Between Gerizim and Ebal

Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 11.18-20, 26-29
18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,

26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. 29 When the Lord your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses.

Reflection: Between Gerizim and Ebal
By John Tillman

Moses gave instructions for a gigantic event that he would never see. Joshua would carry it out after Moses died. (Deuteronomy 27.9-13; Joshua 8.33-35) Half the tribes were to stand on Mount Gerizim and half on Mount Ebal. The tribes standing on Gerizim would pronounce the blessings that would come from obedience. The tribes standing on Ebal would pronounce the curses that would come from rebellion.

It was part antiphonal choral reading, part performance-art, part visual demonstration, part community learning event, and part worship ceremony. What a meaningful and memorable moment.

Standing in between Gerizim and Ebal, there is more at stake than personal holiness or individual choices. Israel was not just choosing whether they would be blessed but whether they would be a blessing to the nations as God promised Abraham that they would.

Israel’s role was not to destroy all other nations but to bless them. They were to bless them by being an example of righteousness. They were to bless them by being the priestly nation to whom all could come to meet God. 

God wants blessings for all people and his loving voice echoes in scripture like shouts across a canyon. Often, however, we plug our ears to God’s voice and shout back our rebellion and rejection of him. Curses echo back to us in our own, proud, stubborn voices.

Yet, God does not abandon us to the curses we choose. Jesus came to become a curse for us. (Galatians 3:12-14) Through Christ, the curse’s hold on us is broken (Revelation 22:3) and our life can overflow with good things. Jesus took the curses of Ebal and he brings to us the blessings of Gerizim.

Israel was to be God’s instrument but forgot the tune they were to play. Through Christ, we can pick up the melody. Will we choose God’s blessings and to bless others?

When we lie down and when we get up may we talk about God’s word and pass it on to others. (Deuteronomy 11.19-21)
Let us daily make a meaningful and memorable moment, dedicating ourselves to God.
Let us set before ourselves the image of Gerizim and Ebal.
May we hear and obey God’s call toward blessing.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved. — Psalm 80.3

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 11 (Listen – 4:38)
Psalm 95-96 (Listen – 1:37)

Read more about His Blessings, Our Curse
We have your blessings today, Lord,
Because you took our curse!

Read more about The Value of Words
Our purpose at The Park Forum is to produce words that are filled with life, not death.
Words that bless and do not curse.

His Blessings, Our Curse :: A Guided Prayer

Deuteronomy 11.26-28
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse—the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

Reflection: His Blessings, Our Curse :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

The blessings and curses of the law were a consistent theme of Moses’s final messages to the people of Israel. Moses gave instructions for a gigantic visual demonstration as a community learning event that was eventually carried out by Joshua.

Half the tribes would stand on Mount Gerazim and half on Mount Ebal. The tribes on Gerazim would pronounce the blessings that could be theirs if they obeyed. The tribes on Ebal would pronounce the curses if they failed to follow the laws that Moses was leaving them.

May we hear in God’s Word, always the tender love of our father who wants blessings for us.

May we also give thanks for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who became a curse for us. He died to release the curse’s hold on us, then he rose to bring to us the full blessings of life that overflows with good things.

Praise and thank him this week using the prayer below that is based on our readings for today:

His Blessings, Our Curse
Oh, Lord, we are your people.
We are the sheep of your pasture and we need your provision.

Your care for us Lord goes deeper than
The superficial service of hired help.
You are our Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us.
You became a curse for us.
You became sin for us.

We have your blessings today, Lord,
Because you took our curse!
We stand on Gerazim and you stand on Ebal.

If only we would hear your voice today, Lord.
If only we would walk your path of service.
If only we would walk your path of grace.

May we proclaim your salvation day after day and
May we never cease telling of your wonderful deeds.

Let the heavens, the seas, the fields, and the trees resound with praise
As you come to judge the world with equity!

As Israel was to be your instrument in the world, Lord, make us instruments of your grace and truth to others.

Amen!

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples; make the voice of his praise to be heart;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. — Psalm 66.7-8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Deuteronomy 11 (Listen – 4:38) 
Psalm 95-96 (Listen – 2:37) 

This Weekend’s Readings
Deuteronomy 12 (Listen – 5:11) Psalm 97-98 (Listen – 2:19) 
Deuteronomy 13 (Listen – 3:05) Psalm 99-101 (Listen – 2:48) 

Thank You!
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Read more about Balaam’s Success
No matter what sins or idols we are tempted with, may we approach God humbly, seeking repentance and redemption through Christ.

Read more about The Value of Words
Our purpose at The Park Forum is to produce words that are filled with life, not death.
Words that spur, but do not abuse.
Words that challenge, but lovingly guide.
Words that bless and do not curse.

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