Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come on you, which the LORD your God promised you…
There are those who deny God's threats of punishment the same validity which they ascribe to His promises of blessing. Joshua here ascribes equal certainty to both.
I. GOD MUST BE TRUE TO HIS THREATS. God desires to bless, and He can only punish reluctantly, since His nature is love. Hence it might appear that He would not be so true to His threats as to His promises. But, on the other hand, note : -
(1) To threaten without intending to execute would be deceitful; God is true and must be faithful to His word.
(2) It would be cruel; a merciful God would not terrify us with groundless alarms.
(3) It would be ineffectual; the emptiness of the threat would be ultimately discovered, and then the delusion would cease to be a terror and become a mockery.
(4) Punishment is ordained not to satisfy vengeance, but to establish justice and to vindicate and restore righteousness. It is a good sent for good ends, and to refrain from it would be a mark of weakness, not of mercy.
II. THE APPARENT UNCERTAINTY OF GOD'S THREATS ADMITS OF EXPLANATION.
(1) They are conditional. The punishment does not always come because the conditions of the threat are altered. Repentance and faith in Christ are conditions on which God exercises mercy and refrains from executing His threat. The turning from evil is declared to be an alteration of circumstances which makes the threat no longer to apply (Ezekiel 33:19). The force of gravitation is not suspended when we arrest the motion of a falling body. The law is not frustrated by the counteraction of the gospel.
(2) Threats are often misunderstood. The Church has added monstrous physical horrors to the threats of the Bible, against which men revolt. It is not our interpretation of the threat, but God's meaning, that will be fulfilled.
(3) Threats apply to the future; because God is long suffering, men refuse to believe that He is just. The delay of punishment is no ground for disbelieving in the reality of it.
(4) Threats are unpleasant; many persons will not entertain unpleasant ideas. Yet a fact is not the less true because it does not please us.
III. THE APPLICATION OF GOD'S THREATS SHOULD BE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED.
(1) It is dangerous to neglect them. We do not improve our health by ignoring the opinion of a physician simply because this is unfavorable. If the Divine warnings are true, they are terribly true, and no soul should be at rest till it has found safety in Christ.
(2) It is foolish to despair. Why are these threats recorded in the Bible? Surely not simply to torture us! If they were inevitable it would be most merciful to conceal our doom from us till the last moment. But they are warnings. The very fact that they are recorded implies that the evil they describe may be avoided. The threat is true, but it is conditional. Therefore let us flee the danger by escaping to the refuge which God has provided (Romans 8:1). - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.
WEB: It shall happen that as all the good things have come on you of which Yahweh your God spoke to you, so Yahweh will bring on you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you,