Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 (9)
Hebrew meaning of ki tavo is, “when you go in”. In these verses Moses is still delivering his last address to the people before he dies and they cross over into the promised land under the leadership of Joshua.
All throughout the book of Deuteronomy Moses instructs the people to keep the Torah of HaShem. In this portion the covenant is renewed and Moses delivers to them the blessings for keeping the Torah and the curses for not keeping the Torah (similar to Leviticus 26).
What is amazing to me is that the people needed to be reminded about the curses that would come upon them if they disobeyed. They had been wandering in the wilderness because they disobeyed. How soon the human heart wanders! Mankind has had, from the very beginning of time, until the end of time , a wandering heart. A heart that knows no limits on evil.
After all that God had done for them one would think that their heart would
remain loyal for eternity, yet Moses has to remind them about the blessings and curses. This is still the problem with mankind today - a wandering heart, a heart unloyal to the Creator.
To bless is a very important principal to God and to the Hebrew people. Modern Christians usually fall short in this area. Jews bless their Creator numerous times a day, saying blessings over things in everyday matters and blessing God even for the bad things that happen to them. They bless their children and families and literally every detail of life. The idea of HaShem giving forth blessings and curses would have been very familiar to their understanding.
The lesson of Balak and Balaam should teach one about curses. Mankind brings curses upon themselves when they disobey the commandments of Adonai. His teachings and instructions are given for protection. Just as good parents set boundaries for their children so they will be safe and secure, the Creator sets boundaries for His people. These boundaries should not be seen as a bad thing or limitations to one's freedom. Instead, they are to bring freedom. They are for our protection and security. God has promised His protection and provision if we stay within the boundaries of His teachings and instructions. When we step outside of this boundary we open ourselves up to Satan and his attempts to lie to us, steal from us, and his attempts to kill us; both spiritually and physically.
We have all been guilty of breaking His teachings and instructions. Hence, the curses listed in this portion of scripture have come upon us. This is why Yeshua nailed “the curses of the law” (Torah) upon the cross. Listed in this portion are the curses that He nailed to the cross when He took our sins upon Himself. We were guilty and should receive the death penalty, but He took the death penalty for us. The innocent for the guilty! A concept most
understood by the ancient Hebrews in their sacrificial system.
If we want blessings from God then we must obey. If we disobey we get the curses. Only Yeshua, through the sacrifice of His own body, can forgive us when we trespass against a holy God and His Torah. Although salvation is a free gift one must remember that repentance is required before our sins can be forgiven by the shed blood of the Messiah, Yeshua HaMashiach. Walking daily in salvation is not free because it requires obedience and obedience comes with a sacrificial price. No one has obtained salvation yet- we are on a journey and must remain faithful until the end of our life on this earth- only then will we obtain salvation for scripture bears out that Yeshua will return bringing salvation with him for those who successfully completed their course of life in obedience (Hebrews 9:28).
In 27:15-26 the curses are listed from Mt. Ebal. There is something that jumped out at me here that I would like to share. All of the sins listed here are done in secret.
Verse 15: and idol made and set up in secret.
Verse 16: the verse states that the individual "thinks lightly" or "lightly esteems" his parents. It means to dishonor or disgrace. Commentators tend to agree that these words infer that the person "secretly" despises them in his heart, and by looks and gestures dishonors them.
Verse 17: think about it - who would go out and move their neighbors landmark in open? No, they would tend to do it "secretly" when no one was looking.
Verse 18: again “which leads men to take wrong steps, whether in things civil, or moral, or religious; all which are often done privately, by "laying a stumbling block in their way (Leviticus 19:14).
Verse 19: these "the stranger, fatherless, and widow" often have no one to plead for them or assist them so many are tempted to do unjust things privately to them thinking that no one will know, notice, or even care.
Verse 20-23 certainly “I would hope” that these sins were committed in private (but now a days not so true but they would have been in ancient Israel because they would have been stoned otherwise).
verse 24: strikes another "secretly” and kills him, and the murder is not known.
Verse 25: bribes are taken in private. This one to murder.
Verse 26: quoted by Paul in Galatians 3:10. This last curse is directed against anyone who refuses to follow the Torah of Adonai concerning all of His teachings and instructions which Moses has given to the people.
Again, notice all these things are done in secret. But God sees! This reminds me of the words of Yeshua in Matthew 5. We find that both here in Deuteronomy and in Matthew that it is a condition of the heart or “heart circumcision”. That is what Yeshua is trying to teach. That is what Moses is trying to teach. Sin begins in the heart!
When HaShem speaks of establishing the New Covenant it isn't because the Torah was bad or needed fixing. NO, it was our hearts that needed fixing! We were cursed, we had the curses - spoken here - upon us. HaShem had to fix OUR HEARTS through Yeshua, because He took the curses from us and brought GLORY back to the Torah. The Apostle Paul writes about this. Please read Daniel 9:11.
In these verses something else struck me. They primarily had to do with idolatry, sexual immorality and murder. Interesting that these are the basic categories of Torah (listed in Acts chapter 15 - beginning points for new believers). If you look deeper they cover all of the 10 words: against idolatry (first 4 commandments), not honoring mother and father (5th commandment), perverting justice, causing someone to stumble, moving landmarks (6th, 8th 9th and 10th commandments), murder (6th commandment) and the sexual sins (covered in the 7th commandment).
They are all there if you look deeper! And they all begin in the heart - in the secret of the inner heart of man!
And ALL the people SAID “I AGREE". They agreed to accept the curses for disobedience.
Now, the consequences for their sins are given in Chapter 28:15-68. They are given IN GREAT AND GRUESOME DETAIL!
You see, a person can choose their sin but God chooses the consequences of those sins!
Basically, the consequences are: disease, pestilence, heat, drought, sterility, defeat, death, blindness, madness and dismay. Beginning in verse 30 HaShem begins to describe these punishments in even more horrible detail. He even predicts they will eat their own children (which they did).
The blessings for obedience include: prosperity, physical safety, control over enemies, fertility, and knowledge of being a holy people. In other words: God promises to protect and provide for their every need.
The tithe is discussed in 26:1-15. I will give but a brief overview.
...The Terumah – the firstfruits (heave offering) given to the priests.
...10th of the remainder: The first tithe. The Levitical of sacred tithe ( maaser rishon), it was given to the Levite.
... The Levite then separates 10% of tithe given to him and gives to the priests (terumat maaser).
... The second tithe (additional 10%) called the maaser sheni was taken to Jerusalem and consumed there for festival celebrations. It could be converted to money if it was too far.
... The poor tithe (every third year taken from the feast tithe) every third and sixth year the second tithe. It was given to the poor and called "poor man's tithe". The people were to make sure that the poor man had plenty of money to celebrate during the festival times.
The tithe system was set up in a 7 year cycle. The 7th year was a sabbatical year and after 7 sabbatical years (49 years) there was a Jubilee year (the 50th year).
I am sorry this has been so lengthy but I pray it has blessed or enlightened someone.