The “Shall” Principle
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:”
One word that is always associated with the promises of God is the word “shall.” When God instructed Israel about their actions, He told them that if they obeyed Him and followed His commandments that He “shall” bless them in different areas of their lives. Contrariwise, God also warned Israel that if they chose to disobey Him and follow the actions of the heathen nations around them that He “shall” curse them.
The “shall” principle is important for every believer to learn. Your walk with God is contingent upon this principle, and you will find yourself not doing right and quitting on God if you don’t learn that God’s promises and curses don’t immediately happen. Let me give you four observations about the “shall” principle that should help to encourage and warn you about your walk with the LORD.
First, every action has an effect. God told Israel that if they did good that He “shall” bless them, but He also told them if they disobeyed Him that He “shall” curse them. There is always an effect to every action you do in life. You are not immune to the cause and effect principles of life. Every action has a reaction, and every choice has an effect. If you thought about the effect of your choices before you did them, you would find that you would likely avoid the actions that have adverse effects.
Second, every effect doesn’t happen immediately. The “shall” principle simply means that effect of what you do today won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. Many often get discouraged because they don’t have an immediate result of good for the good that they have done, but you must understand that God never promised when you would see the blessings, He just promised that you would be blessed. On the other hand, God never promised when the curses of sinful actions would happen, but He did promise that they would happen. Always understand that the “shall” principle means that there is NOT an immediate effect for today’s actions, but that the effect will come.
Third, don’t despair when the good that you do doesn’t have its immediate reward. My friend, the “shall” principle takes faith and trust in God that He will keep His word. You may not see the immediate rewards for going soul winning, but you must continue to be a soul winner. You may not see the immediate rewards of your prayer life or study of the Scriptures, but you must continue praying and studying the Scriptures because God promised that He shall bless you. You may not see the immediate blessings of doing right, but you must continue to do right because God has never let the good that His children do go without His blessings.
Fourth, don’t assume that your sin won’t have its consequence. Just because you haven’t seen God’s punishment for your sin doesn’t mean that He won’t punish you for doing wrong. Don’t become haughty about not seeing the punishment for your sin because the punishment will come. The delay in God’s punishment for sin is simply a space of God’s mercy to give you an opportunity to get right. Don’t waste mercy’s opportunity! Sin has consequences, and you will see those consequences if you choose not to repent.