Before entering into the Promised Land the children of Israel did something imperative and very far removed from our culture today. Today many walk the aisles, profess their belief, repeat a few words in a prayer, claim salvation, get baptized, and never fully understand what they have done, or better yet, should have done.
At this point, the children of Israel (all 12 tribes and the strangers/foreigners living among them) had heard all the instructions given by YHWH. They then affirmed that YHWH was their Elohim(God) and that they would walk in His ways, keep His statutes, commands, ordinances, obey Him and in return YHWH affirmed He would hold to all He promised. It’s very similar to the wedding vows taken today.
An example from our western mindset would be: Do you, children of Israel, promise to……”I do!”
Let’s look at the verse around this and put in perspective the vows in which we should uphold when we take that step and begin to profess the covenant between our creator and us.
Deuteronomy 26:16-19 This day Yahweh your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances: you shall therefore keep and do them with all your heart, and with all your soul. 17 You have declared Yahweh this day to be your God, and that you would walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and listen to his voice: 18 and Yahweh has declared you this day to be a people for his own possession, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments; 19 and to make you high above all nations that he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to Yahweh your God, as he has spoken.
Deuteronomy 27:1-3, 8 Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, Keep all the commandments which I command you this day. 2 It shall be on the day when you shall pass over the Jordan to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, that you shall set yourself up great stones, and plaster them with plaster: 3 and you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you are passed over; that you may go in to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you. You shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.
In the next few verses, various tribes were told to give the blessings over the people and other tribes to give the curses. As we read it, we see after each instruction the people stated “Amen” agreeing, saying it is true…pay special attention to the last one.
Deuteronomy 27:9-26 Moses and the priests the Levites spoke to all Israel, saying, Keep silence, and listen, Israel: this day you are become the people of Yahweh your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the voice of Yahweh your God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command you this day. 11 Moses charged the people the same day, saying, 12 These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 These shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 The Levites shall answer, and tell all the men of Israel with a loud voice,
15 Cursed be the man who makes an engraved or molten image, an abomination to Yahweh, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. All the people shall answer and say, Amen.
16 Cursed be he who sets light by his father or his mother. All the people shall say, Amen.
17 Cursed be he who removes his neighbor’s landmark. All the people shall say, Amen.
18 Cursed be he who makes the blind to wander out of the way. All the people shall say, Amen. 19 Cursed be he who wrests the justice [due] to the sojourner, fatherless, and widow. All the people shall say, Amen.
20 Cursed be he who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s skirt. All the people shall say, Amen.
21 Cursed be he who lies with any manner of animal. All the people shall say, Amen.
22 Cursed be he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. All the people shall say, Amen.
23 Cursed be he who lies with his mother-in-law. All the people shall say, Amen.
24 Cursed be he who strikes his neighbor in secret. All the people shall say, Amen.
25 Cursed be he who takes a bribe to kill an innocent person. All the people shall say, Amen.
26 Cursed be he who doesn’t confirm the words of this law to do them. All the people shall say, Amen.
These were not just ideas or suggestions, these are wedding vows between YHWH and his bride (Israel) (To learn exactly who Israel is see our resource titled Who are the Jews and is Torah just for them?). Every time they said Amen it was equivalent to us when we say, “I Do” in our modern wedding ceremonies. YHWH said that if He was going to be our husband (God) and we were going to be his bride, then these are the terms that we must agree to. The same is true for a wedding ceremony today. It’s our promise to our husband or wife as to what we agree to do and our commitment to the marriage. There can be no wedding without agreeing to the vows, and there can be no covenant with YHWH without agreeing to the terms of the covenant. It’s much more than saying a simple prayer, getting baptized and going to church. It’s a relationship that requires action our part to present ourselves
“approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15