“You will be driven mad by what you see.” Deuteronomy 28:34

After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites were finally preparing to cross into the Promised Land. Prior to their crossing the Jordan River, the boundary of the Promised Land, God has some final words for Moses to relay to the people of Israel.

Moses wouldn’t be going into the Promised Land with the children of Israel; his temper and disobedience in the wilderness cost him that opportunity. Deuteronomy is, in a way, Moses’ last words–his last will and testament–to the Israelite nation that he’d led for the previous forty years. In this particular passage, God is communicating to the Israelites–through Moses–the blessings they’d receive for obeying Him and the Law once they cross over into the Promised Land; in return for their obedience, the Israelites would receive blessings of prosperity, protection, and peace.

However, in this same passage, God also communicates the equally important and pertinent message of what to expect should the Israelites disobey Him once they settle in the land that He gave to them. They would know no peace; they would know suffering, destruction, poverty, affliction, pain, hunger, slaughter, and a litany of other terrible repercussions. “Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes,” reads one punishment; “the Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness, and mental confusion,” reads another.  Ultimately, God says “you will be oppressed and crushed continually. You will be driven mad by what you see.” The suffering and oppression that would befall the Israelites as a result of any disobedience to God would be enough to drive them to the point of madness; to the brink of insanity.  Those who had remained faithful to God would be charged with bringing those who’d fallen away back to Him, and through that the curse would be lifted and the oppression ended.

For the followers of God today, we must ask ourselves this question: are we driven mad by the cruelty and inhumane happenings that occur in the world today? Does oppression and slaughter stir our hearts to call out to God, to want to help those in need? Or have we all become desensitized to the ways of this world; oblivious to the suffering and needs of those aren’t like us? In this fallen world, suffering reigns, sorrow is king, and oppression is a fact of life. But it need not be like that. The people of God need to trade in their passiveness for action; their complacency for compassion; their apathy for madness.

I cannot claim this quote, but it fits very nicely in this post–when considering all the pain, hardship, and suffering in the world, stop asking “where is God?” and begin asking “where are the people of God?”

Well, where are we? Have our hearts been stirred to madness? Because thats what it takes to stand up and attempt to make a difference.

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