The Cost of Being Cursed

Deuteronomy 28

Jerry A Collins




v        How does God bless us today in the church age?

v        Should we be fearful of God’s anger?

v        What happens when we disobey God?


There is a popular bumper sticker that says ‘Love Wins’. There is a lot of room for interpretation with these words. What does love win? How am I to love? What is love? Does this mean I get to overlook everything? Who gets to define this love? Besides you sometimes lose when you love biblically. Jesus said you will have to deny yourself—that’s losing. You would have to obey Him and not indulge yourself. I will have to look on the interests of others rather than my own—that’s losing. I must take up my cross daily and follow Him. My point—just ‘love wins’ without a biblical context is only pandering to the cultural whims of the times. I would prefer to say ‘God wins’ and we lose if we disobey Him. Israel can expect God’s blessing in very tangible and specific ways—but those blessings are conditional upon obedience. In their case, obedience to the Mosaic Covenant given to them. That is different than the covenant made with Abraham which was unconditional. Once He crossed over into Canaan the promises of a land and a people and a blessing were binding. It is like our salvation and the spiritual life and spiritual rewards. Our salvation is secure in Christ. We are guaranteed heaven by faith in Christ. But our spiritual rewards are based on the quality, depth and maturity of our spiritual lives. Those rewards are conditioned upon obedience, service, holiness, repentance, confession, fullness, walking worthy of our calling. God sets out the blessing of obedience and the cursing of disobedience to the Mosaic Covenant of Israel.

For Israel the rewards were physical, earthly prosperity in the land of Israel and those rewards were conditioned upon obedience to the stipulations of the Mosaic Covt.

They were to obey 1-2; 9; 13-14. The whole point is the blessings were conditioned upon diligently obey, being careful to do, keep the commandments, walk in His ways, listen to them, observe carefully, do not turn aside. So the rewards and prosperity of God to Israel was induced by fidelity to the covt.

The greatest reward 1, 9, 13-14 Israel could become the most exalted nation on the earth. This was stated in the beginning, the middle and the conclusion of this section. Israel would have no rivals in vs 1. They will be different and distinct from all other nations in vs 9. They will lead the world economically, lending but never borrowing vs 13. In terms of influence, reputation and prosperity they will have no equals as a nation. By the way, these blessings were never received by Israel because of their continual disobedience—except in a small measure under David and Solomon. These will be received in the Millennial Kingdom yet future.

Blessings elaborated There are six given in succession 3-6 contrasted with the six curses in succession in next section 16-19. These six blessings represent the all-inclusive nature of these blessings. God would give His people blessing everywhere, economically, with safety, and in all her activities. Then in 7-14 Moses elaborates on them. Three areas of blessing seem to be highlighted: (1) Military success vs 7. Imagine never having to live under any enemies threats with fear. No intimidation and no possibility of being defeated by anyone. (2) Agricultural prosperity vs 8. That includes farming of land as well as animals necessary to sustain the land and livelihood of the people vs 11.  That also includes climate conditions conducive to this success vs 12. Family life will be prosperous in this environment as well vs 11. (3) Perpetual testimony vs 10. Israel’s intimacy with her God would motivate the nations to stand in awe of Israel’s reputation and her God’s power. God would be glorified. Today, God’s blessing is spiritual, heavenly, and eternal. It is true God blesses us today but in the form of a hope in a future reward Mt 5:5-9; Lk 6:20-26. God does make some prosperous today but that is a burden of stewardship not a blessing Lk 12:48. God does help people now and answers prayer but that is to conform us into Christ’s image not to make us physically prosperous Rom 8:26-29. Godliness is profitable for all things in the present life and one to come 1 Tim 4:8, but that profit is spiritual peace while ministering under persecution  of the world not numerical, physical, financial, earthly prosperity 1 Tim 6:6-12. The idea that God blesses people with prosperity today is western and modern not global or biblical. Try teaching prosperity in India-they did and it was outlawed—or central Africa or slums. We will reap prosperity in next life according to NT. Consider self blessed by God today  (because we will receive blessing in heaven) When humble, poor, hungry, persecuted, weeping, lose, give, die—beattitudes and more—so feel free to pray for any of these things.


There is no middle ground possible. Disobedience will bring cursing and it will be at a great cost. These curses are divided into sections that increasingly bring severe measures.

God judges Israel 13 times in this section it is the Lord who punishes. He smites them with pestilence, consumption, drought, boils, madness, taunt, plagues, destruction, banishment, despair, dread. These are bad situations and it almost sounds like the Tribulation time but it’s not the Tribulation. It is the rest of the history of Israel. The Israel exile to Assyria in 722bc, the captivity to Babylon 586bc, the Diaspora of 70ad. The only thing worse than all of these bad situations for Israel will be the Tribulation period itself (Mt 24; Rev 4-19). Invaded, conquered and brutalized, this nation of people will experience God’s thorough and complete judgment. You should be fearful of God’s anger toward your sin and disobedience. And that fear ought to motivate you to obey Him. God wants to be feared. Therein lies your safety. The fear you have of God will save you (Heb 10:26-31—to believers, The Lord will judge His people, it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. A man trapped in a habit he abhors, is different that one trapped in one he loves.