Last week we saw that Israel was ready to enter the Promise Land. God through Moses addressed the people. He reviewed what God had done for them and reminded them of His laws. The people who heard the laws the first time had mostly passed away and now there was a new generation who needed to hear God’s truths.
Deuteronomy 27:1-8 – God’s Word
As Israel prepared to cross the Jordan River into the Promise Land, Moses finished reviewing the law and now was charging the people to keep it. God told Moses and the elders once they crossed the Jordan to find large stones and coat them with plaster and write on them God’s law. They were to take these stones to Mt. Ebal. Then they were to also build an altar there. They would be setting up a new government in a new land and needed these laws constantly before them. They need to see them as a reminder. They didn’t have the Bible like we do, but they would have the law on stones to refer to.
Principle: God wants His Word published and known, but the enemy wants it hidden.
Do you turn to the Bible for God’s guidance and direction?
The altar was to be made with uncut stones (fieldstones) without any added human workmanship. It was to be used for burnt and fellowship offerings sacrificed to God. (Deut. 27:1-8) Uncut stones without any human workmanship added shows that we can’t add anything to our salvation. We can’t add or do anything, because salvation is by grace. Jesus did all the work on the cross. Sin brings judgment and is punished by death. They sacrificed innocent animals, but this kind of sacrifice couldn’t really take away the punishment for sin. Their sacrifices point to the only perfect and innocent sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Only He can take away our sin.
Deuteronomy 27:9-28:1-68 – Blessings and Curses
When they entered the land, they were to have a special assembly to read the curses and blessings. Six tribes were to stand on Mount Ebal and the other six tribes were to stand on Mount Gerizim. These mountains were twin facing which enclosed a natural amphitheater so everyone would be able to hear the Levites speak. The Levites on Mt. Gerizim were to shout the blessings for all those who obeyed. On Mt. Ebal the Levites were to shout the curses upon those who broke God’s laws. Then the people on both sides would say “amen” indicating they agreed, their intent to obey, and that they acknowledged the benefits of following the laws as well as the consequences for disobeying them.
This is like it will be someday. Similar things will happen. There will be two sides – those who don’t know Jesus as Savior and those who do know Him as Savior. On that day everyone will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord regardless of which side they chose. “…at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Phil. 2:10-11.
Which side will you be on?
Have you acknowledged Jesus as Lord of your life?
If the people fully obeyed the Word of God, He would give them huge blessings. They would be unbeatable as a nation. They would be prosperous in their crops and in their families. All they had to do was follow His commands and not follow other gods. (Deut. 28:1-14) He didn’t bless them because they deserved it, but gave blessings only if they obeyed Him. They were not to seek blessings, but to seek God, then the blessing would come.
God wants to bless us, not curse us. We don’t have the same blessings God gave to Israel did, but it’s true today. Sometimes disobedience brings consequences and sometimes obedience brings material and physical blessings. Our sin brings curses on us. Our biggest blessing is God Himself, because of His loves for us. His blessings to us will get the attention of others. (Deut. 28:10) Our obedience impacts us and how others view us. People are watching us and watching our faith. We set the example whether it’s good or bad, even when we don’t realize it.
How has God blessed you?
How have you shown others that you are obedient?
Do others see as a faithful follower or a hypocrite?
Now here come the curses for disobedience. You will notice there are more curses mentioned than blessings. Warnings may have more effect than when blessings are promised. If the people didn’t obey His Word, God would consider them as having forsaken Him. Instead of blessings they would receive curses. They would be continually defeated as a nation. They would have diseases, plagues, drought, be oppressed, and robbed with no one to rescue them. Their crops and families would fail. This was all because they didn’t obey God and observe His commands. Curses will come upon them, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.” – Deut. 28:47-48.
What warning do you see in these verses for yourself?
What area in your life do you need God’s help to obey Him?
Principle: Obedience to God’s Word brings life and blessings, but disobedience brings death and disaster.
Deuteronomy 29 – Renewal of the Covenant
Moses reminded the people of what God did to Pharaoh and to the land with miraculous signs and wonders when they were in Egypt. He reminded them of how He led them for 40 years in the desert while providing them with food and clothes. He urged them to be faithful to God. God helped them defeat nations and gave them the land He promised. As all the people were there in front of God, Moses reminded them of the covenant and promise God made with Abraham, which was confirmed that day. This covenant was also with those who hadn’t been born yet. Each generation needed to accept the covenant for themselves. (Deut. 29:1-8)
Principle: There’s nothing higher or more satisfying than in a covenant relationship with God.
Moses told of what would happen to Israel in the future. They would be removed from their land and it would be all because the people abandoned the covenant of the Lord. They would worship other gods and the Lord’s anger would burn against them. He would send great wrath upon them and they would be uprooted from their land. (Deut. 29:9-28)
The future is only known by God. God doesn’t reveal everything to us. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God….” – Deut. 29:29. The Bible is sufficient for all our spiritual needs. All we have to do is follow it and trust Him for the future.
Deuteronomy 30 – Repent and Choose Life
Moses ended with a message of hope. He urged them to obey. Moses knew they would rebel, but he also assured them that they would return to God and to their land and they would be blessed again having more than they had before. When the people turn back to God and obey Him with all their hearts and soul, then the Lord will restore their fortunes. This turning is called repentance.
Principle: God can restore the repented heart.
Moses told them to choose life. It’s a simple choice. It was a choice to live or die. It was a choice between good and evil things. Obey God’s commands and live or reject Him and perish eternally. Moses told them it was not too difficult or beyond their reach. They are to simply choose to love God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him…” – Deut. 30:19-20
We have the same choice today. It’s all up to you, too. Believing or refusing to believe is a matter of life and death. Do you want to live or die? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming; That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” – Rom. 10:8-10.
What choice have you made? Have you made a firm choice for God? Your choice is your destiny.
Principle: A choice for God and His ways is necessary for eternal life.
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