Deuteronomy 27:11-26 – “You’re Not Taking That!” – What A Subaru Commercial Teaches Us About Our Relationship with God

Posted: April 19, 2017 in Book of Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 27:11-26

Curses from Mount Ebal

 

There is a Subaru commercial that is circulating on the various TV networks and cable outlets now. In the commercial, children are about to take things that are dangerous for them like numbchucks, a chainsaw, homemade skis to ski down the stairs, a sledgehammer, a spear gun, a blow torch, etc. As every parent can tell you, kids never seem to stop finding new and imaginative ways to hurt themselves. In this charming commercial, we kid after kid preparing to engage in risky behavior – only to have their parents step in and put a stop to it before it starts. The end game of the commercial of course is to tout the safety of Subaru vehicles. When the final kid, a teenager, tells mom, “I’m taking the Subaru!” Mom replies, not with the theme of the commercial, You’re Not Taking That, but with “Don’t be late!”

 

How often are we like the kids in this commercial? Sometimes, we just seem to forget good reason. Sometimes, we take risks that we know are going to hurt us but we plow ahead with them anyway. When we make idols of things or people in our lives we know it is going to end badly but we plow ahead anyway. When we dishonor our parents with our actions, we know it is going to end badly but we plow ahead anyway. When we still from our neighbors or even strangers, we know we are going to get caught eventually but we plow ahead anyway. When we subvert justice to get our way, we know it will lead to hurt, heartache and pain, but we plow ahead anyway. We know that inappropriate sexual relationships will crash and burn our lives and the lives of others but we plow ahead anyway. When we participate in activities that could cause someone to die or be hurt in some way, we know that it will end badly but we plow ahead anyway. There is always that funny story you hear about rednecks in the emergency room that the inevitable arrival at the emergency room began with alcohol mixed with “watch this!” It seems that we live our lives this way, saying “watch this!” and then crashing and burning as a result of just downright dumb behavior.

 

How often do you hear of men who have it made. They have a beautiful wife. They have beautiful children. They live in the nice house. They have the fine cars. They just seem to have it all together. And then a few years later, they throw it all away on some young chick. Their lives and the lives of their family members are forever altered and change. Exodus 34:7 tells us that the sins of the father will be visited upon the family for generations, up to four generations. Today’s society where you have to have a scorecard to figure out what kids belong to which parents is evidence of rampant sexual sin in our society. Kids growing up without fathers in the homes and fathers living it up away from their families not taking responsibility have had a lowering effect on the morality of our nation as a whole. Having children out of wedlock is not considered abnormal by today’s youth. You can see young women flaunting their unwed pregnancies all over Facebook as if it is no big deal from a moral perspective. It all stems from the children of our society being raised in fragmented homes where fathers are not present and mothers are overwhelmed with their single parent responsibilities. The sins of the fathers and mothers that began in my generation where divorce was no longer considered taboo and sexual relationships outside of marriage began to be the norm in the culture are being visited upon the succeeding generations where morality is a dot in mirror to us as we have gone so far past the line of morality established in God’s plan for marriage and family.

 

We wonder why our society is falling apart and it is because we have thumbed our nose up to the parameters of moral behavior established by God in His Word. That was what I was thinking of this morning as I read through the passage, Deuteronomy 27:11-26, this morning:

 

11 On the same day Moses commanded the people:

 

12 When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin. 13 And these tribes shall stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.

 

14 The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice:

 

15 “Cursed is anyone who makes an idol—a thing detestable to the Lord, the work of skilled hands—and sets it up in secret.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

16 “Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

17 “Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor’s boundary stone.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

18 “Cursed is anyone who leads the blind astray on the road.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

20 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his father’s wife, for he dishonors his father’s bed.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

21 “Cursed is anyone who has sexual relations with any animal.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

22 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

23 “Cursed is anyone who sleeps with his mother-in-law.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

24 “Cursed is anyone who kills their neighbor secretly.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

25 “Cursed is anyone who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

26 “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”

 

Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

 

In this passage, we see that these curses were a series of oaths, spoken by the priest and affirmed by the people. In these affirmations, they were saying that they would stay away from wrong actions. By saying, “Amen”, the Hebrew word literally translates into English as “so be it!” By saying, “so be it!” they were affirming their own responsibility for their actions.

 

Sometimes looking at a list of curses like this one gives us the idea that God has a bad temper and is out to crush anyone who steps out of line. However, we need to take a different look at it! We need to see these restrictions not as threats but rather as loving warnings about the plain facts of life. Just as we warn kids to stay away from hot stoves and busy streets, God, too, warns us to stay away from actions that will ultimately destroy us, our families, or our nation as a whole. The natural law of His universe makes it clear that wrongdoing toward others or toward God always, always, has tragic consequences. God is merciful enough to warn us to stay away from these things. Here, we see the curses of bad behaviors. Obedience, however, brings God’s blessings as we will see in the next passage.

 

We must learn that like the parents in the Subaru commercial, God is not trying to keep us from doing certain behaviors because He is mean and capricious. He just knows, like the parents in the Subaru commercial, how things are going to turn out if we pursue certain courses of action. He is a loving Father. Let us learn to obey Him because of that. Let us trust that He has our best interest at heart because He knows how certain courses of action our going to end. Let us trust Him enough to obey Him.

 

Trust and obey. For there’s no other way….

 

 

Amen and Amen

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