Thursday, September 27, 2012

LXIII - Deuteronomy 27-30 - Moses's Prophesy

In the last post we covered 15 chapters.  This post will cover only four chapters:  27 - 30.

Moses commanded that the devine blessings and curses of God's laws were to be stressed in chapters 27 and 28.  It's easy to summize that this was a solemn time for Moses.  He spoke of the future when Israel would enter the Promised Land, knowing that he could not join them.  He gathered the entire nation around him and this would be his "swan song" as Israel's leaders.

One of their first responsibilities (27:1-8) would be to display God's laws on engraved stones at Mount Ebal.  {If you look at a map of Israel, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are located right in the middle, a perfect place to display these laws.  This location was also very near Shechem which is where both Abraham and Jacob had built altars unto the Lord.}  Now in verses 15 - 26, bear in mind that this is not taking place, but rather Moses is giving instructions for this to happen under the leadership of the Levite priests after the whole nation crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land.  Read these verses.  There are twelve curses dramatically pronounced.  The Levites were to pronounce each curse, and in response, the people were to say "Amen".  As you read this list of curses you will recognize them to align themselves with the Ten Commandments in general, but not in strict order. 
Then, in the first fourteen verses in chapter 28, he shifts to the blessings God will bestow on them IF they would obey His commandments.  These blessings as stated almost mirrored in reverse to the curses.  To be "blessed" is to receive good things from the hand of God, not from the result of human skill.  It says in verse 3 that divine blessings would be experienced in both urban and rural life.  Those who live in either the hectic pace of the city or the quiet more leisurely pace of rural living would equally enjoy the blessings of God.  In verse 4 it speaks of prosperity in families and in the livestock.  The families would grow in numbers and in health.  The herds and the flocks would multiply, further prospering the families.  Verse 5 speaks of utensils and all items used in the home would be blessed in that all of the work done with them would be blessed enormously.  It mentions the kneading trough which means there would always be an abundance of food on the tables for the families.  Verse 6 covers the whole spectrum of life when it refers to "coming in and going out".
Note in vss 7 and 8 that God did not promised there would be no enemies, but He did promise there would be victory over them.  He said their enemies would approach Israel from one direction, but would scatter in seven directions.  This meant total defeat.  In vss 9 and 10, God would establish them as a holy people.  A nation feared and respected by all nations of the world.  And a nation that will bring all nations to a knowledge of God and His ultimate power as Creator.

Let's now look at 28:25-30.  This passage is a small part of a very large section dealing with the consequences of disobedience.  Vss 25,26 - Disobedience toward God would result in defeat at the hands of their enemies.  Instead of victory, the army that would go out united as one, would be splintered into seven fleeing segments.  Dead bodies that fell in battle would be left unburied and exposed.  Birds and beasts would devour their dead bodies without anyone to frighten them away.  This will show total humiliation in defeat.  Look at vss 27 and 28.  Physical and mental deseases would also result from their disobedience.  These skin deseases would be similar to those experienced by the Egyptians in the plagues of Exodus.  The word "boils" comes from the Greek word meaning "hot or inflamed".  And they would not heal.  Festering sores and the itch would be skin eruptions or abnormalities that were extremely painful and irritating, to the point of incapacitating the people, rendering them unable to function normally.  This is something you don't often see in the Scriptures:  In addition to these terrible skin afflictions there would be mental disorders.  These included madness, blindness, insanity, and confusion of the mind, all for which there would be no cure. 

In a recent post I mentioned chapter 20:5-7.  These verses listed military deferments, with which I was very impressed, as I had not noticed them in previous studies (the Bible is so massive, it's easy to miss things).  And I couldn't help notice that in 28:30, disobedience to God's commandments would cancel out all those deferments.  Interesting how complete and buttoned up the Bible is.

Skipping to chapter 29:  This gets off the curses and warnings, and goes into more positive parts of Moses's sermon, which will be more encouraging to his listeners.  29:5-6  -  Moses called to mind the stories of the wilderness wanderings.  Doubtless these had been shared with them many times by their parents or grandparents who actually live through this.  But it was necessary that they be reminded yet again that God had miraculously provided for all their needs.  Adequate colthing that would not wear out.  And although "normal" food was not provided, God sent manna and water which sustained them.  Vss 7-8 - Moses reminds them of how God lead them to victory over the Amorite kings Sihon and Og, both of whom had more powerful armies that Israel's.  So Moses starts to encourage them so they will enter the Promised Land with hope and courage.  Moses knew they needed this just like they needed to know the pitfalls of disobedience.

Now before I close this post, I wanted to get to chapter 30 because this is important.  The entirety of chapter 28 is somewhat depressing as Moses foretells what would happen if Israel disobeys God or (worse yet) disregards Him.  As you look at the sections of chapter 28 that describe the Israelites being brought into military defeat and ultimately into captivity, it paints a very grim picture.  But this is exactly what happened right before the 400 silent years between the Old and the New Testaments.  We'll see it all take place in our study, and Yes, it is sad, and Yes, they got what they asked for.  When God had Moses deliver those words of warnings, He said exactly what He meant, and meant exactly what He said.
HOWEVER, read carefully chapter 30: 1-10.  Verse 1 suggests that they will sometime indeed be scattered throughout the world as a result of their disobedience.  But in the following verses it says God will bring them back to the Promised Land.  Here's something to think about:  I submit that they were defeated, taken captive, and dispersed about 2500 years ago.  And God brought them back just 64 years ago.  Three years before I was born.  Amazing.


  1. Expound on this last paragraph if you would.

  2. In 1948, Israel gathered their people in what was called Palestine. Palestine encompassed the land that was in the original boundries of the Promised Land. In a great act of courage and faith, Israel declared the original Promised Land as the nation Israel, driving out the Palestinians, thus taking back what God gave to them 3000 years earlier.