Monday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Deuteronomy 11:26—12:12 (NKJV)
11:26 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. 29 Now it shall be, when the LORD your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30 Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh? 31 For you will cross over the Jordan and go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you will possess it and dwell in it. 32 And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today.
12:1 “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. 2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. 4 You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. 5 But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. 6 There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. 7 And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. 8 You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you. 10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD. 12 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.”
This week’s devotions from Deuteronomy are a continuation of a discourse of Moses as he is about to leave this world and the Israelites are finally getting ready for their entrance and possession of the land promised to their father Abraham many centuries before. So what does the Lord God have to say to the people of Israel? He offers blessings and curses. The blessings are for the people of the Lord God who believe His promises and follow Him diligently. The curses are for the unbelieving people of Canaan who have ignored His existence and have chased after other gods since before the time of Abraham.
What does the Lord say? “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.” In other words, all false worship and idolatry should be utterly destroyed and removed from their midst. Not only so that it will not become a stumbling block and temptation to His people, but because this destruction is God’s judgment against Canaan for their unbelief. This was the curse from God against those who do not believe in Him.
However, the Israelites, those who put their faith in God, receive the blessing. “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide.” The blessing is that they can continue to worship the God Who grants them all the promises He made to them.