Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8
For the week of September 12, 1998
21 Elul 5758
Blessing and Cursing
All these blessings will accompany you
Blessing was the central theme in God's promise to Abraham (Bereshit/Genesis 12:1-3). God chose Abraham in order to bless him, his nation, and eventually the entire world. As the story of the people of Israel unfolds we begin to learn what God's blessings are all about and the opposite - curses.
When God blesses something, he gives life to it. A blessed fruit tree bears fruit, lots of fruit. Not only does that tree have fruit but also it reproduces itself many times over through that fruit it bears. Blessed ground brings forth a plentiful harvest, a blessed nation grows in population. etc.
When God curses something, it dies. Life is removed from it. No fruit, no harvest, nations and peoples are scattered, assimilated, or annihilated.
But why are some things blessed and others cursed? Before discussing that, it must be noted that superficial observation is not sufficient to determine whether or not something is blessed or cursed. The story of Job illustrates that. Job looked like he was cursed, but in reality he was going through a most severe test. Difficulties, trial, and all sorts of problems are not necessarily indications of curses or the disfavor of God. The effects of these things may share some of the same symptoms of curses, but are not.
Similarly just because someone is prospering does not necessarily mean that God is blessing them. This too could be a temporary situation that God is allowing for some reason. All this is to say that we cannot judge God's blessing and cursing based on circumstances.
That said, how can we find God's blessing in our lives? Israel was told:
Obedience to God is the key. Basically this is saying that God's blessing comes to those (individuals and nations) whose lives are in line with him. Keeping in line with God is not just following a set of rules and regulations, but it is a dynamic and loving relationship with our Creator and Heavenly Father.
As we live a life that keeps in step with the One who made us as well as everything else, we will derive great benefit. If we ignore the Master of the Universe and go our own way, we can only expect to be at odds with both God and his creation.