And it shall come to pass, if you shall listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God…
The natural world may be fitly regarded as the visible symbol of the spiritual world, the earthly state a lower copy of the heavenly. The order of cause and effect is as uniform in the spiritual sphere as in the material. Fire in contact with gunpowder will result in explosion. True seed in fitting soil will bear fruit. "Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap."
I. WE HAVE HERE A DESCRIPTION OF A GOOD MAN.
1. He is described by his teachableness. He "hearkens diligently unto the voice of the Lord." This is a trait of a true child. He has a sense of need, a sense of dependence upon another. He admits God's right to instruct and to command. He inquires after God, and reverently listens to his voice. It is his delight to hear the wise precepts of the unerring God.
2. He is described by his circumspection. He is observant of God's ways, discovers manifold and hidden indications of his will. Not only is his ear intent to the whispers of his Father, but his eye is open too. Blindness of mind has gone.
3. He is described by his completeness of obedience. He practically "does all the commandments of God." These came of old by the agency of Moses; but a good man detects within the human voice the Divine message - the authority of Heaven. And his entire conduct is determined by the known will of God.
II. GOODNESS IS ALLIED TO GREATNESS AS SURELY AS CAUSE TO EFFECT. "The Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth." As in nature it is certain that all botanical life shoots upward, or that gases, as they expand, also ascend; so in the spiritual kingdom it is certain that goodness will grow into eminence. 'Tis not merely an arbitrary decree of God; 'tis the outcome of the very constitution of the universe. The character of Jehovah is a guarantee that the constitutional principles of his empire do not change. Hostile influences and powers may for a time prevent goodness from receiving its due reward - just as superincumbent clay may prevent the young plant from shooting upward, but the final issue is certain. Faithful service shall be crowned with honor.
III. THE REWARD OF GOODNESS IS ITS OWN PERMANENCE. "The Lord shall establish thee an holy people" (ver. 9). "And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee." In the life of obedience "God helps those who help themselves." Separate acts become easier by repetition. They evolve into habits. Habits tend to permanence and constitute character and foreshadow destiny. All proceeds by virtue of an eternal law: "God helps those who help themselves." It is easier for a good man to resist temptation now than it was in the first stages of his Christian life. Devotion has become the natural outflow of his soul, the fruitage of his new life.
IV. BEHIND ALL FORMS OF BLESSING A PERSONAL GOD MAY BE SEEN. The material food does not sustain bodily life; it is God acting through the food. Neither fertile land, nor good husbandry, nor auspicious weather, nor all combined, will in themselves secure a copious harvest; it is God acting through natural forces. "The Lord shall command the blessing." However riches may increase, if God smile not, there will be no joy. The house may be full of children; yet instead of ruddy health there may be wasting sickness - instead of intellectual vigor, imbecility - instead of laughter, weeping; the blessing of God is wanting. We may possess substantial homes, yet no security; marauders and incendiaries may infest the land, True prosperity is a Divine Father's benediction.
V. A GOOD MAN DELIGHTS IN DISTRIBUTING GOOD. He himself becomes an inferior God, a lesser source of blessing. "Thou shalt lend, and shalt not borrow." The Name of God is put upon him. He acts in God's stead, and imitates God in all things. The result of the Divine favor will be conspicuous. All people shall see the gracious distinction which marks and signalizes the friend of God. All his beneficent deeds will be covered with a glory not born of earth. His mysterious influence will spread far and wide. He becomes a "burning and a shining light; many will rejoice in his light." - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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:
WEB: It shall happen, if you shall listen diligently to the voice of Yahweh your God, to observe to do all his commandments which I command you this day, that Yahweh your God will set you on high above all the nations of the earth: