12 Deuteronomy 27-30 – Blessings and CursesLeviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - Life in the Desert
A new section begins here, with the laws having been completed. Along with 11:26–32, this passage brackets the laws of chs. 12–26. Ancient covenant treaties had sections of blessings (the consequences of keeping the treaty stipulations) and curses (the consequences of not keeping the covenant stipulations). Chapter 27 details a ceremony and the fact of curses for lawbreakers. Chapter 28 details the content of the blessings and curses.
Israel received the covenant on the plains of Moab but had to wait until they arrived in Canaan to formalize it by a mass ceremony of commitment. This would include the building of a monument containing the fundamental principles of the relationship, a covenant meal, and a catalog of curses and blessings.
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – Life in the Desert.” Here is my video presentation introducing this series – https://youtu.be/Lynx51p0tJA. The video of this specific class presentation, as well as all the others in this series, will be posted to this playlist as they are recorded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKB1uvyHFM&list=PL7JRppjEn33bCHyqZFRQ2JDiJnGRnOYyR. Please use the “Contact” button to request corresponding handouts and outlines.
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Deut 27 The Ratification of the Covenant
27:1-8 The Law and the Altar on Mount Ebal
Anticipation mounting. “Land flowing with milk and honey.”
When you enter … what to do first? Why?
Stones whitewashed with lime or plaster, to provide a writing surface.
The whole law. Large writing stones from before Moses’ time found at Byblos. All 284 laws of the Code of Hammurabi carved on one eight-foot stele (stone pillar). Two such pillars could hold all of Deuteronomy.
In addition, an altar of uncut stones. Worship. Sacrifice. Peace. Joy.
Note the power of visual aids, role playing, and multi-sensory tools.
27:9-26 The Curses from Mount Ebal
“This day you will become his people.” A new day, a fresh start.
Valley between Ebal and Gerizim – only 1600 feet wide at eastern end. Wider gap in the western portion, with two natural amphitheaters.
Gerizim to the north, Ebal to the south, and Shechem in between.
Shechem: Yahweh first appeared to Abram. His first altar. Gen 12:6-7
Criteria for tribe grouping unstated. Geographic? Wives / concubines?
First, they call on God to enforce these 12 curses. Note 27:16.
Why begin with the negative, the bad stuff before the good stuff?
Review and discuss each of these.
“Cursed is He Who …”
27:15 … makes an idol or a molten image. All the people say, “Amen.”
27:16 … dishonors his father or mother.
27:17 … moves his neighbor’s boundary mark.
27:18 … misleads a blind person on the road.
27:19 … distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.
27:20 … lies with his father’s wife. 21 … lies with any animal.
27:22 … lies with his sister. 23 … lies with his mother-in-law.
27:24 … strikes his neighbor in secret.
27:25 … accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.
27:26 … does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.
Deut 28 The Blessings and Curses of the Covenant
28:1-14 Blessings for Obedience
They will inescapably “overtake” you. So also the curses. 28:15, 45
Promotion and prosperity. Rain. Fruit of the womb, ground, cattle.
Military victory. The head, not the tail. Fear and respect of nations.
28:15-68 Curses for Disobedience
Initially “flipping” the blessings, the curse section is 6 times as long.
Confusion, frustration, pestilence, disease, drought, boils, tumors.
Desecration of dead bodies. Emotional and mental imbalance.
Plagues on land and animals. Drought, heat, and destruction.
Siege. Despair. Cannibalism. Exile.
Deut 29 The Entrance into the Covenant
After benefits and penalties, reasons to seal the covenant by an oath.
29:1-9 Past Experience
29:10-15 Future Stability
29:16-19 Deadly Danger: Straying heart. Bitter root. Stubborn pride.
29:20-21 Individual Consequences
29:22-29 National Destruction
Misunderstandings by Children and the World
“Why?” “They abandoned the covenant and served idols.” 1 Kg 9:6-9
Discuss the “secret” things and the “revealed” things.
Deut 30 The Future Hope of the Covenant
30:1-14 Repentance and Restoration
OT prophecy: Israel’s rebellion, punishment, exile, and return.
“When you remember, return, and obey, he will restore you.”
He will gather, take back, bring, prosper, multiply, circumcise (hearts).
Amazing grace! What? Here in the Old Testament? Yes for sure!
If you obey. If you obey. If you obey! With your whole heart and soul.
Once saved, then love him with your whole heart and soul.
The command is not out of reach but near and accessible. Rom 10:6-8
30:15-20 Life and Death, Good and Evil
If you obey, love, walk, and keep … If your heart turns away …
Deut 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20 by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Why, how, when, and where would Israel choose evil and death?
What about ourselves and others in our world today?