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Scripture reading – Deuteronomy 28

The sum of today’s Scripture reading is essentially two words: Blessings and Curses. Deuteronomy 27 concluded with the people affirming their understanding of God’s Covenant and agreeing to its blessings and penalties (27:15-26). Deuteronomy 28 continued the same proclamation, detailing the LORD’s promise of blessings if the people would obey His Laws and Commandments (28:1-14) and curses should they disobey (28:15-68).

The Rewards and Blessings of Faithfulness (Deuteronomy 28:1-14)

The promise of blessings was conditional and would be fulfilled, but only if the people diligently listened to the Lord’s voice “to observe and to do all His commandments.” If the people would “hearken…observe…and do all His commandments,” the LORD promised He would “set [Israel] on high above all nations of the earth” (28:1). All would be blessed, both city and field (28:3), and would be fruitful and increase. Children would be born, cattle would calve, and the flocks of sheep would increase. The fields would give forth a great harvest (28:4-6).

Israel’s enemies would fall before them and be scattered (28:7). Her storehouses and treasuries would overflow (28:8-14).  The LORD promised He would open the treasury of heaven, send rain upon the land, and the world’s nations would become debtors to Israel (28:12). All this was promised if Israel obeyed the LORD’s Law, and His Commandments (28:13-14).

The Penalties of God’s Judgment for Disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15-68)

The balance of Deuteronomy 28 predicted the punishments that would befall Israel as a nation should the people turn from the LORD and disobey His Law and Commandments (28:15-68). In the same way, the LORD promised to bless the nation if the people obeyed Him; the opposite was true should they disobey Him. The curses are far too extensive for me to address individually; however, I invite you to observe their sum in today’s devotion.

Should Israel reject Him, the LORD warned He would abandon them to their enemies (28:45-47), and the people would become slaves to their enemies (this would come to pass during the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities and be repeated in the Roman era). Their enemies would eat the fruitfulness of their lands, trees, and storehouses. Their cattle and flocks would be destroyed (28:48-51).

Israel was warned that when their cities were besieged, the starving people would turn to cannibalism and eat “the flesh of [their] sons and of [their] daughters” (28:52-53).

Portrait of a Dying Nation: Effeminate Men and Embittered Women (28:54-57)

Their men became effeminate (“tender among you, and very delicate.” 28:54). Their women were no longer “tender and delicate” (28:56). The eyes of a wife would “be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter” (28:56). Leaving her natural affection, Moses warned a mother “shall eat [her children] for want of all things secretly in the siege” (28:57).

Because the people rejected the LORD and disobeyed His Law, He promised to bring upon the nation “great plagues…and sore sicknesses” (28:59). Israel would be overcome with plagues (28:58-60), and the births of the children would be few (28:62-63). Finally, the nation would be conquered, and the people scattered, oppressed, and enslaved (28:64-65).

Fear, dread, and depression would haunt the nation, and the people would dread the night and the dawn (28:66-67). Eventually, they would be taken from their land and “see it no more again…[and] be sold unto [their enemies]” as slaves (28:68). All that Moses warned is documented by the historian Josephus and came to pass in AD 70 when Titus, the Roman General, destroyed Jerusalem. Then, the Jews were scattered throughout the nations of the earth.

Closing thoughts:

Today’s Scripture reading reminded me that the pattern of decadence and decline foretold by Moses is seen in the nations of the world today. Such wickedness precludes the judgment of God upon those nations that reject Him. No nation can long reject God without experiencing moral decay and His judgment.

The trademark of God’s judgment is undeniable when I assess my country. I see the evidence of a nation that God has turned over to its enemies. The United States is an enslaved, debtor nation to our enemies. Our nation’s women have taken the lives of their unborn in grotesque abortions, as surely as if they cannibalize them from the womb (28:52-53). Effeminate men, “tender [and] delicate” (28:54), are celebrated, and rebellious women blight our society with an “evil eye” towards their husbands and children (28:56-57). We have experienced epidemics, a failing birthrate, a fear, and a dread of the future, as I have not witnessed in my lifetime.

The United States, like all nations, is doomed if we do not repent of our sins and turn to God.

Questions to consider:

1) What spiritual benefits would Israel gain if they obeyed the commandments of the LORD? (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

2) What curses would befall Israel if the people refused to heed and obey the commandments of the LORD? (Deuteronomy 28:15-24)

3) Rather than men of strength, how were the rebellious men of Israel described? (Deuteronomy 28:54)

4) What afflictions did Moses prophesy would befall a rebellious nation? (Deuteronomy 28:59-61)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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