Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 8 August 2015
Page 14

Gerizim and Ebal

Mark McWhorter

Mark McWhorterHalf of the Israelites were on Mount Gerizim and half were on Mount Ebal. The cursings were on Mount Ebal, and the blessings were on Mount Gerizim. It is interesting that Moses had instructed Joshua to do this before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

In Deuteronomy 8, the reasons for the blessings and cursings were given. God said there was the danger that after they were in the land that the many physical blessings such as land, silver and gold would make them forget God. They would be tempted to believe that they had gotten those things on their own.

Achan was deceived by the lure of riches at the very first city the Israelites conquered – Jericho. The defeat at Ai was a direct result of that sin. It was only after the nation of Israel made things right with God that they conquered Ai. This was a quick picture for Israel of the blessings and cursings. Immediately after the taking of Ai, they gathered at the mountains and reminded themselves of the blessings and cursings.

Today, we can have the blessings of the Christian life. As a Christian, we have the hope of the blessing of Heaven. If we do not live for Christ, we will neither have the spiritual blessings here nor will we have them in Heaven.

Study your Bible. Learn all you can from it. Obey God. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.


How Far Away Is God?

Russ Vickers

Russ VickersI once read the story of a man by the name of Joe who stopped outside of Montgomery, Alabama for gas. He got back in his car and drove for five hours before noticing that something wasn’t quite right. Then, he realized just what it was; he had left someone behind—his wife! Now, keep in mind this incident happened before cell phones were in wide use. So, Joe went to the next town and asked the local police to help him get in touch with her. Joe was rightfully embarrassed. What could have happened to him that he would leave his wife behind? He admitted that he just didn’t notice she was gone.

We don’t understand how something like this could happen, but we hear stories from time to time of similar things happening, especially where children are concerned. However, we are not much different in our relationship with God. We fail to remember that the One who created us is the One who redeemed us.

Israel was just like this during the wilderness wandering. Notice what was said in Deuteronomy 6:1-12.

  1. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” God wants us to focus on keeping our priorities straight and what life’s purpose is (vs. 4-5).
  2. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart” (vs. 6). The Bible should be a vital part of your lifestyle.
  3. “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (vs. 7). Talk about God to your children and look for opportunities to increase their Christian education.
  4. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (vs. 8-9). Write reminders to yourself. Put them where you can see them.
  5. “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full” (vs. 10-11). Your need for God is not limited to times of difficulty or stress. Be grateful for what you have in life.

So how, then, do we acknowledge God and keep him in our minds? Just the way Israel of old did throughout each day. Sometimes God can seem so far away, but He didn’t move away, we did! The warning for the Israelites is the same for His church today. Deuteronomy 6:12 says, “then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Church, let us never forget God!


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