Moses continues to review all the commandments that God has given to the Israelites over the past 40 years. He tells them that as soon as they cross over the Jordan and enter the land He has given to them they are to place the blessing for obedience on Mt. Gerezim, and the curse for disobedience on Mt. Ebal.
Interesting note: these are called the “Shoulder Mountains” because they are across from each other, like a pair of shoulders, and below them is the Valley of Shechem. When all the people, split between the two mountainsides, repeat the blessings and curses aloud, all the inhabitants of the valley below them will hear it.
Moses orders that all pagan memorials and standing stones, idols, etc. be completely destroyed and that Israel is never to do any of the things these pagans did. The people are also told that God will choose a place for His name, meaning a single location where sacrifices to Him will be performed. He orders that no one is to sacrifice just anywhere, but only where God tells them they can. If the tithe to be brought is too much to carry to where the Temple is, it can be converted to money, then when the person gets to the location he can buy the items from someone else.
Another interesting note: One of the reasons Yeshua (Jesus) turned over the money changing tables and threw the merchants out of the Temple courts when He came into Jerusalem (John 2:15) was because the animals they sold to the people for sacrifice were way overpriced, and many were not fit to be a sacrifice.
Moses reviews the laws of Kashrut (Kosher) and the regulations regarding the Festivals of the Lord. He gives the regulations regarding the Shemittah, which is the release of debt every 7 years, and warns against any one who is trying to seduce people to worship other gods, whether a prophet or a family member, decreeing they should be put to death.
Throughout this book Moses keeps telling the people that they are to choose which way they will live: in accordance with God’s laws or in accordance with the pagan practices of the people surrounding them. Even though God ordered every vestige of the pagan practices and people to be be utterly destroyed, He knew that there would always be a remnant of evil left behind.
Seems whether of good or evil, there is always a remnant, somewhere.
The bible verifies God gave us Free Will to choose our path. Too often I hear people make excuses for their actions, blaming the enemy or someone else, or just saying that “God is forgiving so I’ll be OK”, as if God will automatically forgive us for sinning against Him even if we don’t really repent of it. This is one of the wrong teachings of Christianity over the centuries, i.e. that because Yeshua died for our sins we are automatically forgiven.
We are NOT automatically forgiven! Everything in the bible tells us that, and although we do have forgiveness through Yeshua’s sacrifice, it is not automatic. Think about it: if we were automatically forgiven, then what is the use of Free Will? If we are automatically forgiven, then the need to choose right over wrong becomes unnecessary, because no matter what we do we will be forgiven. Automatic forgiveness is, effectively, saying that we don’t even have to do T’shuvah (repent) from our sin.
How many of you out there really think that God will forgive an unrepentant sinner? If you raised your hand, you are way off base and will be very, VERY disappointed at Judgement Day.
God holds us responsible for everything we do and say. Us, me, you- the excuse “But that’s what they told me” is not acceptable at God’s Throne of Judgement. Moses repeats the commandments from God to the people many times so that it will, hopefully, sink in! I think Moses knows what is going to happen; I believe that when God showed Moses the Promised Land He also showed Moses the future. When we read the passionate plea of Moses as he reviews the laws and warns the people against rejecting their God for the gods of the Canaanites, you can hear his heart breaking as he tells them what will happen when (he doesn’t always use the word “if”, and often uses the word “when”) they reject God by rejecting His commandments.
The Torah is not just for Jews and the Blood of Christ is not just for Gentiles; there is not one bible for Jews and one bible for Gentiles. The Torah is for everyone, and the bible is one book- the first part (Tanakh) telling us how we got here and that a Messiah will come, and the second part telling us about that Messiah and letting us know what will happen in the end. One God for everyone, one Messiah for everyone, one set of rules for everyone, and one choice for everyone: joyful life eternal or eternal suffering.
It’s your choice- no one can make it for you and God will not allow you to let someone else take the blame for what you end up doing. No matter what you are told by humans, God says that He, Himself, is going to hold you individually and completely responsible for what you do during your lifetime on earth.
You may be thinking you can change later, or will think about it at some other time, but here’s the problem with that: you will never know when you’re out of time!