September 5, 2004
”I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live…”
This verse is part of a longer discourse technically called the Palestinian Covenant. (Palestine means Canaan, the land God promised Abraham and his descendants; a covenant is a legal and binding agreement between two or more parties.)
This covenant is between God, Moses and the children of Israel and us, if we are willing to abide by its conditions:
“I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today [Deut. 29:10] before the LORD our God, as well as with him [or her] who is not here with us today [potentially you and I]…”
What agreement are we talking about?
In a nutshell, it is life and blessing or death and cursing. (You could say there is no middle ground in this covenant.)
The life and blessing includes: freedom from captivity; God’s compassion; God’s people being gathered together and brought into the promised land, Canaan; land given to them; God’s blessing on them more than on their forefathers; their hearts “circumcised”—that is to say consecrated God (their children’s also) so that they love God with all of their hearts and souls; their enemies cursed; return to God to obey what He says and do all His commandments; God’s prosperity on the work of their hands; fruitful, with lots of children; also, prosperity of their land and cattle. [Deut.30:1-9]
The death and cursing includes: not being spared by the LORD; God’s anger and jealousy against this person or persons; curses; and “the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven [this is permanent].” [Deut. 29:20]
The intelligent person wants life and blessing, not death and cursing, but how?
Deuteronomy 30:15-18 reads: “See, I [God] have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD you God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish…”
Deuteronomy 30:11 & 14 give us further insight: “…this commandment which I [God] command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” And Romans 10:8-9 continues: “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved [from the deserved punishment for your sins].
What is the key to the Palestine Covenant? Answer: Open your heart to what God has said, here, today. Don’t write it off. This truth isn’t just for someone else. It’s for you! Don’t turn “a deaf ear”. Otherwise, your heart will be ripe to worship other gods, and will earn God’s anger and rejection! Turn to Christ, God’s only Son, today! [Romans 8:9]