Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Are You Under God's Curse or Blessing? - Part 1
The Bible says we are cursed if we do not perfectly keep all of the Law's demands. How does this work and what hope is there for us to escape this curse? There is an important bit of teaching which Paul presents in Galatians 3 which is very important for Christians to understand. Often we just read these passages and don't really think through what God would have us to know and believe.
Let's begin though in Joshua 8:30. If you read this section you will see that Joshua split the people up and sent half to Mount Ebal and the other half to Mount Gerizim. I know that’s not the most interesting beginning and you may be tempted to tune me out, but please stay with me on this and follow the logic that God has laid out for us..
In Deuteronomy 27-28, Moses had commanded this event to take place when the people reached the Promised Land. The people on Mount Gerizim were to read the blessings that you will find in Chapter 28. The people on Mount Ebal were to read the curses. You’ll notice that God’s blessing included every facet of life:
Deuteronomy 28:3-6 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out."
Similarly the curses were declared. There are curses to match each blessing:
“Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. “Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. “Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out (Deut 28:16-19).
Notice the summary curse in verse 27:26: “Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by doing them.” So the point is that in order to be blessed, one must keep all of the commandments perfectly. If you look at Deut 28:47-48 you will see that not only the deeds must be done, but the attitude must be perfect:
“Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you" (Emphasis mine).
Paul picks up this theme in Galatians 3:10 where he writes, “For as many as are of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’” Notice that it is necessary to continue in all things in order to avoid the curse. The problem is that many Christians are viewing life as a law-based scheme. They are attempting to please God, be acceptable to God and grow in their Christian life by keeping the law. This approach is doomed to failure as we shall see.