Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you…
All the machinery of law is abortive, unless obedience be the result. As a mother teaches her children, giving them "line upon line," frequent repetition and variation, so Moses patiently taught Israel. He was "faithful in all his house."
I. SEE THE INTERNAL EXCELLENCE OF GOD'S LAW. It has so many qualities of merit, that no one word in human language can express them all. They are "commandments," which word indicates the just authority from which they emanate. They are "statutes," implying their fixed and permanent character. They are "judgments," a description which denotes thoughtful deliberation, patient forethought, and sagacious decision. No greater benefactor can men have than a wise legislator. These Laws, if reverently observed, would have been "health to the marrow," and life to the nation.
II. THE DESIGN OF GOD'S COVENANT WAS HEARTY AND COMPLETE OBEDIENCE. It was unprofitable for God to command, or for Moses to teach, unless the people obeyed; just as it is futile for the husbandman to plough his land, pulverize the clods, sow the seed, water his crops, if no harvest ensue. The end which God had clearly in view - the only end worthy of him, was not Israel's possession of Canaan, nor prosperity there; the final end was obedience. The land was selected to be a theatre for practical righteousness. The land would be forfeited if righteous obedience did not abound. And obedience, to be acceptable, must be real. External conformity to law would not suffice. The whole soul must yield compliance. There must be harmony between man's will and God's. Obedience would foster reverence, and reverence would strengthen love. There is action and reaction amid the forces of the soul.
III. PIOUS OBEDIENCE IS ENTAILED. It is a moral inheritance passing from father to son. Formal and superficial obedience will not reproduce itself in others, will not bear seed of the true kind. But genuine, vital piety is contagious. If bad qualities are communicated, surely good qualities are also. Else truth would be feebler than error, virtue feebler than vice. Thorough, straightforward, transparent, cheerful piety is the greatest power in the world. For our children's sake, and for our children's children, let reverent obedience brighten and beautify our life!
IV. PIOUS OBEDIENCE PRODUCES PRESENT FRUITS. Its rewards are not wholly reserved for the future. On earth some advantages are reaped.
1. Length of days is a result. "Thy days may be prolonged." A green old age is a beautiful thing. "The wicked shall not live out half their days."
2. Numerous progeny is a result. "Ye may increase mightily." A growing population is universally regarded as a token of material prosperity. "They of the city shall flourish as grass of the earth." Success in all enterprise is announced as an effect. "It shall be well with thee."
3. Robust health, domestic comfort, national peace, prolific harvests, security, contentment, honor, - these are among the fruits to be anticipated. Obedience is an investment of moral capital, which brings largest and safest results. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: