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Now it shall be, when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. (Deuteronomy 11:29)

I find it interesting that the location of these two mountains is described as being “opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh.” It’s interesting because this is the same area where Abram stopped when he first entered Canaan and where God promised to give the land to him and to his seed. So when Israel finally entered Canaan, they came to the very place where Abram first entered the land. In a manner of speaking, things came full circle, a fact that is hinted at by the word Gilgal which means “circle or circuit.”

Gerizim and Ebal are the two prominent hills in this region, which is the natural center (heart) of Canaan. Gerizim comes from a root word that means “to cut off,” thus “cuttings.” In other words, it hints at something separated from the main tree which is interesting considering that Gerizim, the mount of blessing, is near Shechem, the place where Joseph’s bones were buried. Though he was “cut off” from the rest of the family, Joseph was doubly blessed. Therefore, those commands that pertained to blessing were associated with the one whose heart was open to God’s Word and will. On the other hand, Ebal comes from a term that means “bald, bare or stony,” as in a stony, hardened heart.

As with everything else, what God commanded them to do had purpose. In the very heart of the land He had deeded to Abraham’s seed, his descendants had to make a choice between a life of blessing or the curses that come as a result of disobedience. The same is true for us; we have to decide whose Will is going to reign in our heart — God or self? Will life and blessing be written upon our hearts or will it be death and curses — the choice is ours to make. So may all who have a stony heart experience a transformation whereby His word is able to “cut” through any hardheartedness and infuse their life with blessing.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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