Deuteronomy 28:15-19 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 28:15 “But if you do not obey Yahveh your God by carefully following all his commands and prescriptions I am giving you today, all these afflictions will come and overtake you:
Deuteronomy 28:16 You will be afflicted with a curse in the city and afflicted with a curse in the country.
Deuteronomy 28:17 Your basket and kneading bowl will be afflicted with a curse.
Deuteronomy 28:18 Your offspring will be afflicted with a curse, and your land’s produce, the young of your herds, and the newborn of your flocks.
Deuteronomy 28:19 You will be afflicted with a curse when you come in and afflicted with a curse when you go out.
The Israelites did not pronounce this curse upon their enemies — people who were not part of the Mosaic covenant. No, this curse was upon the sons of Israel who did not live up to their promise to obey God’s commands. The curse was to be a way of knowing who was true, and who was pretending. Loyalty mattered.
Likewise, today, there are lots of pretenders, and Jesus did warn us of that.
So, how do we know whether people are just going through hard times, and in need of our prayers, or if what they are suffering is God’s way of getting their attention — seeking their loyalty? It will not be easy to know. We should not presume — as Job’s “friends” did, that all suffering is punishment.
But we should also be open with one another, and look for ways to help our brothers and sisters “come clean” because loyalty to Christ matters.