Pastor J. F. Odesola

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” (Deuteronomy 28:6)

This great word, which comes at the centre of the opening part of Deuteronomy chapter 28, seems to sum up all the blessings which God promises to those who hearken diligently to His voice, “to observe and to do all His commandments.” (verse 1).

It is important to notice that the promise of God’s blessing requires His peoples’ obedience for its fulfilment. At the end of this section of scripture, we are clearly told that these blessings of the Lord will be our portion if we “hearken unto the commandments of the Lord… to observe and to do them”, do not go aside from any of His words (verse 13-14).

This Old Testament promise reminds us of Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

The promise of Deuteronomy 28:6 gives us great encouragement as we face the days which are ahead, which may be dark days, difficult days and discouraging days. We may have to face upheavals in the life of our nation, as well as personal trials and tests.

Is there anything with which we may encourage ourselves as we look into the future, and as we face the possibility of sickness, sorrow and perhaps bereavement and loss? Are there any grounds for encouragement?

Yes, there are. These comforting and assuring words promise blessings along the line and these blessings are not in ourselves but in the Lord Himself. Let us consider some of these, and remind ourselves of what God can do, and promises to do, for all who love and belong to Him.

(1) We look ahead; we have the assurance of the Lord’s unfailing love.

This is wonderful; and we as children of God should constantly remind ourselves that God loves us, He has always loved us, and He will love us. His Word to us is:

“…I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Will he ever stop loving us? In this connection, look at John 13:1.

How long did the Lord love His disciples? And these disciples – who were they? Were they worthy of His love? Where we read: “He loved them unto the end”, this literally means, “He loved them to the uttermost.” The father loved the prodigal son when he was in the far country; it was not only when he returned home that he loved him. He loved him all along the line.

Some Christians believe that God only loves us when we really love Him. Over and over again, Christian men and women have come and confessed to me their lack of assurance concerning God’s love for them. They have been filled with doubt and fear because at some point in their lives they have failed God, and this has caused them to wonder whether, because of their sin and failure, they have forfeited the love of God. “Something terrible happened some years ago,” they have said, “I sinned against God, and I did it wilfully, and now God doesn’t love me anymore!” How Satan delights to get God’s children into bondage! And this is one of the ways he does it. He tries to make us doubt God. He tells us how unworthy we are (as, of course, we are), and he taunts us with his lie that we have forfeited the love of God.

Of course, the Lord loves us! Nothing can alter God’s love for His own. He hates, sin, but how He loves sinners! That includes each one of us. Nothing we have done, or have not done, alters God’s love for us. So let us ravel in the truth of John 4:10:

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

When did God stop loving anyone of us? I want to give the answer to that question so clearly that if anyone has doubted God’s love, he (or she) will never doubt it again. The answer is – Never!

So, as we look out into the unknown future, we have the absolute assurance of the Lord’s unfailing love: “Blessed shall thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.”

His love will never fail. But consider the second encouragement:

(2) As we look ahead, we have the guarantee of the Lord’s sufficient grace.

We all have sense enough to know that we cannot possibly continue to live without experiencing testing, there are bound to be sorrow, losses and disappointments. Can we feel encouraged as we face this probability? Yes, we can, because we not only have the assurance of His sufficient grace. The Lord’s great word to the apostle Paul, of which we read in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, is an illustration and an indication of what the Lord is able and willing to do for us today, and every day, and for as long as we live.

Now stop there, and re-read these words.

What did Paul immediately say when the Lord gave him the guarantee of the sufficiency of His grace? Did he say, “Well, in that case, Lord, I’ll endure it, I’ll put up with it. I won’t complain!” Was this his reaction? No!

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