Christian Churches of God
Blessings and Curses from Deuteronomy 28
(Edition 1.0 20060910-20060910)
This planet was purposely designed and constructed to flourish under the adherence of Godís Law/order otherwise known as the Covenant of God which to many peopleís surprise is still binding. Unless the nations observe the statutes of that Covenant they will continue to receive the curses fixed under that agreement. So what are these blessings and curses and what must we do to begin receiving the blessings expressed in that Covenant?
Blessings and Curses from Deuteronomy 28
Most, if not all of us, have played some sort of sport or been involved in some sort of activity. For that sport or activity to be played correctly and enjoyed by all requires some guidelines or rules. Each sport has its own code of conduct or rule book. Rules are there so everyone knows what they can and canít do. To avoid arguments, there must be one rule for all. There canít be different rules for different people, otherwise it isnít fair and people end up getting upset and start arguing.
When we all abide by the same rules those new to the game are able to join in without much difficulty and are less likely to be a nuisance or disruption to anyone else. Everyone soon knows what is acceptable and what is out of bounds. Any person or team that steps outside the rules is quickly corrected or penalised so that those who continue to abide by the rules of the game get the most enjoyment out of it.
No sport is played 24 hours a day seven days a week. Most sports have breaks or rest periods between the games to allow those playing, as well as the playing field, time to recover. Otherwise players would get exhausted, incur injuries and eventually get to the point of collapse. The lush green playing field would soon turn to dust because it wouldnít get the necessary upkeep and rest it needed also. Having breaks also gives the players the opportunity to hear vital instructions and/or corrections from their coaches.
Well, Godís Plan for this planet and humanity is pretty much the same. To continue with the sporting analogy, the playfield God has provided us all with is what we know as planet Earth. He designed it with certain rules and regulations that have to be followed if we want to live happy and abundant lives, and for the planet to be able to produce the rich, plentiful bounty it is capable of achieving.
God has built specific rest periods into the creation, which are known as Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days. They are law, which means they have to be kept (2Chro. 31:3). Theyíre times when we rest from our labours so that we can worship the One True God and refresh ourselves. The land and the beasts of the field also benefit when we observe Godís Laws.†
The rules of the game are known as the law or the commandments. Sometimes it is referred to as the Covenant of God. All of Godís Laws are found written in His Holy Bible. Within its pages also lie the rewards and the punishments we receive when we choose to obey or disobey His commands. They are found in Deuteronomy chapter 28 and are known as the blessings and the curses.† When we follow and obey the laws God has given us, we see how perfect God is. None of His rules hurt anyone or anything. Everyone and everything flourishes. They make life worth living.
This planet was purposely designed and constructed to flourish under the adherence of Godís Law/order. Godís Covenant was first offered to the nation of Israel and the terms of that Covenant are still binding today; nothing has been abolished (Lev. 24:8). Unless the nations of Israel return to obeying God they will continue to receive the curses fixed under the Covenant. All other nations have been given this same opportunity to understand and benefit from the wisdom of God and receive these same blessings by obedience to this same Covenant made possible by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Godís rules have to be kept if we are to live peaceful, happy, and abundant lives. Not one rule is to be ignored, no matter how trivial it may seem. The only laws that we no-longer keep today are the ones relating to the physical sacrifices which Christ fulfilled. Other than that, the entire law structure is still applicable. If itís one of Godís Laws then we know it is true and perfect and no wrong can be found in it.† If we go out of bounds and transgress (that is, break) Godís Law for creation, it is known as sin and a penalty has to be paid.
For most of its existence the human race has not played according to Godís set of rules. All of Godís Laws can be summed up in Two Great Commandments (see Mat. 22:37-39), which are expanded to what we know today as the Ten Commandments. All of Godís Laws, statutes and commandments fall under one of these Ten Commandments.
Our failure to live within Godís Law makes us cheats. We think by not obeying Godís Law concerning such things as tithing, or keeping the land Sabbaths we will accumulate more wealth for ourselves. But in reality we are robbing God (Mal 3:8), and robbing ourselves from having a loving relationship with our God and the rewards that only our God can bring which are peace, security and abundance that no amount of money can buy.
To restore our relationship with God a penalty or sacrifice had to be paid. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, one of the Angelic Host, to be the only one to be born a man. He lived a perfect life, abiding by all the rules that God had in mind for us. Because he never broke one commandment and thereby sin, he became the acceptable sacrifice.
His blood paid the penalty that each of us earned through our disobedience to Godís commands. Now, everyone everywhere is able to become a child (son) of God and receive an eternal inheritance through repentance and baptism for the forgiveness of sin when we accept Christ as our Lord and saviour. This cannot be earned. It is provided free by the grace of God (Rom. 5:15).
God wants all of us to repent and be baptised so we can all be on the same side. When we are baptised into Christ we become part of what is known as the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:27). We circumcise our hearts and so become spiritual Jews inwardly (Rom. 2:29). No matter what country we live in, or what language we speak, we are all given this same opportunity. The rules God has given us are there so that everyone gets a fair go. Everyone is equal in Godís sight. No one is looked down upon or treated differently.
From our conversion and subsequent baptism we become part of spiritual Israel. As part of that citizenship, by necessity, we are required to enter into the Covenant of God. A covenant is a promise made by two or more people binding them together to their word as to how they will treat one another. Itís a contract in other words.
Exodus 19:5 †Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. 6 And you will be to me a kingdom of priests, my holy nation.í Give this message to the Israelites.Ē(NLT)
A nation is not excluded from observing the Covenant on the grounds they are not direct physical descendants of Abraham. Those who are circumcised of the heart in the Spirit are Jews inwardly (Rom. 2:29). God is not a respecter of persons. Therefore, God is able and willing to raise the nation of India for example above all nations in a very short period of time if it chooses to repent of all its idolatry and turn wholeheartedly to God and keep His Covenant.
There is nowhere on this planet that Godís Laws do not apply. They apply to both land and sea. Nothing was overlooked when God first created the Earth and considered what laws this creation would be governed by. Godís Laws are in line with His perfect character.
There is only One True God. He has not consented to two or more different calendars or Sabbaths or Holy Days that we as Christians are to observe. God doesnít want us using a calendar that postpones His Holy Days. He wants us to use the same method and calendar Moses was instructed to use and the one that Christ followed during the Temple period. Everyone is instructed to abide by the same calendar so as to avoid confusion and arguments, which only lead to anger and hate. All of our problems stem from us misapplying Godís Laws and calendar.
Letís now look at one aspect of Godís Law, namely the food laws governing the sea, and demonstrate how things work together and how things fall apart when the laws are not kept.
Q. What is the rule concerning what is clean and acceptable to eat from the sea?
A: The marine (sea) animal must have both fins and scales to be acceptable.
Leviticus 11:9-12 ďAs for marine animals, you may eat whatever has both fins and scales, whether taken from fresh water or salt water. 10 You may not, however, eat marine animals that do not have both fins and scales. You are to detest them, 11 and they will always be forbidden to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. 12 I repeat, any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is strictly forbidden to you. (NLT)
If the marine animal doesnít have fins and scales then it is off limits and out of bounds for us to eat. God in His perfect wisdom has deemed it no good for our bodies and for the creation overall. He knows what is best for us because He designed us.
Q. Does a shark (otherwise known as flake when purchased in stores as food in Australia)† have fins and scales?
A. No, it doesnít. So that means itís out of bounds according to the rules that God has put in place for this physical creation. Sharks werenít designed to be eaten, but were created to keep the oceans clean and to control certain other species from over-populating.
Q. Do salmon and cod have fins and scales?
A. Yes, they both have fins and scales so they are good to eat according to Godís Law.
Q. Do crabs, lobsters or oysters have fins and scales?
A. No, ††††††††††† and they are not to be eaten. They are unfit for human consumption. They have a different purpose other than providing food for us. They keep the seas clean and are vital in the food chain.
When we abide by Godís Law regarding sea animals we find we have cleaner waters with an abundance of sea creatures. The rules in regards to what we can and cannot eat from the waters are pretty simple and when we stick to them we find the food chain Ė which is the big fish eating the smaller fish Ė continues to work perfectly. If we take one of those sea creatures out of that food chain which we are not supposed to eat, we then put all the other animals above and below the food chain in danger as well as ourselves.
Q: What happens if we continue to remove unclean sea creatures from the waters to eat?
A: In the long run every sea creature will be affected. Every marine animal will eventually die.†
Godís Laws tie everything together. Because Godís Laws for proper management of the sea are not followed we are seeing a dramatic decrease in the number of fish.† The practice of bottom trawling is destroying the oceanís ecosystem. Countries that allow this and are not managing harvests are finding they have fished out their own stock. Theyíre then forced to search within the coastal boundaries of other countries that are already under pressure. The nation of Australia, for example, could soon find itself in this predicament, being inundated with fishing trawlers from other countries seeking fish reserves.
Everything on this planet, if it is to survive in abundance, is dependent on the Laws of God being kept. If the Laws of God arenít kept, then everything eventually falls apart and ends in death. That is the lesson we must learn.
We are witnessing the planet slowly dying under the pressure of our disobedience to Godís Laws. The proof is overwhelming; we are destined to destroy every living thing on this planet unless we repent and start obeying the Laws of God. These Laws have not been lost or corrupted, as some would like us to think to excuse them from worshipping and obeying the One True God. Itís a question of obedience.
But there are always those who donít want to play by the rules and make it difficult for everyone else who does. Some people say the Laws of God are no longer required to be kept or that they are now nailed to the cross as it were. Well theyíre wrong. Jesus Christ, the greatest and most important human being that has ever lived on this planet, said:
Matthew 5:17-19† ďDonít misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. 18 I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of Godís law will remain until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys Godís laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (NLT)
Christ told us not to get the wrong idea as to why he came. He says clearly that he didnít come so that the laws or the writings of the prophets could be done away with. As long as there is a heaven and an earth, the Laws of God remain in force and are to be followed.
The siren hasnít sounded as they say in regard to the keeping of Godís Laws and it will never sound; they will last for eternity. (Weíll have to wait for the next phase in the creation when the physical creation is no more, and we are all spirit beings to see what aspect of the Law will be transformed). But for now, while we still have a heaven and earth, not even the smallest of rules is done away with.
If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we are to follow Christ and imitate him. A Christian is one who has repented and been baptised into the body of Christ and is now obedient to the Covenant of God, keeping the Laws of God like Christ, who not only kept them but magnified them (Mat. 5:28). That means keeping our God and Fatherís Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days such as Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Letís now look at some of the blessings or rewards God promises us if we promise to abide by His Covenant. They are found in Deuteronomy chapter 28. We see that:
1. He will set us above all other nations that do not worship Him and keep His Law. We will be His joy and be number one in His sight and every other nation will see it (Deut. 28:1).
2. Everyone of the nation will share in the blessings; those who live in the country and those who decide to live in the cities (Deut. 28:3).
3. Parents will be blessed with many children and great-grandchildren. Everyone will have the means to support not only him or herself but also their families and communities, and it will flow on to every other nation (Deut. 28: 4).
4. Our barns and pantries will be overflowing with an abundance of fresh food, and the land will be able to sustain great numbers of cattle. We will not need to buy food from other countries, such as wheat to make bread; nor will we need to import herds of cattle or sheep to eat clean meat. We will have more than we could ever need and will be able to sell our surplus to other nations so as to make our nation even richer. Other nations will become dependent on us (Deut. 28:5).
5. No matter where we go, we will be blessed, whether in coming or going. No harm or misfortune will overtake us. There will be nothing to be afraid of. All our needs will be met (Deut. 28:6).
6. God will make sure none of our enemies overcome and defeat us. When our enemies come from one direction, God will send them running in seven different directions! (Deut. 28:7).
7. Our Lord God will bless everything we do, and the land will provide us with so much grain to make things like breads and cereals that our storehouses will always be full. God will make sure to send the rain at the proper time so that our crops get the right amount at the right time and our animals will have plenty to graze on. Weíll find ourselves in a position where weíll be able to give food away just so as to make room for the latest seasonís harvest. We will never run out of anything and weíll never have to ask other countries to supply us with our needs. We will always be the lender (Deut. 28:8).
God promises to deliver on every one of His promises if we abide by His Covenant. We will be a land flowing with milk and honey. The end result of keeping Godís Covenant is that He promises to make us His very own holy nation out of all the people on the Earth. Everyone will be in awe of us and afraid to do us any harm (Deut. 28:9). We will never be under the control of other nations. This will only happen if we, as a nation, observe Godís Covenant. We all have our part to play in this and no one is excluded from keeping it. There is no excuse.
Letís now look at some of the punishments or curses that weíll receive as a nation when we do not obey Godís Law and His Covenant.
1. No matter where we are, whether in the country or city, we will not escape the consequences of failing to keep Godís Commandments. There wonít be a place in all the land that wonít be affected (Deut. 28:16).
2. The produce that once filled our baskets will dwindle until thereís none. Weíll see foods that we once took for granted in short supply (Deut. 28:17).
3. We will see the quantity and quality of our produce diminish. Our nation will not be blessed with an abundance of children, cattle or livestock. Employment opportunities will diminish. We will struggle to support ourselves. Weíll find we wonít be able to compete with companies overseas as more and more of our jobs will end up going there. Our purchasing power will decline (Deut. 28:18).†
4. No matter where we go, trouble and misfortune will plague us. From our leaders down, we will not be able to make wise decisions that will bring peace and prosperity. Weíll be beset with confusion, disappointment and deep paranoia. Nothing will work out properly and happiness will be short lived (Deut. 28:20).
5. The Lord God will send diseases that will not only affect us but also our cattle and our crops in the field. Our land will be overrun with weeds (Deut. 28:21-22).
6. A punishment for not obeying God is enduring heat and drought. Water will be in short supply and what we once took for granted will be rationed. The sky will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard iron. Our reservoirs will be depleted. Plentiful harvests will be a thing of the past (Deut. 28:23).
7. We, as a nation, will be overrun. We will find that our enemies have taken away our homes and all our belongings. This could be done by either physical or financial means. God will allow other nations to raise themselves against us and punish us. On top of that, the curses that fell upon Egypt will be revisited upon us and we will be in a constant state of fear, sadness and oppression.
Instead of living in peace and prosperity weíll always be in a state of panic and terror (Deut. 28:25-27). Freedoms we once took for granted will be taken away and will be replaced by oppressive and authoritarian rule.
We will find ourselves being dependant on other nations for our food and clothing. Other nations will get richer while we become poorer. Weíll find ourselves in ever-increasing debt. If we continue to refuse to offer the sacrifices of righteousness and refuse to trust in our Lord God (Ps. 4:5), we will have nothing to offer except ourselves as slaves to other nations just to survive. Worst of all, we will fall further and further away from God. We will fool ourselves into thinking what we are doing is pleasing in Godís sight (Mal. 1:7). God will turn away so as not to hear our cries or accept our prayers. Nor will He recognise when we fast. We will be consumed by the sword, by famine and by pestilence (Jer. 14:12). Weíll find more people bowing in worship to idols made of stone, wood, gold and brass.
God has made it crystal clear as to the consequences we will bring upon ourselves through our stubbornness in refusing to obey His Laws set out in His Covenant. God says, ďToday l am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!Ē Not yesterday or yesteryear, but today; now.
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 ďToday I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today. 28 You will receive a curse if you reject the commands of the LORD your God and turn from his way by worshiping foreign gods.
Each nation has a choice whether to receive blessings or curses. Godís Laws are as relevant for us today as they were in the time of Enoch, Noah, Moses and Christ. They cannot be ignored nor swept under the carpet. The longer we leave it, the worse things will get.
Itís not up to us to choose which of Godís Laws weíd like to keep. Neither is it up to us to discard the ones weíre not fond of or find inconvenient. If we reject one commandment we reject them all. Godís Laws are perfect (Ps. 19:7), just (Ps. 119:172) and one (in truth) (Ps. 119:142) just like He is (Mat. 5:48; Ezra 9:15; Deut. 32:4). We are called to be a Holy people (Deut 26:19) just as God who called us is holy (1Pet 1:15).
We have to realise that Godís Law is a complete package. It wasnít designed to be split, or broken into pieces. Sadly, most of mainstream Christianity today believe it is doing the right thing by God. They profess to obey and worship God and at the same time they scorn His Laws and go as far as to say they are no longer required, and that somehow they are nailed to the cross. They have drifted away from God and are robbing Him and they donít even know it.
Malachi 3:6-12 ďI am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already completely destroyed. 7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my laws and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,Ē says the Lord Almighty. ďBut you ask, ĎHow can we return when we have never gone away?í8 ďShould people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! ďBut you ask, ĎWhat do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?í ďYou have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,Ē says the Lord Almighty, ďI will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you wonít have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not shrivel before they are ripe,Ē says the Lord Almighty. 12 ďThen all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,Ē says the Lord Almighty.
God wants obedience according to the laws and commandments ascribed by Him found in His Bible. He doesnít want excuses.
Malachi 1:13a You say, ĎItís too hard to serve the Lord,í and you turn up your noses at his commands,Ē says the Lord Almighty.
To those who say the Laws of God are done away with, we should ask how much more death and destruction must we witness? How much more pain and sorrow must we endure before we realise that Godís perfect laws of liberty are the only solutions to an ever spiralling march to total ruin? How many more people must die due to famine, pestilence and disease? How much longer should people live in fear, anger and despair? How much longer shall we wait until we give God the obedience He deserves and commands?
Fortunately, our God is a God of mercy and compassion. God says, ďI will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you wonít have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!Ē(Mal. 3:10).
He is willing and waiting to reverse all these curses that we have brought upon ourselves only if we are willing to reverse our way of life and thinking and start keeping and obeying His Word faithfully.
So the question now is what are we waiting for?