Don The Armour

September 21, 2023

The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left, so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.

Deuteronomy 28:54-57 (ESV)


This passage is part of the curses on Mount Ebal before Israel enters the promised land. God warns them what will happen if they don’t obey his commandments. Later in scripture, you see that the people of Israel do not obey, and all of these warnings come to pass.

The book of Lamentations describes the conditions as they are besieged and conquered by Babylon:

The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children; they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people. (Lamentations 4:10)

You are not likely to see these verses discussed in an American sermon on Sunday. Still, we need to remember the truth that the loving, tender God of the New Testament is the same God that threatened and fulfilled all these calamities in the Old Testament.

Just as there can be no light without darkness, we can’t fully appreciate God’s love without understanding his wrath. Reading these verses gives us a small taste of the horrors God can rain down on the rebellious and disobedient. And we know that hell is infinitely worse than anything described here.

As immense and terrifying as God’s wrath is, his love is even greater. He was willing to send his only Son to die for us so that we would be justified before him in our final judgment. His sacrifice created a bridge over all of this wrath that we can freely cross. Even though verses like these are difficult to read, they can give us a greater sense of gratitude for the things Jesus has saved us from.