September 27, 2021
Scripture: “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.” Deuteronomy 28:2, 15 ESV
Observation: Cause and effect: here, the Mosaic law promises God’s blessings of prosperity and protection if we obey him but the lifting of his blessings (curses) if we disobey him. So how are we to understand these covenantal stipulations in light of our Gospel? Under the new covenant of grace, Jesus presents a revised cause and effect relationship: love and obedience. If we love him, we will keep his commandments (John 14:14-15). In other words, obedience is born in love. While the Mosaic law was not devoid of foundational love (Deuteronomy 6:5), it lacked a loving Mediator who could fulfill the covenant and grant God’s people an eternal perspective of blessings and curses in a fallen world. In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ redefines the cause: being poor in spirit, mourning, or being meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemaking, or being persecuted (Matthews 5:3-11). The effect? Grace to persevere others’ curses until we receive our reward (eternal blessings) in heaven (Matthews 5:12).
Takeaway: Blessings are not our right but a privilege. We do not earn them but receive them as a gift. And they often entail delayed gratification. But most importantly, they are borne in love. Outside a loving relationship with our Lord and Savior, the fruit of worldly prosperity will eventually lead us to despair. Those who seem to have it all are some of the most miserable people on earth. And those who genuinely have it all in Christ are truly blessed.
Prayer: Father God, please help us resist the pursuit of your blessings and direct our energy toward deepening our understanding of your love and grace that leads us to joyful obedience to your Son. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling