If you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God,
being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today,
the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1 ESV)
The entire book of Deuteronomy is one long, final sermon from God’s leader, Moses. It is summed up simply:
God loves you and has chosen and called you out by extraordinary grace and purpose. Obey Him, and do not forget or turn aside. If you obey, there is blessing. If you do not, there is a curse.
Simple, profound, amazing … and prophetic in its accuracy.
The writer of Proverbs gives the same prescription: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). This is not just a word to Israel; it is a universal truth for “any people.” Godliness makes things right.
“For Us” Is “For Me”
I wonder if the Israelites nodded their heads in agreement to Moses’ sermon, walked away from the meeting, shook Moses’ hand politely (with maybe a mention about the weather), and said, “That was a wonderful message, Pastor!” … and then made absolutely no adjustment in their daily lives.
I wonder if they agreed with it for others but did not apply it immediately for themselves. I wonder if they saw it nationally, but not personally.
We must take the Bible immediately and personally. We must apply it ruthlessly and quickly. It must get down to us as an individual, creating real responses there, or it will never translate elsewhere.
A nation is nothing more than a collection of people. When the people heard Moses’ sermon as a group, they heard him say, “If YOU will faithfully obey …”
Bringing It Home
Maybe you think, “Well, that’s just Old Testament. That was for the nation of Israel. It’s not true for us today.” Let’s just bring it down on a micro-level for a field test.
Walk in obedience today, by the grace of God, and see what happens in the small orbit of your own world. You will discover that if you “walk by the Spirit, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The fruit of “love, joy, peace, patience …” (vv. 22-23) will be experienced in and through you and will touch the lives of those around you. You will not experience the “works of the flesh” (v. 18), which create such strife and turmoil.
Everything you long for nationally will be experienced personally. It’s real. It works.
Do not expect national revival someday if you are not willing to obey Christ personally today.