Deuteronomy 11:26-28 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Deuteronomy 11:26
  • Deuteronomy 11:27
  • Deuteronomy 11:28

Moses sets the condition for Israel’s destiny in the Promised Land. If the people of God obey His principles, they will be blessed. If they fail to obey them, they will be cursed.

This section sums up the general stipulations section of the book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 5-11). Everything that Moses had said in the preceding chapters pertained to the choice between obedience and disobedience to God. In other words, in this section Moses clearly spelled out the conditions for the destiny of the Israelites, depending on their behavior in the land. He stated, See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse. The use of I is emphatic in Hebrew. It was the LORD Who set up the rules which the people needed to obey. The word today is also significant here. The word is used almost a hundred times in Deuteronomy, and it indicates something that is crucial for the people to know and respond to in obedience. The emphasis is upon the present, the current moment, which is the only time obedience is possible.

The term blessing often refers to God’s favor upon His children. It is typically linked with material possessions, well-being, and prosperity in the Old Testament (Genesis 12:2; Genesis 25; 2 Samuel 7). If the people would walk in obedience to God’s commands, and treat one another with respect, trustworthiness, and service, then God promised their nation would be blessed. Such a blessing would be in large part a natural consequence of Israel making such a choice. But God promised to add supernatural blessings as well. As such, the people of God would receive the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today. On the other hand, failure to obey God’s commandments would result in the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God. In the Old Testament, the word curse often refers to misfortune or lack of resources. This would happen if the Israelites failed to follow God’s commandments.

Moses further clarified how the Israelites could fail to listen to the commandments of the LORD if they should ever turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. For Israel to turn aside from God’s way is to follow other gods with whom they had no experience. This would be a violation of the first commandment which states, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). These gods did not have any covenant relationship with Israel, because God alone redeemed the Israelites from Egypt and made a covenant with them at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:4-6). Thus, following false gods would bring curses upon the people of God.

The way of false gods included sexual perversion, child sacrifice, and human exploitation. It was a philosophy of self-seeking. God made it clear that He would discipline such behavior. Of course in large part, such behavior is self-destructive. But God promised to also bring divine discipline as well.

Biblical Text:

26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.

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