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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 28

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-68

Chapter 28

Now as we come into chapter twenty-eight,

It shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently [You see the condition. If you hearken diligently] unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and do all his commandments ( Deuteronomy 28:1 )

You get this over and over again because this was the condition of the covenant. Whereby they could have this land and dwell there. This was the condition of God's blessing; it was the obedience to the commandments of God.

that God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of your cows, your flocks, your sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and store. You'll be blessed when you come in, and blessed when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee from thee seven ways. The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in your storehouses, and in all that you set your hand to do; the Lord shall bless your land which he gives to you. He shall establish thee an holy people unto himself... And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle... The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give rain unto the land in his season,... thou shalt lend unto many nations, and not borrow. And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail;... if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do them: and shall not go aside from keeping these commandments ( Deuteronomy 28:1-14 )

Now again all the blessings that God is promising to them, conditions upon their keeping the commandments of God and doing them.

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes [and so forth]: then cursed shalt thou be in the city, and in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of your body, and the fruit of the land, the increase of the cows, the flocks, and the sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when you come in, and cursed when you go out... The LORD shall make the pestilence to cleave unto you,... and the LORD will smite you with consumption... And the heaven that is over you shall be brass, and the earth shall be like iron, the drought. [verse twenty-five] The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And your carcase will be meat for the birds of the air, and the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, therefore you can not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, to the astonishment of heart: And thou shalt grope at noonday ( Deuteronomy 28:15-19 , Deuteronomy 28:21-23 , Deuteronomy 28:25-29 ),

And God goes on to tell to them the curses that will come upon them if they turn away from God and begin to worship and serve other gods, the gods of the land. This is what is going to happen.

Now, we are dealing with a basic law of God. And it is important that we recognize this. The law of God is expressed in another verse of scripture, which declares: "Righteousness exhalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people"( Proverbs 14:34 ).

If a nation will establish itself as a righteous nation, if a nation will place God at the center of its national life, recognizing and acknowledging God, that nation shall be blessed of God abundantly. That was exactly what our founding fathers had in mind when they established this the United States of America. They had in their minds to establish a nation that would guarantee the religious freedoms. A nation though that honored God in the heart and in the life of the nation itself. And it was their purpose to keep the people aware of the dependency upon God.

And because our nation was thus established, our nation was greatly blessed of God. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee." And our nation grew strong, and powerful among the nations of the earth. And we today living in this nation are enjoying the benefits that have come to this nation because of the wisdom of the founding fathers in founding a nation with God at the heart and the center, even imprinting on the coins, "in God we trust". Trying to bring to the people a national conscienceness of the need of God and the centrality of God in the national life. And the nation did become strong; the nation did become prosperous.

But now in our prosperity we have men in the Supreme Court and throughout our whole governmental processees who do not believe that God should be a part of the nation. These men are men who are controlled by the humanistic philosophies, whose god is materialism. And because they are humanist they have sought to put God out of the national conscienceness, these humanists not only control our government they control the major mass media in the United States. You cannot buy time on the major networks for religious broadcasting because they are controlled by the humanists. They don't want anything that would cause people to begin to have a national conscienceness of God. They have begun their ruling whereby they have ruled prayer out of the public school, the Bible out of public schools, and now the celebration of Christmas out of the public schools, except in only a secular sense.

I have on my desk a paper from the superintendent of one of our local school systems here to all of the teachers, telling them that they are to delete any story of Christmas that deals with Mary and the Christ child. That they are not to sing any carols that have anything to do about a baby being born in Bethlehem or anything about Jesus Christ. And it tells how that they must be subtle in these things so they don't get a big backwash. And it goes ahead and instructs them on their Christmas program, how to do it so as not to give offense to the Christians because Christ has been totally deleted out of it. But it goes ahead and it quotes from certain Supreme Court edicts that makes it necessary to rule even Christmas carols and Christ even out of Christmas. And they are even changing the name and no longer calling it your Christmas vacation, because they don't even want the word Christmas because it has Christ in it.

I don't think I need to tell you that our nation is in a very precarious position tonight. And a strong, great powerful nation, we are deteriorating very rapidly. For the very things that made us strong we are trying to rule out of our national life. And even as God blessed our nation because we were willing to put God at the center of our national life, even as we have chosen now to rule God out of our national life, we are beginning to experience the curses and they are going to extremes. Our nation is rapidly going downhill. We are faced with insurmountable kinds of problems. They are talking about gas rationing right after the first of the year. Kuwait is talking about cutting off twenty-five percent of its oil production making our oil needs even more critical. We already know they can't do anything about the economy that is in a royal mess. And we see the deterioration of this nation because we have sought by legislature, by court rulings to rule God out of our national life. Our nation was strong because it was founded upon godly principles. It is becoming weak as we seek to rule God out.

Now, the whole sad thing about this is here we are, enjoying the benefits of our forefathers who had enough foresight to make the constitute, and all, guarantee religious freedoms and it gave us the right for all these things. You see according to the ruling to the Supreme Court students who are gay have a right to meet on campus, to have a room furnished for their meetings so that they can advocate and discuss the gay life, pass out literature and so forth advocating that life. They have a court ruling, a Supreme Court ruling, that gives them that privilege. However, that same Supreme Court ruled that children do not have a right to meet together in a public school building and study or talk about the Bible, even if they meet there at their own choice. And yet we still have printed on our coins "in God we trust", how hypocritical can a nation be? Whenever there is a national emergency the President says "pray", as long as you're not in a school building.

Now there is just a basic principle involved. When a nation will follow God, that nation will be blessed, when a nation turns from God, that nation is going to be cursed. I am praying that God will bring to us a national revival. I think that that is the only hope for this nation, is a real revival that will cause the people to turn back to God and really elect legislators, presidents, that will appoint Supreme Court and court positions, not to lesbians and homosexuals and all like our governor in the state of California.

But to men who have a conscienceness of God, who fear God, who realize that they are not the final judge, but one day they are going to stand before the judge to give an account of themselves. And men who have a sense of accountability. If a man doesn't believe in God he has no sense of accountability. He becomes the authority within himself. And whenever a man becomes an authority within himself you have anarchy, and you have anarchy even within the court system, as they become authorities within themselves to determine what the law says. And if a man has no fear of God within his heart, how can you hope to have righteous judgment? Oh, may God help us as Christians to get up off our couches, and to become active in the sponsoring of godly men for public office. I feel we have an obligation to do so or else we have no right to sit back and cry when the whole thing goes down the tubes.

So God pronounces the curses that are going to come and He goes on, in verse thirty-seven, He tells them that they shall become, that they will be driven into other nations.

And they shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD leads you [Verse thirty-seven] ( Deuteronomy 28:37 ).

Now it is interesting that that has happened to the Jew. In being driven into the other nations they became a byword and it seems like they were hated, sometimes even without cause by people. There are people today who have very strong anti-Semitic feelings and the term Jew became almost a dirty term. A byword, a curse, because they disobeyed the commandments of God.

Verse forty-five,

More over all them curses shall come upon thee, [in other words, man, if this isn't enough, God goes on and on and on.] and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and statutes which he commanded thee:... And because you did not serve the LORD, [verse forty-seven] with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ( Deuteronomy 28:45-47 );

Oh, what a sad, tragic thing, God has given us so much that we would murmur and complain. God has blessed us so much. We murmur because the new one hundred-dollar boots we bought are stiff and we have to break them in, and how about those poor Cambodians who don't even have shoes? Lepers who don't even have feet. I mean we have so much to be thankful for and we should be serving God with joyfulness and gladness of heart. God loves a happy disposition. God wants you to serve Him joyfully, not gripingly. Again if you can't serve God without griping then don't serve God. If you can't give to God without complaining then don't give to God. It's an insult to God for you to complain about what you've given to Him. What a horrible insult to God. So if you can't give it joyfully then don't give it, don't insult God, by complaining about what you've given or what you've done or had to do for Him. Better not to do it.

That's why we don't ask you to do things around here at Calvary; we don't want any griping service to God. Whatever you do for God, you do it with your heart and do it joyfully or don't do it. That's why we wait for people to come to us and ask how they can serve the Lord before we ever give them any jobs. We never go around soliciting people to fill a job here at Calvary, because we don't want you to feel pressured. Oh, here comes Romaine again. He's going to get on me for that job. Oh, what shall I tell him this time, you know? No Way. We will never approach you for any service unto the Lord. That is something that has to come from your own heart, your own desire. Whatever you do for God just do it joyfully with gladness, and God accepts it and receives it and just appreciates it. No other way is God interested in anything you might have for Him.

Now because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness, you're going to then serve your enemies in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of things: and your enemies will put a yolk of iron on your neck, till he has destroyed you. And, the LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue those shalt not understand; [which is a reference to the Roman Empire.] A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, [and all] and He shall besiege thee in all they gates... [and in verse fifty-three, God said] you are even going to eat the fruit of thine own body, [in other words, you will be so hungry you'll eat you own children.] ( Deuteronomy 28:48-51 , Deuteronomy 28:53 )

And this horrible curse did come to pass in the history of these people as they were driven by hunger to eating their own children as one of the times is recorded in 2 Kings chapter six.

Verse fifty-eight,

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, Jehovah, thy God; Then the LORD will make thy plagues awesome, plague your seed, and give you sore sicknesses of long continuance. And He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt. And you will be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven; because you would not obey the voice of the LORD thy God ( Deuteronomy 28:58-60 , Deuteronomy 28:62 ).

You see how obedience is woven into the whole thing? If you obey then consider your blessings, but because you would not obey, because you did not obey, then all the cursing. This is the covenant that God established, God says, "All right, I'm going to give you this land. I'm going to set this covenant with you. Obey me, follow me, you'll enjoy it you'll be blessed. Disobey me, turn from Me, and the curses will follow." It's just the covenant by which God gave to them the land.

And the Lord shall scatter thee among all the people, [verse sixty-four] from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known. [And you're going to hate life; life will be very grievous to you.] In the morning you will say, I wish it was evening, and in the evening you will say, I wish it was morning ( Deuteronomy 28:64 , Deuteronomy 28:67 ).


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 28". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-28.html. 2014.
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