“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” (Deuteronomy 28:15-19)
God had promised that if they would obey him there not be any barren or unfruitful crops or livestock, and that their savings would be preserved. Here God directs Moses to warn them that the consequences of sin will be exactly the opposite. Disobedience will result in crop failures, unhealthy and infertile livestock and families and unhappy lives. He goes into considerable detail.
“The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.” (Deuteronomy 28:20-22)
Everything they attempted would be fraught with frustration and opposition, ultimately consummating in defeat and death because of their sin. In addition they would be plagued with diseases, such as tuberculosis, infections, bubonic plague, and other epidemics. In addition they would be infected by molds and silicosis from inhaling dust. Terrorism and gang activity would increase until the society finally collapsed.
Almost all the Old Testament starting with the book of Judges describes Israel turning from God in disobedience, and his efforts to get them to turn back. A cycle of disobedience, followed by judgment and turning back developed, averaging about forty years. Each cycle seemed to go a little farther into sin, and each return tended to be a little less complete.
“And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 28:23-24)
Man’s wickedness affects nature as well and man, as Romans 8:20-22 describes. Sin would result in a lack of rain and unyielding soil so that there would be dust storms and drought instead of rain. Sounds like the summer of 2012 doesn’t it?
In David Brainerd’s journal he describes praying for hours, day after day, repeatedly concluding with “the heavens were brass and God did not answer.” I John 5:14-5 declares, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” I find it hard to consider Brainerd as the great spiritual example his biographers would have us to believe he was. There is something wrong with our spiritual life when God will not answer our prayers.
“The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.” (Deuteronomy 28:25-26)
Sin would affect their military capabilities. Whereas God would cause their enemies to flee before them and seek peace if they obeyed, disobedience would result in fear and defeat. This is graphically demonstrated in the battle against Ai in Joshua 7-8.
“The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:27-29)
Besides the other natural consequences of their sin such as epidemics, and contagious diseases, God would also cause diseases like cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, allergies and others. Problems such as insanity, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, heart problems and panic attacks would abound a s a result of disobedience. Taxation and loss of freedom would become increasingly burdensome.
“Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.” (Deuteronomy 28:30-32)
As a result of their disobedience, adultery and prostitution would be widespread, homes and property would be seized for taxes, repossessed, or taken by fraud, leaving people homeless. Children would be taken from parents by authorities or through divorce or kidnapping, leaving the parents to suffer.
“The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” (Deuteronomy 28:33-34)
Disobedience would result in being raided and victimized by gangs and political groups until they almost go crazy with frustration.
“The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.” (Deuteronomy 28:35)
Things like arthritis and skin diseases resulting fro disobedience would make farming and earning a living quite painful and unpleasant, and they would be difficult or impossible to cure.
“The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:36-37)
Disobedience would result in being taken over by other countries and loss of their influence and culture to such a degree people look down on them as an example of failure and inferiority.
“Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.” (Deuteronomy 28:38-40)
Even the crops that grew would be devoured or damaged by insects and disease to the point of being unusable. The labor preparing and caring for them will be totally wasted.
“Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.” (Deuteronomy 28:41)
Children would be taken from parents and put into sweatshops, military service, and training programs, destroying families as a result of disobeying God.
“All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.” (Deuteronomy 28:42)
Even the long term abilities to produce would be destroyed when locusts stripped and killed the trees, leaving only dead trees behind. It takes years to bring new trees up to fruit bearing and useable size.
“The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.” (Deuteronomy 28:43-44)
Minorities and foreigners will obtain power and control of the financial or government systems, controlling the people through their power, as a result of the refusal to obey God.
Looking at history, a similar pattern emerges, with country going through extremes of poverty and political upheaval just after a period of moral decay.