"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD . . ."(Psalm 33:12a ESV)
Is there an impending judgment on nations who refuse to walk in obedience to God's law? Does Deuteronomy 28 apply to nations today or did the blessings and curses only apply to Ancient Israel? What about modern Israel (the country), does the blessing and cursing of Deuteronomy 28 still apply? Yes, yes, & yes. Why so? Because man is under covenant with God. Man cannot escape from God's ethical boundaries. Man can run but he can't hide.
"And 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. And all these blessings will come upon you . . .But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all His commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you." (Deut. 28:1-2a, 15 ESV)
If you say that the blessings and curses didn't apply to other nations during the time of the older covenant, why then did God judge those nations? God judged the nations because of their wickedness and refusal to obey His commandments. The law of God existed from the beginning of creation. We know this to be true because God was in covenant with man right from the beginning. Man is either keeping covenant or he is breaking covenant. God did not create man outside of covenant. Man that is not keeping covenant is breaking it. Christians who teach that the secular realm does not have to obey the Scriptures in how laws are made to govern society are misleading people. These Christians contend that man's kingdom has natural law that is to govern society. So-called "natural law" is actually God's law, it's God's general revelation that he instilled in man. The nations of old not only had this "natural law" but God's statutes were handed down beginning with Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses. These statutes existed in some form, to what extent we don't know for sure, but we do know that Adam's sin required a sacrifice for covering. The Bible doesn't go into detail on this but God had laws in place. Other passages present the idea of God's law existing before given in full at Mt. Sinai such as: Noah "was a herald of righteousness." (2 Peter 2:5 ESV) And Abraham "obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:5 ESV) We also see "Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High." (Genesis 14:18 ESV). There's numerous passages like these that allude to the fact that God's law was known to the world before the "official" giving of the law in Exodus 20. Leviticus 18:24-30 is clear that God drove out the nations because of their lawlessness so Israel could take the land. The "secular" nations were cursed for their ethical rebellion to God.
When God created the world, he put man in covenant. The creation covenant binds all men of all time. All men are tied to Adam, who is our federal head. Rebellious man cannot escape this fact. Man is under the judgment of God. Romans 1 makes this clear. Man has an ethical, moral obligation to keep God's commandments because he is under the creation covenant, which is binding for every human being that is ever born. Fallen man is unable to free himself from God's judgment and therefore enters the need of the second Adam, Jesus, who renews the creation covenant. Christ is the new creation and those in Him become a new creature. God's law doesn't go away, but it is upheld by Jesus. Jesus mediates righteousness to the Father on behalf of His people. Jesus takes the place of the sacrificial system, and in no way did Jesus abolish God's standard of righteousness for man. Man is in covenant with God by the very act of the creation covenant. Many can only be in right standing with God through the new Creation covenant that is in Jesus Christ. Christ is the new federal head that replaced the first Adam. Man outside of the new creation covenant is still under the original creation covenant's moral obligations and will be judged according to his failure to keep the law. This is precisely why the old man needs Christ to become a new man and enter into the new creation covenant of life.
Unregenerate man is bound by the original creation covenant to live in the light of God's law. He won't do so because he hates the light and won't come to the light. He needs to be transformed from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. This is no excuse for unregenerate, secular societies to not uphold God's law. "Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!"(Psalm 33:8 ESV) God requires it of them and He holds them morally responsible. "Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:10-12 ESV)
Nations will be blessed if the keep God's Law-word. And nations will be cursed if they do not keep God's law-word. The blessing/cursing principle stands: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7 ESV). This applies to the individual as we'll as to people groups under federal/representative heads.
1. All men are placed under God's ethical boundaries by the original creation covenant.
2. Nations are required to govern according to God's law.
3. Nations will be blessed for obedience and cursed for disobedience to God's law.
4. The new creation covenant in Christ is man's only hope for a right standing with God.
5. As man is renewed/regenerated in the image of Christ he will be able to govern rightly using God's law to establish justice and equity.
6. The nations will stream to Christ and uphold his law (Micah 4:1-8) and this happens in time and on earth before the final enemy death is defeated when Christ returns.