Everyone grab a pen or a pencil. Now, take your bulletin and I¡¦m going to practice ¡§Preacher¡¦s Prerogative¡¨ and re-title my sermon. I gave this sermon its original title a month or so ago when I went away on a retreat day. I read this chapter, drew up an outline and the title printed in your bulletin ¡§Do You Want God¡¦s Blessing or God¡¦s Curse?¡¨ is the title I came up with that day. After thinking about it and studying, I changed my mind. I¡¦ll explain more about why in just a moment. Both titles are based on my text for this morning. Please turn to¡K
TEXT: Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (READ)
Now, the reason I changed my title is this: I DON¡¦T LIKE TO THINK OF GOD AS SOMEONE WHO CURSES ANYONE.
However, it is clear from this passage as well as other places in the Bible that¡K
PROPOSITION: We can either choose God and benefit from the BLESSINGS that come from following Him, or we can reject God and walk out from under His hand of blessing and protection, bringing upon ourselves a CURSE.
It is not God¡¦s nature to go around putting CURSES on people. In fact, God wants to BLESS you! He loves you with an everlasting love that continuously reaches out to you over the course of your lifetime. He wants you to have a great life. Jeremiah 29:11 ¡V ¡§¡¥For I know the plans I have for you,¡¦ declares the Lord, ¡¥Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.¡¦¡¨ Jesus said it like this in the New Testament, ¡§I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.¡¨ ¡V John 10:10. We know, through the story of Job, that God puts a protective ¡§hedge¡¨ or covering around the righteous. In that situation, the devil had to ask for and receive permission to do the awful things to Job and his family that he did.
But when we move out from under God¡¦s protective covering by our own willful sin and disobedience, God is forced to remove His hand of BLESSING and He basically ¡§gives us what we ask for.¡¨ A good example of this principle is our own country, the United States of America. Founded on Biblical principles, we once were a God-fearing country. Our currency still reads, ¡§In God we Trust.¡¨ But through sin and rebellion America continues to move further and further away from the God of our Fathers. We are walking out from under His providential hand of blessing and protection. And as we choose to walk away, God is ¡§giving us what we ask for.¡¨ WE elected ungodly leaders in Washington and so we get ungodly decisions and results. 33 million aborted babies is a CURSE on our land! AIDS and 30/40 strains of STD¡¦S is not something God wants for America or any people group, but when you regularly promote sexual promiscuity over abstinence, this is the result you get. CURSE instead of BLESSING.
So my basic premise for this message is that OUR WILLINGNESS TO CHOOSE GOD OVER SIN WILL DETERMINE WHETHER WE RECEIVE GOD¡¦S BLESSING OR WE WALK OUT FROM UNDER HIS BLESSING INTO UNPROTECTED TERRITORY, BRINGING UPON OURSELVES A CURSE. If you reject God, you willfully forfeit His covering/blessing.
Now, I¡¦d like to go on at this point but I would be unrealistic if I didn¡¦t let you know that I am aware of several instances in the Bible where God himself severely judged sinners. The following things happened directly at the hand of the Lord and, although I still believe God¡¦s basic nature is to BLESS, I certainly would say these judgements fall into the category of DIVINE CURSES.
„h It¡¦s starts in Genesis, Chapter 3 where Adam and Eve¡¦s original sin brought a curse not only upon them but also on the entire human race! Vs. 17 - ¡§Cursed is the ground because of you¡K¡¨
„h Noah and the flood in Genesis, Chapter 6. Vs. 12 & 13 ¡V ¡§God saw how corrupt the earth had become¡¨ and said to Noah, ¡§I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.¡¨
„h The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, Chapter 19.
„h The Egyptian plagues in Exodus 7-11 ending with the death of the firstborn children in each family came directly from the hand of God. NOTE: Remember, God gave them all the chance to be spared this last deadly plague through the shed blood of the Passover Lamb.
„h In Exodus, Chapter 32:35 - ¡§¡Kthe Lord struck the people (of Israel) with a plague because of what they did with the (golden) calf Aaron made.¡¨
„h God detailed serious punishments for sin in Leviticus, Chapter 20.