Monday, April 15, 2013

Principles for Understanding Blessings and Curses

As promised in my last post, here are some principles concerning biblical blessings and curses. These are important to realize when we are talking about food, health, beauty, and other blessings. (Note: many of the Scripture proofs are only examples of proof throughout Scripture; in other words, "etc..." could be put on the end of many of these.)

1. God defines blessings and curses, and He has done so in the Holy Bible. (Gen. 1-2, 17:6-8, Deut. 28, Lev. 26, Matt. 5:2-12)

2. We are to desire blessings (and their accompanying responsibilities) and abhor curses. (Deut. 30:19-20, 1 Cor. 7:21-24, assumed throughout Scripture and inherent in the idea of blessing and curse. For example, it would be wrong to desire cannibalism, which is an intense curse in Deut. 28:53-57.)

3. We are to work for blessings and against curses. (Compare Lev. 26:4-5, 9, Deut 28:4, Gen. 1:26-31, 3:16-19)

4. We are to realize that, whatever our efforts are, we receive blessings and curses by God's sovereign decree (and blessings always by grace through faith). (Lam. 3:37-39, Is. 45:7, Luke 17:7-10, see next point)

5. In this life, God will sometimes bring apparent curses on believers and apparent blessings on unbelievers, but when this happens it is ultimately a blessing for the believers (as a testing, humbling, and disciplining) and a curse on unbelievers (as a increase of accountability and a harding). (Heb. 12:7-11, Ps. 73)

6. Blessings thus come upon God's covenant people, His children by grace through faith who love God and keep His commandments, while curses come upon covenant-breakers. (Ps. 144:15, Ps. 128, Rom 8:28, Deut. 8)

7. We are not to be anxious concerning blessings and curses, but are to put our trust in God.(Matt. 6:11, 25-34)

8. God's total sovereignty does not absolve us from active responsibility, but establishes it.(Ps. 90, compare points 3 and 4, compare 2 Thess. 3:10-12 with Ps. 111:5)

9. Our work for blessings is not unrelenting, but ought to rested from (with faith in God) at times. This actually often increases blessings. (Gen. 2:1-3, Ex. 20:8-11, Lev. 25:1-7, Matt. 6:17-18)

10. Not all blessings and curses are equal, and our desire and work should vary compared to their worth (as defined by God). (See the way the Bible deals with and prioritizes the various blessings like wealth, good name, crops, health, children, wife, etc... as in Luke 14:26, Matt. 6:19-20, 18:5-6, Prov 22:1, and the same with curses)

11. God's kingdom and righteousness are to be sought as the greatest end. (Matt. 6:33)

12. Christ, and the fellowship with God that He brings, is the greatest blessing; from Him all other blessings flow, and in Him all the nations will be blessed. (2 Cor. 1:20, Gal. 3, Gen. 12:2-3, Heb. 8)

Much more could be said on this topic. Hopefully this is helpful. Too often people forget these things in discussions concerning not only things like health and nutrition, but also theology, farming, birth control, eschatology, economics, and the like.

-Peter Bringe
 D.V.

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