- Chad Werkhoven
Deuteronomy 27:9-26 - Cursed.
There are only two types of people in the world: blessed & cursed. Which one are you?
Read / Listen
Read Deuteronomy 27:9-2
9 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.’ 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.’
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 10
Q. Will God permit
such disobedience and rebellion
to go unpunished?
A. Certainly not.
He is terribly angry
about the sin we are born with
as well as the sins we personally commit.
As a just judge
he punishes them now and in eternity.
He has declared:
“Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do
everything written in the Book of the Law.”
We gladly confess that our only comfort is that we belong to the Lord, but this comfort carries with it an obligation.
The people of Israel were just coming to this conclusion as well in our passage today. They'd recently been freed from their slavery in Egypt, but even though they were now free, they were not independent. Having been freed from Pharaoh meant that they now belonged to the one who freed them: the Lord.
God makes clear the obligation their freedom bound them to in v9-10:
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.
God then commands that as His people cross the Jordan and enter the promised land, that they must be reminded of God's law in the way God most often prescribes: they must hear it proclaimed in a loud voice (v14). Twelve prohibitions are to be announced to the people, and they must affirm each one with a vow we rarely think twice about saying: the simple word Amen, which means may it be so.
Crossing these twelve commands, each of which has a myriad of implications, would result in the strongest punishment possible: a divine curse.
In our passage today, notice that the word cursed is passive. This means that disobeying God's commands doesn't mean that you will be punished in the future, but that sin changes the relationship you are currently in with God. To be cursed is to be estranged from God.
So often we turn to the Bible for a quick pick-me-up or a reminder of God's love and providence for us, so it might seem jarring to you to hear these stark words God wants proclaimed in a loud voice.
But it's important for you to be reminded often of the cursed condition you've put yourself in by breaking God's commands, especially since you've so often responded with the promise of "Amen" when you've heard God's law read!
It's not until you fully understand the magnitude of the curse that you'll fully appreciate how massive God's grace is:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” - Galatians 3:13
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Holy Father, who blesses those who obey, and declares unrepentant sinners to be cursed.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be silent & listen to the Lord (v9) and obey His commands.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Acts 2