"But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of
the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today,
that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:"
I love Deuteronomy! Unlike many uninformed Christians who view it as the Law of the Old Testament, to be discarded and ignored in this Age of Grace, I understand that God ordained these parting words of Moses. Jehovah instructed Moses to review His covenant blessings and curses with the new generation that was about to enter the Promised Land, so that they will endure to all generations ... that includes us!
It is among the many wonders and mysteries of the Bible that it speaks Truth into each generation that reads it. Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy is a treasure trove of both blessings and curses upon those who hear God's Word. And although many modern Christians only want to concentrate on the blessing part of the message, the noted 17th Century theologian Matthew Henry admonishes that "Ministers must preach the terrors of the law as well as the comforts of the gospel." Sadly, I do not think this has been done in the Modern Church, and the people are perishing for lack of knowledge.
The preceding verses in Chapter 28 identify the many blessings that befall a people who hearken diligently to the Lord's voice and observe all His commandments: the fertility of your body, your crops and your animals will abound; your enemies will be defeated; the Lord will open His Heavenly storehouse and shower the land with rain and bountiful harvests; you will be able to lend to many nations, and have no need to borrow; you will earn the respect of other nations, holding a position of leadership at the top; and lastly all these blessings will be yours as long as you continue to obey His Word and do not follow after other gods and serve them.
Then come the verses that are the promised curses for disobedience to God's Word. No one wants to read them or hear them, because they do not fit the comfortable and convenient image of God that we have made for ourselves. But who can deny the plain-spoken truth of our Scripture today? The following curses will come upon the people who do not carefully observe God's commandments and statutes: First, the fruit of our fields and our bodies will be cursed. No one can deny that our crop production is declining, and infertility is a growing problem among American women. The Lord promises curses of "terrible and untreatable sicknesses", and He declares that He will make the rain from heaven like dust. He promises that "the immigrants who live among you will be promoted over you, higher and higher! But you will be demoted, lower and lower!" (Verse 43). There are promises of a "distant nation [coming against you]—one from the far ends of the earth—against you as fast as the eagle flies: a nation that speaks a language you can’t understand, and who is "a stern nation that doesn’t go easy on the very old or show pity to the very young." (Verses 49-50)
All these curses are promised "If you don’t carefully keep all the words of this Instruction that are written in this scroll, by fearing the awesome and glorious name of the Lord your God." These are the words that Moses spoke to the generation about to enter their inheritance in the Promised Land; and they were the words from God, spoken to those ancient Israelites and every generation since then.
I know there will be those who say if we are Saved, we don't need to fear these curses; we have the hope of a promised deliverance. Yes, we do, but our Salvation applies to us as individuals. We are part of a nation who has turned away from God's statutes and instructions, and we, as a nation, are reaping the consequences of our disobedience. These curses will effect us, too. We are a nation who is suffering the repercussions of too much borrowing, and too many strangers in our land; we are no longer respected as a "top" nation, and are threatened by distant enemies and incurable diseases. We can no longer escape the results of following after the gods of greed, money and power; nor will we avoid the judgment from serving the gods of abortion and immorality.
I pray that this nation will experience a great revival of love for our Lord -- that we will return to His ways and forego our selfish natures. I believe He has turned us over to our own desires, and you can see what a mess we've wrought. But we have no one to blame but ourselves. God, in His Word, has given us clear instructions and made His desires known. It is we who have erased the memory of His enduring promises from our land. Now we are receiving His righteous curses.