Through the Bible Day by Day
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
BLESSINGS UPON THE OBEDIENT
A remarkable chapter! The epitome of what Israel might have been, contrasted with what she became! It is on account of the transgressions that the centuries have augmented her sum of misery. Oh, that we may never have to lament what we might have been!
These opening verses contain the Beatitudes of the Old Testament. They have their counterparts in the New. Remember that God bends over your life, rejoicing to do you good, and finding pleasure in whatever may enrich your life or flow through it to enrich others. Ask especially that in His great power and grace He shall smite your enemies before you, and establish you unto himself, and open to you His good treasure. If you are in Christ, all things are yours. Possess your possessions, 1Co_3:21-22; Oba_1:17; Oba_1:19-20.
The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
THE FEARFUL RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE
If we compare this chapter with Exo_23:20-23 and Lev_26:1-46, we shall see how Moses resumes and amplifies the promises and threatenings already set forth in the earlier editions of the Law. The blessings are declared in fourteen verses, while the curses require four times as much space. This is due to God’s eagerness that men should be warned from courses that injure, and shut up to those that lead to blessedness. Note the language, which rises to the sublimest level, especially in the latter part. The forecasts of the dispersion and the degradation of the Hebrew people are especially remarkable.
It is not only that God goes out of His way to reward the obedient and to punish the ungodly, but these rewards and punishments are part of the nature of things, just as fire stings and burns, when we transgress its laws, but blesses when we obey. If we are at one with God, through Jesus Christ, we are at one with the universe. But if not, “the stars in their courses” fight against us. See Jdg_5:20; 1Co_3:21.
Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
THE BITTER FRUITS OF DISOBEYING GOD
These predictions against the Hebrew people were partially fulfilled in earlier invasions, as for instance, those of Nebuchadnezzar and his generals; but it is to the Roman conquest of Judea that we must look for complete fulfillment. One only needs to compare these words with the narrative of Josephus to see the exact accomplishment which took place during the wars of Vespasian and Titus. The Jews themselves admit this. Deu_28:68 was literally fulfilled when Titus transported myriads of Jews to Egypt to be employed in the public works or to fight in the amphitheater.
But if the punishments have been so heavily suffered during these weary centuries, what shall not be the joy when the Lord shall bring back His people to their own land, and all Israel shall be saved! What is this new Euphrates Valley railway but the preparing of the road for their return from the Eastern portions of the world! In the near future, our children, if not we, shall see a fulfillment of Isa_60:1-22; Isa_61:1-11. See Act_3:19-20.