Blessing And Curse
Deuteronomy 28-30 discloses Israel’s future from their entry into Canaan to their yet-future regathering.
Deuteronomy 28:1-14. Blessings for obedience. It’s not like there were no such moments of obedience.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Curses for disobedience.
The raw balance of 14 verses that describe blessing, and 54 verses that describe curse catches my attention. It could be a commentary of what God anticipates more of: obedience or disobedience; or it could be a prophecy that Israel would be about 1-part obedient and 4-parts disobedience1. Or, it could mean nothing at all.
It’s all too easy when reading a 774,746-word document to get jaded during a passage like this and to read Deuteronomy 28 as follows:
“28:15, bad stuff. 28:16, more bad stuff, 28:17-30, still going with the bad stuff. 28:31-50, the bad stuff list is getting long. 28:51-68, ok, I get the picture; on to Deuteronomy 29.”
But that would be a mistake. For you would miss nuggets such as:
Some of the blessing/curses come in parallel:
Blessing (28:12) - And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
Curse (28:44) - He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him.
Some have no parallel (for obvious cause):
Curse (28:30) - You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her.
Blessing – No parallel.
If you have ever asked whether or not borrowing money is an act of sin, the clearest answer from the Bible is found right here: Borrowing money is not a sin. It is a consequence from God for having sinned2. But you have to read Deuteronomy 28 carefully to find that.
1Israel would go on to have 42 Kings: North Israel, 19. Judah, 20. Plus 3 while united. Ten of these Kings were judged righteous, and 32 were judged evil.
2I do not promote any “prosperity theology,” and I do not propose that a man’s indebtedness be used as a litmus test for who has sinned. And it’s an obvious absurdity to suppose that the institutional lenders have achieved their position by means of their obedience to God. But I would recommend a self-evaluation if your ability to borrow money is part of the foundation of your financial plan.
I see a further application that touches society as a whole. Fifty or so years ago, it was possible for a family to save money in order to buy a house. Today, few people even bother to think in those terms – the world view we live in has trained the family seeking to own a home to go straight to the lenders. Forty years ago, it was possible to pay for a child’s college tuition without borrowing.
A defective world view is exposed when a nation’s fiscal policy rewards families that have accumulated debt.
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