The Choice of Obedience

Whitney Capps

Day: 29 | Plan: Deuteronomy

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 28:15-68

Deuteronomy 28:58-59 (NIV) If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God—the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.”

When wrestling with a call or command of God, have you ever wished God would just tell you exactly what was going to happen before you obeyed Him? I have. I’ve often thought that I could follow God’s ways if I knew more details about my future and God’s plans. But what if that’s not necessarily the case? Are we more obedient when we know what’s in our future? Maybe not.

In Deuteronomy 28, we see God give clear and carefully defined instructions and consequences that will determine their future. Follow me, and I will bless you, He promises. Ignore My ways and I will curse you, God declares.

As they move into the Promised Land, God is telling them exactly what their future holds—blessings or curses. In shocking detail, He describes how He will bless or curse Israel. 

If Israel will obey God’s commands and listen to His voice He will:

-bless them in the city and in the field

-bless them in the fruit of their womb

-bless their cattle, herds and livestock

-bless them in all of their going and coming

-bless them with plentiful rain and bountiful harvest

-bless them with protection from their enemies

-bless them with prosperity and fame

But if Israel turns away from God’s voice, ignoring His commands, then He will:

-curse them in the city and in the field

-curse their wombs, herd, flocks and fruit

-curse them in their going and coming

-curse them with the afflictions of the Egyptian plagues

-curse them by subjecting them to military defeat, enslavement and oppression

-curse them with boils, sores and pestilence

Sadly, the Israelites made wrong choices. They would not remain faithful. They would not tear down the idols. They would refuse to utterly destroy the pagan people of Canaan. They would intermarry and mingle the worship of idols with the worship of Yahweh. They would ask for a king and turn away from God.

And God does not relent in His judgment of them. God promised to act in accordance with their choices, and Israel will suffer for their lack of obedience to Him. Israel turned a blind eye to what God had done and a deaf ear to what God had promised.

Details didn’t foster obedience. Israel knew exactly what it would cost them and their children (and generations after them) to turn away from God. As you and I wrestle with the choice to obey God, let’s remember Israel. The unknown can be paralyzing, but details don’t necessarily move our faith forward. Obedience is a choice. Obedience isn’t based on a certain future; obedience is based on our certain God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I often want more detail, more information, more promise of what my future holds if I follow You. Thank You for the reminder that Your people haven’t always obeyed even when they knew their certain future. Rid me of my need to have all the answers and help me to follow You faithfully no matter what questions I may have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

More Moments:

The curses outlined in Deuteronomy 28 are exhaustive and overwhelming! There would be no part of... Read More

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