We now come to the commencement of the third discourse of Moses. It was preeminently the uttering of solemn warnings in which he laid before the people the results of disobedience and rebellion. He spoke first, however, of the blessings which would follow obedience. They were to have national preeminence. Temporal blessings of all kinds would abound. They were to have victory over their enemies in time of war. The purpose of their King, Jehovah, it was plainly declared, was to fill them with joy and make their path prosperous. They could, however, enter into His purpose only by obeying His law.
The effect of disobedience was then described as it would obtain among themselves. Adversity of every kind would overtake them. They would be smitten before their enemies, and persistent disobedience would result in their being driven out of the land into which God had brought them. The description of this expulsion proved eventually to have been a prophecy of what actually happened when they were carried away to Babylon. Continuing to speak prophetically, Moses uttered words which the centuries proved to be a detailed description of the Roman mastery of the land and the ultimate destruction of the city.
In view of so solemn a discourse as this delivered at the close of his period of leadership, it is indeed an appalling thing to think of how these people disobeyed the commandments, rebelled against God, and fulfilled to the letter all Moses had said. There can be but one explanation, and that the one to which the writer of the letter to the Hebrews referredunbelief. The story is a warning for us, revealing as it does the capacity of man for evil, and how, in spite of the clearest warnings, he is capable of disastrous disobedience. More is needed than the law which indicates the way and more than the prophet who urges obedience.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25