The progressive consequences of a life of rebellion against God1
Introduction: The various curses for disobedience. The last 50 verses of Deuteronomy 28 identify 40 curses for a nation or individuals if they choose a carnal lifestyle over the protections of God’s Ten Commandments. Twelve additional curses exist in Deuteronomy 27:15-26. But the 40 curses in Deuteronomy 28 differ from those in Chapter 27. The 40 curses in Chapter 28 list the specific ways that God may apply pressure to correct a carnal and sinful nation or individual. The 12 curses for the 12 tribes in Chapter 27 symbolize the fact that all are unrighteous and live under the curse of original sin. In contrast, the 40 curses in Chapter 28 symbolize the testing that God will allow each nation or believer to experience until they correct their sinful behavior. In Deuteronomy 28, the 50 blessings and curses (10 blessings and 40 curses) symbolize the fullness of God’s revelation.
Jesus is the only cure for your eternal curse. No person can implement the Ten Commandments without breaking them at some point (Ps. 143:2; Ro. 3:10; 4:15). The cost or “wages” of this sin is death (Ro. 6:23). Thus, every person without a means of atonement bears the curse of eternal death (Gal. 3:10; Dt. 27:26; Jer. 11:3). Faith in Jesus is the only means for a person to be relieved of the eternal curse for breaking the Ten Commandments (Gal. 2:16; 3:11; 5:18; Jo. 3:16; 10:9; 11:25; 14:6; Ro. 7:6; 8:3). If this were not the case, Christ died needlessly (Gal. 2:21). When you repent, God will forget your sins (Heb. 8:12; 10:17). For a believer in Christ who repents, he or she is under no further eternal condemnation (Ro. 8:1).
Living within the Ten Commandments protects you from curses while on Earth. Although his days are numbered, Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world.” (Jo. 12:31). Paul also called him the “prince of the power of the air.” (Eph. 2:2). Thus, Satan has some power to torment and deceive while you are alive. There are still consequences when a nation or you break God’s Ten Commandments. When a nation or you walk apart from the Ten Commandments, you walk outside of His protection from the enemy’s fiery darts. When you live a carnal lifestyle, the enemy can inflict a number of curses. Some teach that the curses of the Bible no longer apply to a saved believer. Yet, a saved believer should not be deceived into believing that their eternal grace will allow them to sin without consequence: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; . . .” (1 Pet. 4:17(a)). Jesus in fact promised “tribulation” in life, even when you are not sinning (Jo. 16:33). Why then would He spare a believer from tribulation when a believer is leading a lifestyle in direct rebellion against God?
Living within the Ten Commandments can also protect a nation from curses. Even if a carnal believer engaged in acts of adultery, drug abuse, or crime were free from curses while on Earth, there is nothing in the Bible that would protect a carnal nation from God’s curses: “and if [judgment] begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pet. 4:17(b)). The vast majority of the curses are directed at the nation and not at the individual. If the nation as a whole is righteous, God will cause rain to fall on the righteous and unrighteous within it. “[F]or He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45(b)). Conversely, if a nation as a whole is unrighteous, He can cause drought to fall upon both the unrighteous and righteous members within it. Because He can use macro-economic trends to bless or curse a nation, the Church has an incentive to be salt and light in society (Matt. 5:13-14). The Church cannot afford to ignore condemning sin in society out of fear that they might offend others (Ro. 1:16).
Satan’s counterfeit blessings: For everything that is good, Satan has created a counterfeit. The Bible says that sin is pleasurable “for a season.” (Heb. 11:25). But that pleasure never lasts. If you are sinning in secret, God warns: “be sure your sin will find you out.” (Nu. 32:23(b)). Although salvation is not under your personal control, you do have the power through Christ to master Satan’s attempts to deceive you: “And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7). Eventually, a sinful moment of pleasure will become a curse if left unaddressed. Casual experimentation with a gateway drug like marijuana can lead to long-term cognitive decline and addictions to hard core drugs. A simple flirtation can turn into adultery and the destruction of your family. For any person caught in sin, God’s goal is to rescue the sinner by bringing the sinner to his or her senses. He is slow to anger and does not want any to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). But “[i]f we do not keep God’s commandments, we not only come short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the curse, which includes all misery . . .” (Matthew Henry on Dt. 28:11-44).
Satan shows you the thrill without showing you the bill. As stated above, your salvation is not tied to your obedience. But a lifestyle outside the protections of the Ten Commandments can lead to the following 40 progressively severe curses: (1) resistance / opposition (Dt. 28:16); (2) scarcity (Dt. 28:17); (3) infertility (Dt. 28:18); (4) failure (Dt. 28:19); (5) rebuke (Dt. 28:20); (6) hardships (Dt. 28:21); (7) illness (Dt. 28:22); (8) drought (Dt. 28:23-24); (9) defeat (Dt. 28:25); (10) fear (Dt. 28:26-27); (11) disease (Dt. 28:28); (12) confusion (Dt. 28:28-29); (13) stolen spouses (Dt. 28:30(a)); (14) stolen property (Dt. 28:30(b)-31, 33(a)); (15) stolen children (Dt. 28:32); (16) oppression (Dt. 28:33(b)); (17) mental illness (Dt. 28:34); (18) sores and lost beauty (Dt. 28:35); (19) idolatry (Dt. 28:36); (20) being vilified (Dt. 28:37); (21) insect plagues (Dt. 28:38-39); (22) a seared conscience (Dt. 28:40); (23) enslaved youth (the second curse against children) (Dt. 28:41); (24) barren lands (Dt. 28:42); (25) indebtedness (Dt. 28:43-44); (26) destruction (Dt. 28:45-6); (27) captivity (Dt. 28:47(a)); (28) suffering (Dt. 28:47(b)); (29) invasion (Dt. 28:49-50); (30) pillaging (Dt. 28:51); (31) being besieged (Dt. 28:52); (32) self-destruction (Dt. 28:53); (33) husbands turning on their wives (Dt. 28:54-55); (34) wives turning on their husbands (Dt. 28:56-57); (35) unending plagues (Dt. 28:58-59(a)); (36) unending diseases (Dt. 28:59(b)-60); (37) other calamities (Dt. 28:61); (38) population collapse (Dt. 28:62-63); (39) exile (Dt. 28:64); and (40) despair (Dt. 28:65-68).
“15 But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:” (Dt. 28:15).
In an attempt to correct a wayward person’s behavior, God may cause the person to encounter resistance or opposition: “16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.” (Dt. 28:16). This is the reverse of the second blessing that God offered for obedience (Dt. 28:3). The reverse of the first blessing for a country comes later in God’s list of curses. Although God wants to bless you, He may turn your blessings into curses in order to humble you and cause you to repent: ‘“If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.”’ (Mal. 2:2).
The lesson for you. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” (Jam. 1:2). You will encounter resistance or opposition for many reasons. But if you are sinning and finding resistance or opposition, rejoice at God’s discipline. He loves you and wants to gently correct your behavior before He resorts to more severe forms of discipline.
Also in an attempt to correct a person’s wayward behavior, God may cause scarcity in that person’s life: “17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” (Dt. 28:17). This is the reverse of God’s fourth blessing regarding food (Dt. 28:5). “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” (Hagg. 1:6).
The lesson for you. Scarcity can happen for different reasons. It may be the result of a nation’s sin or natural events. But if you are sinning, God may also cause scarcity in your life to correct your behavior. If you are in a state of economic scarcity at work, pray for God to search your heart to convict you of any hidden sins (Ps. 139:23). Repent of hidden sins and return to a life of obedience. If the country as a whole is in a time of scarcity, be an intercessor and pray for the country to be convicted and return to God.
If these steps do not correct a person’s wayward behavior, God may withhold His blessing of fertility, either through one’s business (symbolized by flocks), one’s endeavors or through the person’s family: “18 Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.” (Dt. 28:18). This is the reverse of the third blessing regarding fertility (Dt. 28:4). All mankind was cursed with different types of disorders after original sin, which includes infertility (Gen. 3:16). In the original King James version of the Bible, the curse was on “conception,” not just childbirth: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Infertility is usually a curse that falls upon a population when a nation is disobedient. This is the thirty-eighth curse (Dt. 28:62-63). Yet, infertility can also be a curse that is caused by the sin of sex outside of marriage.
The lesson for you. One of the most common sexually transmitted diseases is caused by a tiny bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the CDC, in 2020, there were 1,579,885 cases of Chlamydia in the United States.2 The CDC further estimates that approximately twice that many cases go undetected. Left untreated, Chlamydia can cause infertility or potentially fatal ectopic pregnancies. Many women are not even aware that they have been exposed to this disease until years later. They try to have a baby and discover that they are unable to do so. Hannah’s example, however, shows that God can respond to prayers and reverse the curse of infertility (1 Sam. 1:27). Sarah was also 91-years old when she gave birth to Isaac. Thus, if you are suffering from infertility, pray in earnest for God to bless you with fertility. You can also protect your children from the curse of sexually transmitted disease that stem from a life lived outside the protections of the Ten Commandments. Churches also have an important role. Pastors must exhort their members to follow the Ten Commandments and Biblical standards of morality as a code for moral living.
If these steps do not correct a person’s wayward behavior, God may also withhold His blessings of success. Without Him, your business or your endeavors may meet with failure: “19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.” (Dt. 28:19). This is the reverse of God’s fifth blessing of success (Dt. 28:6). “Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit.” (Lev. 26:20). “They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, they have strained themselves to no profit.” (Jer. 12:13(a)). “For they sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.” (Hos. 8:7). “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed?” (Ro. 6:21(a)).
The lesson for you. Failure can also be caused for different reasons. Yet, if you are encountering failure in your life, in your relationships, or at work, repent of any sins that may be causing this failure. Return to a life of obedience. If the nation is failing, pray also for the nation’s restoration. The Church must lead the way in a call for restoration.
If these steps do not correct a person’s wayward behavior, God may allow the wayward person to be directly rebuked. “20 The Lord will send upon you curses, confusion and rebuke in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.” (Dt. 28:20). This is the reverse of God’s seventh blessing of prosperity. It is difficult to become successful and prosperous in your endeavors if God rebukes you (Dt. 28:8). The prophet Nathan, for example, rebuked David for his hidden adultery and murder. David then immediately acknowledged his sins against God (2 Sam. 12:13). The prophet Jeremiah later lamented that God’s people would not repent even after being rebuked. “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down, . ..” (Jer. 6:15). “The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have?” (Jer. 8:9). “For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion, ‘How are we ruined! We are put to great shame, . .”’ (Jer. 9:19(a)).
The lesson for you. If you fail to repent of your sins and change your behavior, God may also allow you to be rebuked. This may include a reprimand from a supervisor, a parent, a friend, a spouse, or someone else. If you have been reprimanded for sins that you have tried to conceal, be thankful that God loves you enough to use others to correct your behavior. Like David, repent and return to a life of obedience to God.
If a person continues to ignore God’s discipline, He may impose more severe hardships. Hardships are symbolized here through pestilence that consume the land: “21 The Lord will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Dt. 28:21). “I will also . . . execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, . . .” (Lev. 26:25). After the Jews refused to invade the Promised Land out of a lack of faith, God warned: “I will smite them with pestilence . . .” (Nu. 14:12).
The lesson for you. You may experience hardships for reasons unrelated to your own sin. The sins of the nation may cause the economy to slow down and create hardships for you. Yet, if you are sinning, God may also try to reach you through hardships in your life, your business, or in your relationships. If you are sinning, repent and return to obedience to Him. If the nation is experiencing hardships, pray for its repentance and restoration.
If a person ignores these progressive efforts to correct their behavior, God may allow the person to get sick to grab that person’s attention: “22 The Lord will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish.” (Dt. 28:22). “I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up.” (Lev. 26:16).
The lesson for you. Illnesses can also happen for reasons unrelated to your own sin. Yet, a carnal lifestyle can cause your body’s natural defenses to become run down and vulnerable to infection. If you are staying up late, getting drunk, or doing other immoral things, you may get sick. If you are sick because of your behavior, repent and return to God.
If society as a whole turns against God’s laws of morality and worship, He can use drought to bring the nation back to Him: “23 The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron. 24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.” (Dt. 28:23-24). “Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no spring rain . . .” (Jer. 3:3(a)). “Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands.” (Hag. 1:10-11). “Now Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, ‘Arise and go with your household . . .; for the LORD has called for a famine, and it will even come on the land for seven years.’” (2 Kgs. 8:1).
The lesson for the Church. John Donne (1572-1631) once said “No man is an island.” This is also true in the context of sin. The Church cannot ignore the sins of society and expect to escape God’s judgment on the rest of society. We all share the same land. Just as God “sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” (Matt. 5:45(b)), He can also cause drought to happen to both the righteous and the unrighteous. To keep the land free from drought, the Church must become salt in the wound of sin and a light for sinners (Matt. 5:13-14). If it does not do so it will also suffer the same drought as the rest of the nation.
If a nation refuses to repent and turn back to God, He may also allow His people to be defeated in battle: “25 The Lord shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Dt. 28:25). “I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.” (Lev. 26:17). When the Jews were disobedient to God, they were defeated in battle: “The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel. When the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield.” (1 Sam. 4:2). “So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.” (1 Sam. 4:10).
The lesson for the Church. America has many enemies who are looking to attack it. Those who attacked on 911 are simply the ones who succeeded. The righteous and their prayers allow for God to be a shield to the nation (Prov. 30:5). Without the prayers and the actions of the righteous, America will face its attackers without God’s protection. The Church must teach on the correlation in the Bible between disobedience and defeat.
For a wayward society or individual, there is no protection without God. Like an exposed carcass, the wayward person or society will be weak and unable to stop those who might prey upon them: “26 Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.” (Dt. 28:26). “As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.” (Lev. 26:36). “The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, . . . so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.” (Josh. 2:14). “The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word which He commanded from days of old. . . . He has exalted the might of your adversaries.” (Lam. 2:17). “I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.” (Jer. 19:7; 7:33; Ps. 79:2). “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1).
The lesson for the Church. Sin saps a person’s strength. It also can sap a nation’s strength. For example, many drug addicts become weak from a loss of their drive to feed and take care of themselves. Methamphetamine addicts can lose their teeth from rot and deterioration. Many suffering from drug and alcohol addictions also become functionless. They can lose their jobs, their savings, their homes, and their families. This can also be true with gambling and other addictions. Many addicts become filled with fear as they become helpless in the face of temptation, like a carcass is to a scavenger bird. The Church must again fulfill its role by boldly preaching against sin and help those trapped in addiction.
If less drastic measures will not change the immoral conduct of a society or individual, God can allow the society or individual to become infected by diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases may the modern equivalent of Biblical “boils” and “scabs”: “27 The Lord will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.” (Dt. 28:27; Ex. 9:9). ‘“I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, and I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.” (Amos 4:10; Lev. 26:25). “Now the hand of the LORD was heavy on the Ashdodites, and He ravaged them and smote them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territories.” (1 Sam. 5:6).
The lesson for the Church. The sexual revolution that began in the 1960s closely correlated with an explosion in sexually transmitted diseases across America. In 2021, the CDC estimated that at least 68 million people in the United States (1 out of 5 individuals) had a sexually transmitted infection (“STI”). These diseases include, but are not limited to, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis, and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).3 Without treatment, these diseases can lead to sterility, permanent brain damage, heart disease, cancer, and even death. The Church can help to stop the rate of new infections. Pastors can start by teaching that the diseases we see today were described and warned about thousands of years ago in Deuteronomy 28. America can either live under the curse of these diseases or find shelter within the protections of the Ten Commandments.
Another tool available to God to correct a wayward society or individual is to cause confusion or “spiritual blindness”, which leads to oppression and poverty: “28 The Lord will smite you with madness and with blindness and with bewilderment of heart; 29 and you will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways; but you shall only be oppressed and robbed continually, with none to save you.” (Dt. 28:27-29; Ex. 10:21). “We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at midday as in the twilight, . . .” (Is. 59:10(a)). “By day they meet with darkness, and grope at noon as in the night.” (Job 5:14; 12:25; 38:15). “They wandered, blind, in the streets; . .” (Lam. 4:14(a); Amos 8:9). “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Prov. 4:19).
The lesson for the Church. Many sinners seek bad counsel and become vulnerable to being led further astray. For example, many who drink heavily or use drugs find false counsel from others who drink heavily or use drugs. Likewise, many who are sexually promiscuous surround themselves with others who share their views. The blind will lead the blind. “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” (1 Cor. 15:33). Sinners typically seek out the counsel and companionship of other sinners “men love darkness.” (Jo. 3:19). Yet, these spiritually blind individuals will suffer confusion as the reasons for their misery remain a mystery to them. They lack a guiding light to be pulled out of darkness. The Church must be that guiding light by reaching out beyond the pews to help sinners.
If a society embraces evil, it will reap what it sows. Spouses will be seduced and stolen through adultery, pornography, and prostitution: “30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; . . .” (Dt. 28:30(a)). “Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.”’ (2 Sam. 2:11). “Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and their wives together; for I will stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land," declares the LORD.” (Jer. 6:12; 8:10).
The lesson for the Church. The sexual revolution, the explosion of pornography on the internet, the explosion of strip bars, and the glamorization of adultery in films and movies have created pressures on men that have never existed before. The Church has largely stayed silent in the face of these trends. As a result, the divorce rate within the Church now rivals the rest of the world. This is an indictment of the Church’s failure. Pastors who ignore tough teaching on accountability, separation from society, and purity have reaped what they have sown. The Church must first put its own house in order by teaching the Ten Commandments as the place to find protection from the enemy. The Church must then be salt in the wound of sin. It must then be a light to pull others out of darkness.
When a society embraces evil or when lawlessness exists, thieves will steal property: “you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.” 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you. . . . 33 A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, ” (Dt. 28:30(b)-31, 33(a)). “[Y]ou will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up.” (Lev. 26:16(c)). “They will devour your harvest and your food; . . They will devour your flocks and your herds; they will devour your vines and your fig trees; . .” (Jer. 5:17(a)(c); Neh. 9:37; Ezek. 25:4).
The lesson for the Church. In America, natural disasters are typically followed by looting when the National Guard is missing. This, however, is not true in every culture. The lesson that Americans have learned is not to steal if you think you are going to get caught. They have also learned that if they don’t join the looters, they will miss out on the free goods. For many, the stigma of sin has disappeared. The Church is again responsible. It must teach the Ten Commandments as a code for moral living.
A society that embraces sin will also see its children stolen by the enemy: “32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and yearn for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do.” (Dt. 28:32, 41). “They will devour your sons and your daughters;” (Jer. 5:17(b)). “The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against His command; hear now, all peoples, and behold my pain; My virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.” (Lam. 1:18). “My tent is destroyed, and all my ropes are broken; my sons have gone from me and are no more. There is no one to stretch out my tent again or to set up my curtains.” (Jer. 10:20).
The lesson for the Church. America’s children are being bombarded with sexually explicit messages through television, the internet, and their peers before they even become teenagers. Schools now distribute condoms and preach “safe sex,” not abstinence. States are decriminalizing marijuana. Alcohol and illegal drugs are freely available. The Church has stayed silent and America’s children are being stolen by the enemy. Parents must teach God’s Ten Commandments (Dt. 4:9-10; 6:7; 11:19; Prov. 22:6; Ps. 78:4-6; Eph. 6:4). The Church must also become the salt that irritates those in popular culture who peddle smut and drugs for America’s children. The Church must also teach children at the youngest ages the virtue of staying “unstained by the world.” (Jam. 1:27). The Church must also be a “city of refuge” with after school activities to protect children.
A society or individual who embraces evil will also meet with oppression as they must fight to protect themselves without God: “33 . . . and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually.” (Dt. 28:33(b)).
The lesson for the nation. Oppression can also happen for multiple reasons. Yet, sinners like criminals and those addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling can bring oppression on themselves. Oppression can also come about because the sins of society. America has a dark past of oppressing minorities and women. Americans can also feel the oppression of a struggling job market and staggering debt. When sin is the reason for oppression, the Church must lead the way to restore righteousness and the blessings that come with it.
An evil lifestyle or a life without God can also lead to mental illness: “34 You shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see.” (Dt. 28:34). Madness is defined as the opposite of Godly wisdom (Ecc. 1:17; 7:7). God punished Nebuchadnezzar for sins with madness (Dan. 4:32-34). Jesus also freed many people who suffered mental illness brought on by demon possession (Matt. 8:14-17; Mk. 1:29-39; Lk. 4:33-41).
The lesson for the Church. Mental disorders can have many causes. Yet, sins stemming drug addictions can trigger mental disorders. According to the Betty Ford Center, “Addiction can cause substance-induced psychiatric disorders. . .” As society has let sin grow unchecked, disorders including depression have risen. In 1990, 10.5 percent of disability claims were caused by mental disorders. In 1998, the number grew to 12 percent. By 2021, the number had grown to 20 percent. Depression is currently the fifth-leading cause of disability. Yet, by 2020, it is projected to jump to second place. According to the CDC, eleven percent of Americans aged 12 years and over take antidepressant medication. Moreover, once people turn to these drugs, they have trouble breaking free. According to the CDC, more than 60% of Americans taking antidepressant medication have taken it for 2 years or longer, with 14% having taken the medication for 10 years or more. Jesus showed that He can heal people with mental illnesses. Yet, the Church must play a role in directing people to the cure and away from sinful addictions.
God can also punish a vain society or individual with ugly sores that cause a loss of beauty: “35 The Lord will strike you on the knees and legs with sore boils, from which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.” (Dt. 28:35; Ex. 9:9). In the end times, God will use this curse to punish a vain generation that has turned away from Him: “So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.” (Rev. 16:2). “[T]hey blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds.” (Rev. 16:11).
The lesson for the Church. America is a vain country. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans in 2011 had 11 million cosmetic plastic surgery and other noninvasive procedures. By 2021, the number grew 18 million. If society makes idols out of themselves, God will be forced to remove that beauty with ugly sores and other diseases. The Church has again allowed the ruler of this world to define people according to their looks. The Church must assume its role in teaching that beauty lies on the inside.
A nation that embraces the idols of the flesh, like drugs, alcohol, or sex outside of marriage will eventually be handed over to their idolatry: “36 The Lord will bring you and your king, whom you set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.” (Dt. 28:36). “There [in captivity] you will serve gods, the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.” (Dt. 4:28). “It shall come about when they say, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.”’ (Jer. 5:19). ‘“So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor.”’ (Jer. 16:13).
The lesson for the Church. If America will not turn back to God, God will hand it over to the idols that it has made for itself: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. . . And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;” (Ro. 1:24, 27-31). The Church must again be the salt and light for a lost generation.
A nation that openly embraces evil will eventually be vilified by other nations for its conduct: “37 You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the Lord drives you.” (Dt. 28:37). “I will make them a terror and an evil for all the kingdoms of the earth, as a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all places where I will scatter them.” (Jer. 24:9; 44:8; 15:4). “You make us a reproach to our neighbors, a scoffing and a derision to those around us.” (Ps. 44:13; Is. 43:28). “[T]hen I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.” (2 Chron. 7:20; 1 Kgs. 9:7(b)). ‘“So it will be a reproach, a reviling, a warning and an object of horror to the nations who surround you when I execute judgments against you in anger, wrath and raging rebukes. I, the LORD, have spoken.”’ (Ezek. 5:15).
The lesson for the Church. When a public figure’s sins are exposed, that person becomes vilified in society. As America has turned away from its spiritual foundations to pursue only its self-interest, it has become hated in many parts of the world. If America becomes a force for God, its curse of being vilified in the world will be lifted. The Church must again lead the way in bringing America to a state of revival.
God can also punish an evil nation with insect plagues, just as He did with Egypt: “38 You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather in little, for the locust will consume it.” “39 You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm will devour them.” (Dt. 28:38-39; Ex. 10:4, 14). ‘“I smote you with scorching wind and mildew; and the caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.” (Amos 4:9). “Thus the Lord GOD showed me, and behold, He was forming a locust-swarm when the spring crop began to sprout. And behold, the spring crop was after the king's mowing.” (Amos 7:1). “What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; and what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; and what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.” (Joel 1:4; 2:25; Nahum 3:15-16).
The lesson for the Church. In the 19th Century, the western United States and western Canada suffered from periodic plagues from the Rocky Mountain locust. One swarm consisting of 12.5 trillion insects formed a mass greater than the size of California (198,000 square miles). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is still considered the greatest concentration of insects in modern history. Yet, this species went extinct in 1902. North America has since been the only continent besides Antarctica without locusts. This has been a sign of God’s blessing upon this land. Yet, God can always reverse this blessing by raising up other kinds of insect plagues. For example, other types of insects that can cause devastation in the U.S. forests by killing trees and allowing forest fires to spread. These include: bark beetles; spruce beetles; mountain pine beetles, Douglas fir beetles. Various kinds of grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, and fruit flies have also at times caused massive damage to farmland in the U.S. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow disease” is another type of plague. In the United Kingdom, it infected 180,000 cattle and caused 4.4 million total to be slaughtered. Between 2003 and 2004, the first reported case of this disease caused America beef exports to decline from 1,300,000 metric tons to 322,000 metric tons. The lesson is that the nation must be vigilant in righteousness.
In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is frequently symbolized through olive oil (1 Sam. 16:13; Matt. 25:1-13). Within the list of curses, God warned through the symbol of the olive oil that the Jews would temporarily be cut off from the Holy Spirit: “40 You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives will drop off.” (Dt. 28:40). “The LORD called your name, ‘A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form’; with the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, and its branches are worthless.” (Jer. 11:16). Israel is now a broken branch on God’s olive tree. Yet, this is only temporary (Ro. 11:23-26). Believers in Christ have now been grafted into God’s olive tree (Ro. 11:17). God promises that He will never leave nor forsake a saved believer (Heb. 13:5). Yet, because He cannot look upon evil, He may eventually “sear” the consciousness of a carnal Christian from the guidance of the Holy Spirit (1 Tim. 4:2). This means that the believer can no longer hear what the Spirit is saying.
The lesson for the Church. God has given believers the Holy Spirit to, among other things, cause believers to remember Jesus’ instructions (Jo. 14:26; 16:7, 13). He will remind you of the Law written on your heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:16; 2 Cor. 3:3). If America listens to the Spirit and lives by His Ten Commandments, it will walk again in God’s blessings: “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” (Jer. 24:7).
A nation which refuses to embrace God will eventually see its children handed over to spiritual bondage: “41 You shall have sons and daughters but they will not be yours, for they will go into captivity.” (Dt. 28:41). This was the second time that God gave a curse against His people’s children for disobedience (Dt. 28:32). “For the LORD has caused her grief because of the multitude of her transgressions; her little ones have gone away as captives before the adversary.” (Lam. 1:5(b-c)). “My virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.” (Lam. 1:18(b)). “Thus says the LORD, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’” (Jer. 31:15; 10:20). “There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne, nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has reared.” (Isa. 51:18; 2 Chron. 28:8).
The lesson for the Church. The enemy is enslaving our children. The current generation of young people has less knowledge of the Bible than any to precede it. The current generation has the lowest percentage of self-identified Christians of any to precede it. Children are instead finding a home with the enemy through narcissism, gangs, chemical and alcohol addictions, and sex outside of traditional marriage. This lost generation can be attributed to the breakdown of men as Godly leaders for the family. In 2000, researchers in Switzerland found that the religious practice of the father of the family determines a child’s future church attendance. In homes where both father and mother attend regularly, 33 percent of their children will end up as regular churchgoers, and 41 percent will end up attending irregularly. By contrast, when the father is either an irregular church attender or when he does not attend at all and the mother still regularly attends, only 2 to 3 percent of the children will subsequently become regular attenders themselves. In these homes, 59 to 60 percent of children will become irregular attenders. In short, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only 1 child in 50 will become a regular worshiper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular) (Source: Wiki: Church attendance).
God can also punish a nation or an individual by making the their lands or the works of their hands barren: “42 The cricket shall possess all your trees and the produce of your ground.” (Dt. 28:42). This was God’s second curse against the land when a disobedient nation refuses to repent (Dt. 28:38-39; Amos 4:9; 7:1; Joel 1:4; 2:25; Nah. 3:15-16). “Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, for the whole land is devastated; suddenly my tents are devastated, my curtains in an instant.” (Jer. 4:20). “Your holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.” (Is. 64:10).
The lesson for the Church. God has many ways to cause America’s lands to become barren. He can use droughts, floods, sudden changes in weather, infestations of insects, or even killing off insects like bees that pollinate crops. Yet, God has told the Church what it must do to heal the land. If “My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14).
An nation or an individual who lives beyond his or her means may also become a prisoner to debt: “43 The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you will not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you will be the tail.” (Dt. 28:43-44). This is the reverse of God’s tenth blessing that an obedient nation will be a lender and not a borrower (Dt. 28:13). God warned His people not to be a nation of debtors: “For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.” (Dt. 15:6).
The lesson for the Church. According to the Congressional Budget Office, February of 2022, the national debt of the US. was $31.46 trillion. This translates to (1) more than $91,000 for every person living in the U.S.4 The U.S. is vulnerable to its foreign creditors. It may one day be forced to make draconian changes to its social safety net if the bond market dumps American bonds. The Church must teach the wisdom of God’s Law. America was prosperous as a nation when it lent to others. It is against God’s Law to be a debtor nation.
A nation which embraces evil will eventually be met with ruin and destruction: “45 So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever.” (Dt. 28:45-6). “When you become the father of children and children's children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD your God so as to provoke Him to anger. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.” (Dt. 4:25-26). “It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.” (Dt. 8:19; 11:17). “A lion has gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins without inhabitant.” (Jer. 4:7).
The lesson for the Church. God warned that the types of destruction that He will inflict upon society would be a sign of wonder on you and your descendants forever.” (Dt. 28:46). We are seeing these wonders happen in the modern era. The most expensive natural disasters have all happened within the current generation. In 2005, the total damage from Hurricane Katrina was estimated at $81 billion (2005 U.S. dollars). According to the Insurance Information Institute, it also generated the largest single loss in the history of insurance - $41 billion.5 The 1994 Northridge earthquake also resulted in an estimated $25 billion in damage. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 25,000 people were left homeless. In business contracts, natural disasters are sometimes referred to as “acts of God.” But the few pastors who dare to suggest that natural disasters can be correlated with sin are typically met with ridicule. The Church, however, is largely responsible for this ridicule. It is the exception instead of the norm for pastors to teach from Deuteronomy 28 and draw parallels to the world around them.
A nation which embraces evil may also become a captive to the evil one or a foreign enemy: “47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things;” (Dt. 28:47(a)). “Then I will cause your enemies to bring it into a land you do not know; for a fire has been kindled in My anger, it will burn upon you.” (Jer. 15:14). “And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance that I gave you; and I will make you serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; for you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.” (Jer. 17:4). “But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.” (2 Chr. 12:8). “Behold, we are slaves today, and as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, behold, we are slaves in it.” (Neh. 9:36).
The lesson for the Church. God warned that a wayward nation “shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, . ..” (Dt. 28:47(a)). Today, the enemy that the Church fights against is a spiritual enemy: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4). Unless the Church acts to protect the nation through prayer and teaching the virtues of a God-fearing life, the enemy will continue to hold the nation captive to spiritual darkness.
A life of sin also leads to suffering: “47 . . . and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.” (Dt. 28:47(b)). “Go and speak to Hananiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, ‘You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made instead of them yokes of iron.’” (Jer. 28:13). “The yoke of my transgressions is bound; by His hand they are knit together. They have come upon my neck; He has made my strength fail. The Lord has given me into the hands of those against whom I am not able to stand.” (Lam. 1:14). “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.” (Prov. 5:22). David summed up the suffering caused by a life of sin: “The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.” (Ps. 116:3). “For evils beyond number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; they are more numerous than the hairs of my head, and my heart has failed me.” (Ps. 40:12).
The lesson for the Church. God warns: “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7). America is reaping the sorrow of sin through addictions, suicides, broken relationships, and despair. The Church must be the light to end America’s suffering.
When God’s hedge of protection is removed, the enemy may invade into all aspects of the nation: “49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.” (Dt. 28:49-50). ‘“Behold, I am bringing a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,’ declares the LORD. ‘ . . . a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say.’” (Jer. 5:15).
The lesson for the Church. The enemy has invaded and taken all aspects of our country. He has invaded our schools, and we have responded by banning prayer. He has invaded our political system, and we have responded by removing God from public discourse. He has taken our television programs, our movies, our music, and our entertainment. The Church must stand to restore America to its Biblical roots.
Without God’s hedge of protection, enemies or robbers may pillage and steal from the sinner and the entire nation: “51 Moreover, it shall eat the offspring of your herd and the produce of your ground until you are destroyed, who also leaves you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor the increase of your herd or the young of your flock until they have caused you to perish.” (Dt. 28:51). “The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; . . .” (Josh. 2:14(a)). “[T]herefore, behold, I am going to give you to the sons of the east for a possession, and they will set their encampments among you and make their dwellings among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk.” (Ezek. 25:4). “Your land is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your fields-- strangers are devouring them in your presence; it is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.” (Is. 1:7).
The lesson for the Church. The enemy has shown no mercy as he has taken over America. Anywhere that he can create disorder, crime runs wild. Stealing is common in retail establishments. It is common on Wall Street. It is common in the billing practices of lawyers. The theft of intellectual property has also become increasingly common through the internet. Again, the Church has led the way back with revival.
An individual or a nation without God’s protection may also feel besieged from every direction in their lives with no place to turn to for safety or shelter: “52 It shall besiege you in all your towns until your high and fortified walls in which you trusted come down throughout your land, and it shall besiege you in all your towns throughout your land which the Lord your God has given you.” (Dt. 28:52). “You, however, I will . . . draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.” (Lev. 26:33(b)). “Report it to the nations, now! Proclaim over Jerusalem, ‘besiegers come from a far country, and lift their voices against the cities of Judah.”’ (Jer. 4:16). “Pick up your bundle from the ground, you who dwell under siege!” (Jer. 10:17).
The lesson for the Church. The American mind is besieged daily by sin. Without God’s protection, Americans have turned to medications, alcohol, drugs, and other self-destructive things to find refuge. “But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and there will be no escape for them; and their hope is to breathe their last.” (Job 11:20). “There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” (Job 34:22). The Church must again lead America out of its darkness.
A nation which embraces sin will eventually turn to self-destructive behavior or behavior that causes harm to its families: “53 Then you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you.” (Dt. 28:53). “Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.” (Lev. 26:29). “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.” (Jer. 19:9). “They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat what is on the left hand but they are not satisfied; each of them eats the flesh of his own arm.” (Is. 9:20). “The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children; they became food for them because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.” (Lam. 4:10). “Therefore, fathers will eat their sons among you, and sons will eat their fathers; for I will execute judgments on you and scatter all your remnant to every wind.” (Ezek. 5:10).
The lesson for the Church. America is engaged in a self-destructive curse of aborting and abusing its own children. In 2020, there were 620,000 abortions in the US.6 Since 1973, over 63 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S.7 The statistics on abuse are no better. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, every year there are 3.3 million reports of child abuse in the United States. Including reports where multiple children are involved, an estimated 6 million children are the subjects of alleged child abuse every year. The United States also has the worst record in the industrialized nation for child abuse. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. Every day, more than five children die as a result of child abuse. Even worse, approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of four. This crime also is not typically perpetrated by strangers. More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims report having known their perpetrator in some way. This disease has also spread to every aspect of society. Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. Unless the Church acts, this cycle will also continue. About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. Unless the Church acts, America will continue these curses of self-destruction.
When sin reigns freely within a family, a husband will eventually turn on his wife and children: “54 The man who is refined and very delicate among you shall be hostile toward his brother and toward the wife he cherishes and toward the rest of his children who remain, 55 so that he will not give even one of them any of the flesh of his children which he will eat, since he has nothing else left, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in all your towns.” (Dt. 28:54-55).
When sin reigns freely within a family, a wife will also eventually turn on her husband and children: “56 The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, 57 and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.” (Dt. 28:56-57)
The lesson for the Church. After Satan convinced Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge, he then turned Adam and Eve against each other. His goal is to break down the family and cause spouses to turn on each other. He is winning. According to the National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults. The divorce rate in modern times is also nowhere near the level it was for most of the Church’s history. The Church must again be the guiding light to lift America out of its curse.
Because God loves all people, He will allow plagues to continue indefinitely until the nation returns to its walk with Him: “58 If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the Lord your God, 59 then the Lord will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues,. . .” (Dt. 28:58-59(a)). “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, and I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,’ declares the LORD.” (Amos 4:10).
The lesson for the Church. As the world becomes interconnected, insects, parasites, and other organisms from around the world will destroy native crops and animals without any natural predators or defenses. Although the world would find it foolish to connect these trends to sin, these are the types of plagues that God warned would happen. It is the Church’s role to teach this fact to both believers and to America.
If a sinner or a nation will not repent, God can also allow the sinner or the nation to succumb to: “miserable and chronic sicknesses. 60 He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they will cling to you.” (Dt. 28:59(b)-60).
The lesson for the Church. The Ebola virus, the SARS virus, the HIV virus, the West Nile virus, and strands of drug-resistant malaria suggest that America will continue to face new viruses without known cures. The causes of these diseases are myriad. Yet, when sin runs rampant so will diseases.
If the sinner or the nation engages in sin that could not even be imagined when the Bible was written, God can impose other even more harsh calamities and natural disasters to bring a nation back to repentance and a walk with God: “61 Also every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this law, the Lord will bring on you until you are destroyed.” (Dt. 28:61).
The lesson for the Church. There is no end to the types of disasters that will continue to be inflicted upon America. These will include a number of disasters brought on by climate change including forest fires, super strong hurricanes, and droughts. God may also unleash earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other disasters. He could also rain meteors down on America. The time for the Church to act is now.
When a nation continues to rebel, God may also remove His blessings of fertility and cause its population to decline: “62 Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the Lord your God. 63 It shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.” (Dt. 28:62-63). This was the reverse of God’s third blessing of fertility (Dt. 7:12-13). A country’s population growth is a conditional promise that only takes place with obedience: . “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out . . . So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you.” (Lev. 26:3, 9). Consider the example of the tribe of Simeon while in the wilderness. Simeon’s tribe did not learn their rebuke. Zimri was a leader from the tribe of Simeon. He openly brought a temple harlot home for all to see after God began to punish the nation of Israel for their temple prostitution (Nu. 25:6, 14). Many believe that the tribe of Simeon was the most involved in acts of temple prostitution. Of the 24,000 people who died in God’s punishment (Nu. 25:9), most were believed to be from this tribe. At the beginning of their journey, the fighting men of Simeon totaled 59,300 (Nu. 1:23). Yet, at the end, they totaled only 22,200 (Nu. 26:14). This was a decrease of 37,100 or 62.56%. Simeon went from being the third largest tribe to the smallest. Jeremiah the prophet also warned that disobedience could cause a population to collapse in number: “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, that is for all this remnant; because we are left but a few out of many, as your own eyes now see us,” (Jer. 42:2).
The lesson for the Church. As Western Europe turned away from God and regular church attendance, its average birth rate plummeted. For a long time, America withstood this trend as a sign of God’s blessing. But its birth rate among native citizens began to drop. Its overall population has continued to grow largely due to both immigration and the higher birth rate of immigrants. A lower birth rate will impact both future economic growth and the ability of America to provide for its future senior citizens. Again, the Church must lead America back to God’s blessings.
If God cannot reach a sinful nation, He can also force the nation into exile: “64 Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.” (Dt. 28:64). “The LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD drives you. There you will serve gods, the work of man's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.” (Dt. 4:27-28; 29:28; 32:26). ‘“You, however, I will scatter among the nations . . .” (Lev. 26:33(a)). ‘“[Y]ou will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.”’ (Jer. 5:19(b)). “And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance that I gave you; and I will make you serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; for you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.” (Jer. 17:4). “Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples;”’ (Neh. 1:8). “Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight.” (Ezek. 12:3(a)). “I will scatter you among the nations and I will disperse you through the lands, and I will consume your uncleanness from you.” (Ezek. 22:15). “Israel is a scattered flock, the lions have driven them away. The first one who devoured him was the king of Assyria, and this last one who has broken his bones is Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.” (Jer. 50:17). “In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” (2 Kgs. 17:6; 18:11; 15:29).
The lesson for the Church. Israel spent time in exile under the Babylonians. They were again sent into exile under the Romans. Americans today are not being sent into exile in a foreign land. Rather, the enemy has turned America into a land that is foreign to its founding Judeo-Christian principles. The Church is being held captive by the enemy.
Finally, if a nation or an individual rejects all of God’s efforts to bring them back, He will cause them to feel the despair and hopelessness: “65 Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. 66 So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see. 68 The Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, ‘You will never see it again!’ And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.” (Dt. 28:65-68). “This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.” (Is. 50:11(b)). “These two things have befallen you; who will mourn for you? The devastation and destruction, famine and sword; how shall I comfort you?” (Is. 51:19). “And it shall be that when they say to you, 'where should we go?' then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Those destined for death, to death; and those destined for the sword, to the sword; and those destined for famine, to famine; and those destined for captivity, to captivity.”’” (Jer. 15:2).
The lesson for the Church. A life without God is a life filled with despair. The trends of drug addictions, alcohol additions, gambling addictions, pornography addictions, divorce, abortions, child abuse, and suicide will continue until America returns to God. The Church must again lead the way. Yet, it must warn America with a gentle heart, not with a spirit of self-righteousness: “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Pet. 3:15). “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Col. 4:6). “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ep. 4:29).