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In Case You Missed It -- Deuteronomy 27-28, Psalm 113

If you can read the curses of Deuteronomy 28 without grimacing, you can endure gruesome imagery better than most. The idea of fathers and mothers refusing to share meat from the bodies of their deceased children with their surviving children paints a graphic picture of Israel’s potential utter desolation (Deuteronomy 28:52-57). The preponderance of curses leads one to infer that God is warning Israel not simply that they might disobey God’s commands, but that they almost certainly will disobey. Embedded in the curses and also the foreshadowing nature of this passage is the idea that Israel will become like and be cursed like Egypt. The usage of the word “plague”, “drought”, “boils of Egypt”, and “swarms of locust” in Deuteronomy 28:20-42 warns that when Israel becomes like Egypt in doing evil, they will face a similar fate. To top it all off, Israel is warned that they will be cursed by going back to Egypt, but this time without anyone willing to take them even as slaves (Deuteronomy 28:68). Of course, it is important to note that Israel never went back as a nation to Egypt. Some say these curses are fulfilled in the Assyrian or Babylonian captivities of Israel, and maybe that is true in part. I think it is more likely that Deuteronomy is anticipating a time when Jesus—the true Israel and the true Son of God—will go down to Egypt to demonstrate that He is taking the curse Israel deserves (Matthew 2:15, Hosea 1:11). Whatever the case, Israel certainly will prove that they deserve the curses in Deuteronomy. But the worst curse falls on the Child of God who obeys Deuteronomy in every way, giving hope to all who deserve the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

Jeremiah Vaught