Have you ever been in a witnessing situation when you just weren’t sure what to say? I’m talking about a time when you were growing and learning so much about Christ that at times you might get excited and say too much to an unbeliever who wasn’t quite ready to hear it all. Have you ever felt at other times that you should have said way more? Situations like those are exactly the reason why we’re studying the book of Deuteronomy. You are in these situations and conversations every single day. Every day your conversations could and should give you a way to talk to others about Jesus and everything surrounding salvation in Him. My goal through Deuteronomy is that you understand the gospel better, and that you are better trained to share it with everyone.
The book of Deuteronomy is a time when God’s chosen people (Israel) had been wandering through the wilderness, and God leads them to their final destination after 40 years. Picture them stopping, overlooking a beautiful Jordan River with the sun gleaming off the waters, and seeing their promised land on the other side. Imagine the frustrating anticipation they felt as God had them stop for two months at that very spot to remind to them the very reason why He took them on their journey…to live as His chosen people. Remember, Deuteronomy is written in the structure of an ancient peace treaty between a superpower kingdom and a nerdy little nation. Like the superpower kingdom, God is promising His powerless (without Him) people that He will save, protect, and bless them.
The fourth section of Deuteronomy (and of an ancient peace treaty) is the curses and blessings listed for disobedience and obedience to the laws of the peace treaty. Read Deuteronomy 27-28. God is making sure that His people clearly understand the curses and blessings surround His salvation. If His people do not follow His laws, then their bodies, foods, flocks, families, military, and nation will be cursed. Will God just cast curses on His people? I don’t think so. God really seems to be saying that these are what naturally happens to cursed people when they don’t connect to the only life source – God Himself. On the flip side, if His people do follow His laws, then they will be blessed with His favor, with fruitfulness, with food, and with fellowship. To make sure it was very clear to them, God put half the nation on one huge hill and the other half of the nation on another huge hill. He had His Levites down in the valley read off the curses, and the people on one hill would shout, “Amen!” Then when the blessings were read, the other hill would shout, “Amen!” The consequences were made clear to them.
So what about now…about 3500 years later or so? Are we as God’s people still cursed for our disobedience and blessed for our obedience to His commands? In a clear word…NO! God’s new covenant is all wrapped up in Christ. Jesus literally became the curse to pay for Israel’s and our sins (Gal 3:13). Also, God says that all of His blessings are specifically found in Christ (Eph 1:3). In other words, we know that today God doesn’t curse disobedient believers for their disobedience. So in the same way, believers aren’t being blessed purely for their personal obedience. Just as Jesus took our curse, Jesus has become our blessing. We are blessed by the measure of Jesus’ obedience and not our own. We also have to understand that God’s curses and blessings are ultimately found in eternity. What you do with the gospel will eternally decide whether you will be blessed beyond what you could ever imagine, or cursed worse than you’re ever afraid of.
Now, back to your witnessing opportunities…we need to understand the gospel well enough for our own lives in terms of God’s curses and blessings found in Christ alone that we’re able to communicate them in loving and truthful ways to others. Rescue others from the curse that is overtaking them. Take them to the blessing…Jesus!