In this sermon series, we will spend the next several weeks tracing the theme of ‘Blessings and Curses’ throughout God’s Word. It is our aim to touch on the main passages that relate these ideas to us. In other words we will not be looking at every text in scripture that speaks about blessings and curses but rather those that are most prominent and profitable to us.
How might this theme be profitable to us? First, by meditating on blessings and curses we are reminded that there God has made a sharp distinction between good and evil; right and wrong. This is especially important as we live in the midst of a culture that would have us forget or simply obscure that line. God calls upon us as believers to think and live in a way that separates us from the seed of the serpent.
Indeed as Adam and Eve quickly discovered, not all that glitters is gold. By nature, our minds and hearts are bent to evil and so we can’t see the truth (John 3:3; cf. Romans 8:7). But as God awakens His blessing of spiritual sight in us, we have the capacity to see evil and good for what they are. (John 3:21 cf. Romans 8:8-9)
Thus by looking at the theme of blessing and curses in scripture we are also to remember God’s mercy to us. This is not only because by His declaration of that which is cursed we stay away from what harms us, but also by His declaration of what is blessed in this life we are reminded of His goodness to sinners such as us. As Jesus told His disciples, even those who follow Him are blessed as they are “poor in spirit”; namely that they do not possess anything that makes them blessed by God, but rather God chose to bless them in Christ (Ephesians 1:3ff.).
In addition, we may ask: what might be the benefits of preaching through a theme in scripture? By way of contrast, when we work our way through a book (such as Luke) we can become ‘stagnant’ in our thought towards the rest of in redemptive history. Though the background or foundation of Luke is the Old Testament scriptures and its horizon is the completion of Jesus’ work as proclaimed to the world by the apostles, it is easy to miss the “forest for the trees” as they say. In other words we may get so bogged down in a text or series of texts we forget how they relate to all of scripture. So seeking to examine the ‘forest’ of the Bible will give us a guideline for how the whole ought to be interpreted and helps us to appreciate the big picture of God’s plan of salvation.
Of course there are dangers to this approach too. One can try to force all the scriptural data into one lens or sieve for interpretation. We also may become knowledgeable of the ebb and flow of Bible history without really understanding the particular events that make up its pathway.
So it will be our aim to find out what scripture says about ‘blessings and curses’ from God without divorcing the texts from the original story. And, as always, we will seek to apply these principles to our lives today. For we recall that “whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)