seen all the great work of the Lord which He did.
8 “You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it; 9 so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. 11 But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.
13 “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. 15 He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16 Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 17 Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
18 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. 22 For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours; your border will be from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea. 25 No man will be able to stand before you; the Lord your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you.
26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.
Why is it that people think that because God is loving and gracious, He cannot or would not also be just? Loving people unconditionally does not mean that we embrace all of their actions unconditionally. As parents we love our children but we do not embrace their choices of immorality, dishonesty or lasciviousness. A wife may love her husband but not tolerate or embrace infidelity. We love our family members and friends but do not encourage or condone their addictions. Why should we expect that just because God loves people, He should tolerate or condone their sinfulness? I am not sure if in our culture and society we have come to the point where we believe there are no absolutes, that everything is subject to our own reality, and that is why we expect that God’s commandments are also relative, or if it is that we have become so hardened to God’s commandments that we also disregard human law.
In today’s text it says: “You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments…
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God,
but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.” What we have to realize is that the curse for disobedience is not God’s punishment but rather it is
the removal from and the absence of His protection and blessings. God still loves us even when we sin. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The psalmist understood what
it meant to live in and under God’s blessing. In Psalm 91 he says: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. It is in dwelling and abiding in God that we are protected by Him. It is in that nearness to Him that we find His blessing and provision. Sin, disobedience to God’s commandments causes us to be separated from Him. Sin and disobedience also then cause us to be separated from the blessing, the protection and the provision of God.
Jeremiah 29:11 says: I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. God’s plans, His intention and His will for each person is for good. The curse God sets before each one is not His punishment for disobedience. It is the consequence of disobedience. When we choose to disobey, we put ourselves outside of God’s protection and provision. Again the curse is not God’s punishment. It is the absence of His blessing. Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) God wants us to live in His blessing, His protection and provision. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to provide a way out of the curse which is separation from God. God doesn’t punish people for sin and disobedience. But neither does He embrace sin. The curse of sin is separation from God, both here in this realm and eternally. On the cross, Jesus redeemed us from sin, that we could be reconciled to God, so that we can abide with Him. Abiding in and dwelling with God, we then have all of His blessing, protection and provision. In obedience to God we then receive all that He plans for us. No one should blame God for the curse of present or eternal separation from Him. God is love and He demonstrated His love through the cross of Christ so that we might be blessed and not cursed. Each individual must choose for themselves whether to live under God’s blessing or separated by sin to be left to the natural consequences of disobedience.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for Your love for me, love that is demonstrated in the cross. Thank You for Your good plans for me, for the blessing of redemption, reconciliation and restoration. Holy Spirit guide me today and every day to walk in obedience that I might also walk in the fullness of God’s blessing, through the cross of Christ. Amen.