Deuteronomy 28

* The blessings for obedience. (1-14) The curses for

disobedience. (15-44) Their ruin, if disobedient. (45-68)

1-14 This chapter is a very large exposition of two words, the

blessing and the curse. They are real things and have real

effects. The blessings are here put before the curses. God is

slow to anger, but swift to show mercy. It is his delight to

bless. It is better that we should be drawn to what is good by a

child-like hope of God's favour, than that we be frightened to

it by a slavish fear of his wrath. The blessing is promised,

upon condition that they diligently hearken to the voice of God.

Let them keep up religion, the form and power of it, in their

families and nation, then the providence of God would prosper

all their outward concerns.
15-44 If we do not keep God's commandments, we not only come

short of the blessing promised, but we lay ourselves under the

curse, which includes all misery, as the blessing all happiness.

Observe the justice of this curse. It is not a curse causeless,

or for some light cause. The extent and power of this curse.

Wherever the sinner goes, the curse of God follows; wherever he

is, it rests upon him. Whatever he has is under a curse. All his

enjoyments are made bitter; he cannot take any true comfort in

them, for the wrath of God mixes itself with them. Many

judgments are here stated, which would be the fruits of the

curse, and with which God would punish the people of the Jews,

for their apostacy and disobedience. We may observe the

fulfilling of these threatenings in their present state. To

complete their misery, it is threatened that by these troubles

they should be bereaved of all comfort and hope, and left to

utter despair. Those who walk by sight, and not by faith, are in

danger of losing reason itself, when every thing about them

looks frightful.
45-68 If God inflicts vengeance, what miseries his curse can

bring upon mankind, even in this present world! Yet these are

but the beginning of sorrows to those under the curse of God.

What then will be the misery of that world where their worm

dieth not, and their fire is not quenched! Observe what is here

said of the wrath of God, which should come and remain upon the

Israelites for their sins. It is amazing to think that a people

so long the favourites of Heaven, should be so cast off; and yet

that a people so scattered in all nations should be kept

distinct, and not mixed with others. If they would not serve God

with cheerfulness, they should be compelled to serve their

enemies. We may justly expect from God, that if we do not fear

his fearful name, we shall feel his fearful plagues; for one way

or other God will be feared. The destruction threatened is

described. They have, indeed, been plucked from off the land,

ver. #63|. Not only by the Babylonish captivity, and when

Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans; but afterwards, when they

were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem. They should have no

rest; no rest of body, ver. 65, but be continually on the

remove, either in hope of gain, or fear of persecution. No rest

of the mind, which is much worse. They have been banished from

city to city, from country to country; recalled, and banished

again. These events, compared with the favour shown to Israel in

ancient times, and with the prophecies about them, should not

only excite astonishment, but turn unto us for a testimony,

assuring us of the truth of Scripture. And when the other

prophecies of their conversion to Christ shall come to pass, the

whole will be a sign and a wonder to all the nations of the

earth, and the forerunner of a general spread of true

christianity. The fulfilling of these prophecies upon the Jewish

nation, delivered more than three thousand years ago, shows that

Moses spake by the Spirit of God; who not only foresees the ruin

of sinners, but warns of it, that they may prevent it by a true

and timely repentance, or else be left without excuse. And let

us be thankful that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of

the law, by being made a curse for us, and bearing in his own

person all that punishment which our sins merit, and which we

must otherwise have endured for ever. To this Refuge and

salvation let sinners flee; therein let believers rejoice, and

serve their reconciled God with gladness of heart, for the

abundance of his spiritual blessings.
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