Does God Punish The Defiant?
The last 52 verses of Deuteronomy 28 describe the implementation of the curses that will come as a result of really bad choices.
There are 52 verses of curses compared to 14 verses of blessings. In other words, 20% are devoted to blessings, and 80% are devoted to curses. The entire 52 verses of curses are not presented here, but let’s look at the introduction to the curses in Deuteronomy 28:15.
Deuteronomy 28:15 (NKJV)
But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.
Notice that just as the blessings would come upon and overtake those who are obedient, the same is true for the curses. They will also come upon and overtake the disobedient (Deuteronomy 28:2).
The next 51 verses outline just how bad the curses will be. Although no numerological implications are inferred, there is a nearly 4:1 ratio of cursing to blessing. From this ratio, it would appear at first glance that God is far more interested in punishment than reward!
The list of curses is quite onerous. They appear in a few categories that are directed at the individual, the land, livestock, buildings, agriculture as well as corporate curses directed at the entire population. Individual curses include thirst, hunger, nakedness, blindness, terror, and madness.
Their children would die, and their livestock would produce stillborn offspring. Crops would be consumed by locusts and grapes by worms. Olive trees would lose their fruit until the land yielded virtually nothing. Property and food supplies would be stolen, destroyed, and overtaken by strangers and conquerors. The people would be defeated by their enemies, becoming poor, indebted slaves. They would lose their identity and heritage and be scattered. Pestilence, long plagues and long sicknesses of every known and unknown type would come upon them.
They would be against each other to do evil. Brother would be against brother, mother against child and husband against wife. Children would be taken into slavery, and in desperation, a mother would eat her own child. They would be in constant need with no rest, praying in the morning for the night to come quickly and in the night for morning to come quickly, not knowing whether they would live or die.
This is some seriously bad stuff! God must be a really bad guy to put all of this on people. How could He possibly be a good and loving God in light of all of this?
Carefully take note that Deuteronomy 28:15 does not say that God will punish the disobedience.
It infers that the curses come as a natural course of the acts of disobedience.
God lists all of these really bad things as a warning about the effects of sin and what it will produce. He is making it very clear to man so that he will fully understand what is at stake and just how important obedience is.
Let’s just think a bit about what God is dealing with here. It is mankind, you and me! We have a very stubborn and rebellious streak in us that was probably manifested at a very early age. This is why the expression the terrible twos is so widely understood and seen in child raising.
Why is there such weight placed on the negative consequences of disobedience rather than the positive rewards to obedient behavior?
In His love for man, God is pointing out what can happen and how to avoid it.
However, man does not want to submit to anything. Following his rebellious, stiff-necked nature, he exerts his own will and constantly looks for ways to circumvent God’s direction. He wants to rule his own universe.
To learn more about the Character and Nature of the God of the Bible: