Blessings and Curses
By: Patty Nicholas-Boyte
Nehemiah 10:28-29 (NASB)
“Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law, which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments of God our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes;”
Chapter 9 and the first half of chapter 10 told the story of dedication of the walls of Jerusalem. There was a collective repentance of national sins, and a revival began to sweep through the people if Israel. The leaders and the high priest put together a document, a commitment to be faithful to God’s commandments and follow Him. In verse 27 chapter 10, the leaders all signed the document.
Today, we see that the rest of the people, from the priests on down also made a commitment to follow God. In this renewal, the people join with the leaders to remain separate from those who occupy the land. They agreed to be different . . . set apart for God. The Israelite people also resolved to take on both the blessings if they followed God’s commands, laws, and statutes; and the curses outlined by God to Moses if they failed to obey.
To hope for God’s blessings was easy. Everyone wants God’s blessings. However, no one wants God’s curses, which, are also translated as the judgements of God. The people recently returned from seventy years of enslavement in Babylon, which was traumatizing. They reasoned that they experienced the worst of God’s judgement and they would never repeat the same mistake again. They fully expected that from that day forth, they would only experience the blessings of God.
Can you identify? I certainly can.
What can we learn from Nehemiah?
· Don’t be afraid to be different. Be worthy to be called by God’s name. (Christian)
· Remember the curses as well as the blessings of God, and don’t be afraid to warn people if we see them walking down a dangerous path of sin.
· Speak the truth in love, but don’t let that hold us back from reminding people of God’s truth as stated in His Word.
Nehemiah is a book of amazing hope. The people pulled together and rebuilt the walls in a way that could only be described as miraculous. They experienced a great outpouring of national heartbreak against their sin and revival ensued. The warnings were also there for all to heed.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
What questions can we ask ourselves that can affect change?
- How am I different from others and how am I still like the world around me?
- Would others say I am Christ like?
- What curses or judgements do I tend to forget about?
- What fears are holding me back from speaking the truth to others?
- Do I tend to focus on God’s blessings more that His judgements?
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