Deuteronomy: No Holiness No Benefit

     Holiness is not a request of God it is an absolute mandate. Moses made this point abundantly clear throughout the Pentateuch and repeated the necessity for holiness in “The Second Law.” Excuses were not to be made nor were exceptions applicable to the lives of those that chose to follow Jehovah God. Evidence of the consequences of pulling from the standards of God are clear as depicted in Joshua chapters six through seven. Holiness is an idea made very serious by God and should be the lifestyle of all that trust in the Almighty.

     Deuteronomy 27:10 shows Moses reiterating the importance of obedience to God. His words, “Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day” present no idea of a suggestion rather the directive is  an absolute mandate to heed God’s words. The words Moses referred to were the Law of the Pentateuch which was a guiding force to the people of God. They were not to move from it either to the left or right rather it was to be obeyed completely and without exception. Disobedience to the standard brought about sure and sudden consequences which had the impact of the people fearing and honoring God.

     It is for this reason that Moses seeks to avoid disobedience to God’s Word by pulling away from the standard of holiness. The Second Law served then and continues to serve now as a reminder of God’s love for His people but also of the dire consequences of not holding to the holiness mandated by Him. This why Moses emphatically urged the people to obey God. The lack of obedience, or the lack of holiness, would meet with no positive benefit for those who have chosen and who continue to act contrary to the standards of holiness. And, if there are no benefits to the lack of holiness there, by necessity, are curses and those curses are spelled out by Moses.

     Chapters twenty-seven and twenty-eight of Deuteronomy outline a number of curses that are brought to bear for those that choose not holiness. By outlining these curses Moses makes it evident that those that pull from holiness will suffer by reason of their disobedience. No good thing will come to the rebellious ones. The curses make it clear that God has received no pleasure in the lack of holiness. Further the curses are an indicator of the fact that those receiving the curses have chosen not to be holy rather the decision was made to act against the standards of God.

     Deuteronomy 28:15-20 provides some insight into what will happen to the disobedient. The text reads, “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. 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 fact is that disobedience to God is counted as wickedness. It is because of this wickedness that the curses must be employed. God cannot and will not allow sin to stand in His presence. This is especially true when the people have been warned time and time again as Moses did with the Israelites. Yet many found no reason to honour the Most High God. The decision not to follow God then was wrought in the same premise many choose to disobey God today – the works of the flesh. The sin of the flesh and the traditions of men is what caused and continues to cause wickedness today.

     Galatians 5:19-21 points out the works of the flesh and clearly presents the curse caused by the works. The text reads, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

     No, there are no good things in pulling away from the mandates of God. Disobeying God is tantamount to telling God that He is not worth listening to and as such His law needs not be heeded. God cannot let sin stand. Thereby He must answer and that answer is with the curses as outlined by Moses. Yes, the lack of holiness mandates an answer from God. Yes, if there is no holiness there is no benefit.




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