Deuteronomy 11:1–12:28; 2 Corinthians 3:9–18; Psalm 35:12–28
Many churches and Christians dismiss the Old Testament as old, out-of-touch, not for them. This is sad. If nothing else, ignorance of the OT leaves people without an understanding of redemptive history. It also puts the law of God on a top shelf to gather dust, yet there are blessings in that law that benefit those who keep it.
In today’s OT reading, I wondered about the difference in my life or the life of every Christian if they took these words to heart and put them into practice. (And we cannot keep the law apart from Christ, but if we don’t know it, and He asks us to do something, how will we know if it is Him speaking?)
“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you . . .
“ . . . For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the Lord your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. No one shall be able to stand against you. The Lord your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.
“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.” (Deuteronomy 11: 13–17, 21–28)
Obedience to God means prosperity, victory over opposition, and total blessing. Disobedience means disaster, defeat, and death. Is that true for me? Actually, I would rather know by experience all those blessings, and have no idea at all of what those curses mean. Twice, the writer of Deuteronomy agrees: “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you . . . Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 12:8-9, 28)
Interestingly, the second reading says something about the blessing/cursing of this OT “obey-you live, disobey-you die” as it compares that notion with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It says, “For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.” (2 Corinthians 3:9)
In other words, if the OT law had glory in it for obedience even though no one could fully obey it, imagine the glory of having the righteousness of Christ freely bestowed so we can live a new life out in the freedom of doing the will of God . . .
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17–18)
This is the way it works . . . keep my eyes on Jesus. As I gaze into His glory, He works in my life that I might be like Him. Now that is glory!
Ignoring the OT means missing out on the fullness of redemption and the fullness of God’s blessing on those who pay attention to the way we will live as we gaze at Jesus Christ. As He says through the psalmist, “Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!’ Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.” (Psalm 35:27–28)