Here are a few thoughts for today....
Sometimes we question the importance of the Old Testament in our lives. Does any of it apply to me today? Yes it does! We must remember that all of scripture is written FOR our benefit. However, not all is written TO us. Obviously, we are no longer required to enact the sacrificial system of the Old Testament times. Jesus was the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins. The Bible teaches us that he fulfilled the law to a jot and a tittle. But, we glean many doctrinal and practical truths from the OT and Israel.
Consider God's relationship with Israel. They were blessed of God when they obeyed the laws and commandments contained in the Mosaic Covenant:
Deuteronomy 28:1 - And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
All manner of blessings are contained in the above chapter. It included fertility for the Israelites personally as well as for their herds and crops, and it included the ability to defeat their neighboring enemies and to enjoy peace and prosperity. It also included other material and social blessings, as well as the enjoyment of an close spiritual relationship with God. Likewise, he also assured Israel that judgement would be cursed if they were disobedient:
Deuteronomy 28:15 - 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:
Moses goes on to list a plethora of disasters that would befall God's chosen nation if they hardened their hearts to the commandments of the Lord. God's 'curse,' would be barrenness, defeat, oppression, unfruitfulness and many other undesirable conditions. His expectations are clearly outlined in the early books of the Bible and the blessings/consequences are plainly manifest in the above chapter.
This warning was written to Israel of old. But we can see how this promise of blessings or curses is FOR God's people today. He still hearkens unto those that seek to honor Him in obedience. Notice what Paul writes in Hebrews:
Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
God blesses those that obediently seek Him. When the regenerate elect turn to the Lord, He is pleased and bestows favor upon them. This characteristic of God permeates scripture. On the other hand, judgement comes when his people are disobedient. I encourage you to read through all of Deuteronomy 28, paying particular attention to the consequences of disobedience. Do we not see much of this in our own society? We were once a nation that feared God and enjoyed His favor. Today, not so much.
As we celebrate the independence of our great nation, let us remember what made us great. A government founded upon the principles of God's word and His people demonstrating a commitment to live their lives as the salt of the earth and lights in this world of sin and sorrow. God is still on His throne. He still blesses those that seek Him. May we learn from the history of Israel of old and strive not to repeat the mistakes that brought judgement upon them.
2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.