This passage starts out in Chapter 27 with the people making an altar on Mount Ebal and calling down curses on those who would commit certain kinds of sins forbidden in the law. Chapter 28-30 outline the blessings that would fall on Israel if they obey the covenant and the curses that will fall on them if they don’t.
Two key verses are 28:1 and 28:15: “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth…v16 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:”
This section of scripture is called a Suzerain-vassal covenant, or conditional covenant. This kind of covenant was a major type of covenant in the Ancient Near East. In this kind of covenant, a much greater party, the Suzerain, claims absolute sovereignty and demands total loyalty and service from the vassal, the lesser party. The Suzerain promised protection on the vassal, and the vassal pledged absolute loyalty to the suzerain and total reliance on his protection.
It is sobering to think about my total reliance on God for protection, and to know that he expects total loyalty and service in return.
I definitely see Jesus in this kind of covenant. He lived in total submission to the father, and in return God exalted him above all other names. His submission was perfect! Now I have pledged my service to Christ as my suzerain, and I know I am saved from the wrath of God by the protection of his precious blood shed to cover me.