Deuteronomy 11:1-32; Luke 8:22-25; Psalms 71:1-6; Proverbs 17:26
OT: “Look, today I set before you a blessing and a curse: there will be a blessing, if you obey the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you today, and a curse, if you do not obey the commands of the Lord your God and you turn aside from the path I command you today by following other gods you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 CSB)
At the end of his life, Moses didn’t have the time to deal in subtleties. He needed to make sure that the new generation of Israelites fully understood what was at stake, so he laid out the conditions in clearly contrasting black and white. If you humble yourselves before the God of all creation and order your lives according to His words, will, and ways, then you will be blessed by the life, abundance, peace, protection, etc. that ever flows from Him. If you choose to go your own way and reject the way of the Lord, then you will experience the inevitable death that comes when you sever yourself from your source of life. Other “gods” may put on a convincing show – but in the end, they too have severed themselves from the source of life and have no life nor blessing to offer. Blessing can only come through a connection to the Creator and source of all good things… and that connection is retained and maintained through humble and loving obedience to His words, will, and ways.
NT: “One day he and his disciples got into a boat, and he told them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they were sailing he fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. They came and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to die!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the waves, and they obey him!”” (Luke 8:22-25 CSB)
The Bible teaches that at the fall of mankind, creation itself was subjected to futility. Mankind, who was the delegated authority over the earth, abdicated his role to the kingdom of darkness and creation was thrust into a rudderless existence. Life is full of tempestuous occurrences – some orchestrated by evil, some as a consequence of an out-of-control creation. No matter the cause, God the Creator is seated above it all. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the Triune Godhead – has the power and authority to silence the chaos, and bring peace and order to the storm. No matter how scary circumstances can become – no matter how tumultuous the times, those who have chosen to humble themselves under God’s mighty hand, to allow God’s word to abide in them, to follow faithfully after the Son and be found in Him – those who have chosen blessing instead of the curse can ever be at peace.
Psalms: “Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced. In your justice, rescue and deliver me; listen closely to me and save me. Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for you are my rock and fortress. Deliver me, my God, from the power of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and oppressive. For you are my hope, Lord God, my confidence from my youth. I have leaned on you from birth; you took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is always about you.” (Psalms 71:1-6 CSB)
The author of this psalm chose blessing over the curse. Yet, as he was walking in obedience to the word, will, and ways of the Lord God, storms and threats were raging all around him. Opportunities for his demise lay around every corner and were hiding in every shadow. Instead of shrinking back in fear, he strengthened himself in the Lord by reminding himself of Who he belonged to… and he cried out to the Lord for help, knowing that God is faithful to hear those who are obedient to His word, will, and ways. Those of us who have chosen to live in the blessing of humble and loving obedience to the Lord can pray the same prayer and be at peace through all of life’s uncertainties.