March 10

Read Deuteronomy 28

In Today 's Reading:

Blessings for obedience; consequences for disobedience

Moses related to the Israelites the blessings the people would receive: If you faithfully obey the LORD your God, being careful to follow all His commands which I am giving you today. . . . The LORD will open . . . the heavens, for you, to provide the rain for your land in due time, and to bless all the work of your hands (Deuteronomy 28:1,12). The Israelites could choose either to live as His word directed and enjoy the Lord's blessings or to reject His word, as their parents had done, and suffer the consequences. Moses further warned: The LORD will pursue you with plague until He has completely removed you from the land which you are entering to possess. The LORD will afflict you . . . with sword. . . . and you will not prosper in your endeavors. Surely you will be oppressed and plundered forever, and there will be no deliverer (28:21-22,29).

Almost four times as many verses warn of the curses resulting from disobedience. The obvious conclusion of God's word is that each sin has a consequence ? and it definitely does. However, this fact can also be misapplied, as in the case when Jesus' disciples questioned Him: Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man sinned nor his parents, Jesus answered. This came about so that God's works might be displayed in him (John 9:2-3). What seemed to be a curse, became a blessing, for it brought this man to His Savior.

This points out that not all misfortunes are the result of sin, and that not all wealth and good health are necessarily a blessing from God. Consider the rich young ruler who chose to keep his wealth but it kept him from denying self and becoming a follower of Jesus.

Victory over our present-day Canaanite giants ? the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one's lifestyle (I John 2:16) ? is achieved, not because of our abilities but because of our commitment to do the will of God. Overcoming power is found in cooperating with the Spirit of Christ, who dwells within us. As the apostle Paul revealed: I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

Christ Revealed:

As the One from whom our blessings come (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). Blessed be the God . . . who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing . . . in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Prayer Needs:

Country: South Korea (47 million) in northeastern Asia · Major languages: Korean and English · Religious freedom · 33% Buddhist; 24% Protestant; 22% Confucianism and other eastern religions; 4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Bless the Lord for your redemption (Psalms 103:4).

Optional Reading: John 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:14