Blessings and Curses - Then and Now

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
I really struggled about what category to post this under. And I know this is kinda long. Sorry. This question is really important to me as I continually try to evaluate my 45 years as a Christian.


Proverbs 11:31
Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

My question is about God’s ways or working in the Old Testament vs. the New Testament:

Has God’s providence changed drastically as it relates to the believer's relationship with other men and the external world? In other words, does God bless obedience and curse disobedience the same way in the New Testament as he did in the Old Testament?

Preliminary Remarks:
There are always exceptions to the above-mentioned cause and effect principle in the Old Testament as well as the New.

Ecclesiastes 8:14
There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.

My question has to do with general rules so let’s stay on topic. Is there a real world connection between our obedience and blessing?

I. God’s dealings with men and kings in the OT are clearly in keeping with Proverbs 11:31

I would have liked to have quotes I Samual through II Chronicles as proof that my thesis is correct. God’s dealings with the kings of Juda and Israel most definitely follow the truth of Proverbs 11:31. In short, when the kings were godly, things went well for them and the entire country. When they were evil, all kinds of wars and other bad things happened to them -- usually in quick order. I also noticed that mediocre Kings got mediocre results. This fact is more than an observation in that God tells us over and over in the text that such and such blessings or curses are due to the actions and even thoughts of the Kings.

Many many references could be given, but this is getting long already. For the principle read Deuteronomy 28: the whole chapter.

II. Some evidence that the same principal it at work in the New Testament:

We have in Acts 5 of the judgment of Anania and Sapphira.

The sinful taking of the Lord's Supper:
1 Corinthians 11:29-30
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Warnings to communicant Church members about sinful lifestyles that could condemn them to death both here and hereafter:
1 Corinthians 10:1-11
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.


Puritan Board Professor
Has God’s providence changed drastically as it relates to the believer's relationship with other men and the external world? In other words, does God bless obedience and curse disobedience the same way in the New Testament as he did in the Old Testament?
I believe the answer is yes, in that God still blesses us for doing good today though the blessing sometimes, or many times, is shown by suffering this side of eternity, and the reward comes after we die. In my most humble opinion there is no difference in the OT and NT temporal and eternal blessings and cursing's, in that The Lord decides when we are grateful for the blessings and cursing.

PS. I also struggle over this many times, in that I do not know why the just suffer when they are in pain many times. Though I rest in His promise all things work for the good to those who love Him.


Puritanboard Amanuensis
Is there a real world connection between our obedience and blessing?
Yes; God in His wise, holy, and powerful Providence causes men to reap what they sow. Even when He pardons their sin He takes vengeance on their evil deeds, and chastens them in order to make them partakers of His holiness. If a believer suffers for doing evil it is no surprise. If he finds good in doing good, again, there is a good reason for it. Godliness hath promise for this life as well as that to come.

But then, who can say that his obedience procures blessing? Our obedience is so faulty, wayward, inconsistent, and backward, that one wonders why there is any blessing in this world; and even when it seems to be right to all appearances, the Lord searches the heart and sees what is amiss there. For the believer the blessing is in knowing Christ Jesus the Lord and being found in His righteousness; in having his sins blotted out and enjoying the hope of eternal life. He counts it a blessing when his heart is delivered of guile and he is enabled in some measure to offer service to God, and to be assured of its acceptance through Jesus Christ. When he eats his bread and lies down in peace, and communes with God with a good conscience, here is joy the world will never know and can never give and can never take away.
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Puritan Board Graduate
I think Hebrews 11 is definitive:

32And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection;

and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated38(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

A life of faith can go either way. Heroes of the faith can see great blessings in this life. Or, they can see what appears to be in OT terms, the curses ( outward lack of victory, poverty, etc.). But that latter result can be from a life of godly faith.
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