Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Blessed Coming In and Going Out

By Dennis Pollock


Many Christians might not recognize Deuteronomy 28 if you only gave them the Scripture reference, the way nearly everybody recognizes Psalm 23. But most believers have heard and have probably quoted several of the individual verses from this chapter. Deuteronomy 28 is considered the Blessings Chapter of the Old Testament, but that is only partially accurate. Actually, it is the blessings and the curses chapter, where God goes to great lengths to lay out the wonderful blessings that will come upon His people for obedience, and the terrible curses that will befall them for their disobedience. Let's look at some of the verses of this chapter. It starts with these words:


Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)


The rest of this chapter is divided very neatly into two separate sections. In the first fourteen verses, God promises to bless the people of Israel in every conceivable way if they obey His commands. This is a great big IF! These amazing promises of abundant blessings are contingent upon Israel doing what God tells them to do. In the second part of the chapter, God goes to great lengths in promising them cursed, miserable, lives of scarcity, sickness, and desperation if they do not obey His commandments. So, in this chapter we have two distinct promises from God to His people: "Obey Me and get blessed beyond your wildest dreams, or disobey Me and be cursed beyond anything you could ever imagine." In this study, we will focus on the blessings.


Overtaken by Blessings


In the very next verse, God declares: "And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God." (Deuteronomy 28:2). The word "overtake" is fascinating in this context. We are told that the blessings of God are pursuing us and will at some point "overtake" us and we will have our life filled with blessings. If you fulfill the conditions, you will hear footsteps behind you. Normally we get a little nervous if we hear someone following us, getting closer and closer, as though they were pursuing us. But in this case, we are not being pursued by a mugger or someone meaning harm to us. We are being pursued by God's favor and blessings, and we can be sure that sooner or later they will overtake us. And when that happens, we won't mind it a bit!


This calls to mind the verse in Psalms 23, where David declares, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Goodness and mercy are hard on the heels of God's obedient children, and we should be glad they are.


Moses was telling Israel: "These commands I have given you are vitally important to your health and well-being. If you want a secure and happy life, if you want to live the dream, keep them all." He promises: "Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country." (Deuteronomy 28:3). This is an inclusive promise. In those days you were either in the city or in the country. I don't think they had suburbs then. So, whether you are a city dweller or a country boy, you would be blessed if you kept God's rules given through Moses.


Coming and Going


In another place, he says: "Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out." (Deuteronomy 28:6). When you are just leaving your house to go on a long journey, or you are walking along a dusty path several hours away, or if you are on your way home, it doesn't matter – wherever you are you will be blessed: coming or going, leaving or returning, on the road, on the path, in the city, in the countryside – you will be blessed, blessed, blessed, if you will just keep God's commands.


Moses declares that their enemies will come against them from one direction and be so thoroughly defeated that they will flee from them in seven directions. Total victory in battle! He promises: "The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand…" (Deuteronomy 28:8). I like that! God will command blessings on your life, and you know that when God commands something to happen, it will surely happen. He says: "And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today." (Deuteronomy 28:13).


Wow! We who obey God will be the ones in authority and leadership. We shall not be lowly, poverty-stricken, depressed wretches; we shall be walking in victory and success, and whatever we set our hand to, whatever our career, whatever our business or ministry or endeavor, we shall succeed in a big way. Sounds almost too good to be true!


A Big Problem


But there is a problem with all of this. Moses did not just give Israel the Ten Commandments to keep. He gave them over 600 laws, including what to eat and what kind of clothes to wear, how and how often to offer sacrifices, and what yearly feasts must be observed in Jerusalem. Some people today make a big deal about eating pork and suggest that this is strictly against God's law, but the truth is, if we are going to keep all the Mosaic laws, we are just as guilty if we eat shrimp or catfish. And if we ever wear a shirt made of polyester and cotton, or nylon and wool, or linen and cotton, we have sinned and are walking in disobedience to the laws of Moses. Married couples were commanded to abstain from sex during the wife's menstrual cycle and a full week beyond the end of her cycle, something very few couples would or could keep. The truth is if we ever think we can fully obey all these laws and somehow earn the blessings promised in Deuteronomy 28, we are living in a dream world. IF only there were some other ways to be blessed of God, instead of desperately trying and frequently failing to keep all 613 commandments of Moses!


New Testament Version


The good news is that there is another way. There is a New Testament version of this promise of blessings. Jesus says:


I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:5,7)


Jesus promises us the blessings of a fruitful, productive life, and the privilege of getting our prayers answered based on abiding in Him. This has nothing to do with whether we eat or abstain from a ham sandwich. This has to do with our position in Christ. Once we have come to Jesus and received Him as our Lord and Savior, our job is to abide in Him. To abide means to stay in place, to remain, to maintain a fixed position in Christ for the rest of our days, trusting in Jesus, depending on Jesus, and following Him as our good Shepherd.


Jesus, Our Passover Lamb


We are not required to keep the ceremonial and dietary laws of Moses. There is no need to offer lambs as sacrifices for our sins. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has gone before us, keeping every one of all those laws on our behalf, and then He died on the cross for us. Rising from the dead on the third day, He now offers us a better and purer righteousness than any man or woman could have attained through the laws of Moses. Jesus transfers His perfect and spotless righteousness into our account when we put our faith in Him.


He does give us a couple of commands of His own, however. He commands us to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. But we do this, not to gain God's approval or earn a place in heaven, but because of the new nature deposited in us when we received Jesus. We become a new creation in Christ, and the laws of God are no longer written on stones for us. They are written in our hearts, as Jeremiah prophesied:


But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33).


And in Jesus Christ, we say "AMEN!"


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