I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you want to understand your Bible, you need to understand Deuteronomy 28 & 30. Yesterday we read 14 verses of blessings that Israel would receive “if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today” (Dt 28:1). Today’s passage is considerably longer. If you’re familiar with the expression of the carrot and the stick, there were 14 verses of “carrot,” today we’re looking at 54 verses of “stick.”
Depending on the Bible you’re using, the heading to this section aptly summarizes its contents—“Consequences for disobedience.” Verse 15 reads, “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”
As you read Deuteronomy 28:15–68, you must understand the promises that God has made up until this point. Most importantly is the promises God made to Abraham all the way back in Genesis—the promises of Land, seed, and blessing (Genesis 12 &15). The curses of Deuteronomy 28 are a symbolic undoing of all God’s promises. By verse 64, things are pretty bleak, but it’s here that we see the Land promise undone—”The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.” This verse promises what will later be known as the Babylonian Exile. The terrible thing is that all these curses happened as you read in the Old Testament.
Not to spoil the fun, but I can’t talk about these things without pointing you to chapter 30. “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you… and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.”
The promises of Deuteronomy 28 & 30 were literally fulfilled through the Babylonian Exile. However, there is a greater fulfillment that is set to come. We are strangers and aliens, living in a time like the Exile. One day, when the Lord returns, all God’s people will be brought back to himself—the scattered will be gathered.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate