Divine Blessings and Curses Are Based on Obedience to YHVH’s Torah-Word
As divine blessings come upon people for Torah obedience, so do curses come upon a people who have forgotten their Elohim because they have been blessed materially and in their self-sufficiency have forgotten who is the source of their blessings as this chapter shows. These are immutable laws that are written in the universe and no human-devised philosophical or religious ideologies regardless of their cleverness can circumvent them. To go against these laws is like attempting to push a giant boulder up a steep mountainside. Eventually the boulder will role backwards crushing the pusher. What wisdom can be learned from this passage on blessings and curses?
YHVH’s Torah instructions continually stresses that blessings are contingent upon obedience to YHVH. Similarly, Yeshua reveals that rewards in his everlasting kingdom are also contingent on obedience to his Torah-laws. The greater the obedience, the greater the reward (Matt 5:17).These principles are universal, yet how prone humans are to forget the cycles of history that repeat themselves over and over again like the unstoppable turning of giant millstone grinding into powder those who refuse to learn the lessons from the past. Each generation proudly asserts its exceptionalism and that, somehow, it is immune to YHVH’s inexorable and immutable principles of divine judgment. Only in the perfect hindsight of history can we see the fallacy of this assumption. Ancient Israel failed to learn these lessons as have subsequent people who are both ignorant of Scripture as well as many who claim to follow the Bible.
In the case of America, and Great Britain before her (and other formerly European Christian nations as well), there was in times past a national consciousness of core biblical values and, to one degree or another, a general public acknowledgement, acceptance of and respect for the Elohim of the Bible. However, as the historical record reveals, as a nation becomes blessed, it reaches an apogee of prominence, power and wealth where it becomes rich and increased with goods and no longer needs Elohim—or so it thinks. It then becomes materially fat and forgets the source of its wealth and falls into a state of self-sufficiency leading to spiritual blindness in that it fails to recognize its true spiritual state (recall YHVH’s warning to a lukewarm church in Rev 3:14–22). This can happen to individuals, churches and to whole societies.
Because YHVH loves his people and wants to walk among them, to be their Elohim and to bless them (Lev 26:12), when they disobey him and walk in ways that are harmful to their well-being, like any loving parent, he is forced to discipline them. Again and again he sends them his prophets and watchmen to warn them that they are on a path of self-destruction. But because of pride, most people refuse to humble themselves and repent (Lev 26:40–41). It is the same old story over and over again. Human pride insists that “judgments cannot happen to us because we are so special, ” and “All things will continue as they have from the beginning and no evil shall befall us.” Such a self-assured individual and society retorts in mocking and scoffing tones in response to all those who would hold them accountable for their errant ways (2 Pet 3:3–7). If only the great people, nations and empires that have already trodden this well-worn path and are now in the dust bin of history could speak from their graves and this generation had heart ears to hear!
As a loving Father, YHVH does not lower the gavel of his full disciplinary judgments immediately upon his wayward children. He increases the dosage of his spiritual medicine incrementally in hopes that each successive ratcheting down of his judgments will bring healing to his spiritually apostate children such that they will humble themselves, confess their iniquity (or Torahlessness, Lev 26:40) and repent of their sin and submit to his laws, so that he can bless them.
In this chapter, YHVH reveals four sets of judgments with each one becoming seven times more severe than the previous one (Lev 26:18, 21, 24, 28). This reminds us of YHVH’s end-times judgments upon a rebellious world that has given itself over to devil worship just prior to the return of Yeshua as prophesied in the book of Revelation. In that book, there are seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders and, finally, seven bowl judgments.
What can you do? You may not be able to change society, but a societal change begins one step and one life at a time; it starts with your life! That is the only thing for certain that you can change. No one person can turn the whole earth into a beautiful garden, but you can start by eradicating the weeds from your own garden. You know what needs to be done. Just listen to your conscience—to YHVH’s Spirit knocking at the door of your heart (Rev 3:20), and then repent and obey YHVH and his commandments. It is that simple.
The corollary to this passage on blessings and curses with regard to Torah obedience is Deuteronomy chapter 28.
Some More Thoughts on Divine JudgmentContinue reading
The Scriptures reveal that the Torah is much more than a list of dos and don’ts as many people have been led to believe, and is therefore, in their mind, a negative thing. Deuteronomy 4:6 says that the Torah is our wisdom and understanding before the nations of the world. In Deuteronomy 11:8, we learn that the Torah makes us strong. The word strong in Hebrew is chazaq meaning “to be strong, grow strong, to prevail, to be firm, be caught fast, be secure, to grow stout, grow rigid, to restore to strength, give strength, sustain, encourage, make bold, encourage, to repair or to withstand.” This sounds like a good thing!
Here is a list of the other benefits of studying and obeying YHVH’s Torah:
- The Torah defines what sin (1 John 3:4) and righteousness are (Ps 119:172).
- The Torah shows us what YHVH expects from man (Deut 10:12–13).
- The Torah convicts man of sin or lawlessness and brings us to Yeshua by way of the cross (Gal 3:24).
- The Torah brings temporal and spiritual rewards; life and blessing when followed; curses when disobeyed (Deut 28; Matt 5:19).
- Obeying the Torah helps deepen a loving and intimate relationship with YHVH-Yeshua and helps us to abide in Yeshua (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).
- Obeying the Torah helps us to stay spiritually pure (1 John 3:3–6).
- Obeying the Torah protects us from the influence of the devil (1 John 3:8).
- The Torah provides a framework or basis for YHVH’s divine justice or judgment (Deut 17:11; John 12:48; Heb 4:12 cp. Rev 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21).
- The Torah forms the basis for the jurisprudence system of civil government (Deut 17:11).
- The Torah is heaven’s revelation of divine grace. It reveals how sinful man can be reconciled to a righteous Elohim; it reveals the path of redemption or salvation from slavery to sin through the idea of substitutionary sacrifice. This all points to Yeshua the Messiah, the Redeemer or Savior of the world.
- The Torah reveals the concept of covenant between YHVH and man involving YHVH’s chosen people—the nation of Israel. Only through covenantal relationship with the Elohim of Israel and by being grafted into the Israel of Elohim can one have eternal life (Eph 2:11–19).
- The Torah will guide and keep us on the path of righteousness and lead us into YHVH’s everlasting kingdom and spiritual divine family. It acts as a protective guardrail to keep us on the road leading to eternal life. It keeps man from falling into the spiritual ditches or off the spiritual cliff along the side of the road of life.
- The Torah is our light in a dark world; the answer to life’s questions and dilemmas (Ps 119:99, 105; Prov 6:23).
- Through Yeshua the Living Torah, the Torah helps us to become the person that YHVH wants to live with forever. It prepares us to be the spiritual bride of Yeshua (Rev 19:7–8).
- Obeying the Torah brings us eternal rewards (not eternal life, which is by grace through faith alone, see Eph 2:8) in the world to come (Matt 5:19).
- Obeying the Torah helps deepen a loving and intimate relationship with YHVH-Yeshua and helps us to abide in Yeshua (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3–6).
- Obeying the Torah-Word of YHVH helps to perfect YHVH-Yeshua’s love in us (1 John 3:6).
- The Torah shows us how to love Elohim and our neighbor (Mark 12:29–31).
What Are the 15 Enemies of Torah-Obedience?Continue reading
Psalm 111:2, The works of YHVH…studied by all…pleasure. Studied is the Hebrew word darash meaning “to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by implication to seek or ask; specifically to worship, diligently inquire, make inquisition, question, require, search, seek [for, out].” Pleasure is the Hebrew word khayfets meaning “pleasure; hence (abstractly) desire; concretely a valuable thing; hence (by extension) a matter (as something in mind) that is acceptable, delight (-some), desire, things desired, matter, pleasant, pleasure, purpose, willingly.” This verse is pregnant with meaning and can be viewed from several vantage points depending upon which word or group of words one focuses.
First, the works of YHVH are worth studying, following, pursuing, seeking, or diligently inquiring about.
Second, studying the works of YHVH is an act of worship. Those who seek YHVH diligently by studying his works are actually worshiping him in so doing.
Third, those who study the works of YHVH desire to do so and find that his works are worthy of studying and they find pleasure in learning about him; they place high value in this pursuit.
Psalm 111:10, The fear of YHVH…beginning of wisdom. This statement is often attributed to Solomon and his book of Proverbs, but it actually originated with David. Solomon learned this truth from his father and repeated it twice later (Prov 1:7; 9:10). Had he remembered these wise words of his father after he had become rich, famous and powerful, perhaps he would not became an apostate in his latter in having fallen so far away from YHVH. One can start out well as a young person walking in the path of truth, light, wisdom and righteousness, but that’s no guarantee how they will end up. Young people would do well to follow the wisdom of their parents, grandparents and elders and to learn, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the older generation.
Psalm 112:1, Blessed is the man. YHVH promises blessing upon those who fear him and delight in his commandments. This is such a simple concept to understand that it is shocking that more people cannot grasp it! When you acknowledge the Almighty Creator of all things, who is the Just Judge of the universe and the Supreme Lawgiver and you seek him, serve him with reverence and live by his rules, it all stands to reason that you will reap some benefits. The blessings resulting therefrom are incalculable; the psalmist lists a few of them in the following verses.
Verse 2—His descendants will be mighty upon the earth. The Hebrew word for mighty is gibbor meaning “powerful; by implication warrior, or champion, chief, giant, mighty, strong (man), valiant.” When we think of the concept of mighty, we mustn’t fall into the trap of defining mighty as the world defines it, which usually involves money, power and fame. One can be gibbor in YHVH’s sight and not possess those attributes that society requires for one to be considered “great” or “mighty.”
Verse 3—He will possess wealth and riches. Wealth is the Hebrew word hon meaning “enough.” Therefore, the Bible defines wealth as having enough. How does one define enough? How many people on earth do not have enough? What are our needs versus or wants? If our needs are met, then we have enough. If we have more than that, then we have an over abundance and are truly wealthy. Not only that, but are wealth and riches to be defined only in terms of material possessions? How about expanding the definition of wealth, riches and enough to include good health, family, marriage and friends? Let us take these ideas to the higher spiritual plateau to include redemption or salvation, the receipt of the Spirit of Elohim into one’s life, divine revelation from the Word of Elohim, a relationship with Yeshua the Messiah, and eventually eternal life including inclusion into the very divine family of Elohim. Now do you feel that you possess wealth and riches and have enough, even though you may not be rich monetarily? If so, give Elohim the praise! If, not, then get saved by coming into a spiritual relationship with Yeshua, and then begin to count the blessings that will follow as a result!
Verse 3—His righteousness endures forever. What does this mean? This can be taken to mean several things. First, one’s righteousness endures through one’s posterity because if one has raised one’s children in the fear of Elohim, and they in turn will pass these values on to their children and so on. Second, as spiritual salt and light, one has also influenced the world around themselves to make it a more positively and a better place. Like a pebble dropped into a lake, the ripples of one’s actions will reach out and touch many lives for years to come. Third, the righteous man has the hope of eternal life, therefore, he will live forever before Elohim because he fears Elohim in righteousness. What is righteousness? It is adherence to the commandments of Elohim (Ps 119:172) and delighting in said commandments (Ps 112:1).
Verse 4—Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. This is a huge promised blessing! The righteous man will be given divine revelation as to what to do and where to go when those around him are walking cluelessly in confusion and darkness.
Verse 5—He deals graciously and lends. He is so blessed of YHVH that his cup overflows and he is a blessing to those around him. Most people are takers because they are in survival mode and they do not have enough left over to be a blessing to others. On the other hand, those who fear Elohim find themselves in his blessed river of life and the blessings therefrom overflow onto others.
Verse 5—He will guide his affairs with discretion. Discretion is the Hebrew word misphat meaning “a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree, determination, discretion, or to be judged.” This means that he will be able to rightly discern between right and wrong and make proper judgments when facing life’s uncertainties; he will know what to do and when to do it, thus ensuring that he will always make the right decision, which leads to good results and blessings.
Verse 6—He shall never be shaken. This is because the righteous man is standing on the solid rock of YHVH Elohim and his Word or Truth.
Verse 6—The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. His legacy will live on after his death both on earth and in heaven.
Verse 7—He will not be afraid of evil tidings. Why is this? Because his heart is steadfast trusting in Elohim. This is because he is on the right side of Elohim, therefore, heaven is on his side. What is there to be afraid of? If Elohim be for us who can be against us (Rom 87:31)?
Verse 9—His horn will exalted with honor. This is the ultimate and highest blessing of the man who fears Elohim and delights in his commandments. Power and honor will be his, and not as men define these terms, but has heaven defines them,which are true and everlasting power and honer!
Psalm 112:4, Light in the darkness. YHVH promises to give light in the darkness to those who fear him and delight greatly in his commandments (v. 1). Light in the darkness is knowing what to do when others are walking around blindly in confusion. It is divine guidance and revelation. As YHVH commanded light to shine in the darkness on day one of creation, so he will command the divine light of his Truth to shine into the darkness of our life situations and we will instantly know what to do and where to go.
Psalm 34:7, The angel of YHVH encamps [or surrounds, encompasses]. Those who fear YHVH by worshipping and obeying him have the promise of divine protection. The angels are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14), and YHVH “shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Ps 91:11–12).
Psalm 34:9, Fear of YHVH…no want [or lack]. Elsewhere, Scripture reveals that the fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. Why should people with these attributes have any worry of lack? When we not only fear YHVH reverentially, but dread the thought of sinning by going against his Torah-instructions in righteousness, which are there for our good and, if followed, bring nothing but blessings upon us, why should we experience any physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual lack of anything?
Psalm 34:15, The eyes of YHVH. What are the eyes of YHVH? We find this same phrase in Psalm 33:19. This phrase can mean “in the mind or opinion of YHVH” (e.g. Gen 6:8; Deut 13:8; 1 Sam 16:24; 2 Sam 15:25; et al).
Now to expand on the meaning of this phrase, elsewhere in Scripture, “the eyes of YHVH” seems to have a deeper meaning, for we read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of YHVH run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Similarly, our verse under study, Psalm 34:15, would indicate that “the eyes of YHVH” refer to more than just his opinion. Perhaps YHVH’s are searching for information upon which to make an opinion about men whether it be a good (Ps 34:15) or bad opinion (2 Chr 29:6), for we read in Proverbs 15:3 that “The eyes of YHVH are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good,” and in Proverbs 5:21 that “the ways of man are before the eyes of YHVH, and He ponders all his paths.” What are the eyes of YHVH that search the earth and the heart of men? Revelation 5:6 gives us a clue: “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim sent out into all the earth.” Likely these seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim, relate to the seven Spirits of YHVH in Isaiah 11:1–2 which are:
- The Spirit of YHVH
- The Spirit of wisdom
- The Spirit of understanding
- The Spirit of counsel
- The Spirit of might
- The Spirit of knowledge
- The Spirit of the fear of YHVH
Psalm 34:18, Broken heart. This could be understood to be a circumcised heart rather than a heart broken by grief. This calls to mind the words of Yeshua in the beatitudes: “blessed are the poor [or helpless and crippled] in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom,” and “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt 5:3–4).
Psalm 34:19, Many are the afflictions. It is part of the human condition for both the righteous and the wicked to experience trials, afflictions and difficulties in life. This is, in part, is a result of the fall of man and the curse of sin that came on all humans as a result thereof. Some of our afflictions are a result of the bad choices that we make, or due to circumstances beyond our control. Other times, heaven allows afflictions to come upon us for our spiritual growth and development (e.g. Job; or Deut 8:2–5; Heb 12:3–11). But there is a difference between the afflictions that come on the wicked and the godly. The former, who either ignores or has rejected Elohim, is left to circumstantial fate. Maybe they will come out of the afflictions better off, maybe not. However, for the godly, the sovereign and all powerful hand of YHVH is on their lives, for he is guiding and directing all that happens to them for their ultimate good as a father toward his children (Heb 12:3–11), or as a potter working with a lump of clay to fashion from it something useful and beautiful (Isa 29:16; 45:9), and, because of this, we know that “all things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose…[that we may be] conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom 8:28–29).