Not blessed because of your efforts

Let’s look at Deuteronomy 28, an exciting passage which a lot of people butcher. “ If thou shall harken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God,  to observe and to do all His commandments,  which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God shall set thee high above all the nations of the earth.”  How many of you want to be set like that? Set above all the nations of the earth? Scripture says that “all these blessings shall come upon thee and overtake thee.” Isn’t that awesome! Imagine blessing overtaking you, but what do most Christians in our circles do?  They try and overtake the blessing! They are trying to take over the blessing!  That’s simply because they don’t believe that they are blessed! God’s will is that all these blessings come upon you and overtake you.  Then it says, “IF thou shalt harken thy voice unto the Lord thy God.”  ‘If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God’ – there is a condition. And now this is where people go pear-shaped.  They start telling you what you need to do in order to be blessed by God: “How to live a blessed life”,   No. 1:  Tithe.  2: Fulfill all the law.  3: Make sure you don’t do anything on the Sabbath except  Sabbath and go to church… And they just keep listing it…  “Don’t smoke or drink. Don’t eat pork. Live holy” The truth is that you cannot do anything to attract God’s favour and blessing. Nothing you do will qualify you to be worthy to receive anything from Him.

Remember where this passage (Deuteronomy 28) is.  It’s in the first part of the Bible.  Everything we read in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, needs to be interpreted through the greatest event of all time – the death and resurrection of Jesus. That event changed everything, forever. Sadly most believers live and act as if Jesus changed nothing.

Verse 3: “you will be blessed, in the city, blessed in the field, blessed in the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, and the increase of your kind and the flocks of your sheep.  You will be blessed in your basket, blessed in your store” if you have a store.  If you don’t have a store it can’t be blessed.  A hundred times zero is………………….zero!!!  “Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.  The Lord will cause your enemies that rise up against you to be smitten before thy face.  They shall come in one way and flee before thee in seven ways” and it goes on to show how blessed God wants His people to be. Isn’t that awesome!   It’s just that technicality of ‘if’. “It shall come to pass  that it thy will not harken or listen to the voice of God, to observe to do ALL His commandments and His statues that I command thee this day, that ALL these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee.” Now would you prefer to have blessings overtake you or curses overtake you?  Blessings obviously! Everyone wants the blessing of God to overtake them! This passage of Scripture is saying: “hey, fail in one, fail in all!” And so if you make one mistake what’s going to happen is that you’re going to be cursed, not just with one or two of these curses, but all of these curses.  All of these curses are going to come upon you and destroy you. We are going to read through all the curses because it’s exciting (kidding), but we will get there in a moment.  So, if you want the blessing of God, what do you need to do? The Bible says, in Deuteronomy 28 that if you want the blessing of God you must follow ALL His commandments, you have got to do EVERYTHING He says. And if you don’t want the curses you must not fail once! That’s quite a high standard. It’s like me pulling out a gun and saying, “whoever cannot touch the ceiling (about 10 meters high) in the next five minutes will get a bullet in their head. I’m going to kill you!”  It’s impossible for you to jump in your own ability and touch the ceiling, right? That’s what Deuteronomy 28 is basically saying the same: You need a Saviour!  You can’t do this yourself!

Galatians chapter 3 verse 13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.” He has taken you out of the curse of the law!  Isn't that awesome!  That’s Good News!  Praise Jesus! “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is writing, ‘Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.’  The blessing of Abraham…” now think about what the blessing of Abraham was and is. This scripture is saying that Jesus did what He did so that you could get the blessing of Abraham! “…that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles,  through Jesus Christ…” and I will put in there, ‘not because of their hard work’ “…that we might receive the promise of  the Spirit through faith…” not works. Many believers think that blessing is something we have to achieve; that there is something we have to do. But the Bible is very clear there: Jesus did it for us; He was obedient for us because He knew that we would not be perfectly obedient.

So you think you are great? You’ve obeyed the Ten Commandments and you have got it altogether… “surely God should bless me?”  You could not be more wrong! God doesn’t bless you because of your behaviour.  He doesn’t bless you because you are good.  He doesn’t bless you for any reason except that HE IS GOOD. It’s not about what you do, but what Jesus has done for you.  And that’s the message which we have to get out! This is the gospel (good news) of Jesus!


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