Our readings today began by telling us how “Moses and the elders of Israel” [Deut. 27 v.1] made a special effort to make all the tribes who were about to enter the promised land “keep the whole commandment that I command you today.”

Moses tried to, sort of ‘engrave‘ the consciousness of obedience to God on their minds! He tells them to divide into 2 groups, each of 6 tribes and tells them that “on the day you cross over the Jordan” [v.2] they are to first “build an altar to the LORD” [v.5] and then “write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly” [v.8] because “this day you have become the people of the LORD your God.” [v.9]

Their crossing of the river, was a sort of baptism, it was miraculous, because the waters ceased flowing (Joshua 3 v.13).  Today in Deuteronomy, in v.12 & 13, we read of an uncommon activity they were also to engage in!  “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.  And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.”

The people of course had no books to read, so this occurred to impress on their minds God’s ways – and his promised blessings, but also the promised curses if they failed to keep God’s ways – and not only failed- but instead   

made “a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the LORD, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman…” [v.15]  How the “hands” of humans today know how to make, buy and use things which take their minds away from their Creator – surely he will hold them responsible for how they have used their lives!

Finally, a rather parallel thought is to be found in our chapter in Acts.  Paul is now in Roman custody and a rather fascinating relationship develops between him and Governor Felix; “he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present …” [ch. 24 v.25]

Let us think carefully about our reaction to the things the Scriptures tell us?  Or are we, all too often, too busy to read it, putting it “away for the present”?  Have we pushed to the back of our minds what we “have become”? Let us remember the day we crossed the baptismal waters of the Jordan, for surely, with joy, we stood on the “mount” with visions of the kingdom at that time – embracing God’s laws as a wonderful guide in our lives!

By Bro D.Caudery

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