However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.- Deuteronomy 28:15-24
This passage provides a laundry list of bad things that will happen to the Israelites if they fail to faithfully follow God. The connection to water here comes near the end of the passage where God says the sky will be bronze and the ground beneath you iron. God says he will turn the rain into dust and powder which sounds like a drought followed by too much rain that will come down until they are destroyed, which sounds a lot like a flood.
God is not pulling any punches here. He is saying there are very real consequences to failing to follow God, both large and dramatic like a flood and devastatingly prolonged like a drought. On one level we could look upon these consequences as retribution, but I think they are more correctly the result of failing to plant oneself by the river or remain connected to the spring. I am not sure who said it but I have always liked the saying “if you feel like you are distant from God, guess who moved”.
I can remember numerous times during my Christian walk when it felt like I was getting nowhere and my relationship with God felt “dry”. I think these dry times are a normal part of the Christian experience. It is what we choose to do when we encounter them that determines whether we will remain faithful to God or drift away like a boat that has slipped it moorings.
The other extreme described here is floods. In one of my early Rabbit Trail posts, How God is Like Water, I reflected on some of the meanings I see in floods and the usage of flood language in describing God. Floods are not really bad as seen from the perspective of the river that is experiencing them. Rivers have always flooded and always will. In fact if Rivers did not flood we would not have much of the fertile farmland to grow crops that we have today.
So although God is using what seems rather harsh language here in describing the rains as coming down until “you are destroyed”. Homes and property near rivers are destroyed by flooding all the time, but it is usually because the homes or structures were in the wrong place relative to the river when the flood came. I think God’s point here is that if we place ourselves in the wrong place, i.e. apart from God, we may end up drowning….our choice.
Prayer: God help us to walk faithfully with you through desert times and storms with the confidence that You are with us.