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Deuteronomy 28:15-68 -

Love veiled in frown.

Probably many may think that this is one of the most awful chapters in the Word of God. Certainly we are not aware of any other in which there is such a long succession of warnings, increasing in terror as they advance. In fact, Matthew Henry tells us of a wicked man who was so enraged at reading this chapter that he tore the leaf out of his Bible! Impotent rage! Impotent as if, when a man dreaded an eclipse of the sun, he were to tear up the announcements thereof. It would come for all that! So here; there are two historical facts, viz. that the children of Israel did depart from their God, and, that all these curses did befall them. Some are unspent even yet. Hence this chapter is a standing proof of the accuracy of the foresight which dictated its prophecies. But while we thus get, on the one hand, a verification of the words, and so a proof of their Divine origin, another question is raised, viz. How are all these terrible realities consistent with the love of God? Now, far be it from us to attempt any vindication of the ways of God. He is infinitely beyond any need of that. What he does is right, whether we can see it to he so or no. One thing only do we aim at now: that is, to guard men against any misinterpretation of those ways, and to point them to such teachings concerning them as God has given to us. Our theme is —Love veiled in frown ; or , the terrors of the Lord a necessity of his infinite love .

I. There are some in every nation whom it is absolutely necessary to sway by deterrents, and in the infancy of a nation fear is more potent than faith.

II. God has a curse as well as a blessing. His love is not a mere desire to make men as easy as possible. It is, first of all, a righteous love. When love has to deal only with righteousness, its benevolent aspect only will be seen; but when sin has to be dealt with, the case is very different.

III. It should be deeply graven in our souls that the black-looking and lowering storm-cloud of Divine wrath, though we call it "the curse of God," must never be thought of in any way which would be inconsistent with his pure and perfect love. The wrath of God is holy love frowning on wrong.

IV. When once the wrath of God is incurred, the sinner cannot elude it, any more than he can retreat from his own shadow.

V. Given the actuality of sin, and a far-seeing eye can with certainty descry some of the consequences thereof; an infinite eye can discern them all.

VI. We know that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but his vindication of his own laws is essential to guard righteousness as with a wall of fire! Hence—

VII. The truest kindness is seen in the enunciation of the most alarming warnings which can be given. The truest love is that which is most faithful. Hence it will often seem the most stern.

VIII. A like holy guard to that which is here thrown around the Law of God is also thrown around the gospel. Just as, on the one hand, this Law did not and could not annul the promise which had been made to Abraham and his seed, even so, on the other hand, not even the richness and glory of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ can ever annul the action of these stern, retributive laws of God's providence on those who continue in sin, and who reject the redemption brought in by the Son of God (see Hebrews 9:1-28 ; Hebrews 10:1-39 .).


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