extraordinary afflictions

Today's devotion from Deuteronomy 28.


After prayer about these verses, I began to notice nuances that really don't apply to the individual. For example, verse 36 talks about one of the repercussions of not following God would be, "The Lord will bring you and your king that you have appointed to a nation neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone" (Deuteronomy 28:36, CSB)

While that is a threat to the individual, it was more directed toward the people as a whole. Likewise, the punishment of being exiled and scattered (vs. 64) affects the individual, but really only as part of the whole. Putting all of this together a picture comes into focus: the extraordinary afflictions, are extraordinary in that they are multifaceted.

This isn't about Jeremy not following the Law, therefore, Jeremy will be punished. This is about a people straying from their relationship with God. So, the people would be abandoned by the God who had called them to Himself and formed a nation out of them. Once again, the underlying issue is that of community. If they don't follow God, they will cease to exist in community with other God-followers.

In thinking through all of this I realized that I too often read Scripture through the eyes of Rambo. In America, especially the last wild places, we are Hoover's "rugged individualists" set on doing it by ourselves. We don't like to depend on others. However, that is the heartbeat of Scripture. God calls us to reliance on Him. One of the blessings of reliance is that He then places us in a community of His people. He delivers us from the domain of darkness so that we might become part of the Kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13-14)

How deliciously subtle is our Enemy?! He has subverted God's design for community in our hearts through our culture. This isn't even "sinful" as we would define it, but it is devastating in that we no longer desire to belong in communion with God and community with fellow believers. Instead, we want to be independent and self-reliant. Isn't also telling that the extraordinary affliction that God promises is that we will get exactly what we say we want. Life without Him and His blessings, scattered and exiled.