Blessings and the Curse

Blessing and the Curse

Deuteronomy 28:2 – “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

It was January of 2011 and I was running a 10k at Warrior’s Path State Park.  It was not one of my better races, I had mistakenly chosen the wrong pair of socks and as I ran my left foot blistered pretty severely so I had slowed down considerably by the time the finish line was in sight.  I thought I can make it, I can make it, I can make it, and then it happened right at the finish line, someone ran me down and overtook me. 

I was somewhat disappointed.  But the disappointment turned to joy as I sat down in the passenger’s seat of the car, while my lovely wife drove home.  I had just ran 6.2  very steep and hilly miles and I was happy because of it.  Sure being overtaken at the end wasn’t very fun but that was ok.

Sometimes being overtaken is not a good thing, but sometimes it is.  God says in His word that if we obey all of the commands that He gives to us that His blessings will pursue us and overtake us.  In other words we will be blessed with the blessings of Almighty God, and that is a good thing.  There is however an if in the promise of God, if we obey all of God’s commands then we will be blessed.  It is what many theologians call the Deuteronomic covenant and it sounds good.  In fact it is beautiful and poetic, if we obey all of God’s commands then we will be blessed.

It does sound good doesn’t it? But then you have to ask the question, have we obeyed all of God’s commands?  We might ask ourselves that question and answer it in a variety of ways:

            *Well I’ve kept more of them than the man down the street

            *I’ve kept more than I’ve broken

            *Well at least I’m trying

            *I’ve done good today at least

There may be variety in those statements but they all say the same thing, and it is “I’ve not kept them at all.”  We may try and we may do pretty well but none of us have ever kept all of the commands of God.  In fact we have probably broken more than we know and even care to admit. 

But there is one who hasn’t.  Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless, holy life.  He kept all of the commands of God and was obedient to the Father in going to the cross.  Does that mean that Jesus is blessed? Yes He is definitely blessed by God the Father but the Bible also tells us that He was cursed.

That seems almost blasphemous to say, but its true.  Jesus was cursed, cursed by God the Father in fact.  If you read the Bible it tells us very directly, “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”  As RC Sproul points out it doesn’t say, “cursed is everyone who is stoned to death, or who is beaten, it says cursed is every one who hangs on a tree.”  It is a very specific statement, and Jesus was specifically cursed by God.  Cursed because He willingly took on our sins.  Cursed because as the Bible says, “He became sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He became cursed for us.

Think about that transformational truth, the one who was ultimately blessed by God, willingly became cursed because He willingly chose to take on your sin.  That is amazing isn’t it?  He became cursed so that we could be forgiven.  We see the extent of the curse on the cross as Jesus says, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me.”  The curse meant that ultimately Jesus was forsaken by God the Father.  He was cursed and He was forsaken for us.

Through His sacrifice on the cross we are forgiven and we don’t have to fear being forsaken by God.  He will never “leave us or forsake us”.  He is with us always and as Paul triumphantly declares in Romans 8, “nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.” 

But it goes even beyond that, Jesus was cursed so that we can be blessed.  We could not keep the laws of God perfectly, it is not in our nature because we by our nature are sinners, born into sin.  However Jesus perfectly kept the law and the commands of God for us, so that when we are covered with the blood of Christ, when we are “in Him” as Paul describes it in Colossians we are declared righteous.  God the Father, looks at us as if we have never sinned and because of that we are blessed by God (go back to the Deuteronomic covenant – if a person keeps all the laws then that person will be blessed by God).  We haven’t perfectly followed God, the Father, but Jesus has.  He has taken our place and in doing so, He took God’s punishment for us and He also took the curse for us.  He was cursed so we don’t have to be. 

Paul says in Ephesians 1:3, “blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  We are blessed in Christ, with all the blessings of God.  How? Because Jesus has taken the curse for us and because He has given us His righteousness.  As Paul says, “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”  We are righteous (read that as sin free) and because of that we are blessed.  Blessed because Jesus was cursed in our place.  What a beautiful, powerful, and humbling thought. 

As the song says, “To God be the glory great things He has done….”  And the greatest is the cross and the empty tomb.