The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blessings and Cursings

Did you ever think that maybe God is serious? Ok, so maybe you don't believe in God at all, but let's just pretend for a second that He is there (after all, He believes in YOU), and that He means what He says...and that everything He ever said or did was with your good in mind. If you're still with me then you have surpassed a lot of supposing barriers that have been unfairly set in your path!
This culture is so good at taking things for granted that we suffer immeasurably and unnecessarily. We too often take a pass on the good things like personal salvation (!), and we absorb the ridiculous, like the junk science of man made global warming (have you even heard that the earth's temperature has not gone up now in 8 years!?).

So let's keep supposing, just for a minute, that God a) exists, b) speaks and c) means what He says. I think that most Christians espouse a and b, but weaken at c. It is very inconvenient to the lazy and the lax, to acknowledge God's Word, and to live accordingly (talk about an 'inconvenient truth'!).

But as long as we're supposing, let's look at Deuteronomy 28, and Mark 14, two chapters I read today. The interesting thing about reading a bit of Old and New Testament together is that since both are from God and both are true, so they often correlate rather nicely.
Deut 28 is about God's blessings and curses. About 15 verses elaborate on how God will Bless Israel if they simply obey His instructions and 'carefully observe' His commands. So much like the way I talked to my kids when I had to teach them about life. And then God spent about 50 verses on the curses; the natural consequences of not following His commands 'carefully'.
He gets very specific but I've copied a few near the end which describe the general result.

Deuteronomy 28
65 .Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.
66. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.
67.In the morning you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!"--because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.

From Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to Hitler and Hamas, Jewish people have suffered so. Remember that as God's chosen people they were to demonstrate for the rest of the world, just who God is, and what He is like. And that God is serious.

Our choices have consequences. The fruit of our disobedience, or outright rebellion against God that we bear during our life on earth (an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart) are not just nothing compared to eternity removed from God's presence. These pains can prompt us to repent, and so return to God for the safety and freedom He wants for us.

Now as to the New Testament correlation I found, it is Jesus Himself who is suffering with the despairing heart, bleeding and dying on the cross. Not because He failed to obey the Father, as we all have, but because He was sacrificed BY the Father as a substitute for us! (The LAMB of God, as it were) On the cross, He suffered through all of the curses designed to prompt our faithfulness, and all of the punishment we deserved for our sinfulness.

Mark 15:33
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ""Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? ""--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Yes. God is serious. Serious about the blessings that come with your obedience. Serious about the pain that follows from walking on your own. Serious about what he would sacrifice to regain your fellowship. Serious about all of the joys and delights He has in store for you.
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