Blessing and Cursing
Deuteronomy 11:26-29, 32 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day.”
This was what the Lord had commanded Moses to tell Israel, on the far side of Jordan; right before he died.
Now Israel had come in to Canaan by crossing Jordan…..been circumcised (for during the time in the wilderness, they were not),…
…held the first Passover since Egypt,…
…and taken and destroyed Jericho, and Ai.
Then,…..though there was hardly any land that was theirs….
……they believed God and went to Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim…..all of them….all Israel went up to the place appointed.
Here the blessings and the cursing was to be read before all the people.
Joshua 8:30-34 “Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal,
As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lifted up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.
And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord,….half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursing, according to all that is written in the book of the law.”
Here on mount Gerizim, they were to read aloud the blessings God would perform if they were obedient….in the land He was giving them.
(Deuteronomy 28:1-14, it is a beautiful record of prosperity, and fruitfulness to themselves, each other, and the nations around them, in their obedience and devotion to the Lord their God.)
Here on mount Ebal, they were to read aloud the cursing God would perform if they were rebellious and disobedient.
(Deuteronomy 28:15-68; it is a terrible record of people gotten “fat” or comfortable in their lives, so that they forget God and His goodness….coming under the hand of idol worship, famine, diseases, and then their enemies…all because they forgot and forsake God:
Deuteronomy 28:47 “Because thou servest not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;”)
It is a beautiful thing to see Joshua so diligent and eager to perform this duty, which Moses commanded them to do.
(Joshua was a diligent servant of the Lord, both in heart and in battle. And here is an example of his love of God’s Word.
At the end of his life, he stated his life’s determination:
“….but as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15)
And there, on mount Ebal (where the curse was read) they sacrificed burnt offerings,….offerings for sin, and whole burnt offerings, showing they were completely His.
There they sacrificed peace offerings, showing that they celebrated the peace they had with God….even before their enemies.
It was a spiritual seal, on the land God gave them.
It was to show that God’s Law and commandments were now to rule in this land.
All would hear about it, and know these Israelites were different…(in the middle of the conquest of the land, they were claiming it in the name of God, and His Principles)….
….their God was different….He was letting everyone know that He would be honored in this land.
Joshua wrote the words of the law upon the stones he used for the altar, so all could read….and remember them.
(You will notice, when you read Joshua, how many times they wrote on stones, or piled up stones for remembrance of a mighty act of God for them.
These would have been a great comfort, if they had done what was told them: teach your children what God has done for us….talk of the Lord, when you are walking, or in your house. Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
This honoring God’s Word, would have taken a whole day, at least; maybe more, for all of them went.
Their camp was at Gilgal, yet they were at Mt. Ebal and Gerizim.
The enemies could have come up against the women, children, as well as the troops among them….
….but according to God’s Word, they went up and honored the Lord…and His law, here in Canaan….and God honored them.
God has set before each man by His Word the blessings in His Son, Jesus Christ….
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
….and the cursing by refusing Him.
Mark 16:15-16 “And He (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned.”
They are written plainly for all who will read and see….to come to Him.
And we Christians, as Joshua, are to be diligent in our duty of manifesting the Word….
….even in the midst of our battles….we are to honor the Lord’s Word….that they might be seen and heard of all.