September 20, 2019

Obedient Children

Deuteronomy 27

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The Altar on Mount Ebal

Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today. And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that 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. And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones, concerning which I command you today, on Mount Ebal, and you shall plaster them with plaster. And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; you shall build an altar to the LORD your God of uncut1 stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God. And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.”

Curses from Mount Ebal

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”

11 That day Moses charged the people, saying, 12 “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:

15 “‘Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

16 “‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

17 “‘Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor's landmark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

18 “‘Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

20 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his father's wife, because he has uncovered his father's nakedness.’2 And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

21 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

22 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

23 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

24 “‘Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

26 “‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Footnotes

[1] 27:6 Hebrew whole
[2] 27:20 Hebrew uncovered his father's skirt

Obedient Children



Key Verse | Deuteronomy 27:9-10

Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, "Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today."

Bio | CJ Kaufman Jr

An imperfect child of God enjoying the wonderful responsibility of being Kristen's husband and Dad to Tripp and Riley. By the grace of God, my life has shifted from being submissive to my own desires to finding life to the fullest seeking God's will. When I'm not managing heavy civil construction, you can find us in Starting Blocks; leading a table at Merge; rooting for Akron soccer, Ohio State football, and Arizona basketball; and supporting Liverpool FC (YNWA!). Resident of Richardson by way of Tucson with a stop in Akron. Oh yeah, today I turn 33.

Central Truth

We are all obedient to something. What you are obedient to displays what is most important in your life.

Devotional | Deuteronomy 27

Like clockwork, my mom's response when asked for gift preferences for every holiday or birthday was the same: "OBEDIENT CHILDREN!" And just as consistently, her five children...

Like clockwork, my mom's response when asked for gift preferences for every holiday or birthday was the same: "OBEDIENT CHILDREN!" And just as consistently, her five children often failed to deliver on her request.

Raised by a stay-at-home mom and a minister who doubled as a heavy-equipment operator, I was introduced faithfully to Christ at a young age. I could sing the songs and paraphrase the parables. However, especially through my high school and college years, I never made obeying Jesus' desires for my life my top priority. In fact, I used my Christian background to gain favor and promote myself. I did not obey Galatians 5:13. I pursued popularity and inappropriate relationships with girls while gratifying my lustful flesh. I was obeying my own desires.

That's when Christ stepped in. By His grace, I was able to realize the only thing that would allow abundant life here on earth (John 10:10b) and eternal life in heaven (John 3:16) was an abiding relationship with Jesus (John 15:1-4).

So why choose to obey God's desires over our own? The answer is in Deuteronomy 27:9b-10a, which says, ". . . this day you have become the people of the LORD your God. You shall therefore obey the voice of the LORD your God . . . ." We are created by God in His image (Genesis 1:26), therefore we should be obedient to what His desires are for us. When we obey our fleshly desires, it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). Or, as Todd Wagner often reminds us, "It will not go well with you."

Just as predictable as my mom's response were my dad's instructions before a night out with friends: "If it is illegal, immoral, or unsafe, don't do it!" Had I been obedient to the command in Deuteronomy 27:16 and honored my parents, a lot of pain and heartache could have been spared. But that is the beauty of grace—your ability to be obedient today does not depend on your past. When we are in Christ, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and can be obedient to mom, dad, and, most importantly, God.

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Discussion Questions

1. Moses emphasizes the importance of keeping God's words in front of us in Deuteronomy 27:1-8. If you are not already, how can you show obedience in reading God's Word daily? (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3)

2. Prepare a response to the question "Why do you choose to be obedient to God's will over your own?" and support it with Scripture. My reason is because experiencing God's love through pursuing Him wholeheartedly is better than anything this world can offer. (Psalm 63:3)

3. Will you ask others Question 2 above and share your answer with them?

4. Deuteronomy 27 ends with 12 curses for violating various laws. Most of these seem obvious, but Moses still felt the need to reiterate them. What act might seem obvious when you write it down but might be necessary to remind yourself about? Mine would be: Cursed be anyone who can scroll aimlessly through social media for an hour but cannot prioritize spending time in God's Word.

5. What small act of obedience to God can you perform today so He can be made more known to those around you? Share with a friend to help keep each other accountable.

9 Comments available

Scott Jones about 12 hours ago

Re: Q2. I choose to surrender and obey because I was beloved by God the Father before the creation of the world; while I was still a sinner, Jesus justified me by dying the death I deserve; the Holy Spirit indwells me to help me to grow daily in a sinful world so I can follow Jesus more closely; one day I will be glorified with Christ. In one word: Love.

Sue Bohlin 2 days ago

Happy Birthday CJ! Thanks for making me laugh out loud at your mom’s gift request!

I was struck by Moses’ statement, “[T]his day you have become the people of the LORD your God.” Each individual born during the time in the wilderness had to enter into the congregation of Yahweh-followers, BECOMING one of the “people of the Lord your God.” They weren’t automatically considered part of the community, like how American citizenship is automatically conferred on anyone born here. Which explains the marvelous Jewish rite of passage, the Bar and Bat Mitzvah. One of the first things God showed me as a born-again Christian was that I was not born a child of God simply because I was a human being (campfire songs notwithstanding); according to John 1:12, I BECAME a child of God by trusting in His Son. Still one of the biggest points of gratitude in my life!

Michael Scaman 2 days ago

God says yet another time he brought them to a land of milk and honey

And then a (loud) blessing from Mt Gerizim and a curse from Mt Ebal (would have to be loud for all the tribes to hear).

Even the mountains look like Gerazim was blessed and Ebal was cursed. A painting of the mountains side by side here: https://w3.chabad.org/media/images/909/LJyr9090249.jpg

The city of Shechem is right in between the two famous for the woman at the well and also near the land given to Joseph by Jacob.

Shechem - Associates for Biblical Research www.biblearchaeology.org › post › 2010/06/25 › Shechem-its-Archaeologic… Jun 25, 2010 - A small village, Sychar, was near the ruins of Shechem in New Testament times and is mentioned in the John 4 account (Jn 4:5).

Autumn VerHoef 2 days ago

JTJ makes this so easy! No excuses! Without Christ as the foundation of my worldview, my life is meaningless and miserable. Yes I’ll try at work today. CJ, 100% agree about social media! Also prioritizing work and busyness over God. See questions 2-3. Thanks for a convicting Devo!!!

greg jones 2 days ago

Interestingly in verses 11-14 we see the house of Israel divided on two mountains. One house is blessed the other stands in for the curse on the kingdom.

Putting myself into Mark chapter 3 and assuming as a 1st century Jew I’m either cursed or blessed as a Jew by God and his law, I really feel the burden Jesus felt.

The law divided the kingdom, family and friends. All those parallels show up in Mark3.

Mark3:35 is a radical view of Deuteronomy27.

Great devotional, great questions.

Q2 Mark 3:35

Hope Harris 2 days ago

In Response to Q2: I choose surrender and obey God’s word because I have discovered that Jesus is the promised Messiah the Son of God. See Mark 8:27-37 and John 1:1-14

I see surrender and obedience as central mandates to Jesus message and mission

Lindsey Driscoll 2 days ago

CJ, great question 4 and example! I love seeing how God desires to have relationship with his people as he directs them to set up an altar to him in 27:4-8 and sacrifice burnt and fellowship offerings in the presence of the Lord. He also wants his people to remember what life submitting to him looks like so he calls his people to repeat the law together through a series of curses in verses 27:9-26. Relationship with God must be a remembrance daily of who he is and how he desires my obedience. Deuteronomy 12:28 reminds of of the promise when we walk in obedience…it will go well with us!

Hugh Stephenson 2 days ago

GM C.J. Awesome Central Truth. I like the practice of asking other people questions about me.

“Based on what you know and see about me, to whom or what am I obedient?

OR What would you say is my #1 focus?

Or more pointed, “Who/what are my idols?”.

It is very likely that my heart conveys my idols. It is equally likely I am in denial. My fruit might be public, (Galatians 5:22-23). But my sins are what my heart wants to keep private, (Galatians 5:16-21).

Pre salvation (2013), I missed what REAL life was about. What I wanted was pleasure and treasure. After years of striving I got them and saw they were a mirage, not an oasis.

In broken surrender God showed me His living water. I learned about His abundance, (John 10:10), His joy, (John 15:10-11) and real peace, (Philippians 4:6-7).

Sarah Crotty 3 days ago

CJ, thought-provoking devo and questions; thank you so much. Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

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