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Chapter 11:16-32 (ESV)

Posted on February 20, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 11:16-32 (ESV) - “Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the LORD is giving you.

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. No one shall be able to stand against you. The LORD your God will lay the fear of you and the dread of you on all the land that you shall tread, as he promised you.

“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not beyond the Jordan, west of the road, toward the going down of the sun, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oak of Moreh? For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.

Question to consider: Who is the only one in Israel who was able to receive the blessings of this covenant?

God’s covenant with Israel was that He would set them aside as His own people, be their God, and dwell among them even though He is the one true God of all things and did not dwell in temples made by men. This covenantal relationship was based on the statutes and commandments He gave to Moses on the holy mountain. The blessings of keeping this covenant were: that God would continue to multiply and prosper them, and give them the land which extended from the wilderness to Lebanon and from the river to the sea. The curses of violating this covenant through disobedience and the worship of the gods of the nations were: that God would withhold the rains from their crops and withhold His hand of protection from their enemies.

Their victories in battle and prosperity in the land would put them in danger of forgetting God and thinking that they were responsible for their own success. Thus, Moses repeated his instruction to them to teach God’s word to everyone who would listen and bind this word on their hands and foreheads to ensure that every thought and action would be done to honor and proclaim the glory of God to the nations. In doing this, they would be expressing their love for God.

The only Israelite who was ever able to fulfill the statutes and commandment of God and able to be declared righteous under this covenant was Christ Jesus. Rather than receiving the promised blessings of keeping this covenant, Christ chose to receive its curses by taking upon Himself the sins of all of humanity and being nailed to a cross— the ultimate demonstration of God’s curse upon a man. As Isaiah said of Him hundreds of years before Jesus was born, “he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12) Isaiah also proclaimed His resurrection by saying, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)

While there are people today who put their hope in a physical inheritance of the land with chants of “from the river to the sea,” the new covenant apostles declared that we should instead seek an inheritance that is imperishable through the righteousness that is given to us by Christ through faith instead of our own works. We are Christ’s inheritance and the offspring mentioned by Isaiah, and through Him we can be called children of God and have His Holy Spirit dwelling within us.

Even though Moses did not get to experience the perishable land inheritance, we know from his meeting with Christ on the mount of transfiguration that Moses and Elijah are both alive and in possession of these promises of God.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to see in Christ the fulfillment of all of Your promises. Thank You for giving us as an inheritance to Him and for making a way for us to be reconciled to You when we had no hope of doing it on our own. Amen.