Reading this chapter brought to mind a verse from Romans. The first part of Romans 11:22 says, “Note then the kindness and the severity of God.”
We see God’s kindness in directions to not treat your wife taken from among the captives as a slave and how the firstborn son, even if he was born to an unloved wife, must be given the rights of the firstborn. And even in offering forgiveness for an unsolved murder so that the people aren’t held accountable for something they didn’t do.
But we also see the severity of God. A rebellious child is to be stoned to death if his parents have been disciplining him and he just continues to get drunk and ignore them.
We also read how anyone who has committed a crime punishable by death, and it is decided to hang him on a tree, is not to be left there overnight so that he doesn’t defile the land.
Why would it defile the land? Because anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.
This, of course, is the famous verse applied to Jesus, where in Galatians 3 we read how Jesus became a curse for us, since “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.”
What is the curse? It’s the curse of sin. We’ve learned from Moses about the blessing and the curse. Sin brings the curse. Righteousness brings the blessing.
Jesus took on all our sins, actually becoming sin. That’s what we’re told in 2 Corinthians 5:21. We’re told Jesus became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. He died so that we could live. He became cursed so that we could be blessed. He became sin so that we could be righteous.
Of course, those all go together. He became sin, so He became cursed, so He died. We receive God’s righteousness, so we become blessed, so we live.
And the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). If we want to live, we have to do it by faith. Because only by faith can we receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and only by faith can we be justified and become the righteousness of God.