Deuteronomy 27:11-13 (JDV)
Deuteronomy 27:11 On that day Moses commanded the people, and this is what he said:
Deuteronomy 27:12 “When you have crossed the Jordan, these tribes will stand on Mount Gerizim to empower the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
Deuteronomy 27:13 And these tribes will stand on Mount Ebal to deliver the affliction: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
The pronouncements on Gerizim and Ebal prefigure the work of Old Testament prophets. The prophets predicted empowerments (blessings) from God for obedience, or affliction (curses) for disobedience. They simply reminded the Israelites that they had publicly agreed to these as stipulations to their contract with God.
All of the tribes who were chosen to affirm the empowerments on Gerizim were children of Rachel and Leah. Wesley comments that this is to show “both the dignity of the blessings above the curses, and that the blessings belong only to those who are evangelically such, as this is expounded and applied, Galatians 4:22, even to those that receive the Spirit of adoption and liberty.”
Under the new covenant there are empowerments as well, and all of them are tied to our relationship with Christ by faith. The afflictions assigned under the new covenant are for those who reject Christ, lead others away from him, or betray him. It is a serious thing to know a little gospel, but to live outside its protection.
Lord, make us people who live inside your empowerments, and under the protection of your gospel.