In watching many of the more famous TV preachers they say that we are “the head and not the tail” and that we are “blessed going in and blessed going out.” Do they really understand what these verses speak of? Do they understand the implications and consequences of the context of these verses? These statements are found in Deuteronomy chapter 28, a massive chapter of 68 verses. What is God speaking of in these statements some so glibly claim as their own?
“And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. Deuteronomy 28:11 (NASB77)
Here is point one that is most commonly missed by the prosperity preachers. This promise is specifically spoken to Israel who will be in the land God promised to them. While I agree keeping the law is good and proper for a Christian to do as a child of God, we cannot lay claim to promises not given to us but reserved for Israel.
“And the LORD shall make you the head and not the tail, and you only shall be above, and you shall not be underneath, if you will listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. Deuteronomy 28:13-14 (NASB77)
The second thing that is not mentioned is that this is a conditional promise. The principles given in the Bible do work but we must meet the conditions of the promise. If we want to claim this promise we must keep the law of God perfectly. We can go down this road if we really want to but there is no grace there, no mercy. There has only been one who lived on earth who was able to accomplish this and His name is Jesus. If we could have done this for ourselves Jesus would not have had to die on the cross for our sins.
“But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.” Deuteronomy 28:15-16 (NASB77)
“He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.” Deuteronomy 28:44 (NASB77)
“Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.” Deuteronomy 28:47-48 (NASB77)
Wow, do we really want to go there? This is something we almost never hear anybody talk about. There are many more cursings spoken of here, poverty and slavery, as well as sickness. We can have this if we want or we can choose life, life through salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a gift given in love, by grace through faith in the One sent to save us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB77)
Once we are saved then comes the works, out of a heart full of gratitude for what Jesus did for us, we serve. We need to give people the true Gospel and not tickle their ears for a season so they miss the eternal rest promised in Jesus Christ.