Read Deuteronomy 28
Moses related to the Israelites the blessings the people would receive: It shall come to pass, if you shall harken diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command you this day. . . . The Lord shall open to you His good treasure . . . 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. If they followed their unbelieving parents, God foretold vexation . . . in all that you set your hand to do (28:20). Moses further warned: The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto you. . . . Shall smite you with a consumption, and with a fever. . . . And you shall not prosper (28:21-22,29).
In this 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, 14 verses express the wonderful blessings assured to all who are obedient to God's Word. However, the consequences of disobedience are suffering, sorrow, and shame. 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 of the disciples who, seeing the blind man, asked: Who sinned, this man, or his parents? . . . Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest 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 and turned away from Jesus. Victory over the self-life comes to us in the same way that God "gave" the Promised Land to the Israelites -- it must be taken by faith.
Faith in the promises of God led Joshua to put forth extraordinary effort to conquer the land. And, by the grace of God, he did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded (Joshua 11:15). Joshua illustrates how to be more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Romans 8:37) and how to enjoy the peace of God, which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). In contrast, many worldly-minded Christians are still complacently "waiting" for the Lord to deliver them from their evil ways. However, just as He did with Joshua, God expects us to act upon our faith by bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). Shall we sin, because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:15-16).
Victory over our present-day Canaanite giants -- the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16) -- is achieved, not because of our abilities or lack of them, but through 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 can do all things through Christ which 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 all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).
Word Studies: 28:5 store means kneading trough or bread bin; 28:20 vexation means frustrations, distresses; 28:26 fray means frighten; 28:27 botch means boils or sores; emerods means tumors; 28:53 fruit means offspring; straitness means distressing confinement; 28:59 plagues wonderful means extraordinary afflictions.
Pray for World Missionary Press · Country: Armenia (3 million) southwest Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia · Major languages: Armenian and Russian · Religious freedom · 79% Armenian/Russian Orthodox; 3% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for His mercy to cleanse from all sins (Psalms 51:2).
Optional Reading: John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:19