The first verse says, All these blessings will come down on you and spread beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God. (from Deuteronomy 28:1-6, MSG)
The second one says, God will send The Curse, The Confusion, The Contrariness down on everything you've tried to do until you've been destroyed and there's nothing left of you--all because of your evil pursuits that led you to abandon me. (Deuteronomy 28:20, MSG)
Black and white. Either/or. The chapter is written in a way that suggests that God blesses people who listen to his voice with material prosperity, and rains down disaster on people who disobey until until there is nothing left.
I must say, I love the descriptions. Blessings that spread beyond me? Kind of like answers to prayer that are pressed down and running over, so much blessing that I leak and spill it and other around me are blessed too. I want to be that kind of person.
But I'm afraid I identify more with the feeling of confusion and contrariness, when life doesn't turn out the way I expected it to and fights what I want to do. I have a friend right now who probably would shout a loud "amen." She's stuck in a dangerous and discouraging job. She wants to write full time; she's close to getting a contract that would make that possible. At just this time--when her dream is within sight--her husband's salary was cut in half. Confused? Yes. Contrary? Definitely. But she's not involved with any evil pursuits.
I'm going to get all writerly on you and look at the words used.
People are blessed when they respond to the voice of God. In short, respond means to reply or react. Respond stops short of "obey." It suggests that God and I are in a relationship, a conversation. He talks, and I not only listen, but I talk back.
Relationship, not perfection.
Disowns. Divorces. Abandons. Alienates. Choose your word.
I have no easy answer here, except to offer this hope: God longs for our response. If we feel that life is confusing and contrary, we can talk with him about it.