Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Curse of Deuteronomy 28

I want to gain victory over some problems right now, and the best way for me is to stay Christ-centered, with regular prayer, moderation, and staying Bible-focused, then, keeping the results in my blog.

When I'm not in an organized Bible study,  I sometimes play "magical Bible." That sounds SO UNCHRISTIAN-like, and if you're not overly familiar with every book of the Bible, it's unrecommended.

 I developed the habit after a Jesuit Priest friend of mine said that that's what he, and his seminary brothers did. I can hear my Protestant friends protesting, but, I'm sorry, I accept anyone who professes to love the LORD as a brother, until I know better.. It's not for me to discern who's in the right camp. We all have played liberty with dogma and doctrine, and I don't think the RC Church is more far out than the Protestants. That's not to say i think either side has it together, but, that's the point.

I believe religion and churches are man-made, but, faith and godliness is between God and man, on an individual basis. Religion is a way for man to justify himself before a purely perfect Creator, while faith is the recognition of God's perfection, and our dependence on His grace.

The LORD, alone, is the trier of hearts and souls. For those who  seek Him, I believe God facilitates their journey and discipleship. Even perhaps in the dubious participation of the game of "Magical Bible."

 What it means is that you hold the Bible while letting it open by itself. I know, wicked Harry Potter stuff, but, it can get boring doing the same studies over and over again for 25 years.

The reason you need to have put in the work by knowing the books, first, is that, since you're obviously going to be taking a few pages out of context, you should know the surrounding story pretty well.   

I'm not 100% sure if the LORD approves, because, more than 50% of the time, the page opens on a curse..

I'll begin by thanking the LORD for the opportunity to have the hunger and desire to partake of  the sacred bread of life, and ask for wisdom and light. I close my eyes, then, with my thumb flipping through the pages, I lift up until a page opens by itself.

Today's magical verse was the curse in Deuteronomy 28. Typical.

It opens with the Blessings of Obedience, and it's delivered by Moses to an exhausted generation of sojourners, on the verge of being allowed to inherit Palestine. It exhorts their obedience to the Laws which were given by Moses, in Leviticus, and in their adherence to the society which was dictated by the LORD to Moses, on Mt. Sinai.

He encourages them by telling them how the LORD will create abundance of blessings, from healthy children, to fertile soil and rain. He lets them know that they will be the envy of the world, and their enemies will admire them, and not have the courage to infringe upon their bounty for fear of the God is Israel who protects them.

Then, it is balanced with the flip side of disobedience's consequences. It warns primarily of failing to abstain from the pagan religions of the aboriginal residents of the land, and bringing their culture and people into the holy fold, because, they would dilute and corrupt the congregation. These people were meant to be a showcase to the world of a chosen people, and purport to glorify their God over the gods of every season and cause that the pagans were in bondage towards.

For failing to adhere to the faithfulness of following Mosaic Judaism, they would subsequently be cursed. Instead of being nurtured in a lush land, filled with "milk and honey", the rain would fail, their children would die of starvation and diseases, and finally, they would be expelled from the land, and scattered to the "four winds." They would suffer the fate of adulterers, and would be mocked, despised and tortured by the people whose religions and gods they took up.

Too often, we feel as if we participate or are liberal-minded towards other's, it will endear us to them, when it's opposite. By participating in their religions, they would not regard them favorably, but, regard it as weakness, and hate them.

By standing by their Laws, God was prepared to make an example of them that would be a witness to the rest of the world, and He did, when they were compliant. When they strayed, He was true to the curses, and let them become overcome by Babylon for 70 years. Before their ultimate expulsion, famine and hunger besieged the once lush nation, true to the promise, or curse. They resorted to eating their children! How much more horror is there in store for those who despise God?

After their bondage to the King of Babylon, they were returned to Palestine, and around 5 centuries later, the Messiah was born. After he was crucified and risen, the remaining believers were persecuted unto death, and finally, the nation was again overwhelmed by Rome, cast out, and destroyed. The curse takes effect for nearly 2000 years, until 1948, when the nation of Israel was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust.

When you read the curse, it's easy for us to see the Nazis in the picture.

Just as punishment is severe, grace is always given, to pair with chastisement. God gives us so many chances to "get it" and would prefer for us to receive all the riches of heaven and Earth.

We may wonder why they would be tempted to resist the Holy God who provided such visual evidence of His existence, and bestowed so much grace and tangible miracles? Yet, the generation who came from Egypt were extremely rebellious, so much so that when Moses was communing with the LORD face to face on the mountain, they were busy making a golden calf, in homage to Isis, a goddess of Egypt. They tempted the LORD, and reluctantly went along with path, hoping for material gain, and perhaps their own dominion in a land where they would be the overlords. That wasn't the purpose of inheriting Zion.

Zion was to be the one place on Earth where the LORD rested His feet. It was in the Holy of Holies, within the innermost sanctum of the Temple where the glory of God filled the room, like smoke. Unlike today, there were not to be many houses of worship, only ONE, in Jerusalem. That was God's house. Nowhere else.

This sounds heavenly to some of us, but, humanity is tempted by carnal things. The pagan religions appealed to the flesh, and by that, I don't mean purely sexually. It has a dark mystery that excited them, and still has the same attraction today. I know. I was immersed in it when I was young, and it has specious rewards that seem to make it worthwhile and profitable at the time.

It's easy to judge them, but, we're no better. We're faced with our own temptations and desires which are contrary to the way the LORD prescribed for our lives. It's hard to resist some things when we're living side by side with people who are profane. After all, we're all just flesh and blood.

That's why it is a comfort to have a High Priest in Heaven who understands our weakness and who sympathizes with us. He also had hunger, thirst, weariness, temptations and had to overcome the path of the evil one who establishes the ways of this world by God's design.

We may not understand why God tolerates this situation, but, at least we know we have an advocate who is on our side.

The road to Zion is harder, than the neon lights of Babylon. Or as it's phrased, "Wide is the path of destruction, and narrow is the way to God." (Paraphrased.) Our duty is to learn to be obedient to God, follow the LAW, and have good works. This doesn't guarantee riches and a better sex life.

While the pagan culture satisfied the here and now, the Jewish religion established a mandate to be good without the necessary temporal rewards, Our reward was, and is,  doing good works, putting God and others before our own desires, and hoping that by learning to live righteously, by our faith, we will be accepted by the LORD following our short lives on Earth.

It's the difference between party kids who spend their adolescences absorbed in pleasure and selfishness, while their counterparts sacrifice pleasure and fun for hard studies and earnest work. In the end, the party kids spend their 30s working in menial crappy jobs, and unfulfilling lives,  while the ones who kept on course, sacrificing pleasures, ultimately learn it was well worth it.

This, like all principles, is a test of faith, and it's the substance of the things hopes for. Whether you are following God, or your own naval, usually, man has a dream of some kind, for the future. This gives us a wonderful future. We may not all live like kings, now, but, one day, we are promised that we will inherit the Earth.

Who knows, it may not be far off!

Deu 28:1  And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe [and] to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

Deu 28:2  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Deu 28:3  Blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] in the field.

Deu 28:4  Blessed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Deu 28:5  Blessed [shall be] thy basket and thy store.

Deu 28:6  Blessed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, and blessed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out.

Deu 28:7  The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

Deu 28:8  The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deu 28:9  The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

Deu 28:10  And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

Deu 28:11  And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

Deu 28:12  The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

Deu 28:13  And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do [them]:

Deu 28:14  And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Deu 28:15  But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

Deu 28:16  Cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the city, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] in the field.

Deu 28:17  Cursed [shall be] thy basket and thy store.

Deu 28:18  Cursed [shall be] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Deu 28:19  Cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou comest in, and cursed [shalt] thou [be] when thou goest out.

Deu 28:20  The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.

Deu 28:21  The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.

Deu 28:22  The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.

Deu 28:23  And thy heaven that [is] over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee [shall be] iron.

Deu 28:24  The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

Deu 28:25  The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

Deu 28:26  And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray [them] away.

Deu 28:27  The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.

Deu 28:28  The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:

Deu 28:29  And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save [thee].

Deu 28:30  Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.

Deu 28:31  Thine ox [shall be] slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass [shall be] violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep [shall be] given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue [them].

Deu 28:32  Thy sons and thy daughters [shall be] given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail [with longing] for them all the day long: and [there shall be] no might in thine hand.

Deu 28:33  The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:

Deu 28:34  So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

Deu 28:35  The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.

Deu 28:36  The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.

Deu 28:37  And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
Deu 28:38  Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather [but] little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Deu 28:39  Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress [them], but shalt neither drink [of] the wine, nor gather [the grapes]; for the worms shall eat them.

Deu 28:40  Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint [thyself] with the oil; for thine olive shall cast [his fruit].

Deu 28:41  Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.

Deu 28:42  All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Deu 28:43  The stranger that [is] within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.

Deu 28:44  He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.

Deu 28:45  Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:

Deu 28:46  And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.

Deu 28:47  Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all [things];

Deu 28:48  Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all [things]: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

Deu 28:49  The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, [as swift] as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;

Deu 28:50  A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:

Deu 28:51  And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which [also] shall not leave thee [either] corn, wine, or oil, [or] the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.

Deu 28:52  And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

Deu 28:53  And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:

Deu 28:54  [So that] the man [that is] tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:

Deu 28:55  So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.

Deu 28:56  The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,

Deu 28:57  And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all [things] secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

Deu 28:58  If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;

Deu 28:59  Then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, [even] great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.

Deu 28:60  Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.

Deu 28:61  Also every sickness, and every plague, which [is] not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

Deu 28:62  And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God.

Deu 28:63  And it shall come to pass, [that] as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Deu 28:64  And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, [even] wood and stone.
Deu 28:65  And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

Deu 28:66  And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

Deu 28:67  In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.

Deu 28:68  And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy [you].

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