Blessings And Penalties

Q.  A friend, referring to  Deut.28:63, said that the God she knows would not rejoice over anyone to destroy and bring them to nothing.  I said that she was forgetting that God’s ways are not our ways and we can’t figure His ways out with our feeble minds.  Can you give me a better answer for her?

A.  People who talk like this betray their lack of Biblical knowledge.  In Deut. 28 Moses was reviewing the conditions of Israel’s covenant with God.  The first 14 verses contain a list of the incredible blessings Israel would receive for being obedient to the terms of the covenant which required them to keep the commandments and other laws God had given them. The rest of chapter 28 is devoted to an explanation of the penalties they would suffer if they disobeyed. This disobedience is called sin.  Before the cross this was the only kind of relationship man could have with God.

Over the next several hundred years Israel went through several cycles of incredible blessing for obedience followed by serious penalties for disobedience. None of this was a surprise to God, but served the purpose of teaching us that man cannot live in a manner that’s pleasing to God for very long and will always rebel against His laws.

When Israel’s history showed that God’s purpose had been served, He sent His son in the form of a man to die the most horribly painful death ever devised to pay the penalty for man’s disobedience once and for all time. Because of that you and I are not in the kind of covenant with God that Israel had. We receive only the blessings and suffer none of the penalties.

People who understand this don’t condemn God for being so harsh with his people. They know He can’t overlook sin and has to punish disobedience. Therefore they thank Him for sending His Son to bear the penalties for our disobedience, freeing us to experience only the blessings of God’s love.

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