In 2006, a team of landscape architects conducted a simple study on the impact of a fenced-in playground. They had a preschool teacher take her students to a playground without a fence. The children all huddled around the teacher and did not utilize the full playground space. They then took the same class to a fenced in playground and observed that the children felt freer to explore the entire space. Having a clear boundary led to a greater sense of freedom and security. Through
Through the law, God provided Israel with clear expectations. They did not have to wonder what God required of them. This gave them a sense of security and freedom in their relationship with God. However, God’s instructions also came with consequences. Today’s reading outlines the blessings for Israel if they obeyed the covenant and curses if they did not.
If Israel obeyed the covenant, they would be richly blessed. They would have abundant harvests and safety from their enemies (vv. 3–10). Their greatest blessing would be the presence of God in the midst of His people (vv. 11–12).
If Israel disobeyed, the consequences were just as clear. They would be struck with disease, famine, and defeat by their enemies (vv. 14–17). Most grievously, they would be exiled from the land and from access to God’s presence at the tabernacle (vv. 33–35). However, even if they broke the covenant and experienced the full brunt of God’s judgment, He would not give up on them. The chapter ends on a note of hope. God would remember His covenant with Abraham (vv. 42–45). If the people repent, they would be restored (vv. 40–41).
>> We worship a God who is both gracious and forgiving. God has given us clear rules to follow, but He has also provided a way for forgiveness and restoration. If you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior, we invite you to turn to Him today. In Him, you will find hope and a future.
When Israel disobeyed, You fulfilled Your promises to punish them. When they repented, You restored them. In the same way, You promise to forgive us when we repent. When we throw ourselves on Your mercy, we are saved!