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©Laura Haverkamp

Chapter 28:15-36 (ESV)

Posted on April 09, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 28:15-36 (ESV) - “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

“The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The LORD will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

“The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed. The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you. You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless. A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see. The LORD will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

“The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone.”

Question to consider: What was the ultimate purpose of cursing Israel for disobedience?

The LORD would demonstrate His power to the nations. It could either be done through the blessing of Israel or the cursing of Israel. It was their choice. Imagine how shocking it would have been to the other nations to see that the God of Israel would curse His own people in this way. All of the blessings offered for their obedience would be completely upended in their disobedience.

There is more context given in Leviticus 26, for the plagues that God would visit upon Israel for its disobedience would come about in a similar fashion to God’s judgment against Egypt or other nations that received His judgment. Each act of God would be escalated sevenfold as long as they refused to repent, but this in itself was a demonstration of mercy to offer them a path of redemption.

By the time the LORD brought them to the place where they served a foreign king and gods of wood and stone, Israel had so infected the land with idols that they were encroaching upon the Holy of Holies in the temple. The land had been denied its Sabbaths for seventy Shemitahs (490 years), and so it would be given rest for seventy years.

Even in this, the LORD promised the following, “And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:23-27)

While it may be difficult to read through all of these curses from God (which continue in tomorrow’s study), we do well to understand that these are the natural outworking of human sin. The beautiful and good things in this world are God’s general grace that is given without merit. When God allows someone to experience the outworking of their sin in this life, it is to give them an opportunity to repent and turn to Him for the forgiveness of their sins. There will come a time when this opportunity ends.

If we look at ancient history to see how these curses played out in the world, we can see them plainly as a foretaste of what life looks like without God. Today, we can see it inside the walls of a prison or in areas that are run by drug cartels or human traffickers. People will try to extol the virtues of being “free from God,” but the reality of life without the grace and mercy of God is only death and darkness.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for revealing what life is like without Your grace and mercy. Help us to realize that You are the source of all goodness and beauty and keep us walking closely with Christ so that we never have to experience what life is like outside of Your kingdom. Amen.