The thrust of this passage is God’s appeal to Israel to submit to Him. He will bless them for doing so.
Continual conformity – In what way and to what extent did the Lord want Israel to submit to Him? [All emphasis in the quotes below is mine, rdc]
Always – “Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always” (11:1).
All commands– “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you . . . And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today” (11:8,32)
Earnestly and carefully – “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments . . . For if you carefully keep all these commandments . . .” (11:13,22), blessings from Jehovah will follow.
With all the heart and soul – God was not looking for robot-like, unfeeling obedience from His people. Instead, He told them: “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you . . .” (11:13). Our great God expects no less of us today.
How to be strong (11:8) – As Israel tried to ready itself to cross over the Jordan River into the land of promise, they needed spiritual strength. What could help them to obtain and maintain such? “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land.” Yes, submitting to God’s instructions would make them strong. God’s word just has a built-in way of making His people what they need to be.
Beware of deception – “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them” (11:16). We may be inclined to tell ourselves that our faith is strong, so we are not vulnerable to ridiculous ideas. Let us remember: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
“A blessing and a curse” – It was pretty straightforward: “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God . . . and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God . . .” (11:26-28). God instructed Israel to put the blessing on Mount Gerizim (“good” with “Gerizim”) and the curse on Mount Ebal (“evil” with “Ebal”). After the Israelites entered Canaan, they fulfilled God’s charge by reading the law’s message about blessings and cursings (Joshua 8:33,34).
— Roger D. Campbell