Deuteronomy 28:58-61 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name – the LORD your God – the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.
As I read through this part of God’s Inspired Word I felt disquieted. What possible help and encouragement can I get from an inventory of all the comprehensive curses that will come upon a merciful God’s beloved Covenant People in consequence of their disobedience to his Law?
But very quickly my mind turned to two things:
Firstly, the ‘curses’ would not just be random contingencies of living in a broken world, but would be things SENT BY THE SOVEREIGN LORD HIMSELF as part of HIS loving work of shaping his people into what he DESIGNED them to be and to prepare them to fully embrace his overarching Plan of Salvation. The ‘curses’ would find their clearest expression some nine centuries later in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the Babylonian Captivity. Moreover, the Prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah and Ezekiel, and Psalm 74, would help them to see this as part of their God’s loving discipline!
Secondly, it all helped me to understand and appreciate with greater gratitude what Jesus, my Saviour, achieved for me on the Cross. As the Apostle Paul reminds me: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:13-14).
There are so many hymns that affirm these truths to my heart, and I especially like Keith Getty’s words: “In Christ alone, who took on flesh, fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones he came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied; for [all my] sin on him was laid – here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground his body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave he rose again! And as he stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; for I am his and he is mine – bought with the precious blood of Christ.”
– Bruce Christian