In case the commandments, statutes, and ordinances in God’s covenant might come to seem like nothing but a burden to Israel, Moses reminds us that their primary purpose is to bless us.
If you heed these ordinances, by diligently observing them, the Lord your God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty that he swore to your ancestors; he will love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock, in the land that he swore to your ancestors to give you. (Deut. 7:12-13)
If you obey the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out…. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings. (Deut. 28:2-7; 11–12)
Obeying the covenant is meant to be a source of blessing, prosperity, joy, and health for God’s people. As Paul says, “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12), and “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
This is not to be confused with the so-called “Prosperity Gospel,” which incorrectly claims that God inevitably brings wealth and health to individuals who gain his favor. It does mean that if God’s people lived according to his covenant, the world would be a better place for everyone. Of course, the Christian witness is that we are not capable of fulfilling the law through any power we possess. That is why there is a new covenant in Christ, in which God’s grace is made available to us through Christ’s death and resurrection, rather than being limited by our own obedience. By living in Christ, we find that we are able to love and serve God, and that we do after all receive the blessings described by Moses, in part in the present day, and in full when Christ brings God’s kingdom to fulfillment.
In any case, obedience to God’s covenant is the overarching theme running through the book of Deuteronomy. In addition to these three extended passages, the theme is sounded on many brief occasions throughout the book, and Moses returns to it in his final speech at the end of his life in chapters 29 and 30.
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