Israel’s journey had brought them to Mt. Nebo. The land of Israel was visible across the Jordan River. It had been almost 40 years since they left Egypt. They were finally prepared to possess the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is at this point (on Mt. Nebo) that God specified the requirements for Israel to possess and keep the “Promised Land”. God issued an addendum to the covenant cut at Mt. Sinai.
“These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the sons of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He had made with them at Horeb” (Deuteronomy 29:1).
God’s intentions for Israel had been stated earlier.
“And the Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He shall set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord, your God, as He has spoken” (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).
God would fulfill His intentions toward His people if they obeyed His commandments. If they did not obey than the opposite would happen. These are the statements of “the blessings and the curses”. The people of Israel were to assembly on Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim (near the city of Shechem) and rehearse these requirements. The ultimate consequence if Israel disobeyed was expulsion from the land (Deuteronomy 28:64). [Read more…]