Sunday, February 15, 2015

Deuteronomy 28

The sermon today was preached from Psalm 73, a favourite psalm with this beautiful verse, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (v.26)

The preacher preached on the difficult theme of suffering. He referred also to Deuteronomy 28, where its 68 verses were separated into two sections.

The first section from verse 1 to 14 deals with blessings in the form of security, material prosperity and abundance in the land God is giving to his people in their obedience.

The second section takes the much larger block from verse 15 to 68 and it deals with curses and judgment as a result of disobedience.

The speaker's brief reference to it was unsatisfactory for me because I need to settle the immediate question I had - how can it be explained when Scripture clearly states that the life we have from God is not by our works but by God's grace.

In my reference to the two electronic commentaries I have with me (I can't seem to concentrate any longer whilst this matter weighs heavy on my mind), I did manage to get it cleared.

Reading the chapter with the basic understanding of moral goodness resulting in blessings whereas rebellion curses and punishment is actually a very shallow view.

Deuteronomy 28 has to do with the covenant that God has entered into with the people of Israel. And in this covenant that is graciously given, obedience is expected and to disobey God is to betray and reject the very source of life. The only way to live is to remain in fellowship in the covenant with the Lord God. The primary concern therefore is not rewards but that only in the fellowship with God and in obedience to his commandments could life be found.1

And the book of Job clearly display the reality that someone as righteous as Job actually lost everything he had. Some scholars have even suggested that the book of Job was written expressly to challenge the simplistic interpretation of the Deuteronomic theology.2

And the most important relevant NT account is found in John 9 when the disciples asked Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?", where Jesus responded, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned."

There you go, Scripture must be explained with Scripture.

1 J.A. Thompson, Deuteronomy, Tyndale Old Testament Commentary
2 Duane L. Christensen, Deuteronomy 21:10-34:12

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