READ: Deuteronomy 28
THINK: Have you ever wanted something so desperately that were certain you couldn't live without it-until you actually got it? That's when you discovered that things aren't always what you expect. Much of what appeals to our human desires isn't in our best interest. Choices made without consideration for God can be downright destructive. Yet, the Lord doesn't leave us without warning. The guidelines in His Word can help us steer clear of unnecessary tragedy. God may even put roadblocks in our path to spare us from regret. But if we persist in our own ways, God allows us to experience the consequences of selfish desires. Still, God's mercy shows through, teaching us hard but vital lessons that help us discover that what God wants for us is always best.
RESPOND: In what ways would God bless Israel for wholehearted obedience? What example would it set for other nations if Israel continued to follow God? What would happen to God's people if they disregarded and defied God? (See 28:15 note.) Do people today experience these kind of curses for defying God? Why or why not? In what way does God show patience and mercy to those who resist Him, and why does He do this? How is verse 36 an example of God letting people experience the consequences of their selfish desires? What do you think it means that Israel would be "the head, not the tail" (v. 13) if they obeyed God, but that others "will be the head, but you will be the tail" (v. 44) if they disobeyed? What example would this set for other nations (vv. 37, 46-47)? What would Israel's enemies do and what would happen to Israel as a nation if they abandoned God? (See 28:-57 and 28:64 notes.) In what ways might people today follow or serve "other gods," and what consequences might they face as a result?
PRAY: Ask God to forgive you if you've defied or disobeyed Him in any way. Pray for a passion to practice what you learn from His Word. Pray for the peace of Israel and the salvation of Jews who have not entrusted their lives to Jesus.
ACT: As you go through the day, be aware of the various influences trying to pull you away from God's intentions. With God's help, resist any inclinations to defy God's desires in your attitudes, conversations, behaviors and activities. Always choose what will honor God and keep you on a path toward His purposes.
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