Blessings and Curses

This will be a really short post, because I still have much to do. I have a quiz and two exams tomorrow, and I have to study and get rested.

The book of Deuteronomy is essentially Moses’ last set of words to the Israelites, before he dies and passes the torch of leadership to Joshua. It’s essentially a reminder to an entire new generation of Israelites, the children of the generation that had been delivered from slavery in Egypt but perished in the wilderness due to their rebelliousness and disobedience. Moses was reminding them of the laws God had given to their nation at Mt. Zion, and of their divine covenant. I was reading my Bible and came across a set of scriptures from Deuteronomy.

‘Cursed is anyone who carves or casts an idol and secretly sets it up. These idols, the work of craftsmen, are detestable to the Lord.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who dishonors father or mother.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who steals property from a neighbor by moving a boundary marker.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who leads a blind person astray on the road.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with one of his father’s wives, for he has violated his father.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with an animal.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his sister, whether she is the daughter of his father or his mother.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his mother-in-law.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who attacks a neighbor in secret.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who accepts payment to kill an innocent person.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

‘Cursed is anyone who does not affirm and obey the terms of these instructions.’
And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’

– Deuteronomy 27:15-26, NLT

This was essentially a set of curses that would be placed upon anyone who would rebel against God’s law. It was a serious, scary part of the Bible that reinforces how the law reminds us of how cursed we are as sinners. And yet, in reading, I couldn’t help but recall a similar set of verses that take place a few dozen Bible books later.

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,[a]
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,[b]
for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
or the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

– Matthew 5:3-10, NLT

This, to me, was an intriguing parallel. Because of our sinful nature, the law became a burden to us. But when He came to give us the gift of salvation, Christ gave us the chance to set things right with God and experience blessing with Him. He fulfilled the law and by his blood gave us the gift of salvation, so that we may be united with Him in His Kingdom.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we no longer follow the Law as a set of rules to meticulously conform to for the rest of our lives. Instead, we receive His Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts. He renews us and gives us the Heart of Worship that enables us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, day by day. And His grace empowers us to follow His will, which is the Spirit behind His law. Because of Him, we are freed from all the curses of sin, and instead, we can experience in our lives all the extraordinary blessings poured out from God’s bountiful generosity.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

– Matthew 5:17, NLT

What a blessing it is to have Christ as Lord!

My Why

So for the first time in a long time, I’m blogging again. It’s been really tough trying to keep things together,that especially lately that the demands of medical school have been getting even more challenging. I remember at the start of the year, with a very childish sense of overconfidence, I told second year in the manner of an apostrophe to hit me with its best shot. Looking back, I remember how foolish I was, thinking I should have been more careful with what I wished for.

Don’t get me mistaken, I have truly been enjoying medical school, as tough as it has been. But it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by everything, to get caught up by all the requirements and assignments that you forget your reason–your why–for ever taking up such a challenge at all. You forget who you are, your very identity, and get lost in a robotic chain-of-command, just living day-to-day in order to just barely meet the bare minumum that’s required of you.

It’s times like these that I have to remind myself how much more I need to cling on to Jesus in my life. When you’re faced with so many requirements, when so much is expected of you, it’s incredibly easy to focus so hard on the mundane and the routine, forgetting the One who is most important to you. And it’s sad but true that only when you get caught in this overwhelming traffic do you remember your reason and your destination. You’ve taken so many detours, stopovers, drive-thru’s, that you forget about the passenger who is just as important as the destination. He doesn’t complain, he doesn’t nag, but he reminds you of your why. He reminds me of my why.

So when all the pressures of existence, of med school and of the future, crumble down on me, there’s only one way I can stay sturdy and strong. I should always remember to cling on to the anchor that keeps my ship secure. And I should constantly remember to hand the wheel to the one who should have been driving all along.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

– John 16:33, NLT

He is my why.