Moses was giving instruction here about a future day when the Israelites would once again inhabit the Promised Land. The twelve tribes were to divide between the two mountains, Ebal and Gerazim. From the valley below, Levites were to read the curses they would experience if they failed to carry out God’s instruction. In response to each curse, those on Mount Ebal were to give a reverberating “Amen.”
But what about the blessings and clear instruction for those on Mount Gerazim? The account recorded here is not nearly as specific about how that was to play out. It seems safe to assume that specific blessings would be read and the six tribes would bellow out a heartfelt, “Amen,” but that is not so precisely delineated.
Nevertheless, the people were promised blessing in the city and in the field. They would be blessed in their harvest and in childbearing. They would be feared by other nations and prosperous in their work.
Unfortunately, God’s people were not characterized by obedience, and, as a result, they only experienced these blessings sporadically and only in part.
Aspects of this principle of “blessing for obedience” still abide today. There is no better place to be than to be found walking with the Lord and in accordance with His will. In fact, on another “mount” you will soon read about, Jesus proclaimed clear “blessing” for people characterized by such things as “pure in heart” and “peace-loving.”
Meanwhile, be careful to note that your faithful obedience today does not guarantee the same kind of blessings spoken by Moses to the Israelites. Godly individuals today experience the loss of children and of harvests. They face opposition in the neighborhood and challenges on the job. They experience financial challenges that may, at first glance, seem inconsistent with the simple equation of “blessing for obedience.”
We must recognize that the character of God has not changed. He is still loving and gracious. But His dealings with His people have. In fact, now he leverages the trials of our lives, even as faithful followers of Jesus, in order to refine us further so that we may reflect the image of His Son (Js. 1:2-4; Rom. 8:28, 29).