Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil; (NKJV)
The great leader, Moses, was nearing the end of his life. God was giving Moses final words and instructions to pass on to the Israelites. The choices they faced are still very much applicable to us today, particularly as individuals. We have a choice between righteousness or sin; obedience or disobedience. Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy specifies blessings and consequences for the nation of Israel that hinged on their actions as a nation.
The consequences listed speak of cursing, hardship, confusion, futility, hopelessness, sickness and defeat. Whether nations or individuals, disobedience to God inevitably results in negative consequences. It is interesting to note one particular verse that describes a rapidly growing segment of society today: those who are fearful (of a variety of things) and those who feel hopeless.
Deut. 28.66-67 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. In the morning you shall say, “Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, “Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see. (NKJV, emphasis mine)
We have elaborate psychological theories for depression, fear, anxiety and other “mental illness”. It most certainly is mental illness, but only in the sense that your “mentality” is a product of your “spirituality”. It should more accurately be termed “SPIRITUAL illness”. Certainly that flies in the face of modern thinking but God pronounced the consequences of disobedience thousands of years before Freud or the first behavioral-modification prescription drug. (Note: I understand there are genuine chemical imbalances and physical conditions that cause very real depression and anxiety. While God is certainly capable of seeing a person through these as well, this lesson addresses rampant depression, fear and anxiety due to spiritual deficiencies).
If you struggle with depression, fear or anxiety, there’s a good chance you either don’t know God at all, or you are neglecting Him. It will take honesty and humility to truly evaluate the condition of your spiritual life. It is my experience (and also those Pastors, Elders and mature Christians that I have asked) that almost always, that persons who are consistently “blue”, despondent, scared or worried, will have a weak or non-existent relationship with God. Take that for what it’s worth.
The solution is simple: obey God.
I know that sounds far too simplistic in this modern age where we’re assured that elaborate external forces and circumstances completely out of our control cause us to have these “illnesses”. In chapter 28, God plainly reveals that blessing follows obedience. It can come in many forms, material or spiritual, but the end result is the same: happiness, contentment and spiritual peace. It is generally true that:
- Obedience to God brings physical blessing because a Godly person lives a healthy lifestyle (although we still suffer the effects of a sin-cursed world)
- Obedience brings material blessing because a Godly person typically works hard, is honest and doesn’t waste money. (although we still suffer the effects of a sin-cursed world)
- Obedience to God brings peace and contentment because you will be free of guilt and confusion. You have assurance that your life is on the right track and has a purpose. (the sin-cursed world can bother this one)
Deut. 28.1-2 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: (NKJV)
These were specific blessings promised to Israel, but the spiritual application for us is clear: God blesses those who obey Him. Obedience fulfills God’s plan in our life. Obedience identifies us as Christ’s family.
- John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (NKJV)
- Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (NKJV)
- Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” (NKJV)
Let’s summarize our two options when it comes to obeying or disobeying God:
- Disobedience – brings fear, worry, anxiety, frustration, hopelessness, chastisement and results in eternal death.
- Obedience – results in peace, contentment, blessing, happiness and eternal life.
Hmm… give me a minute, I’m thinking it over. It must be a harder decision than it appears since so few people choose to obey God. Millions of people can’t be wrong about something so obvious… can they?
God of Blessing, we pray that You will illumine our hearts to the true blessedness of simple obedience. We ask for Your strength so that we are able to obey, and for Your mercy when we fail to obey, In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you experiencing depression, fear, frustration or hopelessness? Have you considered that it COULD be that you are reaping the consequences of disobeying God?
Application: Disobedience comes in many forms ranging from willful defiance to passive ignorance. But the results are the same: a life that is never quite right even at it’s best. Have the courage to ask God to reveal disobedience in your life and then give you the strength and wisdom to change it.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?