D’varim (Deuteronomy) 11:26–16:19
I ended my blog last week from Parashat Ekev (Because of ) by saying that our love for Him will lead us to honor and obey Him. When you truly know Him, truly understand Him with all of your heart, understand His covenant, His endless grace, and His amazing faithfulness then you will desire to live in a way that will honor Him. While our works do not lead us to salvation, our salvation leads us to honor Him with all our hearts, and obey all that He has commanded.
I believe that the above statements are important for all of us to understand, since often times there are many who are confused by the connection between “our works” and “our salvation.” Some think that “works or obedience” can lead you to God, and others think that “salvation” has given you freedom outside of God’s commandments. The fact is, however, that salvation and works are connected, but perhaps in a different way than most believers think.
In this week’s reading, we find a very interesting principal that was originally put forth in Genesis chapter 2, and that is the principal of making wise choices. God tells the Children of Israel:
See (look), I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known.
In other words, God tells Israel, “Look! I am setting before you today an option to choose blessing in your lives by listening to and following my commandments…don’t just hear, but also DO! If you choose to disobey, you will bring upon yourselves a curse, since your disobedience will lead you to follow other gods.
Another thing I wrote last week is that God isn’t interested in having robots in His kingdom; He created us with the ability to choose, and the blessing of the covenant was the byproduct of choosing to obey God.
From the beginning we can see that God created us (men and women) for relationship, which is based on love. We display our love for Him through our daily choices. I believe that an important question that each of us ought to ask is, “Do the daily choices I make reflect God’s amazing love in my life?” Verse 29 says:
And it shall come about, when the Lᴏʀᴅ your God brings you into the land where you are entering to inherit it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.
One of my favorite places to take my tour groups in Israel is Mt. Gerizim; when you stand on the mountaintop you can see Mt. Ebal, and it is powerful to read aloud these verses, and talk about the importance of our daily choices.
One of the things that you see when standing there is that in between the two high mountains there is a deep valley, and it is very obvious that you can’t stand on both mountains with both feet – you must choose one or the other! I am giving you this amazing picture in order to encourage you that you can’t stand with both feet on each mountain… you either choose God (the blessing that comes from obedience) or the other side (the world and other gods), which brings about curses.
In closing, the first place in the Bible that we see the principle of blessings and curses is found in Genesis 12. One of the main things that it speaks about is the seed of the blessings, and the first step that each of us ought to take is to make a choice – only that this choice will not be a temporary one, but rather will affect our eternity – we need to choose if we want to receive that seed of blessing, i.e. Yeshua our promised Messiah, or deny Him, which will lead to an everlasting separation from God. The choice is ours to make!
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