Be you therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses…
1. What motive has the Christian to obedience? Looking to be saved only through the righteousness of another, what is there to induce him to walk righteously before God Himself?
(1) Gratitude, or responsive love. The Christian is plied with reminders of what the Lord hath done for him by Christ to open to him the heavenly Canaan and to give him an inheritance, and his grateful heart responds to the heavenly logic, "Take heed that ye love the Lord," "Serve the Lord in truth with all your heart, for consider how great things He hath clone for you." "If ye love Me, keep My commandments."(2) Hope. "Ye shall possess their land as the Lord your God hath promised you." Christ is made the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him; and he that nameth the name of Christ must depart from iniquity.
(3) Fear. "When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God ye shall perish quickly from off the good land." And similar are the rules with regard to entering heaven, of which land Canaan was a figure. Disobedience entails exclusion.
2. But what kind of obedience is necessary, or rather what do we learn from our text, will obedience require or call for?
(1) Courage. "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do." Many look down upon a Christian as a poor, mean-spirited creature, and only half a man. But he is the highest kind of man. In proportion as he acts up to his principles he is a bold, courageous hero, and may stand up among the bravest and noblest, and suffer not by the comparison. Is it a mark of courage to submit to the operator's knife, and a still higher mark to operate upon oneself? This the obedient servant of God does. He plucks out the right eye, he cuts off the right hand of forbidden indulgence; that is, in obedience to God's will he will give up inclinations which cost him as much as plucking or cutting. Is it a mark of courage to face the cannon's mouth? Aye; but it is a higher mark for beings constituted as we are, naturally proud and sensitive, to brave the mouth which sneers and jeers at piety, so that we are often a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.
(2) Completeness. "Be ye very courageous to keep and do all," &c. The moral law of Moses, though no longer it can be so kept as to give us a right to eternal life, is to be our guide and rule in our present life. For the ten commandments expanded contain all the precepts, duties, and dispositions of a servant of God, just as buds contain all the leaves of that flower which opens out into such fulness of detail. And the Christian is to keep and do all.
(3) Carefulness. "That ye turn not aside," &c. The path of obedience is generally a middle path, and we must seek to have such views of God's Word, under the teaching of God's Spirit, that our love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that we may approve things that are excellent; or, as it might be rendered, "discriminate things that differ," and ever hear a voice behind us saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." The extreme opposite of wrong is not right. We go safest between extremes. The pendulum swings as far to the right hand as it does to the left, and because some persons go to extremes one way, we are apt to go to extremes the opposite way. Some are all for privilege, others all for duty; but we must turn not aside to the right or left. Thankful for privileges, we must do our duty.
(H. C. Mitchinson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;