When you think about the character of God, what comes to mind first? I think the world is divided in how it thinks about God. Some people think of Him only as a loving, kind, and merciful savior, while others see a vengeful, merciless God full of wrath, punishing all who disobey him.

As I go over Deuteronomy today, I’m going to cover a verse that just might raise a few eyebrows.

I’ve said it before, and I know I will say it again, we must read the Bible in context. Without it, we can easily misconstrue what it says.

Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.

Deuteronomy 28:63 (NIV)

When you read this verse you might immediately think of some other verses that tell us about God’s character.

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

If God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked and desires that no one should perish, then why does it say in Deuteronomy 28:63 that it pleases him to ruin and destroy the Israelites?

Well, let’s first consider the context. Deuteronomy 28 opens up with the blessings that God will bestow upon the Israelites if they obey him (cf. Deuteronomy 28:1-14). These are conditional promises based on the Israelite’s obedience. In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, the curses that will fall upon the people are described if they disobey God. When I think about the blessings and the curses, what comes to mind is when I was a little kid.

When I was a little kid, my parents would make me promises. If I did such and such, they would bless me. If I didn’t do what I was supposed to do, then I wouldn’t receive the blessing. Something I didn’t like would happen. Of course, as a child, I only remembered part of the promise. The part about getting something I wanted. Sometimes, I didn’t even remember what it was I had to do. I suppose I might have remembered, but my mind was focused on the promise of something good. Never on the promise of something bad.

Sometimes I would do what I was supposed to do and get a blessing. Other times I wouldn’t, and maybe I’d be punished. Maybe not. God isn’t like that. If God says he is going to do something then he does it. This is a quality of God that makes him just.

Therefore, when God tells the Israelites that it will please him to ruin and destroy them, the pleasure he takes falls into the category of justice. Later on, in Deuteronomy 30, the Lord tells the people how he will prosper them after they’ve been punished by him (when they return to him), but I won’t be reading that until tomorrow. Nevertheless, this character trait of God we see here in Deuteronomy is just. We must accept all of God’s character traits, for they make him God.

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.