Summary: There is value in the unity of prayer.
A. INTRODUCTION: DEUTERONOMY 27:4-26
1. Moses told Israel to have a giant praise rally when they got into the Promised Land.
2. Israel actually did it. “Joshua built an altar to God to sacrifice for sins as Moses commanded him in Deuteronomy. Then he had the law written in very large letters on the plastered rocks so all could see and read. All the people stood in the valley with the Ark of the Covenant. Half of the Levites stood on Mount Gerizim and read the blessings. The people shouted, “AMEN!” The other half stood on Mount Ebal and read the curses. The people again shouted, “AMEN!” Afterward, Joshua read the book of Deuteronomy as Moses commanded him to do. All the women, children and foreigners stood to listen” (Joshua 8:31-35, Amplified).
3. The valley was in the middle of the land, they had to fight to get there.
4. Mt. Ebal (3,077 feet) – Mount of blessings. Mt. Gerizim (2,849 feet) – Mount of cursing, Valley 1,600 feet wide.
5. Rocks coated with lime, white. “Plaster them with plaster” (27:4). “Write . . . very plain” (27:8) big letters.
6. The Hebrew nations endured in history because they could read and write.
7. Where curses were said, “Build an altar unto the Lord” (22:5). The law brought death, the altar brought life. Sin and mercy met together.
8. A natural amphitheater, acoustically possible for all to hear and all to see.
9. This was a single event, not to be repeated.
10. This was a solemn renewal of their covenant relationship to God.
B. THE CURSES: DEUTERONOMY 27:15-26
Twice as many curses, as blessings. Sin is manifold, obedience is singular.
“All the people shall say ‘Amen’” (27:15ff). Included women and children. Their “Amen” included: (a) knowledge of God’s requirement, (b) promise to obey, and (c) whole hearted commitment.
“With a loud voice” (27:14). Their excitement.
All sins in this list were private. So “Amen” bonded them in responsibility to each other.
A Curse On Anyone:
1. Making an idol in secret (v. 15).
2. Dishonoring father or mother behind their back (v. 16).
3. Moving a landmark (v. 17) stealing land.
4. Misleading a blind person (v. 18).
5. Interfering with justice to a foreigner (v. 19) racism.
6. Sexual relations with mother (v. 20) secret sin.
7. Sexual relations with an animal (v. 21) bestiality.
8. Sexual relations with sister (v. 22).
9. Sexual relations with mother-in-law (v. 23).
10. Secretly attacking another (v. 24) mugging.
11. Taking a bribe to kill an innocent person (v. 25).
12. Anyone who does not confirm these laws (v. 26) heart promise.
C. THE BLESSING: DEUTERONOMY 28:1-6, NLT
The people did what Moses instructed.
Begin with “if” suggesting possibility of failure. “If you will” (v.1).
Curses, responsibility of individuals. Blessings to the nation.
The Rabbis read chapter 27 in a whisper because of the awful consequences of disobedience. They knew it happened.