February 20, 2020 – Thursday
Deuteronomy 30:7 NIV
7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you.
Almost all versions have hate along with persecute in the verse above, which makes a certain kind of sense. If you are going to persecute someone, it is likely going to be someone you hate. Even checked at the online interlinear Old Testament and found ones hating you just prior to they persecute you. The definition of the Hebrew H2791 transliteration radaph is very much like the definition of the Greek word for persecute. The primary definition is to run after (usually with hostile intent) and is often translated as pursue as well. Still, this is the first time it is translated as persecute in either the NIV or the NKJV.
This is very different from what we might read in the New Testament, but first let’s get some context for our Verse of the Day (underlined): 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all His commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as He delighted in your ancestors, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep His commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Jesus no longer seeks or promises curses on our enemies who hate and persecute us. Instead on the Sermon on the Mount He clearly states in Matthew 5:43-47 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
So, let us pray for those who would persecute us and for those who are actively persecuting our brothers and sisters around the world. Richard Wurmbrand in his book Tortured for Christ describes how his jailer and torturer asked him who he was praying for as his entire family was now imprisoned. Wurmbrand’s reply was, “I am praying for you.” Eventually his jailer came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior and he was eventually imprisoned along with Wurmbrand.
We, who live in the United States, may or may not face persecution, but that is not the real question we have to deal with. Instead we need to ask if we are actually practicing our faith as our brothers and sisters around the world are doing? Are we sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? And in the sharing are we letting people know Jesus came to rescue us from hell? Paul put it this way in Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. The death referred to here is eternal death, separation from God, hell.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton