The True Ground of Blessing: Deuteronomy 11:22-12:11

Deuteronomy 11:22‑12:11  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Deuteronomy 11:22-12:1122For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; 23Then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall possess greater nations and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. 25There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. 26Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: 28And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. 29And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. 30Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites, which dwell in the champaign over against Gilgal, beside the plains of Moreh? 31For ye shall pass over Jordan to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and ye shall possess it, and dwell therein. 32And ye shall observe to do all the statutes and judgments which I set before you this day. 1These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the Lord God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. 2Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: 3And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. 4Ye shall not do so unto the Lord your God. 5But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee. 8Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you. 10But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord: (Deuteronomy 11:22‑12:11)
God then told the children of Israel the full extent of the land He was about to give them — all was to be theirs — and yet, in reality, only that upon which the soles of their feet would tread could they say they really possessed. And so with us; we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:33Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3)), but we only possess, in reality, the truth in which we walk. This is important for us to remember, for although we are truly “rich” in Christ, we can walk through the world enjoying very little of our portion, to our own shame and loss. The children of Israel never really possessed all the territory God gave them — indeed they lost it altogether when God allowed them to be carried away captive for their disobedience. Nevertheless, God told them they need not fear their enemies, for He would make their enemies afraid of them, if they walked in His ways.
The Ground of Blessing
Once again we are reminded that the children of Israel were under law, and blessing was made conditional upon their obedience, with a curse for disobedience. Little wonder that they finally lost the land altogether, for if blessing is upon the ground of man’s faithfulness, all is hopeless. How good to turn to the Lord Jesus, and see His finished work on Calvary as the true ground of blessing. Through this Israel will possess the land again in a future day, and through it we also shall have our place in eternal glory. Salvation is all of grace.
The children of Israel were told that the first thing they were to do when they entered their land was to destroy all the altars and groves, and every trace of the idolatrous worship of the heathen. There was to be no mixture of things in their worship; it must be carried out as God had appointed, and not copied from the heathen. One feels this has a voice for us, for, what a mixture of things we see today in Christendom! We see pictures and images (under Christian names, of course) used quite commonly. Inquiry would show that these things, along with some so-called Christian feasts, had their origin in heathendom. If these things were forbidden to the children of Israel, undoubtedly they are not pleasing to the Lord today (Colossians 2:2020Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Colossians 2:20)).
The Place of God’s Choosing
We now find something very important and remarkable brought before the people. They were told that when they entered the land, the Lord would choose a place from among their tribes where they were to offer their sacrifices. No other place would do but the one God chose. They were not at liberty to choose a place themselves, or to build a center as they thought best—such a place could not be called the place the Lord had chosen. They must acknowledge God’s center and there only were they to offer their sacrifices to Him.
We believe that God has a center for His people today too. It is not a geographical one—not some particular city, as in Israel—but His Word tells us about it. The Lord Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)). Any other way of gathering would be unscriptural, for God by His Spirit gathers His own to Christ-this is His center,
Further Meditations
1. What was the first thing the children of Israel were told to do when they entered the land?
2. Why weren’t the children of Israel permitted to worship wherever it was convenient to them?
3. How Should Christians Meet According to the Bible? by J. R. Gill and T. A. Roach provides an excellent and simple introduction to the question of where a Christian should meet with others.