For Israel, it was quite simple: obey God and be blessed, disobey Him and be cursed.
Diligently, carefully obey all that the Lord says (28:1-14) – If Israel did that, Jehovah would pour out His blessings on them. Under the Law of Moses, that included material blessings (28:4,5,11,12).
Here is a summary statement: “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out” (28:6). Because of Israel’s obedience, God would be against their enemies (28:7), and other nations would observe and take note of how the Lord would take care of His people (28:10).
The major thrust of this chapter deals with the consequences that Israel would face for disobedience (28:15-68) – To disobey God meant to forsake Him (28:20). Jehovah not only would withhold certain blessings; He also would punish the Israelites for their rebellion against Him (28:27).
Due to Israel’s disobedience, the land would be affected (28:38-40), their livestock would be affected (28:31), and their children would, too (28:32,41). Yes, sin can have far-reaching consequences.
In God’s language, Israel would be destroyed for her disobedience (28:45), the result being that she would go into captivity to a foreign nation (28:36). One clear-cut instance of this was when the Jews were taken captives by the Babylonians, just as Moses predicted (28:49-52). In Moses’ words, “And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you” (28:37). What a sad state of affairs that would be.
Under horrendous circumstances, some of the children of Israel would eat their own children (28:53). How disgusting humans are when they turn their backs on the Creator and have to face the music for their own choices.
For the Israelite nation, perhaps one of the most fear-instilling thoughts was what God said ultimately would happen to them if they forsook Him: “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known – wood and stone. And among those nations you shall find no rest . . .” (28:64,65). Would not the modern-day status of the Jewish people be that of being scattered throughout the whole world?
There are fascinating facts recorded in this chapter. Beyond that, though, is a message that should cause us to think soberly, do some serious reflection on our own spiritual status, and make certain that we have a heart that is ready to lay aside all sin (Hebrews 12:1).
— Roger D. Campbell