“Blessings & Curses”
Deuteronomy 11:8-17, 22-32
October 22, 2023
Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service
The Reading of the Word
We return this morning to the book of Deuteronomy, as Moses instructs the people of Israel, while they stand on the verge of the promised land.
Today we will hear from Deuteronomy 11:8-17 and 22-32.
This is a longer passage, but please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning.
Moses said to the people:
11:8 “You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9 and that you may live long in the land that Yahweh swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land that you are entering to take possession of it is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and irrigated it, like a garden of vegetables. 11 But the land that you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven, 12 a land that Yahweh your God cares for. The eyes of Yahweh your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love Yahweh your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17 then the anger of Yahweh will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that Yahweh is giving you.
22 For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving Yahweh your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, 23 then Yahweh will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. 25 No one shall be able to stand against you. Yahweh your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.
26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. 29 And when Yahweh your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oak of Moreh? 31 For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that Yahweh your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, 32 you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.
This is the Word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]
Let’s pray …
Prayer of Illumination
Lord, we call to you, and we ask you to save us,
so that we might be your faithful servants, and live in light of your testimonies.
We cry out to you,
and we put our hope in your words.
We gather here now,
that we might meditate on your promises.
Hear our prayer now, according to your steadfast love,
according to your justice in your covenant, give us life.
And as we face opposition from those who oppose you,
Help us to know how to root ourselves in you.
Grant this, we ask, for Jesus’s sake. Amen.
[Based on Psalm 119:146-151]
Last week, in the first portion of this chapter, Moses spoke about paths towards God and paths away from God. And the focus was on the paths. This morning, the focus shifts more to the destinations of those paths. More specifically, Moses speaks of two destinations: one characterized by blessings, the other by curses.
And as we reflect on this passage and how it applies to us, we’re going to see four things – we’re going to see:
- the experience of blessings and curses
- the causes of blessings and curses
- the foreshadowing of blessings and curses
- and our response to blessings and curses.
So: the experience, the causes, the foreshadowing, and our response.
The Experience of Blessings & Curses
First, let’s consider the experience of blessings and curses.
At first, the experiences described here might sound pretty distant from us. They’re largely agricultural, focused on the importance of rain and crops, and other things that most of us probably don’t think about often, as people who are accustomed to having constant access to supermarkets filled with abundant and diverse food choices.
So, Israel’s experiences of possible blessings and curses might seem distant from us … but I would argue that they’re not. Because though the details may change, in every culture, in every age, in every human heart, it remains true that as the Apostle Paul said, God has not left himself without a witness [Acts 14:17]. The question for us is: In our culture of plenty, how do we experience these dynamics of blessings and curses?
And philosopher Charles Taylor has attempted to give us an answer to that question.
Taylor, in his important analysis of modern, secular, Western culture, describes our experience of blessings and curses with the terms “fullness” and “exile.”
Taylor says that each of us have moments, or experiences, or visions of aspects of our lives, in which there is a “fullness.” In those circumstances we may experience sudden moments, he writes, in which: “life is fuller, richer, deeper, more worthwhile, more admirable, more what it should be. […] We often experience this as deeply moving, as inspiring. Perhaps this sense of fullness is something we just catch glimpses of from afar off; we have the powerful intuition of what fullness would be, were we to be in that condition, [for example:] of peace or wholeness; or able to act at that level, of integrity or generosity or abandonment or self-forgetfulness. But sometimes there will be moments of experienced fullness, of joy and fulfillment, where we feel ourselves there.” [Taylor, 5]
Fullness is experienced for Taylor, in those moments when life feels “more what it should be” than it normally does. We may experience either a longing for this sense of fullness, or we may have moments where we experience it … though those moments are often brief.
But, Taylor says, there is also a negative counterpoint to this positive and inspiring sense of fullness. That other feeling Taylor describes as “exile.” This, he explains, is those moments, or places, or activities “where we experience above all a distance, an absence, an exile, a seemingly irremediable incapacity ever to reach this place [of fullness]; an absence of power; a confusion, or worse, the condition often described in the tradition as melancholy [or] ennui. What is terrible in this latter condition is that we lose a sense of where the place of fullness is, even of what fullness could consist in; we feel we’ve forgotten what it would look like, or cannot believe in it any more. But the misery of absence, of loss, is still there, indeed, it is in some ways even more acute.” [Taylor, 6]
Each of us, I expect, has experienced this sense of fullness and this sense of exile, in different seasons of our lives, in different moments of our lives, or in different areas of our lives.
Some of us may experience it in our work. We may have moments or projects, or situations, where everything seems to line up. We get a sense of clarity about what we are doing, our co-workers all seem to be on the same page as us, we enter a state of flow, and our efforts line up and work out, one thing to the next, and as we work, we are inspired by the project we’re working on, seeing the good it will bring – and in that moment we get this glimpse of fullness – this sense of “Yes, this is how work is supposed to be.”
But of course those moments are often fleeting. And, at other times, we find ourselves at its opposite: in a sense of exile. There our work seems to meet one obstacle after another, and nothing seems to work right. We keep running up against and butting heads with our coworkers, we struggle to focus on our work, and if we’re honest we don’t really see the point of it all anyway. We wonder what we’re even doing, and if any of our efforts do anyone any good in the world. And it’s hard to imagine work ever giving us a sense of purpose, or fullness.
Others may experience these alternate states of fullness and exile in their marriage or in a romantic relationship. In some moments we may find ourselves overwhelmed with a sense of love and connection with our spouse or partner. We feel seen by them, we feel loved by them, and we believe we see and love them too. And we are overwhelmed with gratitude that we have them in our lives, and we find ourselves thinking “Yes, this is how love – this is how marriage – is supposed to be.”
But again, those moments can be fleeting. And often, if we’re honest, there can be other times … in the very same marriage … or with the very same relationship … where we feel deeply estranged from the other person, and alone. In the midst of an argument, or after a cruel comment has been made, or when something important has been forgotten, or when visions for the future are misaligned … and in those moments, standing just a few feet away from our spouse or partner, we can feel incredibly alone … we can feel disconnected and hurt … so much so that in that moment, the idea of feeling connection or fullness in that relationship can seem so distant that it’s hard to believe that it’s even possible.
And when it comes to relationships, we can experience similar dynamics with others as well – with siblings, or parents, or children, or friends, or other key people in our lives.
In other cases, this experience of fullness or exile can be glimpsed in our own internal worlds – with a sense of fullness when it feels like we are being who we are supposed to be – we’re living up to our ideals and values … and then with feelings of exile when we’re not … and when living up to those ideals and values may feel impossible.
Still other times, we experience this sense of fullness and exile in our relationship to nature.
Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not uncommon for someone, surrounded by the natural beauty here … on a walk, or a hike, or standing by the water – it’s not uncommon for people to be suddenly overcome and deeply moved by nature around them … in a way that they struggle to articulate … but that’s best described by this sense of fullness – a sense of deep connection and belonging, where we look around us and think “Yes, this is how the world is supposed to be.”
But once again, those moments are often fleeting … and they have their opposite.
For some, in the Pacific Northwest, that opposite sense of exile in nature may come when the grey season arrives … and the outside world seems dim … and we can’t remember the last time we saw the sun … and even just looking out at nature in its gloom gives us a sense of dread … and we can’t even imagine feeling otherwise.
For others, that sense of exile comes when nature turns on our bodies … or the bodies of those we love … when the same natural world that seemed so benevolent as we walked in the sunshine, now lands us or someone else in the doctor’s office, or the hospital, with sickness, injury … or a life-threatening disease, like cancer. And we feel, in those moments, that this world is very much not the way it’s supposed to be.
In each area of life we can experience inspiring glimpses of fullness … and also dreadful plunges of exile.
Now … that said, most of our lives are lived somewhere in the middle – in the day-to-day routines of life where we may feel neither particularly inspired nor particularly distressed.
But even those mundane, ordinary, day-to-day moments, Taylore argues, are enchanted by dreams of fullness, and haunted by fears of exile. We go about our tasks and our work and our lives with a quiet hope that we are on a path somewhere – somewhere we hope to arrive one day, somewhere that feels more and more like fullness. And we go about our tasks and our work and our lives also with a quiet fear of exile – afraid of finding ourselves in a place of hopeless brokenness. Even in the most mundane moments of life, fullness and exile are waiting in the wings … and we can feel the possibility of them stepping out on the stage of our lives. We fantasize about fullness arriving … and we fret and worry about exile arriving … whether in our work … in our personal relationships … in our hearts … in our relationship with nature, our bodies, or the world around us.
And what Taylor calls “fullness” and “exile” … Moses describes here as “blessings” and “curses.”
We see this first in verses eight and nine, where Moses contrasts the blessings of occupying the land and living long in it, with the curse of being a landless people in an agrarian society.
Next, in verses ten through seventeen, Moses contrasts the blessings of a land that receives regular and plentiful rain, with the curse of a land that receives no rain, or a land requiring labor-intensive irrigation to grow crops – a difference that would very much be felt for those living before modern plumbing and irrigation technology.
In those same verses, Moses also contrasts the produce of the land. On one end, there were the vegetables of Egypt, in verse ten. But on the other there is the wine, the grain, the oil, the meat and the dairy in the promised land, in verses fourteen and fifteen. Now … I’m not necessarily saying that eating vegetables is a curse … but it’s worth recognizing that while people often need to be exhorted to eat their vegetables … they rarely need to be exhorted to consume more grains, fats, meat, dairy, or wine.
Next, in verses twenty-two through twenty-five, Moses describes blessings and curses by contrasting confident victory over one’s enemies with living in fear of them. And again, in the ancient world this was a very concrete and meaningful contrast.
Finally, in verse twenty-nine, Moses gives them a symbolic picture of blessings and curses. When they enter the land, Mount Gerizim, a mountain covered with fertile vegetation, would represent blessings to them, while Mount Ebal, a barren mountain, would represent curses to them. [Alter, 938; Wright, 156]
Again, those details might feel foreign to us … but they point to something that we too experience in this world: the reality of blessings and curses – of fullness and exile.
Where have you most recently, or most strongly experienced those realities of fullness and exile – of blessings and curses? Where does Moses’s underlying point most resonate with you?
And once we answer that question … it leads to another: Why do we experience these blessings and curses?
The Causes of Blessings & Curses
In an initial reading, this text may seem very straightforward and black and white: If Israel does what is right, then they will be blessed. If they do what is wrong, then they will be cursed. That is what Moses says in verses 8, 13, 16, 22, 27, 28, and 32. Good behavior leads to blessing and fullness. Bad behavior leads to curses and exile. Right?
Well … in a sense, yes … but the Bible itself tells us that it’s a bit more complicated than that. And as we try to sift through how to interpret the mixture of blessings and curses – of fullness and exile – in our own lives, there’s at least three things the Bible tells us we need to consider about the causality in those relationships.
The first is that Israel’s situation, at this point, is somewhat unique. Because of their unique relationship to the promised land, their unique relationship to the Canaanites, and their unique moment in redemptive history [Galatians 3:24], there is a sense in which the direct and immediate relationship between Israel’s actions and their blessings and curses is a bit more clear than it ordinarily is for God’s people in most of history and in most of life.
At the very same time, the underlying principles here do still apply to us in the big picture.
Which brings us to the second thing we need to notice in this passage: the direction Moses calls us to read.
In this passage, Moses calls us to read the relationship between our moral conduct and the results of blessings and curses in this life forwards, not backwards. He tells is if we are faithful, and we receive blessing and fullness, then we should see that blessing as a gift from God. He tells us that if we are unfaithful and rebellious, and then we experience exile or curses, then we should consider those things as consequences for our sin.
But he doesn’t tell them to read those things backwards in the same way: He doesn’t say “If you receive good things, then assume you personally have a right relationship with God.” And he doesn’t say “If you receive bad things, then assume God is displeased with you.” And the Bible, as a whole, is clear that while faithfulness may result in blessings, and unfaithfulness may result in curses, not all blessings are the result of our personal faithfulness, and not all suffering is the result of our personal unfaithfulness.
Jesus himself said that God makes the “sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” [Matthew 5:45] As the Apostle Paul said, the kindness of God is meant to lead us to repentance – meaning God often shows kindness to people before they repent [Romans 2:4]. All of which means, though faithfulness may lead to blessing, in this life God frequently gives blessings to the unfaithful. And so we cannot assume that blessings in our life now means that we are right with God.
At the same time, the Bible is also clear that much struggle and suffering in this life is not the result of our own personal sin. The book of Ecclesiastes makes it clear that often the distribution of suffering in this life is confounding, the entire Book of Job is dedicated to the claim that the faithful may suffer in this world for mysterious reasons, and, of course, at the center of our faith is the claim that the most innocent man in human history is also the one who suffered the worst form of cosmic suffering that has ever been endured.
If that’s true though … then what can we really learn from the blessings and curses of this life? Can we learn anything?
And actually, yes, the Bible tells us that we can. That’s the third thing the Bile tells us about causality in blessings and curses. Sometimes the lesson is focused, personal, and specific – God, in his mercy, shows us how our own personal faithfulness or unfaithfulness has led to blessing or curses in this life, and in response, he calls us to greater faithfulness or to repentance. And that is always a gift when he shows us that – whether through momentary blessings or momentary curses.
But other times, when there is no obvious, observable, personal connection between our actions and outcomes in life, there is still a larger, cosmic lesson that the blessings and curses of this life teach us. They teach us that sin is real, and that God is good.
First, they teach us that sin is real. All curses – all suffering and brokenness in this life – are the result of human sin. Now, it may or may not be the result of the sin of the one who is suffering – but human sin is always the root cause. Jesus Christ, the sinless one, suffered because of human sin – not his own sin, but for human sin, nonetheless. This world is broken. Our hearts and minds and bodies are not the way they should be. Our relationships are not the way they should be. Our work is not as it should be. Our communities and societies are not the way they should be. This world is not as it should be. And we all know this. We may suppress it and hide it from ourselves, but the sense of exile is always lurking in the wings – that sense that something is not right, that this is not how things should be. And the root of it all is that we, as human beings, have estranged ourselves from our Maker. Our first parents broke faith with him, and rebelled against him, and we have all continued that rebellion. And so everything is destabilized and off-balance. Everything is cursed. And every curse in this world, every form of exile or suffering or injustice, finds its root there: in the foundational reality of human sin. That’s the cosmic cause – the lesson – of the curses of this life.
But then, at the same time, the blessings of this life also have a cosmic cause and a cosmic lesson – they teach us that God is good. Though we have estranged ourselves from him, God has continued to be good to us. He has blessed us. He has given us good things. And he’s given them in enough abundance that despite all the ways we are estranged from him, and all the ways this world is broken, still, we can experience moments of fullness here – moments where we catch a glimpse, or experience a few minutes, of that sense of what life should be … of what relationships should be … of what we should be. God in his goodness, still holds that out for us in this life.
Now, in this life, these blessings and curses are all mixed together. Sometimes they result from our own personal behavior, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we have a vision for fullness in one area of life, while at the very same time we only feel exile in another. Sometimes we flip back and forth from one season of life to the next. Many other times we live in the middle, the mundane, going about our business … but even then, our lives are enchanted and haunted by these cosmic possibilities.
But despite mixture and complexity, the root causes remain the same: We experience exile because of human sin, and we experience fullness because of God’s goodness.
The next question that comes then, is: Will all that mixture and complexity in this life ever be sorted out?
The Foreshadowing of Blessings & Curses
And the answer is yes. Because the Bible also tells us that the blessings and curses of this life – that those moments of fullness and exile – are meant to point us beyond themselves to what is yet to come.
In some ways this is obvious. When we experience a sense of fullness in this life … it feels like life should be like that forever. But instead, the moment is fleeting.
In a similar way, when we experience a deep sense of exile – of brokenness and hopelessness – the greatest fear in that moment is that that feeling will last forever.
Both fullness and exile – blessings and curses – point us to the hope … and the fear … of eternity.
We have the sense – the intuition – that the moment of blessing or curse – the moment of fullness or exile – could last forever … and that either delights us, or terrifies us.
And the Bible tells us that that intuition is correct. It’s true. Because both blessings and curses are a foreshadowing and a foretaste of what is to come for humanity. And as such, it calls us to lift our eyes from our day-to-day lives, and consider both the possibility … and the threat of eternity.
Because in eternity, each human being will enter into either the cosmic fullness of God’s eternal blessing, or the cosmic exile of God’s eternal wrath. And our fleeting experiences of fullness and exile now are meant to wake us up to that reality.
Theologian Daniel Strange explains this well. He writes:
“Imagine a big canvas, stretched out to give shelter to those underneath [like a tent]. Over time gallons and gallons of water are poured onto this sheet and it starts to collect. It gets heavier and heavier, and the sheet slowly starts to sag under the weight of all the water. Those underneath think everything is OK; there’s no problem […]. But in reality, there’s a huge problem, as that sheet gets heavier and heavier, and the water keeps on collecting. And then comes that awful moment when the whole thing comes crashing in. The day of God’s wrath [the day that he brings judgment on humanity for our sin and rebellion – that] will be that cosmic crashing in.”
But God doesn’t try to take us by surprise. He gives us warnings in the forms of the curses of this life.
Picturing us again under that canvas tent canopy, which is full of the water of judgment above us, Strange writes: “It’s as if God has taken out a penknife and has cut a little slit in the canvas, and ‘drops of wrath’ are [now] falling down below.”
“Why would God make these cuts? [he asks] It sounds bleak [he continues], but it’s actually a gracious warning sign. These ‘drops of wrath’ are God telling us that something has gone terribly wrong, and we need to do something about it. We need to listen up and turn around before it’s too late. The day of his wrath is a clear and present danger – the ‘threat level’ is critical. And God tells us about it in lots of ways.”
In the sufferings and struggles and curses of this life, big and small, earth-shattering and ordinary, we are getting splashes, on our face, of the judgment that is still to come on humanity. We are receiving, as Daniel Strange puts it, a small “taste of hell on earth.” And it’s meant to be a meaningful message to us.
But it’s not just a taste of hell that we get here. As Strange puts it, there are not just shadows, but “there are sunbeams too.” Because the Bible tells us that it’s not just wrath that is to come, but also blessing – eternal blessing. When he returns, Christ will not just judge those who have abandoned him, but he will bless those who have clung to him in faith – he will make all things new, and he will establish his people in a new heaven and a new earth, where he will dwell with them for all eternity, in the fullness and blessing that their hearts always longed for.
And as God gives us a foretaste and a foreshadowing in this life of the wrath that is due to humanity for their rebellion, so he also gives us a foretaste and foreshadowing of the blessings to come on all who return to him in faith and trust.
These blessings are all the good things we experience in this life, big and small, earth-shattering and ordinary. They can produce those moments of fullness and blessing that point beyond themselves, as gifts pointing us to the Gift-Giver. If the curses of this life are a small tase of hell on earth … than these blessings and gifts of grace are a small taste of heaven on earth. [Strange 61-66]
We go through much of life not thinking at all of eternal things. But every now and then, a ray of blessing and fullness … or a splash of exile and curse gets our attention. These experiences are often mixed and mysterious in this life, and our tendency is to ignore or even suppress them. But the Bible tells us that these experiences are foreshadows of the possibilities of eternity. They are reminders that one day, the blessings and curses of this life will be divided, clarified, and then experienced in their fullness: For those who embrace the true God of the universe, they will experience, forever, a level of blessing and fullness that we can only catch dim glimpses of now. And for those who reject, or disregard the true God of the universe … they will experience, forever, a level of exile and curses, and isolation, and emptiness, forever, that the sufferings of this life only begin to hint at.
And so, the blessings and curses of this life should get our attention. Because they are foreshadows of the blessing or cursing that is to come on all humanity.
Our Responses to Blessings & Curses
That brings us to our fourth and final point: our response to blessings and curses.
How are we to respond to the blessings and curses of this life?
If you’re a Christian, you too experience the brokenness, and the curses of this life. You too may experience a deep sense of exile – of how much this life and this world is not the way it’s supposed to be. And every time you do, it should be a reminder that this brokenness, this suffering, this curse … is a taste of what you deserve for your sin, not just now, but for eternity. But by the grace of God, it’s only temporary for you. By the grace of God, you will never enter into the true and full exile that your sin deserves.
Instead, by God’s mercy, you will enter into the fullness of joy that you only catch glimpses of now. And though those glimpses, in this life, may be fleeting, the day is coming when they will be permanent, when you dwell with God and his people, forever, in a new heaven and a new earth, with no sickness or crying or pain.
And all of that you will receive not because you deserve it … but because of the grace and love of God, given to you through Jesus Christ.
And so, Christian, let every blessing in this life point you to the greater blessing that is to come. And let every curse in this life remind you of the wrath that you have been delivered from. And respond to that remembrance, with love, and worship, and thanksgiving, and obedience to the God who has shown you such love and mercy.
For the non-Christian, you need to heed the warning of the curses of this life … and hear the offer of the blessings. This life is fleeting. It is short. But how we direct our hearts here will determine what eternity looks like for us. The curses of this life are actually gracious warnings to you. Do not brush them aside. As the water from those tiny holes in the canvas above you splashes your face, let it cause you to lift your eyes to see the judgment that awaits if you continue to live in defiance or indifference towards your Maker.
And at the same time, as you receive the blessings of this life, see that they are a foretaste of what is to come if you respond to Christ in faith. Whatever fullness you experience now in glimpses and fleeting feelings, Jesus Christ will one day give you in fullness, for eternity, if you come to him in faith.
And all he asks is that you come to him. You cannot earn those eternal blessings. But he has earned them for you. And if you cling to him in faith, he will share them with you.
Do not delay. None of us knows when our time will be up here. And eternity weighs in the balance.
Eternal blessings is the gift that Jesus offers us in the gospel. Let us receive it by faith. Let us respond with thankful obedience. And let us live in joyful anticipation and hope for the blessings that are yet to come.
This sermon draws on material from:
Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. New York, NY: Norton, 2004.
Barker, Paul. Introduction and notes to Deuteronomy in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
Block, Daniel I. The NIV Application Commentary: Deuteronomy. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.
Strange, Daniel. Plugged In. Epsom, UK: The Good Book Company, 2019.
Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
Theopolis Podcast. Episode 654: “Love and Serve Yahweh (Deuteronomy 11).” With Peter Leithart, Alastair Roberts, Jeff Meyers, and John Bejon. June 28, 2023. https://soundcloud.com/user-812874628/episode-654-love-and-serve-yahweh-deuteronomy-11
Wright, Christopher. Deuteronomy. NIBC. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996.
Note: In my preaching I often cite and draw from a range of sources, which includes material from Christians within my theological tradition, Christians outside my theological tradition (in keeping with our church’s core value of “Reformed Catholicity”), and also (following the Apostle Paul’s example in Acts 17) non-Christians who are well outside of Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. And so, when I cite an author or a source, that citation should not be understood or construed as me necessarily agreeing with, endorsing, or recommending to others anything else from that author or source, except for what I explicitly say I agree with, endorse, or recommend. When engaging with different materials and thinkers, all Christians must exercise wisdom and discernment to determine what is helpful, appropriate, and edifying for each person, taking into account their current needs, wisdom, and spiritual maturity.
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