Series: Thru the Bible
“(1) Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, “Keep every command I am giving you today. (2) At the time you cross the Jordan into the land the LORD your God is giving you, you must set up large stones and cover them with plaster. (3) Write all the words of this law on the stones after you cross to enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you.”
“(4) When you have crossed the Jordan, you are to set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I am commanding you today, and you are to cover them with plaster. (5) Build an altar of stones there to the LORD your God–you must not use any iron tool on them. (6) Use uncut stones to build the altar of the LORD your God and offer burnt offerings to the LORD your God on it. (7) There you are to sacrifice fellowship offerings, eat, and rejoice in the presence of the LORD your God. (8) Write clearly all the words of this law on the plastered stones.”
“(9) Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel, “Be silent, Israel, and listen! This day you have become the people of the LORD your God. (10) Obey the LORD your God and follow His commands and statutes I am giving you today.” (11) On that day Moses commanded the people, (12) “When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes will stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
(13) And these tribes will stand on Mount Ebal to deliver the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.”
Something I did not pick up on was that the division of these tribes seems to be in accordance to their birth from either a wife or a handmaiden of Jacob. In accordance with Galatians 4:30, the son of the bond woman will not be heir with the son of the free woman – comparing Ismael the son of Hagar with Isaac the son of Sarah.
Shechem obviously plays a role here since it was situated in the valley between these two mountains.
Tradition says that at the time of their entrance into the promised land the two mountains provided a stark contrast. Mount Gerizim was lush and fertile while Mount Ebal was rocky and barren, clearly portraying the ramifications of our choices.
If Israel chose to honor God and His law following in His ways, it would lead to a rich, fruitful life. Alternatively, if they were to embrace evil and and walk contrary to God and His ways, it would lead to an empty and barren life, devoid of all things good.
Blessings and Curses:
Curse means – means to bind (with a spell); to hem in with obstacles; to render powerless to resist. It is used in Genesis at the fall of man for the serpent and the ground for the man and the woman by “multiplying pain and difficulty from conception to childbirth”.
Bless means – Good favor bestowed on another. This may be expressed in the giving of a tangible gift or in the pronouncing of a verbal blessing. Most often, however, this word speaks of God’s favor on the righteous.
This is a sing-song from Levite to Israel. At the announcement of every curse for disobedience Israel was to respond with Amen which actually IS the hebrew word they said and we have adopted it into our language. It means – verily or truly. The word is used more often as the declaration, “may it be so”. It comes from a root meaning to confirm or support or to be faithful. The major idea behind this word is constancy and reliability. So in a way saying Amen was an affirmation of obedience and agreement to the deserving of negative if one was disobedient to the command.
This is consistent with the proclamation beforehand that on THIS day there were becoming the people of God. This was true beforehand, but this was an open proclamation of it’s truth and perhaps even a deeper expression of it. When we get to chapter 29 we will see that this was an additional covenant and oath God was making with this second generation which was in ADDITION TO the one He made with them at Horeb.
“(14) The Levites will proclaim in a loud voice to every Israelite: (15) ‘Cursed is the person who makes a carved idol or cast image, which is detestable to the LORD, the work of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen!’
(16) ‘Cursed is the one who dishonors his father or mother.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(17) ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(18) ‘Cursed is the one who leads a blind person astray on the road.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(19) ‘Cursed is the one who denies justice to a foreign resident, a fatherless child, or a widow.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(20) ‘Cursed is the one who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he has violated his father’s marriage bed.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(21) ‘Cursed is the one who has sexual intercourse with any animal.’ And all the people will say ‘Amen!’
(22) ‘Cursed is the one who sleeps with his sister, whether his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(23) ‘Cursed is the one who sleeps with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(24) ‘Cursed is the one who kills his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(25) ‘Cursed is the one who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’
(26) ‘Cursed is anyone who does not put the words of this law into practice.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’”
“(1) Now if you faithfully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all His commands I am giving you today, the LORD your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. (2) All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the LORD your God: (3) You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. (4) Your descendants will be blessed, and your soil’s produce, and the offspring of your livestock, including the young of your herds and the newborn of your flocks. (5) Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed. (6) You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. (7) “The LORD will cause the enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you. They will march out against you from one direction but flee from you in seven directions. (8) The LORD will grant you a blessing on your storehouses and on everything you do; He will bless you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (9) The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He swore to you, if you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. (10) Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the LORD’s name, and they will stand in awe of you. (11) The LORD will make you prosper abundantly with children, the offspring of your livestock, and your soil’s produce in the land the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. (12) The LORD will open for you His abundant storehouse, the sky, to give your land rain in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow. (13) The LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you will only move upward and never downward if you listen to the LORD your God’s commands I am giving you today and are careful to follow them. (14) Do not turn aside to the right or the left from all the things I am commanding you today, and do not go after other gods to worship them.”
The BIG BUT… (This is a different word for curse but essentially carries the same meaning as before.)
“(15) But if you do not obey the LORD your God by carefully following all His commands and statutes I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overtake you:
(16) You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
(17) Your basket and kneading bowl will be cursed.
(18) Your descendants will be cursed, and your soil’s produce, the young of your herds, and the newborn of your flocks.
(19) You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
(20) The LORD will send against you curses, confusion, and rebuke in everything you do until you are destroyed and quickly perish, because of the wickedness of your actions in abandoning Me.
(21) The LORD will make pestilence cling to you until He has exterminated you from the land you are entering to possess.
(22) The LORD will afflict you with wasting disease, fever, inflammation, burning heat, drought, blight, and mildew; these will pursue you until you perish.
(23) The sky above you will be bronze, and the earth beneath you iron.
(24) The LORD will turn the rain of your land into falling dust; it will descend on you from the sky until you are destroyed.
(25) The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will march out against them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions. You will be an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
(26) Your corpses will be food for all the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land, and no one will scare them away.
(27) “The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt, tumors, a festering rash, and scabies, from which you cannot be cured.
(28) The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness, and mental confusion,
(29) so that at noon you will grope as a blind man gropes in the dark. You will not be successful in anything you do. You will only be oppressed and robbed continually, and no one will help you.
(30) You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will rape her. You will build a house but not live in it. You will plant a vineyard but not enjoy its fruit.
(31) Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat any of it. Your donkey will be taken away from you and not returned to you. Your flock will be given to your enemies, and no one will help you.
(32) Your sons and daughters will be given to another people, while your eyes grow weary looking for them every day. But you will be powerless to do anything.
(33) A people you don’t know will eat your soil’s produce and everything you have labored for. You will only be oppressed and crushed continually.
(34) You will be driven mad by what you see.
(35) The LORD will afflict you on your knees and thighs with painful and incurable boils from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
(36) “The LORD will bring you and your king that you have appointed to a nation neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will worship other gods, of wood and stone.
(37) You will become an object of horror, scorn, and ridicule among all the peoples where the LORD will drive you.
(38) “You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because locusts will devour it.
(39) You will plant and cultivate vineyards but not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.
(40) You will have olives trees throughout your territory but not anoint yourself with oil, because your olives will drop off.”
(41) You will father sons and daughters, but they will not remain yours, because they will be taken prisoner.
(42) Whirring insects will take possession of all your trees and your land’s produce.
(43) The foreign resident among you will rise higher and higher above you, while you sink lower and lower.
(44) He will lend to you, but you won’t lend to him. He will be the head, and you will be the tail.
(45) “All these curses will come, pursue, and overtake you until you are destroyed, since you did not obey the LORD your God and keep the commands and statutes He gave you.
(46) These curses will be a sign and a wonder against you and your descendants forever.
(47) Because you didn’t serve the LORD your God with joy and a cheerful heart, even though you had an abundance of everything,
(48) you will serve your enemies the LORD will send against you, in famine, thirst, nakedness, and a lack of everything. He will place an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you.
(49) The LORD will bring a nation from far away, from the ends of the earth, to swoop down on you like an eagle, a nation whose language you don’t understand,
(50) a ruthless nation, showing no respect for the old and not sparing the young.
(51) They will eat the offspring of your livestock and your soil’s produce until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine, oil, young of your herds, or newborn of your flocks until they cause you to perish.
(52) They will besiege you within all your gates until your high and fortified walls, that you trust in, come down throughout your land. They will besiege you within all your gates throughout the land the LORD your God has given you.
(53) “You will eat your children, the flesh of your sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you.
(54) The most sensitive and refined man among you will look grudgingly at his brother, the wife he embraces, and the rest of his children,
(55) refusing to share with any of them his children’s flesh that he will eat because he has nothing left during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you in all your towns.
(56) The most sensitive and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her refinement and sensitivity, will begrudge the husband she embraces, her son, and her daughter,
(57) the afterbirth that comes out from between her legs and the children she bears, because she will secretly eat them for lack of anything else during the siege and hardship your enemy imposes on you within your gates.
(58) “If you are not careful to obey all the words of this law, which are written in this scroll, by fearing this glorious and awesome name–Yahweh, your God–
(59) He will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, severe and lasting plagues, and terrible and chronic sicknesses.
(60) He will afflict you again with all the diseases of Egypt, which you dreaded, and they will cling to you.
(61) The LORD will also inflict you with every sickness and plague not recorded in the book of this law, until you are destroyed.
(62) Though you were as numerous as the stars of the sky, you will be left with only a few people, because you did not obey the LORD your God.
(63) Just as the LORD was glad to cause you to prosper and to multiply you, so He will also be glad to cause you to perish and to destroy you. You will be deported from the land you are entering to possess.
(64) Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will worship other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.
(65) You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit.
(66) Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival.
(67) In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’–because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see.
(68) The LORD will take you back in ships to Egypt by a route that I said you would never see again. There you will sell yourselves to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”
Blessings and curses in the New Covenant directly tied to our ACTIONS…
Gal. 3:1-29, “(1) You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified? (2) I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? (3) Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? (4) Did you suffer so much for nothing–if in fact it was for nothing? (5) So then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? (6) Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, (7) so understand that those who have faith are Abraham’s sons. (8) Now the Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed in you. (9) So those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith. (10) For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law. [taken from Deut. 27:26](11) Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. (12) But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them. (13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. (14) The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (15) Brothers, I’m using a human illustration. No one sets aside even a human covenant that has been ratified, or makes additions to it. (16) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ. (17) And I say this: the law, which came 430 years later, does not revoke a covenant that was previously ratified by God, so as to cancel the promise. (18) For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise. (19) Why the law then? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. The law was ordered through angels by means of a mediator. (20) Now a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. (21) Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law. (22) But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (23) Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. (24) The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. (25) But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.”
Eph. 1:1-14, “(1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the saints and believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus. (2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; (4) for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love (5) He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, (6) to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. (7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (8) that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him (10) for the administration of the days of fulfillment–to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. (11) In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, (12) so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. (13) In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation–in Him when you believed–were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. (14) He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.”
So what about blessings and curses connecting with our actions under the New Covenant?
Gal. 6:7-8, “(7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (8) For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Those today who like to show a disconnect between what we do and the blessings or curses we receive often do so in order to dodge the bullet of giving.
In doing this they often quote 2Cor. 9:7,
“Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Yet the New Testament is clear on this point as well, and AS ALWAYS, the New Covenant quotes from the old as 100% applicable for our giving today.
- FAR from being a passage about not tithing…
- FAR from being a passage about giving TO your local church…
- FAR from being a passage which encourages selfish introspection to guide your giving…
This is NOT saying, give as you decide in your heart. This passage is Paul telling the Corinthian church to make sure the gift they PROMISED a year ago, was ready JUST as they HAD decided! The word is not in the present tense – decide, it is in the PAST TENSE DECIDED – meaning a year ago when they were eager to give to this collection for the suffering Jewish brothers in Jerusalem. Give as you decided to a year ago and do not regret the promise you made!
Also, it should be noted that Paul repeatedly reminds them that their pledged gift was a generous one!
This encouragement to give GENEROUSLY can be found in both the previous and following verses and furthermore, it is directly tied to our righteousness!
Let’s read from the beginning of the chapter instead of cherry picking verses OUTSIDE of their given context…
2Cor. 9:1-15, “(1) Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you. (2) For I know your eagerness, and I brag about you to the Macedonians: “Achaia has been prepared since last year,” and your zeal has stirred up most of them. (3) But I sent the brothers so our boasting about you in the matter would not prove empty, and so you would be prepared just as I said. (4) For if any Macedonians should come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be embarrassed in that situation. (5) Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not an extortion. (6) Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. (7) Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (9) As it is written: He has scattered; He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. (10) Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness, (11) as you are enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. (12) For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. (13) Through the proof of this service, they will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others. (14) And in their prayers for you they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God on you. (15) Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
So you can readily see that Paul was connecting how we give to how we receive and that it is also a proof of God’s grace upon us and it will increase the fruit of our righteousness. Let’s go one further with this while we are here just to drive the nail firmly in the coffin of this “Grace movement” distortion of God’s word. Look with me back in chapter 8, where we will see that Paul not only says that how we receive is based upon the generosity by which we give, that our giving is a proof of God’s grace at work in our hearts and that the increase of the fruits of righteousness are increased due to our giving – but also it is a test of the genuineness of their love!
2Cor. 8:6-15, “(1) So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. (7) But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. (8) I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. (9) For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (10) And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; (11) but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. (12) For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. (13) For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; (14) but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. (15) As it is written, “HE WHO GATHERED MUCH HAD NOTHING LEFT OVER, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK.”
I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.
We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.
You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!
If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.
If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.