The commands of God show that God has an expectation for obedience. God does not give commands as the One True Living God that is holy, righteous, just, sovereign, and eternally almighty so that His Word can be ignored as if it isn’t a big deal. God speaks to reveal His eternally glorious and awesome nature, intending to impart favor and benefits unto those who listen. God expects everyone to listen. However, the language of the Bible can sometimes create confusion regarding God’s commands. The Bible explains that God knows everything. Therefore, though He gave commands to His people expecting obedience, He knew of their sinful nature, and understood that His people were not able to obey. One must then ask the question, “If God knows His people are unable to obey His commands, why does God give commands to begin with?”
The answer to this question is clearly given in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. When the children of Israel were making preparations to enter into the Promised Land, Moses took the opportunity to speak many prophetic revelations concerning the future of Israel, which is history at this point in time. God was sure to explain that obedience to His commands of the Law would result in tremendous benefits. Upon obey the laws, commands, statutes, and testimonies that God spoke through Moses, the children of Israel would be considered as heirs to the promises that God made to Abraham. The children of Israel would be a great nation, flourishing in the land, living in peace and rest, blessing the world through the work God did in and through them. At the same time, Moses took the opportunity to let Israel know about their future should they depart from the Word of God, rejecting the righteousness of God communicated through the Law, and adopting their own form of righteousness instead. God spoke of terrible plagues and curses that would lead to the undoing of God’s promises. Disobedience would cause the children of Israel to be a weak nation, scattered all over the face of the earth, being oppressed by foreign nations as pitiful and cursed people.
The Bible shows that God spoke of these curses prophetically. While the statements of curses were intended to be warnings, hindsight shows that God’s Word was prophetic in nature. The children of Israel did depart from the laws and commands that God gave. The children of Israel did seek other gods and idols in place of Him. The children of Israel did reject God and His righteousness in order to make up their own brand of false righteousness. Consequently, the children of Israel were removed from the land, inflicted with diseases, barren in provision, and looked at as cursed from other nations. The Bible shows that God knew His people would reject Him, His promises, and His righteousness. Yet Deuteronomy 30:1-10 explains that the gracious faithfulness of God was greater than the sin that Israel could commit. Though God knew Israel would reject Him, God’s grace was greater than their rejection so that His promises to Israel would be fulfilled nonetheless. As the Apostle Paul wrote, where sin abounded, grace did about much more!
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 explains that God promised to restore Israel. God knew Israel was unable to obey His commands. Therefore, God knew He would have to deliver judgment and punishment to express His justice and righteousness. However, God’s judgments were always dealt with restraint; always leaving a remnant behind to repent and receive restoration. God told the children of Israel that, though they would depart from His Word, the curses that He brought against them to take them out of the Promised Land, would cause the people to remember the Lord, His promises, His power, and His faithfulness. God would use the curses with good cause, to bring the minds and hearts of His people back to Himself through repentance. Deuteronomy 30:1-10 explains that God delivered curses in order to facilitate repentance amongst the small remnant of Israel that remained and endured the curses (such as seen through the books of Nehemiah, Ezra, and Zechariah). God’s heart was not to destroy His people, though He did take pleasure in the administration of justice. Rather, God’s heart was to break the pride and self-righteousness of His people to cause them to repent from their sin, thus allowing God to do the work that He longed to do from the beginning.
God first commanded the children of Israel to obey His commands by “loving the Lord God with heart, soul, and strength.” The prophecies of curses AND restoration shows that God knew His people would not be able to do that. Having a sinful nature, God knew that the hearts of His people were wicked and deceitful God knew that the souls of His people were dead in sin. God knew that His people had no strength. However, Deuteronomy 30:1-10 explains that the essence of God’s restorative work was to change the condition of His people. God said that in the midst of repentance and His restoration, He would “circumcise the heart” of the descendants of Israel in order that they would be able to love God in the way He expected. This means that it is impossible to “love God” unless God first circumcises the heart. This means that it is impossible to obey God’s commands unless God first circumcises the heart. This means that love and obedience are both dependent on God’s work. Love and obedience are dependent on the promises and power of God, not His people. According to Deuteronomy 30:1-10, this work of “circumcision” only begins when God’s people humble themselves in repentance, acknowledging their condition as sinners, seeking Him in repentance, and allowing Him to do that which He desires to do in restoration.
The phrase “circumcision of heart” refers to a two-fold work that God does in justification and sanctification. Justification refers to God’s declaration of a person being righteous. This does not mean the person is “made” righteous. Instead, it means that God has declared the person righteous in spite of their unrighteous nature. Sanctification speaks of the work that God does by His Spirit to revive and restore the souls of His people that are dead in sin, by cleansing unrighteousness and imparting His own righteousness and holiness. Both the work of justification AND sanctification are done by God through the circumcision of the heart. Circumcision in a physical sense referred to the cutting away of fleshly foreskin. Spiritual circumcision of the heart refers to the cutting away of one’s flesh that is dead in sin. God desires to cut that person away from the revived and restored soul in order that one will resemble a new creation in Him. Though these sound like New Testament promises that are founded on the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God was candidly communicating these promises in Deuteronomy 30:1-10.
God knows that the natural person is unable to obey His commands. This is why God promised to transform the condition of His people so that they had a supernatural essence that resembled His own. One cannot be obedient to love God (or anyone for that matter) unless the One True Living God has circumcised one’s heart. The circumcision of heart refers to the work of restoration that God does to forgive His people of sin, restore His people to a good condition (according to His holy standards), and engage His people as heirs to His promises. One cannot receive these benefits from God unless one first repents. According to Deuteronomy 30:1-10, repentance is the process by which one acknowledges one’s pitifully unrighteous condition destined for despair, seeks God’s mercy for forgiveness, and turns from one’s self-righteousness to the standards of God’s true righteousness as communicated through His Word (and now pictured in His Son). God transforms the hearts of those who want to be transformed: those who truly want God and the benefits of His eternally unconditional promises, acknowledging that they are unattainable apart from Him. Repentance is simply the manner in which one’s desire and affection for God, His righteousness, and His promises are communicated. At the moment of faith in God’s righteousness (made manifest in Jesus Christ) and repentance, God equips His people for obedience, thereby causing Him to be pleased with one’s condition, and making one an heir to the benefits of His promises!
Knowing this, one can see that, while Israel made many mistakes that caused God to do some devastating things in their history, God’s grace was greater than their sin. God promised restoration before the actual sins were committed because God is faithfully committed to His people. Deuteronomy 30:1-10 bluntly states that no matter how far the children of Israel were cast off, God would draw them back to Himself! This is great news as it expresses that one cannot “out-sin” God’s grace. Though God has a threshold of patience and forgiveness, such threshold is not at the expense of His eternally unconditional promises to Israel, or the rest of the world for that matter. Israel has always been God’s chosen people, and always will be. While many generations have been cursed on account of disobedience, God’s promises are predicated on the work He will continue to do to transform them into a humbly repentant nation (in time) so that He can change them into a condition that is able to receive the benefits of His promises, glorifying Himself in the process. If God were to cast of Israel because of sin, then God would be obligated to cast off everyone because of sin. However, the One True Living God is not so weak that sin is able to overcome His intents and promises!
God’s promises to Israel are about as thorough as thorough can get. God clearly proclaimed His plan, promises, and expectations for Israel. The children of Israel were repeatedly told that they were God’s special children, selected in order that God could do an unique public work through God. God clearly communicated that He desired to glorify Himself by fulfilling promises that were clearly communicated just the same. God desired to glorify Himself by transforming the condition of Israel through the fulfillment of His promises as an observable example of the work He does spiritually in salvation through Jesus and His Spirit. In order to accomplish this work, God revealed Himself in incredibly powerful and unique ways throughout Israel’s history. God not only manifested Himself in various supernatural forms throughout Israel’s history, but also revealed His righteousness through the laws, commands, statutes, and testimonies that He communicated to Israel through Moses. Then, after God revealed Himself to the children of Israel this way on Mount Sinai, Moses retaught the children of Israel the Law before they moved into the Promised Land so that the righteousness of God was revealed again!
As God continually communicated to the children of Israel in ways the world has never seen since, He was clear to explain that He expected the children of Israel to express gratitude for the revelation that God had given. One must consider that the Bible contextually defines God’s revelations as the manifestation of truths that mankind would not know unless God made them known. A common example of this sort of “revelation” is found in Genesis and also the Book of Revelation (of course). In Genesis, mankind was not created until the 6th day. Thus, God made known the events of creation in the form of revelation since mankind would not have known how the worlds were formed otherwise. In a similar manner, God revealed the events of the last days in how Jesus would be glorified as the King of kings and Lord of lords. The insights that God shared with the apostle John through the Book of Revelation explains information that mankind would not know otherwise.
When one considers this reality, the contents of Deuteronomy 29:16-29 become very important. The scriptures explain that, while God did keep many things to Himself in secret, to be revealed at a later time, the children of Israel were required to be responsible with the revelation that God had given to Israel so far in their history. Since the revelations of God refer to things that mankind would not know without God, then one must consider the truths that God revealed. Deuteronomy 29:16-29 explains God’s revelation in the context of His Law. The Law is the documentation of God’s righteousness and justice. Since the Law is considered to be the revelation of God, then it is important to understand that the righteousness and justice of God would not be made known without the Law. Therefore, it is a TREMENDOUS privilege to possess the Law of God, even though it defines sin and unrighteousness in mankind. Without seeing the righteousness of God, mankind would not know or understand the difference between right and wrong, and would be unable to execute any form of honest justice. Since God gave His Law to the children of Israel, they were in a great position of privilege and were expected to respond in gratitude for the grace God had shown.
Deuteronomy 29:16-29 explains that God didn’t ask for much in terms of gratitude. God didn’t ask for more than what the Law already required. In fact, much of the essence of the Law was intended to cleanse the people from the mistakes they would inevitably make concerning the Law. God knew the children of Israel would not full get or appreciate the Law. Knowing the weaknesses of His people, God only expected their gratitude to be expressed through understanding in affection. Deuteronomy 29:16-29 reminded the children of Israel that God was interested in the hearts of His people. God reminded the children of Israel that He is a jealous God and is aroused to anger when His people seek to worship false gods and idols in place of Him. It was not other gods and idols that taught the difference between right and wrong. It was not other gods and idols that taught the proper ways of justice. It was not other gods and idols that delivered the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt. In fact, it was other gods and idols that failed to contend with the God of Israel when He opposed them to deliver His people from Egypt.
God only wanted His people to consider these truths, the favor that God had shown in spite of Israel’s unqualified and pitiful condition, and seek Him alone. Since Israel proved themselves to have no ability to provide for themselves in any capacity, crying out to the Lord for 400 years while in bondage to Egypt, God wanted Israel to respond in gratitude for the redemption that God provided for Israel. Deuteronomy 29:16-29 explains that God didn’t want Israel depending on self, or worshiping self. Deuteronomy 29:16-29 explains that the worship of false gods and idols was reflective of worshiping self since there are no other gods and idols. The worship of other entities and ideas is a reflection of one’s displeasure of God and rejection of Him as the One True Living God. The worship of other entities and ideas is simply a way that one manifests the desires of their own flesh apart from the righteousness of God. There are no other gods. There are none that compare with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Therefore, God reminded the people that the pursuit of fleshly desires while ignoring His amazing grace and favor would result in severe consequence.
God promised in Deuteronomy 29:16-29 that those who outwardly say they have peace as the people of God, but inwardly seek their own pursuits while neglecting God’s righteousness will not take part in the blessings that God desires to give. God explained it would be as impossible to include these people in His blessings as including drunkards with the sober. God assured the children of Israel that a departure from His righteousness would reflect hearts that simply didn’t care about the promises and purposes of God, and didn’t care about the work and favor God provided to bless His people. As a result, those people would be separated from the inheritance of God. Those of Israel that did not care for the things of God, and were only concerned with their own fleshly affections would be removed from the congregation of Israel as heirs, and God plainly stated that He would blot them out of His book! The extent of curses against those people would be such that outsiders would be able to see and recognize the judgments of God against Israel. The Bible teaches that, while Israel would grow mad and confused, foreign nations would look at the depravity of Israel and know that God was judging them, and know that they were being judged on account of departing from His righteousness, having greater affections for self and no appreciation for God.
The revelation of God is not a joke. God has never been obligated to reveal Himself to people in any sort of way. As the almighty sovereign God, He is not obligated to do anything for anyone. He can do whatever He wants, and no one can contend with Him. Yet still, God made up His own mind, based on His own mercifully gracious nature to reveal Himself anyway. Though there were many things that mankind would be in the dark about in this life, God revealed Himself as light to express the truth. God made Himself manifest in ways that were helpful and profitable to mankind. Without the revelation of God as light, wisdom, righteousness, justice, and truth, mankind would only know darkness, foolishness, wickedness, injustice, and deception. As the world continues to depart from God, one can see that this is true. One must recall that before God added form to the universe, it was described as dark, formless and void. Without God revealing Himself when He proclaimed “Let there be light,” the world would have stayed in the condition that it was in. Knowing this, the people of God are expected only to show gratitude to God for His revelation, understanding that without it His people are nothing, and therefore should not seek to serve self, but the God who provides all that is good.
The Bible teaches that God is a very intentional God. He is sovereign over all things and people, and does not waste energy or effort when exercising that sovereignty. God’s motives and purposes are clearly communicated in scripture. He does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. God made INCREDIBLE promises to mankind, and His heart is that everyone would be a beneficiary of those promises. This does not necessarily mean that all will become beneficiaries of His promises, but that all people have the free opportunity to seek Him in faith in order to become heirs of His eternally unconditional promises. God simply exercises His sovereignty to ensure that those He knows that humbly trust in His Word will be in the required position to receive the benefits of His promises.
This means that God does all of the work. The scriptures repeatedly proclaim that salvation and eternal life come by faith and not by the efforts of people. Those who receive the benefits of God’s promises must be right with God. The scriptures teach that none are righteous, no not one. God is not a respecter of persons. He is not impressed with ability, work ethic, dedication, or desire to do well. God spoke the heavens and the earth into existence in 144 hours (6 24-hour days). Until someone can match that, God’s ability and power remain supreme! Rather than “try” to please God by “doing” right, one is simply expected to observe God’s Word concerning His own righteousness and trust it to be true. God expects His people to acknowledge the revelation of His righteousness through the Word/Son and trust that His righteousness is indeed supreme. Upon acknowledging the supremacy of God, one is simply expected to submit to His righteous standards empowered by God’s Spirit, which He gives to those who believe upon the revelation and manifestation of His own righteousness. In other words, when it comes to being a beneficiary of God’s promises, one must see and acknowledge that God does all of the work, and that there is nothing one can do of one’s self to please God to earn His favor as a beneficiary.
When Moses prepared the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, he made efforts to express these truths to the people. In Deuteronomy 29:10-15 the scriptures explain that God wanted Moses to gather all of the people to stand before Him. God wanted the leaders of the tribes, the elders, the officers, and all of the men of Israel to be gathered together. Likewise, God also wanted the children, the wives, and the “strangers” that were taken as servants to stand before God as well. When God said “everyone,” He meant everyone. God wanted to communicate His promises to His people and the terms of those promises. Deuteronomy 29:10-15 explains that God desired to enter into a covenant with the people. This covenant has been historically referred to as the “Palestinian Covenant.” The title of the covenant is less important when compared to the essence of God’s desire to make this covenant. One must first notice that it was God that initiated communication. God desired to enter into a legally binding contract with the children of Israel and those who served the children of Israel. God desired to commit Himself to certain obligations that benefited the children of Israel. Israel did not call out to God and ask Him to make these proclamations of great promise. Rather, God’s covenant with Israel is a reflection of God’s personal desire to engage with His people, regardless of the desires of His people.
Secondly, it is important to recognize that God’s promises were directed towards the children of Israel, but affected more than the Jews. Deuteronomy 29:10-15 expresses that God wanted the servants of Israel to stand before Him as well, not just as witnesses to God’s covenant, but as recipients of God’s covenant promises. Recall that God’s first covenant with Israel was made with Abraham, at which point He promised that He would bless those who bless Israel. Over the course the 40-year wilderness journey, the children of Israel were able to plunder their enemies as a result of the victories that God brought to them. These victories allowed the children of Israel to take some of the Gentiles they fought against as servants. Thus, Deuteronomy 29:10-15 explains that God desired to involve Gentiles that faithfully served His people as beneficiaries to His promises. This is important to understand as the basis of God’s covenant deals with salvation and eternal life. Salvation is indeed to the Jew first, but clearly God desires for His promises to be delivered to “the Greek” as well, referring to Gentiles (non-Jews). Deuteronomy 29:10-15 explains that, while salvation comes through the Jews, it was not only for the Jews, and that this is an Old Testament concept. This was always God’s desire and plan.
Next, Deuteronomy 29:10-15 teaches that God would be the author of the covenant as well as the fulfillment of the covenant. The legal contract that God desired to enter into was all based on work that God would do to fulfill the obligations stated in the agreement. God was NOT and has never been dependent on Israel to fulfill the obligations of this covenant. While there were certain conditions that the children of Israel were expected to observe, God’s ability and willingness to ultimately fulfill His covenant was not dependent on the performance of Israel or their servants. Instead, the scriptures show that God would establish His people in order to ensure they were in proper position as beneficiaries to His promises. The essence of God’s covenant was based on His desire to take the children of Israel and their servants unto Himself in order to be their God. God wanted a relationship with His people. He wanted to be connected to His people. Since God promised to establish His people, this connection and relationship would be based on work that God did Himself. The reason for this is because God explained that as His people are drawn unto Him, He is glorified. God does not leave His glory to be the responsibility of inglorious people. Thus, God takes it upon Himself, exercising His sovereignty, to establish His people according to His righteousness, so that He is assured glory by the work that He does. While God made incredible promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those promises were based on God’s desire to glorify Himself in specific ways. It is the glorification of God that allowed the children of Israel to be connected to God as beneficiaries of His promises. The covenant that God made with Israel was merely a public proclamation of His faithfulness to glorify Himself using unrighteous people as vessels of righteousness. In fact, the essence of God’s glory is found in the unique work He does to use unrighteous vessels for righteous purposes by the eternally abundant righteousness that He alone possesses.
Lastly, God proclaimed that the covenant He desired to make in Deuteronomy 29:10-15 was not only for the people that stood before Him as children of Israel. God sated that His covenant and oath was for EVERYONE that stood before Him on that day – including the Gentile servants that were previously referred to as strangers. Additionally, God proclaimed that the benefits of His covenant were also for those who were not standing before Him on that day. This was a reference to future believers, either from the children of Israel or otherwise. Recall that God’s desire is for NONE to perish, and for ALL to come to repentance. The Bible teaches that salvation is for the Jew first, BUT ALSO the Greek. God is eternal in nature, and so the basis of His work is done from an eternal perspective. God does not do work with only the present time in mind, but also the future. Deuteronomy 29:10-15 teaches that God desired other people that were yet to be born to become beneficiaries of His eternally unconditional promises, exercising the same faith in His righteousness that the children of Israel were expected to express on the day God proclaimed His covenant.
The scriptures show that God is consistent. Indeed, God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more. The method by which God’s people become beneficiaries of God’s promises is not based on one’s performance as a “good person” or “hard worker.” One’s position with God is dependent on the work that God does to reveal His own righteousness as superior above all, and one’s trust in the Biblical claims of God’s righteousness according to God’s Word. While one’s faith should be outwardly demonstrated such demonstration is merely a bi-product of God’s own work by His own Spirit when one’s faith is genuinely focused on the revelation of His own righteousness through Jesus Christ. It is true that God desires to connect Himself to His people to be their God and share His eternal inheritance with them. However, God’s true people understand that God alone is able to facilitate such a connection, and that connection happens exclusively through Jesus Christ as God in flesh. The manifestation of God’s righteousness was the Word of God in the Old Testament. The manifestation of God’s righteousness is still the Word of God in today’s day and age, even though the Word became flesh and dwelt among in the world as Jesus Christ. Since the promises of God were always based on the work of God, one must acknowledge that one’s position with God is purely based on His own desires, His own efforts, and His own faithfulness to fulfill His own legal obligation. Knowing this to be true, sincere gratitude seems to be in order...
The promises of God are not only based on His grace, but also dependent on His power, authority, sovereignty, omniscience, and mercy. The Lord intends for His promises to bring benefit to those who would seek Him. However the basis of becoming an heir to God’s promises is based on humble faith. One must not only desire the promises of God. When one examines the promises of His kingdom, most normal people would find such to be desirable. Rather than just desire, those who desire to receive the benefits of God’s promises must also be dependent on Him to fulfill them. One must come to the understanding that God’s promises cannot be received by one’s own individual OR collective efforts. The scriptures teach that none are righteous, and since the Bible explains that the beneficiaries of God’s promises must be righteous, one must seek the provision of God in order to receive the promises of God.
This concept is well explained in the New Testament. Yet, the Old Testament– even the Law – teaches this same principle. When one examines the sermon that Moses gave to the children of Israel before they prepared to cross the Jordan River and conquer the Promised Land, one will see that God thoroughly reminded the children of Israel about how they came into the position of privilege that they were in to receive such an inheritance. In Deuteronomy 29:1-9 the Bible explains the advancement of Israel was all on account of the work that God had done Himself, that all of the children of Israel were witness to. This portion of scripture begins by explaining that the contents of Deuteronomy 29:1-9 were an extension of the covenant that God had made with Israel at Horeb, documented in Deuteronomy Chapter 5-27. In those chapters, God clearly revealed His righteousness through the commands of the Law.
The first part of God’s covenant was based on the revelation of His righteousness through the commands He gave to the children of Israel. The blessings and curses that God prophetically pronounced to Israel in Deuteronomy 27-28 reflected the response that God demanded considering the extent of His revelation within the commands of the Law. God clearly communicated exceptional blessings for the children of Israel if they responded correctly and appropriately towards the righteousness of God by observing His commands and obeying them. This shows that the blessings of God were dependent on the revelation of God’s righteousness since the blessings would only come if the people observed God’s Law, which was reflective of His righteousness. Thus, if the children of Israel were disobedience and neglected the righteousness of God by ignoring the revelation of God’s righteousness, there would be severe curses delivered.
Deuteronomy 29:1-9 explains that the children of Israel were without excuse concerning the revelation of God’s righteousness. Moses reminded the people about the things they had seen. Previously, the children of Israel were witnesses to the judgments that God had brought against the Egyptians. Having seen the judgments of God with their own eyes, and the extent of destruction that God could bring, the children of Israel were without excuse. They knew the judgments of God were true. They knew that the consequences of rebelling against God and rejecting the revelation of His power and righteousness brought terrible consequence. Moses explained the purpose of the 40-year wilderness journey. The Bible explains that God led the children of Israel through the wilderness for the time that He did in order to reveal His righteousness, his power as Provider, His providence, His protection, and the faithfulness to His promises. While the children of Israel wandered through the wilderness, Moses reminded the people that the clothes and sandals of the people did not wear down so that the people were in need. God made sure that the children of Israel had adequate provision and supplied the ability they needed to endure the hardships of the journey. Likewise, the children of Israel did not survive by eating bread and drinking wine. The children of Israel survived by eating manna and drinking water that God poured forth from the rock. Those were works that God did without the help or counsel of any person.
The scriptures explain that the children of Israel were in a great position of privilege. The testimony of Moses explains that the children of Israel were making preparations to follow Joshua across the Jordan River to conquer and assume ownership of the land of Canaan according to God’s promises to Abraham. Despite the complaints and betrayal of the people, God was faithful to fulfill His promises, and the generation of Israelites that Moses addressed would be the group that received the benefits of God’s promises. According to Deuteronomy 29:1-9, the children of Israel themselves had nothing to do with the position of privilege that they were in. God did all the work. The promises of God and the ability to partake in the benefits of them were all based on the work that God did – not His people. Deuteronomy 29:1-9 reminded the children of Israel that they were able to advance because of God’s provision, because of God’s protection from their enemies and the victories He gave, and because of the inheritance that He declared, exercising His providence to see it all comet to pass.
As this portion of scripture concludes, Moses explained that God’s expectation for obedience was reasonable. God revealed His power, sovereignty, and providence to Israel in ways that no other people group has ever seen. His revelations were miraculous and gracious in nature. Since God’s revelations and manifestations were so glorious and gracious, benefitting the children of Israel before God gave a command within the Law, God expected the children of Israel to respond in gratitude by observing the Word and keeping it. God assured the children of Israel that observation and keeping of the Law would ensure the prosperity of the people. Thus, it is the acceptance, appreciation, and affection for God’s revelations of Himself that assures God’s people prosperity. In fact, it is the nature of God’s revelations that allow God’s people to prosper. One does not prosper in satisfying and meaningful ways unless it is by the provision of God, and the provision of God only comes as a result of His willingness and power to manifest His glory.
Yet, at the end of this all, Deuteronomy 29:1-9 states that God did not give the children of Israel hearts to perceive, eyes to see, or ears to hear. God knew that, even though He had manifested His identity and nature, the hearts of His people were still far from Him. The children of Israel did not have hearts to perceive the revelations of God, meaning that they were not well acquainted with God as a result of knowing Him by His revelations. Recall that when God manifested His glory at Mount Sinai the people could not endure it and asked God to stop. The people did not have eyes to see the essence of God’s identity in His revelations – especially through the Law. The Apostle Paul wrote that the Law was a schoolmaster, authored to lead God’s people to the Messiah. The commands, feast days, sacrifices, and the construction of the tabernacle all pointed to the identity and work of Jesus Christ as Messiah. History shows that the children of Israel could not understand these truths – not until the gift of the Holy Spirit after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. This illustrates the magnitude of God’s grace concerning the revelation and manifestation of His identity, promises, and purposes. Though God knew that His people would not seek Him, being unable to endure Him on account of sin and affections for the flesh and the world, God made Himself known anyway. God revealed His righteousness anyway. This proves that the fulfillment of God’s promises is not dependent on the abilities or efforts of God’s people since God was effective to carry out His plans and purposes in spite of the condition of His people and their rejection of Him. Praise God! No wonder the acknowledgment of God’s revelations concerning His identity leads to blessings – He is amazing!
Knowing that the God of the Bible is the essence of truth, goodness, light, and life, one must understand that if one makes the decision to seek God, the results will be favorable. Those who seek God through humble faith in Jesus will never be cast away. The results of such a pursuit will bring seekers of God to an understanding of truth, the opportunity to experience God’s goodness, the privilege of wisdom through light, and the gift of eternal life. However, since God is the singular source of these things, those that depart from God, hoping to find these things in other places will be sorely disappointed and in dismay. If one leaves a light source, darkness is the result. This illustration is proved every day as the Earth rotates. When one side of the planet rotates so that it is not facing the light of the sun, darkness is the result. There is the way it works. Therefore, those that reject God’s gracious offer of truth, goodness, light, and life will only find deception, evil, darkness, and death.
The Bible teaches that God sought to teach His people this truth from the very beginning His instruction was clear, and was repeated over and over again. When Moses and the elders prepared the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, the Lord took advantage of another opportunity to remind the children of Israel about the consequences of departing from Him, and the rewards that come with those who abide in Him. In Deuteronomy Chapter 28 God spoke both blessings and curses to the children of Israel in order to candidly inform them about how life would be if they obeyed and sought God through the Law, or if they disobeyed and rejected God through the Law. Of the 68 verses in this chapter, 14 of them were dedicated to the blessings that God promised to Israel if they humbled themselves before God in faith, trusting the commands of the Law to be the basis of God’s righteousness. This means that of the 68 verses in this chapter 54 of them were dedicated to curses. God was sure to warn the children of Israel about the consequences of rejecting Him by becoming indifferent and neglecting the Law.
In Deuteronomy 28:64-68 the Lord explained the essence of the curses that would come with disobedience. First, the Lord stated His understanding about the essence of disobedience. The Bible teaches that those who deny the Lord do so in order to serve other ideas, gods, or concepts. Jesus taught that it is impossible to serve two masters. This means that all human beings will ultimately submit their lives to one master; and if that master is not Him, it WILL be something else. Since God is omniscient, He knows the hearts and motives of all people. He is able to discern, know, and understand the motives and intents of all people. Hence, God stated that those who depart from His laws, commands, statutes, and testimonies are ultimately those who are indifferent to God, His righteousness, His will, and His promises. The scriptures explain throughout the Bible that those who live in this manner are ultimately more concerning with matters of the world and the flesh rather than God’s eternal essence and promises.
Since God knows these things, He swore to use His judgments as ways to physically communicate His displeasure for the spiritual condition of His people. Deuteronomy 28:64-68 first states that God would scatter the children of Israel all over the world. Though the promises to Abraham involved the children of Israel being a great nation, gathered together in the land as one nation, with God as their Lord and King, God would express His displeasure with Israel’s spiritual condition by revoking the benefits of His promises from the generations that rebelled and rejected Him. God plainly communicated that, if the children of Israel did not desire God, but other gods and pagan ways, He would give them the affections of their hearts – and their consequences! If the children of Israel became indifferent to God’s promises by expressing indifference to God’s righteous commands, God would give the people what their hearts desired most. God would give the people over to their true desires. Yet, since the desires of the people would have been rooted in sin and pleasure for the flesh and the world without God, then the consequences would be rooted in darkness, despair, and dismay.
One of the most troubling aspects of God’s judgments is the restlessness that sin causes. Deuteronomy 28:64-68 explains that if the children of Israel were to reject God by pursuing pagan lifestyles, worshiping false gods and wicked livelihoods, the children of Israel would not only be scattered, but also would be unable to find rest. The Bible teaches that the essence of God’s promises to Israel and others is founded on the concept of rest. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, the consequence of his sin was “labor.” According to Genesis Chapter 3, Adam would till the fields and the land and only be able to produce thorns and thistles. Adam would eat by the sweat of his brow and only be able to produce useless effects. The Bible explains that sin is laborious, and only produces pain, suffering, and eventually death. This is not profitable labor, which is why the Bible refers to sin as bondage. Deuteronomy 28:64-68 explains that those who depart from the righteousness of God in pursuit of other forms of righteousness will labor in vain, never having rest and the peace that comes with it.
Without rest, God promised that the people would be anxious, trembling with fear within their hearts, have failing eyes, and anguish in their souls! These are strong words in the original language. When God referred to “trembling,” the scriptures use an intensifying word that the Bible uses to describe rage and also the quaking of the earth! Departing from the righteousness of God will ultimately lead people to tremble in their hearts about their position with God, so that such trembling consumes them in rage and unsteadiness as in an earthquake. When God referred to “failing eyes,” He used a word that referred to destruction and consumption. The vision and direction of the people would be laborious but only lead to destruction and consumption. Those who depart from the righteousness of God cannot go any other way. Lastly, God assured the people that the people would have anguish in their souls. The original language defines anguish as faintness. This means that those who depart from the righteousness of God will be unclear in purpose, and weak in spiritual capacity. God also promised that as the children of Israel were scattered amongst the pagan nation of the world, separated from the land and each other, God would bring them back into the bondage that He redeemed them from, but to such a pitiful degree that no other nation would purchase the children of Israel as slaves. The children of Israel would become so despised, that the world wouldn’t even seek to receive them as servant/slaves. Thankfully, as God redeemed Israel before while they were in such a pitiful position, the curses explain that God is the ONLY one willing and able to redeem Israel from such curses!
Though the children of Israel historically have experienced these things in observable ways, one must consider that the essence of these curses stem from the heart. They are spiritually driven and have physical affects. Deuteronomy 28:64-68 teaches that those who depart from the Lord to pursue other fleshly desires and worldly affections will have continuous doubt and anxiety in their lives. God promised that these people will have no assurance in life. They will essentially live in various forms of depression so that they are anxious for the night when it is day, and when night comes, they are anxious for the day. There is no peace. There is no contentment. There is no satisfaction. There is no direction. There is no hope. While people have historically tried to hide these things, the history of people has proven that generations that turn from the One True Living God do suffer these effects, whether of Israel or not. When one considers the abundance of favor that God has given to His people, one cannot expect favorable results to come for those who deny God’s goodness, mercy, grace, and salvation. Therefore, the ONLY way to receive and enjoy the benefits that God gives is to repent of sin and unrighteousness, and seek the righteousness of the Living God through Jesus Christ (God in flesh) through the Word of His testimony in the Bible, trusting all of God’s testimonies to be right and true!
The One True Living God provided His holy scriptures to His people for one simple purpose – to reveal His character, nature, promises and purposes, for His glory. While the scriptures are helpful to encourage and equip God’s people for daily life, one must understand that such encouragement and equipment only comes on account of the testimony and provision of God. When one reads the Bible, searching to know Him, the bi-product is wisdom, encouragement, humility, and salvation. Thus, one’s attention and affection for the Word of God is critical to one’s life – both physical and eternal. One must approach and digest the scriptures in an appropriate manner – seeking to know the One True Living God. Upon learning about the identity, promises and purposes of God, one must then respond in the ways that scripture explains as appropriate so that one can be pleasing to God, receiving the benefits of His eternally unconditional promises.
As Moses prepared the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, he reminded them of the laws, commands, statutes, and testimonies of God, and implored them to observe and obey them. When Moses retaught the Law in the Book of Deuteronomy, God was helpful to speak about His purpose for the Law. The Law was the manner by which His people could demonstrate faith in the righteousness of God, trusting that all of His ways were right and good in an observable manner through obedience. God prepared the children of Israel to receive incredible blessings as a reward for their observation and obedience to the Laws of God; and this was in addition to the abundance of blessings and opportunities the Lord had already given Israel. Likewise, God prepared the children of Israel by warning them of the curses that would come to them on account of disobedience, which the scriptures explain as a departure from God’s Law in order to pursue other forms of self-righteousness.
These curses were brutal in nature. When Moses warned the children of Israel about the curses God promised on account of disobedience and rebellion, the curses are seen to increase in intensity as disobedience and rebellion increased over time. The longer Israel rejected God, the harder life would be. Though the children of Israel would ultimately be cursed spiritually if they were to depart from God, such spiritual infirmity would come with severe physical consequences! In Deuteronomy 28:58-63 the scriptures explain why God’s judgments were right and good even though they were severe and horrific. Here, the Bible testifies that Moses reminded the children of Israel about the identity of God. God reminded the children of Israel that He is Yahweh Elohim! He is the Great I AM. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything within them. He is the self-existing, self-sustaining, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God who rules and reigns from a throne that no man or created thing can approach apart from Him on account of His amazing glory and greatness!
The Lord explained that this was the reason He gave His people the Law. The Law was intended to reveal the righteousness, gory, and awesome nature of the Living God. Had the children of Israel been obedient to abide in God’s Law, they would have matured in understanding of the identity of God, causing them to fear Him, but also causing them to rejoice and have gladness of heart. The children of Israel were expected to fear God because of His awesome power and glory. When God revealed His glory on Mount Sinai, the people were terrified and could not endure the magnitude of God’s greatness. Though the manifestation of God’s glory would not be present that way at all times, His glory does not change. Therefore, God expected His people to ALWAYS fear and tremble over His greatness, trusting in the faithfulness of God’s presence, whether they could see it or not. However, since God made incredible promises to the children of Israel, God did not want His people to run from Him as a result of this fear, but instead humble themselves before Him in joy. God wanted His people to observe the Law, learn of His identity, embrace the promises that came with it, fear the consequences associated with disobedience, but rejoice in the faithful grace of God to fulfill His promises to an undeserving people group.
Deuteronomy 28:58-63 explains that if the children of Israel would not acknowledge the awesome and glorious nature of God as communicated through the righteousness of the Law, then the curses He warned of would come upon them. God again reminded the people of the plagues and diseases that He would inflict upon the people. The children of Israel would experience great sickness, even the sicknesses that God inflicted upon the Egyptians before the Exodus. God also promised that the children of Israel would experience new issues and diseases. God would exercise His sovereign creative power as Yahweh Elohim to torment the people in order that they would be reminded of who God is. If the children of Israel would not learn of God through the righteous testimonies of the Law, God would exercise His power as Creator to get their attention in other ways and ensure they knew His name!
Though God promised to bring great devastation upon Israel for disobedience, it is critical to pay attention to the details of God’s Word in Deuteronomy 28:58-63. There the Bible explains that God’s judgments would be horrific and severe, but that He would destroy them to be “few in number.” God did not say that His judgments would cause Israel to be non-existent. God would not blot Israel out from the face of the earth. God made eternally unconditional promises to Abraham, and while certain generations might demonstrate unfaithful disobedience to God by rejecting Him, God would not penalize the whole of Israel on account of a few wicked generations. Since God’s nature is eternal, He observes Israel, His promises, and His judgments from an eternal perspective. God always promised that there would be a remnant within Israel that He would show mercy to in order to sustain them as a people group and fulfill His eternally unconditional promises as communicated to Abraham.
Understanding this truth, one can see the perfect justice and righteousness of God. Deuteronomy 28:58-63 expresses that God rejoiced over the multiplication of His people just as He would rejoice over the judgments of His people. Some have seen this statement and judged God as vengeful since He would rejoice over destruction of any kind. This opinion does account for the holiness and righteous justice of God. How could God be righteous and just if there is no consequence for sin and rejection of God’s grace? While God is longsuffering towards His people, the Bible explicitly states that God’s patience has a threshold, so that when it is crossed, God will certainly judge. It seems natural for God to rejoice over the multiplication of His people. God is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. When His people repent, humble themselves, and seek His face (in this case through the Law), God rejoices over this. However, the Bible also teaches that it is true that God rejoices when His judgments are executed. Since God punishes the guilty while also expressing His faithfulness to fulfill His eternally unconditional promises through the remnant of Israel, the mercy and grace of God can be seen, which is ultimately good. It is good to know that God will judge and destroy those who reject the magnitude of His gifts and blessings on account of indifference and unbelief towards His identity. However, knowing that God exercises great mercy towards a few within the total group that deserves harsh judgment, ALL of God’s actions and works are determined to be good. Therefore, one can see that the Bible teaches that the essence of God’s judgments is praiseworthy just as much as His mercy and grace. One’s understanding of the nature and identity of Yahweh Elohim proves this to be true!
The Bible is clear about the manner in which salvation comes to mankind. God loved the world to the extent that He sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world, so that whoever believes upon His identity and work as God in flesh and the promised Messiah will not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, yet made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a base bondservant. Jesus, who knew no sin as the fleshly image of the invisible God, became a curse in flesh and blood in order to take away the curse of sin from those who would repent and believe upon Him. The Bible teaches that this was always God’s plan. His eternally unconditional promises were predicated on His desire, willingness, and ability to address the problems of sin, death, and hell by His own mercy, grace, power, and sovereignty, knowing that mankind could not address those issues by works of self-righteousness. Yet, as God declared His promises and purposes to save a corrupted people founded on the premise of grace, the scriptures declare that Jesus was despised when He came to fulfill the promises of the Father. Jesus came into the world, and the world knew Him not. Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. Knowing this magnitude of grace, patience, and providence that God exercised to offer forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith, one must consider that there is steep consequence for those that reject His gift.
The Bible candidly explains that one cannot reject the offer of God’s grace without eternally tragic consequences. The testimony of the Law teaches that God made it so that when one denies His righteousness and provision for forgiveness that spiritual consequences will be made manifest in physical ways. The warnings of Deuteronomy 28:47-57 certainly prove that to be true. The Lord first explained the basis for the severity of the curses that He warned about. Before telling the children of Israel about the consequences associated with rejecting Him in Deuteronomy 28:47-57, God explained why the curses were so severe. The Bible reads as follows:
“Because you did not serve the Lord you God with joy and gladness of heart for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you.”
The Bible goes on to explain the severity of circumstances that would arise out of the oppression of foreign nations. When examining the details of Deuteronomy 28:47-57, one must consider that these curses have not yet been fulfilled to the degree that God expressed them. Though Israel experienced great suffering when they were attacked and exiled by Assyria, and great suffering when they were attacked and exiled by Babylon, and great suffering when they were overcome by the Medo-Persian Empire, and terrible trials of suffering when they were conquered and destroyed by Rome, the circumstances of Deuteronomy 28:47-57 expresses even greater horrors! God explained that if the children of Israel would not serve Him according to His righteous standards communicated in the Law, they would be oppressed to the extent of horrific dismay. The scriptures testify that there would be such a strain on resources that the children of Israel would be forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The Bible candidly expresses that the children of Israel would be so strained for provision that they would resort to desperate measures, turning against one another, even within the family unit, in order to survive.
Deuteronomy 28:47-57 teaches that God would ensure the children of Israel were destroyed for rejecting Him so that the lack of resources would cause those who were rich at one time to turn to their children as meals. Moses explained that the rich would turn to the flesh of their sons and daughters due to the extent of sieges and desperation. The Bible provides graphic detail to explain that the “very sensitive and very refined man” will turn hostile against his own family, seeking to consume them. Additionally, the “tender and delicate woman” who would not venture to “set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness” would turn to eat her own placenta after giving birth, hording it to herself, and turning against her family in the process. This sort of devastation has not yet taken place in Israel. This oppression is reflective of the dismay that will come upon Israel during “the time of Jacob’s sorrows,” also known as the Great Tribulation. The prophet Jeremiah explained that Israel’s continued rejection of God’s grace and provision for forgiveness would come to a head so that God’s wrath would be poured out upon them through the curses stated in Deuteronomy 28:47-57. Though God would be faithful to fulfill His promises to Israel through a small remnant, the children of Israel as a whole would suffer in unfathomable ways.
When considering this extent of circumstances, one must remember the cause. Knowing the magnitude of work that God took upon Himself to save an undeserving people, when one looks at the repeated rejections of Israel, God’s judgments are fair. Notice God’s premise and warning before He stated the curses. God would only bring on these terrible curses if Israel refused to serve the Lord with joy and gladness of heart, considering the “abundance” of good that God had done for Israel. God had made eternally unconditional promises to Abraham concerning the land, the great nation, and the blessings that is Messiah. God redeemed Israel from the bondage of Egypt and destroyed them in the Red Sea. God provided for Israel during the wilderness journey. God revealed His glory and righteousness on Mount Sinai. God protected the children of Israel through their journey into the Promised Land. God endured the complaints and unbelief of Israel in the wilderness journey. God provided great miraculous victories for Israel when they overtook the land. God ensured that the land was truly flowing with milk, honey, and tremendous abundance. God overwhelmingly blessed Israel with cattle, livestock, sheep herds, fruit, vineyards, fertile land, wells, and ample space to grow into a powerful world influence. God provided an EXCEPTIONAL amount of favor well before He asked anything of Israel!
When one examines the body of God’s work before He gave the Law, one should be in awe over the tremendous privilege and benefits that God gave on the premise of grace. Then when one considers that God planned to do even more in spiritual terms, the grace of God intensifies! Considering all these things, how could one not serve such a good God? How could one observe the “abundance” that God gives in miraculously unique ways and seek to go after other false gods and idols? How could one see the extent of provision and mercy that God gave and not respond with joy and gladness of heart and intense gratitude? The point is, one can’t receive all of God’s goodness and spit in His face by denying His mercy, grace, revelation, and power by serving self or other gods. Consider the amount of offense God undergoes normally. Then when adding the amount of rejection that Israel has historically demonstrated against God, the offense exponentially grows. In essence, the scriptures clearly communicate that one cannot reject the grace of God – especially considering the method by which He offers it through His Son – and not suffer greatly for offending the One True Living God.
The scriptures explain that the emphasis of God’s work is spiritual in nature. The emphasis of His blessings is essentially spiritual. The emphasis of His curses is spiritual. However, the scriptures show that the spiritual work that God does, through blessings and curses, have physical affects. This means that there are physical consequences that come with God’s promises to Israel being a great nation in the land. While the ultimate point of God redeeming Israel unto Himself as His children was to bring them into His eternal kingdom, the physical benefits of that promise was that Israel would inherit the land of Canaan, be a great and powerful nation, and overcome enemy nations that surrounded them. Likewise, when God spoke of curses to warn Israel, He did so in order to let the children of Israel know that there would be physical affects regarding spiritual curses. While God warned that rejecting His Word and righteousness would cause spiritual blindness, that spiritual blindness would cause the people to be plagued with diseases, distress from other nations, and internal darkness through dissatisfaction with their efforts to change their condition.
For this reason, in some instances, one can look at the affects of God’s curses to measure whether one is spiritually infirmed. If the children of Israel were to see an influx of the diseases, droughts, famines, and enemy oppression that God warned of, those circumstances were to serve as symptoms for the children of Israel to recognize concerning bigger spiritual issues. God promised that the children of Israel would not be able to find relief from God’s curses apart from repentance. Thus, seeing the affects of spiritual sickness was intended to serve as a sign to the children of Israel to repent. This truth is communicated in Deuteronomy 28:34-46. This portion of scripture explains that God repeated all of the warnings of curses that He had mentioned in the first 33 verses of Deuteronomy Chapter 28. God wanted His people to understand that the physical devastation of Israel was merely a sign of sever spiritual problems that needed to be addressed. The only way to relieve the physical oppression would be through spiritual restoration.
Deuteronomy 28:34-46 explains that the curses of Israel for departing from God’s Word and commands would be physical in every sense of the word. Though the curses would stem from spiritual infirmity, the curses that Israel would undergo would have affects that they could see. God told the children of Israel that they would grow mad and crazy from seeing the condition of Israel change so dramatically – from great nation or curse and joke. The people of Israel would look around at their circumstances and be plagued with confusion and dismay as to how their situation became so dismal. God emphasized the physical nature of His spiritual discipline. He reminded the children of Israel that they would be plagued with boils from head to toe as when God brought the plagues against Egypt. They would physically feel the pain of their spiritual rebellion.
God promised that spiritual rebellion against Him would result in the removal from the land. They would be physically removed from their land by kings that they pursued in place of God. As the children of Israel would seek other gods and idols by seeking the ways of pagan nations rather than the ways of God, the Lord would give them over to those desires and remove them from the goodness that He provided in the land. Deuteronomy 28:34-46 explains that the people would also be plagued with locust, and would plant crops that foreigners would pillage and take for themselves. Unfortunately, the children of Israel had to endure these curses because they did not heed God’s warnings. The prophet Joel and the prophet Micah both spoke of massive plagues in which locust came and utterly destroyed the crops of Israel on account of disobedience. This event is documented history in Israel showing that God’s curses were true. Likewise, the prophet Zephaniah quoted Deuteronomy 28:39 when he pronounced judgment against Judah for their spiritual adultery, and their pursuit of other gods and idols. The writings of the prophets that came later prove that God’s judgments are true and that there is real physical consequence when one spiritually departs from the Living God.
The reason that God brought physical consequences for spiritual infirmities was in order to warn future generations. Deuteronomy 28:34-46 explains that as the children of Israel were judged, they would become “an astonishment,” referring to a horror to behold. The children of Israel would become a proverb, or a saying that comes with a lesson in the form of a warning. The children of Israel would become a byword, that is, a sharp word or a taunt. God wanted the consequences of one generation to become so severe that the next generation would learn from the mistakes of the first generation. God’s ultimate goal was to bless Israel. Thus, while God warned of curses that would affect the majority, God wanted to use the physical circumstances of the majority in order to cause a remnant of Israel to fear and respond in repentance, thereby facilitating the fulfillment of His promises. God assured the children of Israel that departure from His Word and rejection of His righteousness through the Law would cause the curses of God to destroy them. God explained that the curses would be so severe that they would not just overtake them, but also follow them wherever they went! Thus, these curses would serve as a sign and wonder for future generations, causing a remnant to repent.
God’s curses are severe, but with the purpose to scare other straight. God does not desire for His people to perish, but instead for all to come to repentance. Thus, God made it so that the spiritual sicknesses of His people would be made manifest in physical ways so that others could observe, and respond by seeking the Lord as Healer – both physically and spiritually. God wanted these curses to be so severe that they would be talked about for generations to come – even forever. This way, all people would know and trust that God’s judgments are real! Those who depart from the Lord and reject His Word and righteousness will suffer severely; and God provided physical evidence that has been documented in history so that others could know that God’s Word is true – of both blessings AND curses.
The Bible teaches that God is the Author of goodness, righteousness, and all blessings, including life. If one desires to experience and know the truth of goodness, righteousness, blessing and life, one must go to God to receive such revelation and gift. Thankfully, the scriptures explain that God makes Himself freely available to approach boldly through faith in Jesus Christ so that those who desire the essence of God’s promises and the benefits that come with them can receive them as heirs of Christ’s own inheritance! However, the scriptures state that this is the ONLY way to approach God. This is the ONLY way to know God’s goodness, righteousness and blessings. Consequently, the more distance that exists between God and certain people, the father away they are from God’s goodness, righteousness and blessings. When one is determined to rebel against Him and reject His offer and promises according to the Word, it is impossible to receive the good things that God desires to give. Instead, one can trust that terrible curses will come.
The Lord sternly communicated this point to the children of Israel. When Moses and the elders of Israel prepared the congregation of Israel to cross the Jordan River and overtake the Promised Land, they sought to warn the children of Israel about the dangers that were associated with departing from God and His righteousness by departing from His commands, laws, statutes, and testimonies. A departure from God’s laws was equal to a departure from God’s own righteousness. The Bible teaches that when one departs from God’s righteousness, it is on account of self-righteousness, and there are severe consequences for that. God warned the people that great curses would come. The scriptures do not teach that God sough to curse His people to punish them excessively. Instead, when one examines the curses that God warned of, one will find that the curses are simply the natural effects of what happens when one separates and departs from the essence and source of goodness, righteousness and blessing. When one departs this way, the only other outcome is to come across evil, wickedness and curses.
In Deuteronomy 28:30-33 the scriptures explain that the curses God warned Israel of would affect the productivity and purpose of Israel. God explained that a person would get engaged to a wife, only for that wife to leave for another man. God promised that a person would build a house, but never be able to live in it. God promised that a person would plant a vineyard and never be able to eat of its fruit. God promised that a person would slaughter their ox, but never be able to eat of its meat. God promised that a person’s donkey would be violently taken, and no one would be able to help restore it. God promised that the sons and daughters of the people would be taken captive to foreign places, and the children of Israel would not be able to oppose it. To summarize the essence of these curses, God promised that the children of Israel would be continually crushed without any strength to help themselves or help from others.
It is important to examine the spiritual implications of these curses as well as the physical consequences since the curses deal with both. The history of Israel shows that when they departed from God and His righteousness, the people were exiled from their land and pillaged in some of the most horrific ways. In fact, the children of Israel are still facing some of the consequences of those curses today as a nation. However, one must understanding the essence of God’s curses. These curses were not new curses. When God created the heavens and the earth, He made it so that everything reproduces of its own kind. Thus, as evil it committed, more evil will be produced. As darkness is sought through one’s rebellion against God as light, darkness will reproduce more darkness.
Notice that as the curses begin in Deuteronomy 28:30-33, God stated that a person would be engaged, but his fiancé would later cheat on him. The Bible explains that idolatry and the worship of false gods is equal to spiritual adultery. Those who reject God and His righteousness are seen as “cheaters” in the eyes of God. Thus, as God warned the children of Israel that they would be cursed through infidelity and adultery, it was only because spiritual infidelity and adultery took them to that place. Everything reproduces of its own kind. Those that are spiritually adulterous would reproduce adultery in physical ways, destroying the families and unity of the people. Those who unfaithfully sought self-righteousness rather than God’s righteousness would experience a taste of their own medicine by being victims of unfaithfulness. Since faithfulness comes from God, those who depart from Him will only find unfaithfulness; and God warned that some of those instances would be made manifest through physical adultery and infidelity.
The curses that God spoke in Deuteronomy 28:30-33 also express that the purposes of the children of Israel would be unfruitful and futile. All purpose and fruit come from God as the One True Living God that is eternally self-existing and self-sustaining. Thus, those that depart from Him will not be able to receive the purpose and provision that come from Him. If God authors purpose, how can one know and understand one’s purpose apart from God? If God produces fruit, how can one be productive apart from God? Deuteronomy 28:30-33 explains that part of the curses for departure from God’s laws and righteousness would be made manifest through futility. The children of Israel would build and not enjoy the efforts of their work. They would grow crops, and others would eat them. They would raise cattle and prepare food and never get to enjoy the benefits of their labors. They would raise children only to see them taken away by foreigners, and shipped off to foreign nations.
All of these things happened throughout Israel’s history to show that God’s curses are real! However, one must see that the ultimate spiritual essence of the curses that God communicated here deal with purpose, futility, emptiness, and satisfaction. The essence of God’s curses shows that those who depart from God cannot know productivity since God facilitates all ability. While a person might be able to produce an effect through laborious efforts, there will not be satisfaction. Though houses would be built, fruit grown, cattle cultivated, and children raised, giving the appearance of productivity, there would be no peace, satisfaction, gratification, or utilization. The people would labor without profit. There would be an appearance of profit only for the profit to be taken and used by someone else. The efforts of the disobedient, rebellious, and self-righteous would not provide satisfaction, but instead emptiness. The people would not feel as if they had purpose since their efforts would not produce a profit they could enjoy. Since God is the author of purpose and satisfaction, those that rebel against Him cannot have either, and according to the scriptures, no one will be able to reverse such an affect or change God’s Word.
The Bible teaches that God is the essence of all that is good. He is the One True Living Omnibenevolent God that is eternally self-existing and self-sustaining. This means that everything that is holy, righteous, just, pure, and lovely comes from God, and only from God. The Bible teaches that God is the essence of light and there is no darkness in Him. Hence, God does not possess any form or resemblance of darkness, chaos, wickedness, corruption, decay, or sin. That which is of the dark is contrary to God as light. They are literal polar opposites. Understanding this truth, one must understand that apart from God there is no light. Consequently, apart from God there is no love, purity, justice, righteousness or holiness. Apart from God there is only darkness, chaos, wickedness, corruption, decay and abundant sin. When one examines these types of characteristics, one is examining an environment that has rejected the Living God and the goodness, mercy, and grace that comes from Him.
God communicated this truth to the children of Israel as a warning. Before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River to enter into the Promised Land, Moses and the elders of Israel gathered the people together to speak blessings and warnings of curses to the people. God wanted to ensure the children of Israel understood that, if they denied God and His righteousness as communicated by the Law in exchange for their own standards of righteousness, there would be severe consequences. The scriptures explain that God promised abundant rewards for observing the Law, but also devastating curses towards those who sought to rebel against God in self-righteousness.
In Deuteronomy 28:28-29 the Bible explains that those who rejected the Lord and His righteousness would not just suffer circumstantial hardships, but also mental and spiritual anguish. God promised the children of Israel that those who departed from His ways in order to pursue false standards of righteousness would be struck with “madness.” God assured the people that a departure from His perfect law, and rebellion against His commands, and rejection of His testimonies of righteousness would cause Him to strike the people with madness. This means that the people would be mentally affected by their unwillingness to submit to the holy standards of the Living God. Their minds would become infected with darkness, corruption, and confusion so that they would become mad.
The original language explains that “madness” is a form of insanity. This same Hebrew word is used in 1 Samuel 21:14 to describe King David when he pretended to be insane in order to disguise himself amongst enemy nations. The scriptures explain that David was clawing and scratching at walls and drooling over himself. When the king saw David he pitied him and considered him as a base and defiled individual. The word “madness” is a strong word. While it does suggest that those who deny the Lord and His righteousness will be mentally affected, the madness that God promised to cause had a spiritual focus. The curse that God promise did not necessarily mean that those who rejected God would all be drooling on themselves literally (though that extent of madness did happen in many cases). Instead, the curse referred to spiritual madness. This truth is supported in the context as God also promised that He would cause blindness and confusion of heart.
If all wisdom, revelation of truth, righteousness, and goodness come from God, then those that reject God cannot be wise, know the truth, understand righteousness or receive goodness. The curse of Deuteronomy 28:28-29 explains that truth by pointing out the spiritual consequences of self-righteousness. God expressed that those who deny His laws and commands, and ultimately His righteousness will be unable to discern and see goodness and righteousness. They will be spiritually blind, unable to know the truth difference between right and wrong. The New Testament scriptures go on to explain that such people will actual consider that which is bad to be good, and that which is good to be bad. This is the extent of confusion that God would cause. People would actually embrace death rather than life. People would actually pursue darkness rather than light. People will actually have a greater affection for the things of Satan rather than the glory of God.
When one leaves a well-lit room in order to enter into a dark room, one also enters into the dangers that come with it. It is hard to see in the dark. It is hard to know where one is in the dark. It is hard to ensure one does not trip or stumble over obstacles in the dark. It is hard to demonstrate confidence in terms of direction in the dark. Deuteronomy 28:28-29 explains that part of the consequence of denying God and His righteousness would be that the people would group around at noonday, being unable to prosper according to God’s standards of prosperity, continually being plundered, without any hope for help or salvation. When one rejects God – the only source of salvation, revelation, direction, and ability – one cannot expect any other result. The scriptures first say that those who rebel against God will “grope” at noonday. The word “grope” refers to one that feels around as if blind, trying to find their way and feel out for obstacles. However, the scriptures state that those who rebel against God will grope at noon – the brightest part of the day. This means that, though there is light, these people will live in darkness because they have been spiritually blinded.
The consequences of such blindness result in severe disability – and God ensures this disability so that no one can reverse or contend with His curses. Those who depart from the Lord will not be able to proper. Since the context of God’s curses deals with the heart and spiritual matters, prosperity refers to the same thing. Though God did restrict the children of Israel from material prosperity during their times of disobedience and rebellion, the essence of God’s command refers to fruit. Those who rebel against God will not be able to prosper in terms of fruit. Apart from God – the essence of life and ability – none can bear fruit. Without fruit due to a disconnection from God, the Lord will cast off withered branches into the fire as one does unusable branches. God promised that rebellious people that deny and reject His righteousness would be “plundered.” Again, though the children of Israel were physically plundered by many foreign nations during their times of disobedience, the emphasis is spiritual plunder.
There are many testimonies of Jesus casting out demons when He performed miracles to serve the people and prove His identity. The apostles continued in this work after Jesus’s ascension. The volume of people tormented by demons reflects that the people were indeed spiritually plundered. They were tormented by demons and other spiritual infirmities for their continued rejection of the Living God and His righteousness. The people were robbed of the peace and joy of the Lord. The people were robbed of their assurance concerning the promises of God. The people were robbed of opportunity to recognize the glory and righteousness of God in person when Jesus came into the world on account of the heritage they had developed serving self and false gods.
The most frightening part of God’s curse as stated in Deuteronomy 28:28-29 is that God warned the children of Israel that those who are struck with spiritual blindness, causing other sorts of hardships to manifest in their lives, will be unable to be saved by anyone. This does not refer to God’s own salvation. God’s eternally unconditional promises are predicated on salvation. He proclaimed His stance on life and determined His mind to save before He formed the earth and people began to sin. God cannot change His mind and does not lie. He is Savior! However, the curses that come upon those who reject God’s righteous salvation and provision will not be able to receive help from anyone on this earth. Though the curses will bring disease, no doctor or medicine will provide assistance. Though the curses will corrupt the land and natural resources, no professional, scientist, or committee will be able to reverse the effects that God causes. Though the curses will cause blindness and disabilities of other kinds – physically and spiritually – no physician, mentor, psychologist, or counselor will be able to provide meaningful assistance. In other words, no one will be able to undo the work of God except God Himself, which He promises to do when the rebellious humbly seek Him for forgiveness in repentance through Jesus. Otherwise, all people can expect sever consequences that lead to devastation of various kinds when one lives a life separated from the essence of good, right, pure, mercy, grace, and love.