Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field -- would you say that Christians hiding underground for fear of being arrested or worse are blessed in the city? Are they blessed in the field?
Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock -- does this automatically mean that barren Christian women must somehow not be in the faith? That someone who loses their job, has to file unemployment or is on public assistance is more sinful than someone who is not facing those challenges? How arrogantly presumptuous!
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. -- well if anything sums up a seeker friendly perspective, this sure does! The problem is does this apply to all Christians? Remember, the only coherent argument someone might make for applying these Deuteronomy verses to the church is through the sinless perfection of Christ. If that is the case then everyone in Christ would have to be equally eligible. Wasn't it Jesus Himself however who contradicted this?
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." -- John 16: 33 (ESV)
If all of the blessings of Deuteronomy 28 magically apply to all Christians why would Jesus warn us that we would face tribulation? Why would He say to deny oneself? To die to self? To pick up our cross daily? That we would face persecution even unto death? I know that purpose driven preachers will never go near these Scriptures when they can instead do another five part series on Jeremiah 29:11 but these verses do exist. It is the counsel of the Lord and unlike Jeremiah 29:11, they were actually written for the church. Back to the blessings:
"The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways -- is this what is happening in Christendom today? Or are we seeing mass persecution in other lands? Christians beheaded for refusing to denounce Jesus Christ. Are their enemies fleeing seven ways before them? Hardly.
The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you -- here we see the clear distinction. Israel had a promised land in Canaan. That is what God is referring to here. Christians do not have any such promise of a physical land. I know that false teachers like to allegorize verses such as this to turn the "Promised Land" into some dream destiny thingy but that is simply poor hermeneutics and teaching. Whereas Israel had an actual Promised Land, the church is not supposed to be of this world at all. We are meant to be pilgrims and sojourners whose citizenship is in heaven. Whereas Israel had an actual Promised Land, the church has no place to lay its head. We are not of this world beloved, no matter how much the Seeker Friendly Industrial Complex tries to tell you the opposite. Back to the blessings:
The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you - we have already established that no one could possibly keep all 613 Mosaic Laws, except Christ. Also, is the goal of the Great Commission to make all nations afraid of us? Of course not beloved.
And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.-- So the blessings conclude followed by 54 verses of curses for disobedience, including the prophecy of the captivity in Babylon. These verses have absolutely nothing to do with the church except to serve as yet another pointer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Beloved that is what the Bible is about. The Gospel is about our Christ, our Redeemer. The Old Testament testifies about Him and points towards His coming. It is rich with stories and lessons and images of Jesus. Deuteronomy 28 confirms our desperate need for a Savior not some laundry list of temporal blessings we petulantly think we deserve because He led a sinless life. We need to get our eyes off of this world and onto the eternal life we already have in Christ Jesus. In this life and in this world we will have tribulation but take heart beloved for He has overcome this world. The problem with most purpose driven church preachers today is they do not want to overcome this world. They want to live in it. They want to revel in it. And they want all of the carnal blessings possible to enjoy it. Just be careful what you think you want. He at the seat of prominence may be asked to get up. The first will be last. The head may indeed end up being the tail eternally.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- January 16, 2017