If you walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;…
I. WHEREIN A NATION'S RELIGIOUS LIFE CONSISTS. The recognised presence of God in the midst of the people (vers. 11, 12) may be realised —
1. In sanctuaries consecrated to Divine worship throughout the land, and in assembled congregations gathering to adore Him (ver. 2).
2. In sacred literature diffusing religious knowledge among the people.
3. In benevolent and elevating institutions diffusing Christianity in its practical forms.
4. In educational agencies for the training of children early in moral and religious truth.
5. In homes and family life sweetened by the influence of piety.
6. In a legislature ruled by the fear of God and observant of Scripture precepts.
7. In wealth, gathered righteously, being expended for evangelical and Christian ends.
8. In the happy relationship of all social classes, based upon goodwill and respect.
9. In the stores of harvest and gains of commerce being acknowledged as God's providential gifts and generous benefactions (vers. 4, 5). All such public recognitions of the authority and the claims of religion, emphasise and declare that within this nation's life God dwells — known, revered, and served.
II. ADVANTAGES WHICH RESULT TO A NATION FROM RELIGION.
1. Religion impels to industry, intelligence, self-respect, and social improvement; and these will affect every branch of labour and enterprise, resulting in material prosperity (vers. 4, 5).
2. Religion leads to avoidance of agitation and conflict, checks greed, ambition, and vainglory, and thus promotes a wise content among the people, and peaceful relationships with surrounding nations (ver. 6).
3. Religion fosters sobriety, energy, and courage, and these qualities will assert themselves on the fields of war when sad occasion arises, and will ensure the overthrow of tyranny and the defeat of invasion (ver. 8).
4. Religion nurtures the wise oversight of homes and families, the preservation of domestic purity, the development of healthful and intelligent children, and these will work out in a strong and increasing population (ver. 9).
5. Religion corrects the intrigues of self-destructive commerce, and teaches honesty, forethought, and justice in business arrangements; thus checking waste, extravagance, and insolence, and these issue in the enjoyment of plenty (ver. 10).
6. Religion enjoins Sabbath observance and sanctuary services (ver. 2) which nourish holiness in thought and life, sweeten character, purify the springs of action, incite to righteous and noble deeds, to social goodwill, to mutual regard, to sacred ministries, to reverence for Scripture, to recognition of the claims of the unseen world, and thus bring down upon all people the blessings of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (vers. 11, 12).
III. WITHIN A RELIGIOUS NATION GOD PLEDGES HIMSELF TO DWELL. And where He makes His tabernacle (ver. 11) there —
1. Happiness will be realised, the joy of the Lord will be known, "His lovingkindness, which is more than life," will be enjoyed.
2. Security will be assured. "None make you afraid" (ver. 6), for He will be as a "defence to His people."
3. Sanctity will flourish. Intercourse with God (ver. 12) will elevate, refine, and grace a people's character and life.
(W. H. Jellie.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;