The Life We Choose to Lead Deuteronomy 27-30, cont’d.
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 The Promise of Blessings for Keeping the Covenant
What a deal! Who wouldn’t want this arrangement? It is simply amazing what God promises to those who “diligently obey…to do all His commandments…obey the LORD your God” (:1,2). But as we find…while Israel wanted all of the promises, they were not willing to obey all the commandments.
- If you diligently obey the voice of the LORD: The word "if" looms large. In this chapter, Moses exhorted the nation with choice. The covenant God made with Israel contained three major features: The law, the sacrifice, and the choice.
- The idea behind the choice is that God was determined to reveal Himself to the world through Israel. He would do this either by making them so blessed that the world would know only God could have blessed them so; or by making them so cursed that only God could have cursed them and cause them to still survive. The choice was up to Israel.
- As a literary form, this chapter is similar to ancient treaties between a king and his people; this is God the King, making a covenant with His people, Israel.
iii. "In the ancient Near East it was customary for legal treaties to conclude with passages containing blessings upon those who observed the enactments, and curses upon those who did not." (Harrrison)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Deuteronomy 28,
This chapter is a very large exposition of two words in the foregoing chapter, the blessing and the curse. Those were pronounced blessed in general that were obedient, and those cursed that were disobedient; but, because generals are not so affecting, Moses here descends to particulars, and describes the blessing and the curse, not in their fountains (these are out of sight, and therefore the most considerable, yet least considered, the favour of God the spring of all the blessings, and the wrath of God the spring of all the curses), but in their streams, the sensible effects of the blessing and the curse, for they are real things and have real effects. I. He describes the blessings that should come upon them if they were obedient; personal, family, and especially national, for in that capacity especially they are here treated with (v. 1–14). II. He more largely describes the curses which would come upon them if they were disobedient; such as would be, I. Their extreme vexation (v. 15–44). 2. Their utter ruin and destruction at last (v. 45–68). This chapter is much to the same purport with Lev. 26, setting before them life and death, good and evil; and the promise, in the close of that chapter, of their restoration, upon their repentance, is here likewise more largely repeated, ch. 30. Thus, as they had precept upon precept in the repetition of the law, so they had line upon line in the repetition of the promises and threatenings. And these are both there and here delivered, not only as sanctions of the law, what should be conditionally, but as predictions of the event, what would be certainly, that for a while the people of Israel would be happy in their obedience, but that at length they would be undone by their disobedience; and therefore it is said (ch. 30:1) that all those things would come upon them, both the blessing and the curse.
The blessings are here put before the curses, to intimate, 1. That God is slow to anger, but swift to show mercy: he has said it, and sworn, that he would much rather we would obey and live than sin and die. It is his delight to bless. 2. That though both the promises and the threatenings are designed to bring and hold us to our duty, yet it is better that we be allured to that which is good by a filial hope of God’s favour than that we be frightened to it by a servile fear of his wrath. That obedience pleases best which comes from a principle of delight in God’s goodness.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 271). Peabody: Hendrickson, Logos Bible Software
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 The Promise of Curses for Breaking the Covenant
This is the flip side of the coin. This is what happens when they say that they will obey God’s commandments, but don’t. Some see these verses as not just speaking theoretically of the people breaking the covenant…but prophetically. They speak of the time when the people will fall away from God and be conquered by other nations…a prediction of the Assyrian and Babylonian conquest and the people being deported to those nations.
Prayer: Lord, I want to know Your blessings! So, I pray that the Holy Spirit would give me the power and the wisdom to live in a manner that is in keeping with Your will and Your nature.