Fluorescent Orange Cones - The One Year Through the Bible Devotional

Fluorescent Orange Cones

16“‘Cursed is anyone who dishonors father or mother.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ 17‘Cursed is anyone who steals property from a neighbor by moving a boundary marker.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ 18‘Cursed is anyone who leads a blind person astray on the road.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ 19‘Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ . . . 24‘Cursed is anyone who attacks a neighbor in secret.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ 25‘Cursed is anyone who accepts payment to kill an innocent person.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ 26‘Cursed is anyone who does not affirm and obey the terms of these instructions.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’”

Deuteronomy 27:16-19, 24-26

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Picture this: You’re driving along at fifty miles per hour on a cloudy day. The road ahead is suddenly narrow, with deep, unforgiving ditches on both sides. But the two endless lines of fluorescent orange cones that line the road on either side keep you out of trouble.

If you think of the curses in this reading as fluorescent orange cones, you come pretty close to their meaning. If you understand that those cones are really doing you a favor, you can’t help but be happy about them. The cones help everyone. The other chapters in this section of Deuteronomy are proof enough of that.

There are other road signs in today’s reading: something to remember when it looks as if the world is falling apart; seeking God with all your heart, soul, and strength; and following a plan of action no matter how badly you’ve sinned.

Read Deuteronomy 27:1–30:20

The curses God wanted his people to remember were a series of oaths, spoken by the priests and affirmed by those listening, in which the people promised to stay away from wrong actions (Deuteronomy 27:15-26). Those saying Amen, “So be it,” were taking responsibility for their actions.

Sometimes looking at a list of curses like this gives us the idea that God has a bad temper and is out to crush anyone who steps out of line. But we need to see these restrictions not as threats but as loving warnings about the plain facts of life. Wrongdoing toward others or God has tragic consequences, and God is merciful enough to tell us this truth plainly. His strong words help us avoid the serious consequences that result from neglecting God or wronging others. Just as we warn children to stay away from hot stoves and busy streets, God warns us to stay away from dangerous actions.

From the Book: