"And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali." - Deuteronomy 27:11-13
During my study time with the Lord one evening He opened my eyes to see this passage in a deeper way.
While I was reading in Deuteronomy 27 the Holy Spirit nudged me to look deeper into the meaning of the names. Every single verse, every single name, every single number in the Bible is inspired and has a meaning for us to discover. The entire Bible is God-breathed and full of life!
As I was reading through the chapter the Spirit said, "look up the names of those who were on each mountain, what do they mean? Why did the Lord choose their order in such a way?" And I realized, there is something significant here.
In the church today there are two ways of thinking. There are those who really know they are forgiven and are humbled by the grace of God, and there are those who are still trying to earn their own righteousness and forgiveness without even realizing it. Our view of forgiveness will affect our faith!
The Meaning of Mountains
Mountains and hills in the Bible represent the place where the Lord resides. Moses went up the mountain to spend time with the Lord. Elijah fled to Mount Carmel to hear from the Lord. (1 Kings 18:42) Jesus, Peter, James, and John went to the top of the Mount of Transfiguration to pray. (Matthew 17)
Those who take time to go up the mountain to be with the Lord come back changed. Any time we come into the Lord's presence, we leave different than we arrived. Time spent with God is never wasted.
Psalm 121:1 (NIV)
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Today we don't have to go up the mountainside to hear from the Lord. All we have to do is open up His Word and read it. When we open our Bibles and pray for a discerning heart, and that the Lord will give us revelation knowledge of Jesus, He will reveal the secrets of His Word to us. So pray for revelation knowledge, wisdom and discernment!
Today we don't have to go up the mountain to hear from God, but there are two different ways we can view the Lord. We can either view Him as angry with us, angry when we make mistakes and that our sins separate us from Him; or we can view God through the lens of the cross, knowing and understanding that because of Jesus' sacrifice God will never ever be angry with us again.
We can come boldly before the throne to obtain mercy in our time of need because we have been made RIGHT before God. Jesus's sacrifice made us right before our Lord!
Choose Mount Gerizim
"And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin"
Mount Gerizim means "cut off ones" and "stripped ones" or "bald." When you come before the Father, and really open up your heart to Him, you will feel naked and stripped. But the more we come to Him and trust Him with our hearts, every part of our heart, the good and the evil, the more He can strip away the bad parts until all we are left with is the glory of His son who covers us.
In Deuteronomy 27 when the Israelites were obedient to the Lord they would receive the blessings of God. They not only had to obey every law that God had set forth, they also had to administer morning and evening sacrifices to atone for their sins.
Today you and I don't have to be obey every law on our own, nor do we have to atone for our sins through animal sacrifices. All we have to do is look to Jesus, because He is our perfect atoning sacrifice that paid for the forgiveness of our sins and for our obedience. Jesus not only took our place, His blood covers us and makes us holy too! (Read The Blood Leaves A Stain)
Hebrews 10:10-12 (NLT)
"For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand."
We have confidence today because Jesus' obedience was perfect, and His sacrifice was once for all time. The blessings quoted on Mount Gerizim are for us today because of Jesus!
While the meaning of Mount Gerizim is significant, God hid meaning in each name as well. Take a look at the meaning of each tribe as well as the order of these names.
Levi: united, joined in harmony
Issachar: his reward will come
Joseph: he will add, double portion
Benjamin: son of my right hand
As I was pondering each name and why God put them in this particular order, He suddenly showed me in the Spirit what this passage means.
God opened my eyes so that I could see what happens when we choose to remember the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. When we keep Jesus at the forefront of our lives, remembering that He is our obedience, He obtained our freedom through His blood and death on the cross, then we stand on Mount Gerizim. We aren't trying to earn our placement on the mountain, we already have our right standing on this mountain! Because Jesus paid for our RIGHT to stand on the mountain!
The Lord said to me, "when my people keep Jesus' sacrifice in the forefront of their mind, then they will hear Me and be joined in harmony with the Me. With their lips they will praise Me because their hearts are filled with gratitude for what He has done. Jesus is their reward, He will come near to them and will add a double portion to their lives. They will be seated with Him (the son) at the Father's right hand."
Look back through those names and see that our double portion, our inheritance and blessings, come when we recognize that our right standing before God was bought and paid for by Jesus. There is nothing we have to do to earn our right standing, nothing we have to be to earn our right standing, just looking at Jesus and submitting our hearts to what He has done IS our right standing.
Jesus' once for all time sacrifice made us holy.
Choose to remain on Mount Gerizim! Remember that because Jesus stands in the gap, we are made right and righteous before the Lord! WE CAN KNOW that God isn't angry with us, and we confidently approach the mountain and declare the blessings the Lord promised Israel are ours today. Double portion is ours! We are seated in the heavenly places with Christ, at the Lord's right hand! (Ephesians 2:6)
Believe it! Declare it! Claim it! It is yours today.
Beware Mount Ebal
"...and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali."
Ebal comes from the combination of two verbs: the verb ('awa) which means to bend or twist, and the verb (bala) which means to become old or worn out. What's interesting is that the first part of this word, ('awa) means to bend or twist a bottom line, perversion or ruin. It also means to commit iniquity, to do wrong, guilt.
The Lord showed me two ways in which Christians today can end up on this mountain. There are those who twist the Word of God to suit their purposes. I have personally seen pastors come into alignment with the way the world believes in order to gain followers. Anything less than preaching from God's word exactly as it is written is a perversion of truth, and twisting the Word has consequences.
To bend God's Word because we don't like what it says doesn't make it not true, it only makes us into liars and causes us to commit wrongdoing. It makes us guilty.
The second part of this verb of Ebal, is to become old or worn out. Anytime we try to depend on ourselves, on our own strength and righteousness to serve the Lord, it will cause us to become old and worn out. It always ends in burnout. We simply can't sustain our own goodness.
Now, let's take a look at each of the names of the tribes that shouted out curses:
Reuben: behold, a son
Gad: fortune, luck
Asher: happy, happiness
Zebulun: dwelling of honor
Dan: God is my judge
As I was pondering the meaning of the order of these names, suddenly the Lord unveiled my Spiritual eyes to see the meaning.
"Behold, a son (a daughter), who has experienced fortune. Because of his luck, he is happy and his place is a dwelling of honor. But because he sees Me, God, as his judge, he is always struggling."
Wow. Do you know Christians like this? They are living a charmed life by outside standards and seem to always be "lucky." Life just happens well for them. But for some reason they never seem truly joyful, they are always struggling.
God showed me in the Spirit that how we view Him as our God makes all the difference in the world. If we view Him through the lens of the cross, knowing Jesus paid our way for Him to become our Father, then we will view Him as our Father who loves us. We will know that He isn't angry with us, that He loves us unconditionally and enjoys spending time with us. It's in this confidence that we can be truly honest with Him and our heart, knowing that He will protect it and take care of it.
But when we view Him as a distant God, angry with us when we sin and mess up, then we forfeit our right standing and end up on Mount Ebal. We hide when we mess up, and then we think He hates us and is disappointed in us.
Beloved child, God loves you so unconditionally and wants to be in loving communion with you. Jesus has paid the way for us to come before the throne with boldness. So come to Him boldly! With all of your prayer, pains, past hurts and present needs, come to the throne and know that the Father longs to hear your voice. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
Which Mountain Do You Ascend?
I have learned to see my relationship with God through His son Jesus. When I come to the Lord, I remember that Jesus paid for me to be there, without the sacrifice of a lamb or a priest to make intercession for me; because Jesus is my priest and my sacrifice. I don't have to earn my way to the throne, I have a right to the throne as heir apparent with Christ.
In Romans 8 Paul declares that we are joint heirs with Christ and heirs of God. That means you have a right to stand on Mount Gerizim. You have a right to the blessings that Jesus bought for you! You have a right because He made you righteous!
The next time you're feeling lousy about yourself or you're wondering why God isn't answering your prayers, remember that you are seated with Jesus in heavenly places. You have a blood bought right to be there.
Don't fall for the trap that you are still working to earn your righteousness by obeying the law; just accept that Jesus took your place and fulfilled the law so that you and I can stand before the King of Kings. (Matthew 5:17)
The next time you talk to God, keep Jesus in the forefront of your mind. Remind yourself that because of Jesus, today you stand on Mount Gerizim. The ground you walk on is blessed, and you have received every blessing. You are blessed!
Deuteronomy 28:3-8 NKJV
"Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
“Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
“The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you."
Go read through Deuteronomy 28 for the full list of blessings that Jesus bought for you to have. Whatever it is that you need today, Jesus bought it for you. Look to Him. He will give you what you need.