This is Episode #67 and today we’ll read Deuteronomy chapters 28 & 29 together. Blessings and curses and keeping and breaking God’s covenant.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #67 and today we’ll read Deuteronomy chapters 28 & 29 together. Blessings and curses and keeping and breaking God’s covenant.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Deuteronomy Chapter 28
Blessings for Obedience
“Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all his commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in the city
and blessed in the country.
Your offspring will be blessed,
and your land’s produce,
and the offspring of your livestock,
including the young of your herds
and the newborn of your flocks.
Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in
and blessed when you go out.
“The Lord will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions. The Lord will grant you a blessing on your barns and on everything you do; he will bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he swore to you, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you bear the Lord’s name, and they will stand in awe of you.
Do Not Turn Aside
“The Lord will make you prosper abundantly with offspring, the offspring of your livestock, and your land’s produce in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open for you his abundant storehouse, the sky, to give your land rain in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you will only move upward and never downward if you listen to the Lord your God’s commands I am giving you today and are careful to follow them. Do not turn aside to the right or the left from all the things I am commanding you today, and do not follow other gods to worship them.
Curses for Disobedience
“But if you do not obey the Lord your God by carefully following all his commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you:
You will be cursed in the city
and cursed in the country.
Your basket and kneading bowl will be cursed.
Your offspring will be cursed,
and your land’s produce,
the young of your herds,
and the newborn of your flocks.
You will be cursed when you come in
and cursed when you go out.
The Lord will send against you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything you do until you are destroyed and quickly perish, because of the wickedness of your actions in abandoning me. The Lord will make pestilence cling to you until he has exterminated you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will afflict you with wasting disease, fever, inflammation, burning heat, drought, blight, and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish. The sky above you will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron. The Lord will turn the rain of your land into falling dust; it will descend on you from the sky until you are destroyed.
“The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will march out against them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions. You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. Your corpses will be food for all the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the earth, with no one to scare them away.
“The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, tumors, a festering rash, and scabies, from which you cannot be cured. The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness, and mental confusion, so that at noon you will grope as a blind person gropes in the dark. You will not be successful in anything you do. You will only be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will help you. You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it. Your donkey will be taken away from you and not returned to you. Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will help you.
“Your sons and daughters will be given to another people, while your eyes grow weary looking for them every day. But you will be powerless to do anything. A people you don’t know will eat your land’s produce and everything you have labored for. You will only be oppressed and crushed continually. You will be driven mad by what you see. The Lord will afflict you with painful and incurable boils on your knees and thighs — from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
“The Lord will bring you and your king that you have appointed to a nation neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone. You will become an object of horror, scorn, and ridicule among all the peoples where the Lord will drive you.
“You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it. You will plant and cultivate vineyards but not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout your territory but not moisten your skin with oil, because your olives will drop off. You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will be taken prisoner. Buzzing insects will take possession of all your trees and your land’s produce. The resident alien among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you won’t lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.
“All these curses will come, pursue, and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the Lord your God and keep the commands and statutes he gave you. These curses will be a sign and a wonder against you and your descendants forever. Because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything, you will serve your enemies that the Lord will send against you, in famine, thirst, nakedness, and a lack of everything. He will place an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.
Not Even the Refined
“The Lord will bring a nation from far away, from the ends of the earth, to swoop down on you like an eagle, a nation whose language you won’t understand, a ruthless nation, showing no respect for the old and not sparing the young. They will eat the offspring of your livestock and your land’s produce until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, fresh oil, young of your herds, or newborn of your flocks until they cause you to perish. They will besiege you within all your city gates until your high and fortified walls, that you trust in, come down throughout your land. They will besiege you within all your city gates throughout the land the Lord your God has given you.
“You will eat your offspring, the flesh of your sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you. The most sensitive and refined man among you will look grudgingly at his brother, the wife he embraces, and the rest of his children, refusing to share with any of them his children’s flesh that he will eat because he has nothing left during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you in all your towns.
“The most sensitive and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her refinement and sensitivity, will begrudge the husband she embraces, her son, and her daughter, the afterbirth that comes out from between her legs and the children she bears, because she will secretly eat them for lack of anything else during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you within your city gates.
Be Careful to Obey
“If you are not careful to obey all the words of this law, which are written in this scroll, by fearing this glorious and awe-inspiring name — the Lord, your God — he will bring wondrous plagues on you and your descendants, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses. He will afflict you again with all the diseases of Egypt, which you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The Lord will also afflict you with every sickness and plague not recorded in the book of this law, until you are destroyed.
“Though you were as numerous as the stars of the sky, you will be left with only a few people, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Just as the Lord was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so he will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be ripped out of the land you are entering to possess. Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot.
Dread in Your Heart
“There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit. Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival. In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ — because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see. The Lord will take you back in ships to Egypt by a route that I said you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”
Deuteronomy Chapter 29
Renewing the Covenant
These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb. Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials, and to his entire land. You saw with your own eyes the great trials and those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.
“I led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes and the sandals on your feet did not wear out; you did not eat food or drink wine or beer — so that you might know that I am the Lord your God. When you reached this place, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out against us in battle, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Therefore, observe the words of this covenant and follow them, so that you will succeed in everything you do.
Standing Before the Lord
“All of you are standing today before the Lord your God — your leaders, tribes, elders, officials, all the men of Israel, your dependents, your wives, and the resident aliens in your camps who cut your wood and draw your water — so that you may enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, which he is making with you today, so that you may enter into his oath and so that he may establish you today as his people and he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am making this covenant and this oath not only with you, but also with those who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God and with those who are not here today.
Abandoning the Covenant
“Indeed, you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and passed through the nations where you traveled. You saw their abhorrent images and idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which were among them. Be sure there is no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Be sure there is no root among you bearing poisonous and bitter fruit.
“When someone hears the words of this oath, he may consider himself exempt, thinking, ‘I will have peace even though I follow my own stubborn heart.’ This will lead to the destruction of the well-watered land as well as the dry land. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him. Instead, his anger and jealousy will burn against that person, and every curse written in this scroll will descend on him. The Lord will blot out his name under heaven, and single him out for harm from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the law.
Nations Will Ask
“Future generations of your children who follow you and the foreigner who comes from a distant country will see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses the Lord has inflicted on it. All its soil will be a burning waste of sulfur and salt, unsown, producing nothing, with no plant growing on it, just like the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord demolished in his fierce anger. All the nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this intense outburst of anger?’
“Then people will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, which he had made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. They began to serve other gods, bowing in worship to gods they had not known — gods that the Lord had not permitted them to worship. Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, and he brought every curse written in this book on it. The Lord uprooted them from their land in his anger, rage, and intense wrath, and threw them into another land where they are today.’ The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.
After wading through 68 verses of blessings and curses (mostly curses), the highlight for me is Deuteronomy 29:29. It has always been my go-to verse for things I just couldn’t understand about God. He knows all but the things He has revealed to me, I am responsible to obey. As a matter of fact, I love the way The Living Bible (TLB) words this verse: There are secrets the Lord your God has not revealed to us, but these words that he has revealed are for us and our children to obey forever. Unlike the Israelites, however, He has revealed His greatest secret – His salvation – to us today in the form of Jesus Christ. When we accept His offer of grace, these curses no longer apply. What a wonderful revelation.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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