And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all 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. — Deuteronomy 28:1-2
I recently signed a loan agreement at my bank to pay for a “late model” car. Reading the entire contract, which was several pages, wasn’t fun. It was important, however, that I did read it, since I would be responsible for all its provisions. We need to understand contracts that we are involved in.
Some contracts are highly complex. However, in their simplest form, they have a few basic parts: obligations of both parties and penalties for default or failure to perform. In the case of my loan, the bank’s obligation was to loan me the agreed upon amount. My obligation is to repay the amount with the prescribed interest, which is their benefit (consideration). Once the bank provided the money, they satisfied their obligation completely; mine extends through the entire term. If I fail to make payments (failed to perform), I am subject to the repercussions (penalty) listed in the contract, which in this case would be repossession, credit problems, etc. If I make all the payments, the car is mine.
In this chapter of Deuteronomy, God’s contract was with the Israelites. Just as with modern contracts, God’s contract stipulated the performance obligations for Him and for the Israelites, and He identified the consideration. The Israelites had to perform in order to realize their benefits; if they did not, they were subject to penalties, which were also spelled out in the contract.
God’s promises can be likened to a contract. In today’s legal world, a contract may be written, verbal, or implied. The validity of a contract is often scrutinized in the court of law. However, God’s contract is of infinitely greater value since His Word is forever “settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
Our part of the “contract” is to believe on His Son, Jesus Christ, and to keep His commandments. Failure to take advantage of God’s provision would subject us to the penalty of sin, which is eternal damnation. Our consideration for performance is eternal life — what a benefit!
This chapter delves into the contractual conditions between God and the Israelites. We can categorize the chapter identifying “Covenant Sanctions.” In chapter 28, we find there are two primary parts of the covenant (contract with God). They are as follows:
The contractual performance obligation of God is clear. Look how many times the phrase “The Lord shall” appears in the early part of this chapter. The word “shall” provides the contractual hinge to certain performance. If this happens, then God shall do that. It is not an option; it is an absolute. There is contractual certainty. God said He unequivocally would bless the Israelites’ performance.
The portion of the chapter that dealt with curses for their non-performance (which included their being disbursed or scattered) is larger in terms of the number of verses. However, comparing these penalties with all the blessings God offers, there is really not a disparity.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The third discourse: ratification of the covenant
B. The responsibility of keeping the Law (28:1-68)
1. The blessings for obedience (28:1-14)
2. The curses for disobedience (28:15-68)
As with all contracts, we need to know the terms of God’s contract and follow them.