“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)
The blessings are conditioned on hearing and doing all God’s commandments. James 2:10 warns, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Galatians 5:3 declares, “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Obedience demonstrated respect and love toward God, and blessings were contingent on that demonstration. John 14:21 makes a similar promise to the Christian. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
Parents who love their children delight in showing that love by giving them the things they want when they have been obedient. When they do wrong, however, love requires withholding those things to cause them to correct their behavior. If Israel would be obedient, God would demonstrate his love in specific manners.
“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 thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” (Deuteronomy 28:3-6)
This first promised blessing is a restatement of Deuteronomy 7:12-14. “Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.” Exodus 23:26 added one additional promise to this. “…the number of thy days I will fulfil.” They could expect live out a full normal complement of days.
“The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.” (Deuteronomy 28:7)
Here God reminds them of his promise in Deuteronomy 7:20-24. “Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.”
One blessing of obedience to God is the lack of need to fear other people. Matthew 10:28 commands Christians, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” II Timothy 1:7 informs us, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The result is “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me,” according to Hebrews 13:6.
“The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:8)
Not only would God bless in the productivity of their crops, but he would bless by preserving what they saved, and by enabling them to succeed at what ever else they attempted if they would obey him. It wouldn’t be necessary to go elsewhere to succeed.
“The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. 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.” (Deuteronomy 28:9-10)
If Israel would obey God’s commands, they would be a testimony to the rest of the world as an holy people called by his name and there would be a fear and respect for them.
“And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.” (Deuteronomy 28:11-12)
Obedience would result in and abundance of possessions, of food, of dependable weather and success in many endeavors. They would have abundant money to lend to other nations, while never needing to borrow. It would be a nation people would want to immigrate to.
“And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deuteronomy 28:13-14)
If Israel would follow God’s commands completely, exactly as written with no deviation, Israel would be the world leader, never controlled by any other power. She would attain a position much like what The United States held during much of the last century.
Remember that these blessings were to be formally pronounced to the nation of Israel after they took possession of the land to remind them of their contract with God. It seems to have been the occasion for Joshua’s challenge in Joshua 24.