Deuteronomy 23:6
You are not to seek peace or prosperity from them as long as you live.
Sermons
Loss of Sacred Privilege a Grievous PenaltyD. Davies Deuteronomy 23:1-6
The Congregation of the Lord Jealously GuardedR.M. Edgar Deuteronomy 23:1-8
The Excluded from the CongregationJ. Orr Deuteronomy 23:1-8


No enchantment, no curse of evil men, can prevail against the people of God. Contrariwise, God will turn the curse into a Messing. In Malachi, on the other hand, he threatens to "curse the blessings" of the wicked (Malachi 2:2). How does God turn the curse into a blessing?

1. Directly, by substituting a blessing for a curse. The curse is not merely not allowed to take effect for harm, but God puts a blessing in its stead. A Divine law of compensation comes into operation. The wicked is punished, and the object of his unrighteous hatred consoled and rewarded, by the curse being read backward, and made a reason for conferring blessing. The very curses of the wicked are thus a means of enrichment to the good. Balaam's curses were thus changed into blessings (Numbers 23., 24.).

2. Providentially, by overruling the designs of evil men for their own confusion, and for his people's good. We have examples in the histories of Joseph (Genesis 1:20), of Mordecai and the Jews (Esther 6-10), of Daniel (Daniel 6.). The persecutions of the Church have thus been overruled for the extension of the gospel (Acts 11:19). The highest example is the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 3:13-19).

3. Spiritually, by turning outward afflictions into means of spiritual good.

(1) Afflictions humble, chasten, purify (Job 42:4, 5; Psalm 119:71).

(2) God can turn afflictions into sources of comfort and. joy, into occasions of higher glory to himself, into means of salvation and glory to the saint (Acts 16:25; Romans 5:3; 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 1:19).

(3) God can overrule even punishment of sin for our ultimate good. Levi (Genesis 49:7). - J.O.







The Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing.
Here a difficult question meets us. Was there any reality whatever in Balaam's curse! Or was it altogether a harmless thing — in fact, nothing at all? If there was nothing in it, why should it have been averted Why should it be said that God "would not hearken unto Balaam"? Why not let it be pronounced? The result would have shown that there was no power or reality in it. On the other hand, it is difficult to suppose that such power could reside in a curse, especially when spoken by such a man as Balaam. One thing is certain, that God Himself never did give false prophets power to curse. Could they, then, derive it from any other quarter? Why not from Satan? No creature is absolutely independent; all are instruments in the hands of another. If through grace we have been placed in the kingdom of light, then we are instruments in the hands of God. If we are in the kingdom of darkness, we can only he instruments in the hands of Satan; a curse and not a blessing to others. Now, heathenism is one great territory of Satan's power — one chief part of his kingdom of darkness. He reigns supreme there. We believe, then, that within the sphere of his kingdom of darkness Satan has power to employ false prophets as his instruments — has power to enable them to curse, and to fulfil their curse when pronounced. The conflict here, then, was not merely one between the king of Moab and Israel, but between the kingdom of light in Israel and the kingdom of darkness in Moab and Midian. Balaam's curse would have been the utterance of the power of darkness; but he was obliged, however reluctantly, to confess his impotency before God. It was an act of Divine power when God turned the curse into a blessing. It showed His watchful care and love towards His people. And what is it that God is accomplishing now by the gift of His son and the power of His grace, but turning the curse into a blessing? Oh, there is a widespread curse, which has long been resting upon this guilty world, the curse pronounced on man's disobedience; and what makes it so awful is, that it is a righteous curse. Wherever we look we see its tokens — man doomed to a life of weary labour, suffering from different kinds of sickness, and at last seized with the irresistible hand of death; so that St. Paul says, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." But to the children of God this three-fold curse is changed by the grace of God into a blessing. Look at the lowest element of the curse, that of labour, according to the sentence, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." How wearisome is ceaseless toil in itself! But to the true Christian how different is toil and labour! He consecrates his powers to Him who has redeemed him with His precious blood! Or look at sickness. What is it but the visible reflection of a spiritual disease within? If the image of God had not been obliterated from the soul by sin there would have been no sickness or sorrow in the world. No miracle is exerted to exempt the Christian from this trial. But its nature is changed; there is no longer any curse in it. How many can bless God for it, painful as it may have been — can bless God for His sanctifying and sustaining power — for the near communion with Jesus which they then enjoyed — for the hallowed impressions made upon their souls; and, most of all, for the manifestations of God's faithfulness and tenderness — of His power and gentleness. But of all the elements of the curse the most manifest and the most awful is death — so universal in its reign — so tremendous in its power — so mysterious in its nature. We can scarcely stand by a dying bed without the question pressing itself upon our thoughts — oh, why this convulsion? Why this distressing and humiliating close to our life here? One answer can only be given — It is because of sin. "Death passed upon all men in that all have sinned." To the Christian its sting is drawn. It is but the rending of the veil which separates his soul from the visible presence of his Redeemer.

(G. Wagner.)

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