The Opening Ceremony for the Promised Land would be an event to remember.
In DT 27, Moses commanded Israel that after crossing the Jordan, 6 of the 12 tribes – men, women and children were to stand in front of Mount Gerazim, while across the valley, the other 6 tribes would stand before Mt. Ebal. The Levites would set the ark of the Covenant between the 2 throngs. Then those on Mt. Gerizim were to call out the blessings God promised for keeping his laws, while the rest would listen. Then the thousands on Mt. Ebal would chant the curses threatened for disobedience. Then the Levites were to shout out 12 more curses for breaking God’s laws, and after each the people were to shout from the mountains, “Amen” – so be it. Bring it on.
The blessings and curses are listed in Dt 28. The blessings promised for obedience were incredible. God said essentially, if you obey me, you will be the most prosperous people on earth. Everything will go right for you from your kids to your cows and crops. You’ll be so rich the nations of the world will come to you for loans. You’ll be number one in the world – my chosen people.
The curses for disobedience were hellish – God said you’ll have the Midas touch in reverse – everything you touch will be cursed – your kids, your crops, your homes. I’ll curse you with confusion, frustration, pestilence, wasting disease, fever, boils, scabs, madness, blindness. Other nations will rip you off, and carry off your children. You’ll be decimated and hauled off to cruel slavery.
You’d think these incredible promises and horrific threats would have been enough to motivate Israel to obey. But they quickly abandoned God and eventually all the curses engulfed them until Babylon finally ripped them from their land.
Amazingly, the most fabulous blessings and the most blood-curdling curses can’t inspire a sinful heart to obey. The law provides neither the desire nor the power to obey it.
But God’s astounding grace provides both.
In Christ Jesus, grace invades our lives, purifies us, then creates in us new hearts that delight in God. But omnipotent grace does far more than regenerate us. It keeps working itself out in our lives, renovating our thoughts, motives, and attitudes. Grace justifies us, adopts us, empowers us, and remakes us into Christ’s image. It transforms us from selfish rebels to humble servants.
How miraculous, powerful,unstoppable and amazing is grace!
photo of present-day Mts. Gerazim and Ebal: bibleplaces.com