At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses is finishing his farewell speech. He has led the Israelites for forty years, as they wandered in the desert as a result of their disobedience. Moses will not be joining them in the Promised Land because he, too, has sinned and God will not allow him to enter the Land, though God will take him to the mountain top so he can see it.
After Moses "re-gives" the Law, he lists the blessings and curses that God promises. Last night as I read through them, I was surprised by the length of the curses list. Not that it was as long as it is, but that it is so much longer than the blessings. God lists every possible calamity you can think of -- indeed, He promises that it will be so if (when) the Israelites are disobedient. I was overwhelmed by the utter devastation.
Ah, but when you are in a tough spot of Scripture, keep reading! There is always hope!
Deuteronomy 30: 1-3
When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lordyour God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
Yesterday my students were continuing to read through Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Billie Jo's Ma has been badly burned and has pushed the hardship of the drought (the Dust Bowl) from their minds, at least for awhile. Billie Jo went out to get water from the pump.
And the locusts came.
Ate everything, even the apples on Ma's apple trees. Billie Jo says,
I couldn't tell her,
couldn't bring myself to say
her apples were gone.
I never got the chance.
Ma died that day
giving birth to my brother.
Oh, the heartache! The devastation! The utter loss!
But then I had my students look up some Bible verses:
Psalm 42:5 (and 11)
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
I love the way God repeats things that He really wants us to remember, such as vs. 5 and vs. 11. But the idea of hope is also repeated throughout Scripture:
Genesis 3 : the fall of Man -- God promises a Savior
Jesus dying on the Cross -- on the third day He rose again!
And the end of it all: Revelation 19-21 -- after Armeggedon comes the New Jerusalem!
There is always HOPE!