Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Deuteronomy, chapters 28 and 29, in which God offers promises of blessings and curses depending upon Israel’s obedience. Some impressions from the text:
- Reading how the Lord promises to bless Israel if they prove obedient, we might be tempted to embrace the so-called prosperity gospel – the idea that God offers material blessing and comfort to faithful believers. There are a few flaws with that notion:
- The text here addresses Israel specifically, and does not apply to believers today, at least not directly.
- Even as God offered this assurance of blessing, He did so with foreknowledge that Israel would not obey.
- The broader context of scripture makes clear that believers can expect difficulty and persecution resulting from their faith. Indeed, rather than deliverance from such hardship, we are encouraged to persevere through it.
- By contrast, the curses promised in response to disobedience read like a description of hell, mothers and fathers eating their own children as their cities lay under siege. This literally occurred eventually.
- While God offered blessing and curse through divine intervention to Israel, He provides the same to all through the natural consequences of sin. The problems plaguing mankind today stem from disobedience to God. Even in our fallen state, we could enjoy an immensely improved quality of life if we lived it God’s way.
- As God renews his covenant with Israel, special warning is given against hypocrisy. “When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,’ they will bring disaster…” We cannot deceive God.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Moses recounts Israel’s journey through the wilderness. – Deuteronomy 1 and 2
Moses emphasizes obedience to, and glorification of, God. – Deuteronomy 3 and 4
God’s commandments serve a holy purpose. – Deuteronomy 5 through 7
Moses implores Israel to know, trust, and obey God. – Deuteronomy 8 through 10
Focused wholly on God. – Deuteronomy 11 through 13
Holiness requires us to be intentionally different. – Deuteronomy 14 through 16
Trust in the inerrancy of the Lord. – Deuteronomy 17 through 20
Laws for everything under the sun. – Deuteronomy 21 through 23
Confirm this law by keeping it. – Deuteronomy 24 through 27