I’d love to stop with verse 14 and consider only the blessings God promises to Israel if they remain faithful to God and to the Law that He has given them. But the chapter continues to describe, to prophesy in detail, what will happen should they turn away. A study of the history of Israel will reveal that every portion of this prophecy has been realized, some repeatedly.
The chapter ends on a very low note indeed, but we can be sure that there is another chapter coming.
God’s purposes for Israel are not complete in its devastation. After the destruction comes the restoration.
Metaphorically, this same pattern takes place in our lives. God gives us a choice to follow Him or to turn away. In one form or another, we all turn away for a period of time. Our rebellion leads to destruction. Perhaps, in God’s mercy, not as complete as prophesied for Israel, but sufficient to bring us to our knees. Or flat on our back. Which places us in the correct posture to look up, to fix our eyes on our Father. In our desperation, we cry out and God rescues and restores.
The gospel is that Jesus has done everything needed for our salvation, and that there is nothing I could do to make God love me any more and nothing I have done that would make Him love me any less. Recently, God has applied that to my heart in regard to sanctification. For many years, I believed (and lived) based on the idea that Christ saved me, but now I must do the work of sanctification. I must practice Christian disciplines of prayer, reading the Word, loving my neighbor has myself, giving generously, be self-controlled, etc. But what God has shown me recently is the fulfillment of Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God’s handiwork – not just in our creation in the womb, not just in the unique and perfectly designed DNA God has given us. But in our daily lives. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17) This Spirit of Truth prompts me to pray. He reminds me to read His Word, and gives me the desire to do so. Holy Spirit spurs my heart to kindness for a stranger or to generosity.
And because it is God who prepares the works in advance for me to do, there is no pride in success, there is only praise for the One who has succeeded in me.