03/07/16 Blessings and Curses

READING: Deuteronomy 28-29

I’ll say it upfront: this devotion may again sound repetitive to past devotions this year. That’s intentional, though, because the Bible echoes with the theme that God is the Warrior who defeats enemies on behalf of His people. It seems to me that God intentionally repeats this truth over and over again because His people are so prone to forget it. Indeed, none of us defaults into dependence on God; we default into independence. We don’t usually turn to Him first; we turn to Him only after our feeble efforts to win a battle don’t succeed. When God is our second choice, we’ve already lost the battle. 

Hear again the simple clear words of today’s readings:

"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. . . . The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven” (Deut 28:1, 7).

“However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you . . . . The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth” (Deut 28:15, 25). 

The contrast is sharp. Intentionally so. While these texts deal with physical battles for the Hebrews of the Old Testament, the principles remain the same for us. When we walk in full obedience to God, the Lord will grant us victory over the enemy. In fact (and this truth we must capture), full obedience IS victory over the enemy. On the other hand, our disobedience will lead only to defeat — disobedience is, in fact, ALREADY defeat.  

The choices we make about how we live every day have serious consequences. Choose obedience today.  

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps:

  • Begin the day by praying to be fully obedient to God, regardless of the costs.  
  • Throughout this entire day, thank God for every victory that comes your way — every temptation you reject, every wrong word you stifle, every act of obedience you take. Make today a day of victory.        

PRAYER: “God, I praise You that You alone give me victory. Help me to live that way today.”  

TOMORROW’S READING:  Deuteronomy 30-31