Frighteningly Faithful (Deut. 28)

In Deuteronomy 28, God outlines a great blessing for Israel if they simply obey his commands and a great curse if they refuse to obey him. The details that are found in that curse are gruesome, and accurate. Knowing a little about the history of Israel, we can see that what God predicted, he brought about. God did not promise Israel anything that he did not do. They disobeyed his commands, and he punished them in just the ways that he claimed he would. God was perfectly faithful to the covenant.

Without trying to sound morbid, it is important that we recognize that the justice of God is just as true a part of his character as his mercy. God will always be true to his word, and he will always punish all human sin. No sin, not a single one, will ever go unpunished. Either it will be punished in Jesus’ death on the cross, or it will be carried out on the individual sinner who has refused the grace of Christ. God promises hell to all who do not have their names written in “the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Only those who have received Jesus by grace through faith have their names written in that book of those who are forgiven graciously by God.

Yes, the passage in Deuteronomy 28 is a sad one to read. It is frightening and ugly, but it is honest. God takes our sinful disobedience very seriously. We must remember that, when we talk about sinning before God, we are talking about life and death issues. When we talk about receiving or not receiving Jesus, we are talking about the difference in heaven and hell.

Still some have a difficult time believing that God would ever punish sins as he describes in Deuteronomy 28, or as he describes in many of the texts on hell. Let us remember that God is true to his word. We certainly want to believe that the promises of heaven are true. We do not want to ever even entertain the notion that God would not faithfully give all the blessing he has promised to give. However, if we want to trust in that, we must also trust in the truth of God’s wrath over sin and his promised judgment. You can not choose to believe God faithful in one area but not in another. God is totally faithful, and that includes judgment and grace.

Lord, I recognize that you are totally faithful, totally gracious, and totally just. You will do all that you promise. While the judgments of Deuteronomy 28 are frightening to behold, they remind us of your justice and your faithfulness. You promised to punish disobedience in a particular way, and you carried out your word faithfully. You most certainly will also keep all your promises for blessing to those who are forgiven by you in Christ and who faithfully serve you. Lord, I pray that you will help me to remember your great faithfulness, and that this faithfulness extends to your justice as well as your blessings. Help me to take your word even more seriously today, as I remember that you always do what you say. Praise you for being a just God who keeps his word.

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