Daybreak: Deuteronomy 27:1-26
“And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” (Deuteronomy 27:8)
Recently, I had the opportunity to teach a group of people how to extend a greeting in my language, which is Yoruba (a language spoken in Southwest Africa). These people had never spoken a word of Yoruba before. My goal was that, by the time the class was over, they could greet others in this language. If they could not, it would not be because I had not done my part as the teacher.
I started the class by performing the role of two native speakers greeting each other. I wanted them to learn by listening, so I made sure they understood what they were hearing me say. After repeating the greetings three or four times, I wrote the greetings on the board so that they could see the words and learn them visually. Then I repeated what I wrote several times so that they could both hear and see at the same time. Next, I asked them to repeat what they had heard and seen so that they could hear themselves say the greetings as they repeated after me. Then I asked them to write down a dialogue of two people greeting each other, reinforcing what they had learned by having them write greetings on their own. By this time, they had heard, read, spoken, and even written it.
Finally, I paired them up to perform the greetings. This would show me who had learned the phrases and who had not. By this point, none of them could say that they did not know my expectations of them.
Similarly, we have been given every opportunity to learn the instructions God has given us. We can hear His Word, read His Word from the Bible, recite what we have read, and even write it down ourselves. It is now up to us, just as it was for the Children of Israel, to follow every instruction God has given us. Just as the joys of following God’s instructions are real, so are the consequences of not following His instructions. However, like any good teacher who wants his/her student to succeed, God wants you and me to succeed, and the only way to success is to follow all His instructions.
This chapter begins the concluding address of Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy. Through Moses’ first and second addresses, Israel had reviewed its heritage and the Law. Then came the final crucial point of instruction: the ratification of the covenant. After giving one more repeated exhortation to keep the Commandments of the Lord, Moses told the people specifically what actions they were to take when they crossed Jordan.
In this chapter, Moses began by emphasizing that “this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 27:9). They had become a nation uniquely belonging to God. That high place of privilege and relationship with God brought with it a uniquely great responsibility to obey God and uniquely great disaster in the event of disobedience.
Three main tasks were assigned to the Israelites:
- To write the Law on stones set up at Mount Ebal.
- To build an altar and, on it, present burnt offerings and peace offerings.
- To separate by tribes to two mountains to pronounce blessings and curses.
The blessings and curses were pronounced on two separate mountains. The proclamation from a mountaintop represented the unique high standing of Israel among all nations. As a mountain rises above the land around it, so Israel is lifted above all other people. Yet as a greater height means greater vistas and better protection, it also means greater peril if one falls. To fall from a little height may be nothing; to fall from a mountain is certain and complete destruction. So, too, Israel is thus shown that following God’s commands brings the greatest possible blessing and betraying His commands brings the greatest possible disaster.
The Levites were then to pronounce curses upon those who commited various sins, beginning with the violation of the first of the Ten Commandments, and ending with not confirming the whole Law of God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The third discourse: ratification of the covenant
A. The establishment of the Law (27:1-26)
1. The setting up of the law in the land (27:1-8)
2. The benefit of covenant relationship (27:9-10)
3. The declaration of Israel’s commitment (27:11-26)
A Closer Look
- What was the name of the mountain of blessing? the mountain of cursing?
- Why did Moses begin with the list of curses instead of the list of blessings?
- What are the ways God has provided in the church for learning His Word today? How do you take full advantage of these provisions?
God gives us every opportunity to learn His Word so that we can see His plan for our lives fulfilled. His promises are sure, but after we have been born again, we have a duty to maintain His promises in our lives. He provides the grace to follow through. Have you reviewed God’s promises to you? How can you be a more active learner of God’s Word?
- Deuteronomy Introduction
- Deuteronomy Complete Amplified Outline
- Camp of the Tribes of Israel
- Why So Many Laws?
- Daybreak Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Discovery Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Discovery Teacher’s Guide Unit PDF (Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua)
- Unit Binder Cover