Day 19

Blessings and Curses

from the Deuteronomy reading plan

Deuteronomy 27:9-26, Deuteronomy 28:1-68, Galatians 3:10-26

BY Kara Gause

When I entered my twenties, I began to appreciate my parents’ commitment in raising me, or honestly, just keeping me alive all those years. When I got married, my eyes were opened to the startling reality of how thoroughly selfish I can be. (It’s astounding, I tell you.) And when I became a parent, I got a glimpse at just how unfathomably patient God has been toward me. 

These are my personal experiences, yet when I read today’s passages from Deuteronomy, I’m reminded of how much patience and mercy God has always extended toward His people. In these verses, God spells out for His children through Moses and the Levitical priests, exactly what is required for them to belong to Him—and what will happen should they stray (Deuteronomy 27:9). 

For Israel, choosing God and obeying His ways would yield abundant blessing (Deuteronomy 28:2). Choosing any other way, whether their own, or the practices of surrounding nations, would result in complete and utter catastrophe, something God does not want (v.14). Each graphic detail of blessing or curse works to help them choose to wholeheartedly love and obey Him. If they agree to the terms of the covenant but don’t follow through with obedience, calamity will follow; ultimately, they “will be ripped out of the land [they] are entering to possess,” scattered across other nations, and sent back to Egypt, where they will hope to sell themselves back into slavery (v.63).

Mind you, these are hardly “gotcha” curses, coming out of nowhere. It’s as if God is intentionally detailing these consequences to ward them off destructive paths. Israel doesn’t have to be overtaken by curses; God is equally offering the chance to be overtaken by blessing instead—by joyfully serving God and obeying the law (v.2,47).

So often, I tend to separate God’s character from His commands, considering them a burden when they’re meant to be a gift “for the sake of [our] transgressions,” protecting us from our sin and ourselves (Galatians 3:19). In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul explained that the law once contained our sin, even acting as “our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith” in Him (v.24). No, we could never keep it perfectly, but it led the way until “the way, the truth, and the life” Himself came to fulfill it on our behalf (Matthew 5:17; John 14:6). It was given by a mediator, and in the end, perfectly fulfilled by our great Mediator (Galatians 3:19–20).

Growing up, I rarely understood the purpose of boundaries and discipline in the moments I so desperately needed them. “No discipline seems enjoyable at the time,” regardless of how lovingly it is given (Hebrews 12:11). I wonder if the same can be said of how I instinctively view God’s commands, failing to see them as the protection and provision they offered God’s wayward people until freedom offered by faith in Jesus Christ became ours (Galatians 3:25–26).

Post Comments (31)

31 thoughts on "Blessings and Curses"

  1. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    So many blessings listed, and so many curses! I feel like, if I were the Israelites I would be way to afraid to NOT obey God’s words…but then I look back on my own life and see how many times in the past I did things my way – without God. And then I am humbled and thankful that God didn’t pour any of His wrath upon me. He could have, but He didn’t. God is gracious and merciful and wants to bless us. He is slow to anger, loving and forgiving – how can I not love, serve and obey Him! Have a blessed weekend all my SRT sisters!

  2. Traci Gendron says:

    I’ve been doing the study, but not commenting. My husband is having a lot of pain. He started hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Praying that helps. Tanner is stable. We adjusted one of his meds and hoping that helps him as well.

    I agree with Terri and Kristen about our nation. We need to pray hard.

  3. Laurel says:

    Mandy Clark–Thank you for your well thought and stated reflection of today’s readings.

  4. Sarah Baker says:

    Prayers, Jessie! God is not absent.

  5. Dorothy says:

    Paul hit the “nail on the head” when he wrote, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26) Faith is what will carry anyone through anything. The stronger the faith the more you can get through and you can help others.
    Have a blessed and wonderful weekend sisters of Christ.

  6. Victoria E says:

    Thank you Kathy for posting this. I was feeling the same way and felt this utter relief and joy when I got to the passages from Galatians. My thankfulness to Jesus for saving us from our inevitable failures is inexpressible. Nads, I will keep praying for Danny’s family.

  7. Victoria E says:

    Jessie I’m so sorry this happened ! I will pray for you

  8. Nads says:

    Thank you TERRI for pulling out that verse.

    Thanks KRISTEN for your prayer…Amen!

    This struck me “All these blessings will come and OVERTAKE YOU, because you obey the Lord your God…” (28:2) — I love this idea of being bathed in and overwhelmed by his blessings!!!

    (Sadly, there’s a later verse about curses “come and overtake”)

    “The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that YOU BEAR THE LORD’S NAME, and they will STAND IN AWE of you.” (Deuteronomy 28:9-10)

    Lord, let my life be one of obedience to and OVERFLOWING LOVE for You!

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