23 August, 2016

Deuteronomy 28:1-12—Blessings in Obedience

1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

The theory of common grace equates God’s grace and favor towards men with the bestowal of pleasant earthly things. Rain and sunshine are favor, so it is claimed. So is health and strength. So is prosperity and affluence.


Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered]

It is sometimes argued that surely in the old dispensation material prosperity was indicative of God’s blessing. Countless texts can be quoted in support of this, especially in the book of Deuteronomy … But we must not forget that all this was in the old dispensation in which all God’s dealings with His church were in pictures and not in reality, in types and shadows and not directly in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The result was that material prosperity was, for the church, prosperity in the land of Canaan. And the land of Canaan was a picture of heaven: it was a land flowing with milk and honey as a picture of the rich spiritual blessedness of heaven. In keeping, therefore, with the nature of the old dispensation, all these blessings in the land of Canaan were dependent on Israel’s keeping of the law of God (See especially Deuteronomy 28). And the fact of the matter was that Israel could not and did not keep God’s law, with the result that the land of Canaan became a barren wasteland and Israel was brought into captivity (II Chron. 36:21).

The believers in Canaan never made the mistake of confusing Canaan and earthly prosperity with the blessing of God in Jesus Christ. They looked at the picture and realized it was only a picture. When Christ would come, He would fulfil the law for them and do on their behalf what they could never do. And the reward would be, not that land on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, but heaven itself. Their hope and faith were fixed on Christ and on His perfect work, which would give them the fullness of the spiritual blessings of salvation (Heb. 11:10, 13-16).



Prof. David J. Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 46, no. 1 (November 2012), p. 59]

[The] earthly blessings of the Old Testament were not a distinct element alongside the spiritual blessings, but rather typical of the heavenly and spiritual blessings of salvation. Similarly, the earthly Canaan was not an earthly home, which Israelites could merit by their own obedience, in distinction from heaven, which Christ must earn for elect Israelites by His obedience, but rather the type of heaven. Therefore, to teach that an Israelite must, and could, merit Canaan is, by virtue of this fact, to teach that the Israelite must, and could, merit heaven.



More to come! (DV)

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