Today’s Reading; Deuteronomy 26:1 – 29:1
I find the topic of etymology very interesting. I don’t want to make a career of it, but I suppose I would like to be considered a “couch etymologist”. Have you considered being a etymologist? For some it might help to know what etymology is. Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.
I love how “Put that luggage in the boot.” means two different things to English speakers in the UK and US. In the US it makes no sense at all, and in the UK it makes perfect sense. My son is beginning to dabble in this topic, he has begun to study ancient Greek on his own. Greek and Latin are two great languages for the budding etymologist. Many of our words are really Greek or Latin. Etymology is originate from Greek for study of the true sense of words.
If you have spent anytime in developing countries and their street markets this phrase may make immediate sense. Why? because they still use hanging balances to determine how much grain you are purchasing. When I am in Guatemala I still see them being used. Simply a string is hung at the center point of a rod. Then two chains holding plates, or cups hang perfectly balanced when empty. You then take a standard measurement of weight (typically lead) and put in enough grain to equalize with the set weight. All of this is “hanging in the balance”.
In the modern world we use the term more in the sense that things are confused in our lives, we could tip one way or the other. There is uncertainty, typically uncertainty that is risky and precarious. There are times in our lives when we are at a a point where it seems everything is up in the air and about the come tumbling down.
Today’s reading talks about this:
Deuteronomy 28:66 NLT
66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive.
The Lord was speaking to the Israelites. They are about to cross the Jordan to possess the promised land. Their lives are hanging in the balance and they have to make a decision as to which way to go.
The last couple of chapters that we have been reading give a long parallel passage of blessing and curses. They are put to the point that they have to make a choice, top or bottom, heads or tails, be obedient or ignore God, blessed or cursed. The Israelites can either listen to the Lord and follow his commandments and be blessed, or they can ignore the warnings and teachings of the Lord and they can be cursed and find themselves unsure if they will survive, their futures in the balance.
How do you feel in your life right now? Do things seem to be hanging in the balance? Are you unsure if you will come out on top or bottom? Do you feel like you have been cursed or blessed?
The answer to how to tip the balance into your favor was simple. The means to make sure you come out on top is easy. The means to ensure a blessing is perfectly laid out in today’s reading.
Deuteronomy 28:1 – 14 NLT
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:
3 Your towns and your fields
will be blessed.
4 Your children and your crops
will be blessed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks
will be blessed.
5 Your fruit baskets and breadboards
will be blessed.
6 Wherever you go and whatever you do,
you will be blessed.
7 “The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!
8 “The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.
11 “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. 14 You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.
Here is last year’s post on the same passage, it takes a heads or tails approach – and it has a funny video!