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Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 3, 2021 8:00 am

Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 3, 2021 8:00 am

From the beginning of the Bible, God is clear that there are curses for sinning and blessings for obedience? On The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll witness how Joshua paused his campaign yet again to renew the covenant with God and declare the blessings and curses of the law before the people of Israel.

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From the beginning of the Bible.

God is clear that there are curses for sending and blessings for obedience today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will witness how Joshua paused his campaign yet again to renew the covenant with God and declare the blessings and curses of the law before the people of Israel are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

If Mount your resume was the mountain of blessings and mount a ball was the mountain of curses, then why were God's people told to build or alter on a bald mountain of curses when we all strongly prefer to camp out on the mountain of blessing Dr. Boyce offers a wider view of a ball and get resume today from Joshua eight. It's a grade by most Old Testament scholars that the heart of the Old Testament laws. The book of Deuteronomy and that they heart of Deuteronomy is the list of blessings and curses that are found in chapters 27 through 30 of that important book Deuteronomy presupposes an eternal covenant established by God with his people, but it goes on from that fixed point to discuss the principle of blessing and lack of blessing which is based on the obedience for disobedience of the people to the revealed law of God, which is where is list of blessings and curses comes in. This is quite an interesting section.

Chapter 27 contains a long list of the curses. Chapter 28 contains a list of blessings lender to chapters that talk about a renewal of the covenant and at the very end. Moses who is speaking restates the principal calling them to choose obedience.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live in that you may love the Lord your God.

Listen to his voice and hold fast to him to an interesting feature of this sermon. That's what it really was breached by Moses to the people prior to their entrance into the promised land that it was also enacted by Joshua, who at that time was the leader of the people after their entrance into the promised land more of the ceremony that Joshua established after the beginning of the conquest was indirect obedience to what God had told the people to do through Moses and recorded in the book of Deuteronomy sometime before makes fascinating reading. Take this section of Deuteronomy and compare it with the fulfillment we find the end of the eighth chapter of the book of Joshua now Moses is never been in the promised land, but he knew something about it either by reports wraps the report of the supplies aroused by direct revelation, any right when he got to this section of his writing. He said when you enter the promised land. There's an area there that your to visit and which are to camp the placement or two mountains one mountain is called mount evil and the other mountain is called mount Garrett saying that's the place to which your to go when you arrive there. Your to divide up your parking half of the 12 tribes are to be on one mountain and half of the 12 tribes are to be on the other mountain and then setting these curses and blessings that I give you this day are to be read. Of course, that's precisely what Joshua did mount evil and mount Garrett is a bar in the high country about 25 miles north of a I am a little bit to the west of AI as we saw when we were studying these initial battles was that the high end of the approach road.

Joshua and the armies used as they moved into the country from the Jordan Jericho, a great fortified city stood at the lower eastern end of the road in a higher smaller fortified city stood at the higher Western and after they had taken AI the Jewish armies possess a high country and they were free to proceed either to the north or the south in establishing an even stronger hold upon the country. What they should've done it when anybody recommended and what they eventually did do is turn south and begin to attack the fortified cities in that area. Anyone who was observing the progression of the people in these days after the conquest of a I would've expected that that is precisely what they would've done they would've proceeded at once on the success of their great battle today. I do think these other cities instead of at this observer would've noted that the people rather than turning south along the mountain road turns north.

As I said, for a distance of about 25 miles and then slightly to the west and finally made camp in this rather remote area of mount evil in my embarrassing didn't make sense you say. In terms of the military conquest in terms of obedience. The law of God, it was precisely what had been prescribed where they divided up according to Moses command hears way. Moses put it that I'm reading now.

Deuteronomy 27 when you crossed the Jordan said Moses.

These tribes will stand on my embarrassing to bless the people Simeon, Levi, Judah is slicker Joseph and Benjamin and these tribes shall stand on Mount able to pronounce curses Ruben dad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and I fly the Levites to recycle all the people of Israel in a loud voice is whether to recite personhood is the man who carbs an image or castle. I don't think detestable to the Lord. The work of the craftsman's hands and sets of in secret person is a man who dishonors his father or his mother course. It is the man who moves his neighbors boundary stone curses, the man who leads to blind spray on the road course it is. The man withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow person is the man who sleeps with his father's wife, for he dishonors his father's bed person is the man who has sexual relations with any animal person is the man who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother curses is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law curses the land who killed his neighbor secretly person is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person person is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out after everyone of those 12 curses the people on the mountainside were to say amen and then the blessings were read Deuteronomy 28 if you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands. I give you this day the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and the company you if you obey the Lord your God will be blessed in the city blessed in the country the fruit of your womb will be blessed the crops of your land and the young of your livestock, the commands of your herds and the lambs of your flock basket and your kneading trough will be blessed you will be blessed when you come in, and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction and they will flee from you and seven no doubt after each of those blessings, the people said a man. This is precisely what we have recorded as being fulfilled in the eighth chapter of Joshua all Israel aliens and citizens alike with our elders officials and judges were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord facing those who carried the priests were Levites half of the people stood in front of mount Garrett Zaman have them in front of mount evil is Moses the servant of the Lord, formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel. Afterward, Joshua ran all the works of the law. Blessings and the curses just as it is written in the book of the law that was not a word of all that Moses and commanded the Joshua did not read the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and the children in the aliens who lived about. Must've been a most startling moment.

All these people perhaps 2 million of them assembled on the side so these two mountains in an area which is somewhat like an amphitheater reading the law of God and pronouncing blessings upon those who are bad curses upon those who do not mess things up on blessings of you obey the law of God curses upon curses.

If you do not on the very fact that this is something that was repeated twice, that is, once under the command Moses. Moses gave the sermon on the second time under Joshua is Joshua had the words read that very fact that it's repeated twice in itself should suggest that this is a lasting principle of God's dealings based upon his character course it already been demonstrated in the story. I'm referring to what we have been studying about Aiken and first initial, unsuccessful attempt to defeat the mountain stronghold. AI is safe.

The people were expecting God's blessing and given what they understood.

Most of them understood to be the facts of the case. The blessing was inevitable. That is, God said he was going to give them the land they were obeying God's directions for taking it for God was a benevolent God and forth.

He was all-powerful.

Those four factors was inevitable wasn't that blessing would follow when this fortress of AI was attacked and yet it didn't follow they were defeated and when they search for the cause. They discovered that the cause was sin, disobedience in the park. Make and it took some time to discover where the problem land when they found that Aiken was brought out sin was uncovered.

Aiken was judged and after that blessing flowed on again. You see, they had just lived through this now mount evil in my embarrassing the principal wasn't graven once again forcefully on their minds of you obey me. The last you do not obey my law, you will not be blessed. I principal is Francis Schaeffer notes explains my quota.

Of the judges, the period of the Kings, the captivity's under Assyrian Bible and the Jews return for Babel and the Jews dispersion in A.D. 70.

Under Titus and so on. It also explains many of our experiences today sometime ago I was speaking in another church and after I had finished speaking woman came up to me who would been here quite a few years before that she had been very active in one of our youth groups that time had declared her intention of marrying a man is not a Christian friends all warned her against that. I had several long opportunities to talk to her and get in spite of that counsel, she went ahead and married and she moved away. We lost contact and yet here all of a sudden there she was again I didn't recognize her at first.

She identified herself and she began to talk and explain something of the things that had happened in her life over the years. She was very unhappy.

Just before we parted she said to me you know you are absolutely right. I was disobeying God that I should never have married him as an illustration of the principle where we obey God regardless of the way it seems to serve the desires we have the time blessing follows where we disobey and we bring inevitably much misery upon ourselves. Well, that's the principal I want you to see something else because this matter of the reading of the law. Mount evil and mount Garrett is a was not only given to teach the principle that blessing follows obedience and judgment follows disobedience. It was also given to explain the way of finding God's favor when we nevertheless do disobey your read this section of Joshua eight carefully. I'm sure you've noticed that the portion of it that deals with the reading of the laws proceeded by a section which tells about the setting up of an altar of uncut stones on the mount was to was in direct fulfillment of the words that Moses had given and which are recorded in Deuteronomy. Let me read you what Moses said when you have crossed the Jordan into the land. Land the Lord your God is giving you set up some large stones and coat them with plaster right on them all the words of this law when you crossed over to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you when you cross the Jordan set up these stones on Mount evil as I command you today, and coat them with plaster build there and altar to the Lord your God and altar stones do not use any iron tool upon them. Build the owner of the Lord your God with field stones and offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God sacrifice publishable offerings.

There eating them and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord your God. You shall write very clearly all the words of this law on the stones you have set up is what happens is what Joshua did and Joshua built on Mount evil and altar to the Lord, the God of Israel is Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the Israelites he built according to what is written in the book of the law of Moses and altar of uncut stones on which no iron tool used in on it but offer to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrifice fellowship offerings there in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones. The law of Moses, which he had given was actually tremendous with you to see this. This is just absolutely marvelous thing, and for these reasons the first reason this is marvelous is that here God is showing the solution to the sin problem is I would imagine. On that occasion, especially since they had just come from a iron at fresh in their minds. The defeat that they had received before that because of the sin of Aiken that the people if they had any perception at all might well have said, well, guess this is a wonderful thing here to be talking about the blessings of God which come from obedience tend to be remembering the curses of God to follow up on disobedience. But what is going to happen when we disobey sinful human beings certainly were going to disobey Aiken did no doubt we can learn from his experience, but the time is going to conference and will enter it again.

Sin enters and judgment follows does that put us in the position where we are never ever again going to experience the blessings of our God and here you see God gives instructions for the setting up a little older, in which the principal is demonstrated that when we sin, there is nevertheless an approach to God by means of sacrifice.

That's a principal.

Of course, the God of been teaching all along on Mount Sinai. God had thundered out the words of his logon and said the house out, not thou shalt not shalt not, but at the same time that God was giving the law telling the people what they should not do what was also giving the instructions of the sacrifices the same time he sent Moses the lawgiver. He also sent Haran is the high priest. It is as if God was saying, thou shalt not, but I know you're going to do it 10 when you said, here's the way to escape sins condemnation here is people stood up on the mountainside's looking down into the valley with the priesthood with the ark was also the altar. I couldn't help but see the principal sin brings death, but it is possible to come to God and the basis of the innocent substitute dies in place of the center. In those days was an animal, a flammable or some such thing, but it pointed forward. Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. That's the first principle is another reason why this is tremendous and is because this altar of uncut stones was not constructed as we might suspect in the valley that is immediately between the two mountains on Mount Guerra's name on Mount evil is what it says Deuteronomy. When you build your altar building on Mount evil we might say, under the circumstances. Why should it be built on Mount evil answer is also found in Deuteronomy because Mount evil was the mountain of the curses Guerra's name was the mountain of the blessings. Why was it built on the mountain of the curses that was built on the mountain of the curses because that was the mountain upon which sinners stood was a way of saying that you're going to come to God by means of the sacrifice you, not as a righteous person. Above all, not as a self-righteous person, which is all any of us can be if we come claiming our own righteousness.

But you must come, sinners Jesus Christ that I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Altar for men and women, children, aliens, Jews who sin is the meaning of the story you know it's an interesting footnote to this thousand years later or so Samaritans. By this time lived in the area constructed molder was there at the time of Jesus Christ because woman of Samaria.

We met with the well referred to it. They constructed an older and they constructed their altar on Mount Guerra's name at the mountain of blessing to the righteous. It was as if the Samaritans were say is a very self-righteous people and they are today because they still exist where not going to calm as if we are sinners. We don't want to stand on Mount evil why they were going to come as a righteous, were going to stand on Mount Guerra's name and a woman when she confronted Jesus said you know there's a dispute about worship, our fathers, they should worship on this mountain, you do say worship in Jerusalem what's right. After all nobody really knows all relative. No, Jesus was no relativist.

He said it's not that mountain and it's not going to be in Jerusalem either but the day is coming when he meant was through his death and his resurrection would true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, that is, upon the basis of the sacrifice which you provided. I say this is tremendous because this dramatization that took place before the people told them that they had to come to God sinners. I want to see one more thing this is last thing, but only when they become the sacrifice to the altar important is that was in not only were they, sinners receiving what was done for them on their behalf on the altar. They were also become claiming no contribution to that matter of salvation by themselves is what's involved in the altar being made of uncut stones on which no iron tool had been used Francis Schaeffer calls this the undermining of all humanism same people I I'm sure. Oh, are willing to admit they're not perfect and Sobel confess to being sinners. To that extent, and there are people who will quite readily welcome help that may be given to them by other human beings. Or perhaps the situation is really desperate by God, but they do not want to relinquish their ability to do something. I say well God, I may be true to say so that I need a Savior and I'm certainly glad to have the Lord Jesus Christ.

Help me to say I want you to know I'm capable of doing something for myself this matter of salvation and moreover that I insist upon doing it when Moses gave the instructions in Joshua carried them out to set up this older uncut stones which human ingenuity and ability and skills that contributed not a thing was teaching a great lesson was saying that if we would come to God and be saved by that sacrifice. We must come with empty hands relying 100% upon what God himself does for us.

This is the principle of the Reformation. The reformers talked about solo theater in Seoul agronomy so Lafitte a means by faith alone means by faith without any human works added to it.

Seoul agronomy a means by grace alone means it's all grace entirely apart from human merit. Gustus popularity saw this and expressed it did one of his great hymns. He wrote nothing in my hands, I bring simply that I cross I cling naked look to the for dress helpless today for grace file either the fountain fly wash me, Savior, or I die walk of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in the we can't come to that rock.

We can't be cleansed by that fountain. If we come thinking that somehow we're achieving it for ourselves. We come with empty hands will find a place of refuge and that rock place of cleansing that fountain and empowering by God the Holy Spirit to live in a way which actually brings the full measure blessing in our lives to spray our father, we thank you for this clear dramatization of the principle of blessing and cursing.

Obedience and disobedience of the way of salvation for sinners who come depending not on anything they can do, but upon the completed work of Christ, our father, we read the story we recognize how Tibbett this all must of been in the minds of the people of that day.

We would ask that by your Holy Spirit, you would make it equally vivid for each of us at this moment and grant our father by your grace, because it must be all grace that no one, no one who hears this or who has reflected on should persist in thinking that somehow nevertheless salvation is a human possibility, but instead they might be overcome with all and wonder that grace was stooped to save us through the work of Christ, and so come to trust him.

Father blessed many in that way for the sake of my dear son, even Jesus, you are listening to Bible study hours with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.

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