4.6.2 God's blessing in the old covenant

The promise of blessing given to Israel was part of the covenant God made with His chosen people. This blessing was contingent on Israel fulfilling its covenantal duties, namely to serve God alone and to obey His commandments. Whenever the people of Israel acted otherwise, curse would follow. This decision fell to the people: "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God ..." (Deuteronomy 11: 26-28). This clearly shows that deviating from God and His commandments results in curse.


In the old covenant, the blessing of God manifested itself primarily in the daily life directly experienced by the people, and encompassed all areas of life, for example victory in battles against enemies, longevity, wealth, numerous descendants, and fertile soil (Deuteronomy 28: 3-6). Even in the old covenant, however, blessing already had a dimension which surpassed earthly welfare, as becomes clear in God's promise to Abraham: "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12: 2-3). This blessing extended far beyond the promise of personal wellbeing. It enabled Abraham to become a blessing for others as well. The blessing of God was to encompass all future generations: this blessing became accessible to all nations in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3: 14).