MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH
Lord, thank You for giving me the opportunity to choose.
Read DEUTERONOMY 30:11–20
The Offer of Life or Death
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
New International Version (NIV)
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Bumper sticker: “No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace.” Biblical wisdom: “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
Moses’ long-winded sermons are finally winding down. This is the moment to which all of the proclaiming and preaching and pleading have been leading. With 29 chapters behind him, Moses now begins by reminding the people that what is required of them has been made known and also made clear. Neither ignorance nor lack of comprehension are acceptable excuses (11–14). They are fully able to make an informed choice. Two options are then “set before” them (15): life, prosperity and blessings versus death, destruction and curses (15,19). How long would any jury be out on that one! Who wouldn’t choose life, prosperity and blessings? Why would anyone choose death, destruction and curses?
In the sad reality of a fallen world, however, it isn’t quite so simple. Choosing life is inseparably bound up with choosing God: “For the Lord is your life” (20). Choosing God means loving him and living in obedience to him (16). Yet, it is not that God doles out prosperity and blessings to his supporters, but metes out death, destruction, and curses to those who refuse to cast their vote for him. Rather, fullness of life is found only in God; this truth bears repeating: “For the Lord is your life” (20). C.S. Lewis explained it like this: “A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on himself. He himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no suitable alternative. That is why asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about involvement in His kingdom is a fool’s errand. God won’t give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 54).
Choosing life is a daily choice. Evaluate your recent choices: were they life-giving or life-eroding?
Lord, I choose to serve You and participate in the good that You have for me, rather than the alternative.
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