Choose Life, Not Death
Moses said to Israel:
11You know God's laws, and it isn't impossible to obey them. 12 His commands aren't in heaven, so you can't excuse yourselves by saying, “How can we obey the Lord's commands? They are in heaven, and no one can go up to get them, then bring them down and explain them to us.” 13And you can't say, “How can we obey the Lord's commands? They are across the sea, and someone must go across, then bring them back and explain them to us.” 14No, these commands are nearby and you know them by heart. All you have to do is obey!
15 Today I am giving you a choice. You can choose life and success or death and disaster. 16-18I am commanding you to be loyal to the Lord, to live the way he has told you, and to obey his laws and teachings. You are about to cross the Jordan River and take the land that he is giving you. If you obey him, you will live and become successful and powerful.
On the other hand, you might choose to disobey the Lord and reject him. So I'm warning you that if you bow down and worship other gods, you won't have long to live.
19Now I call the sky and the earth to be witnesses that I am offering you this choice. Will you choose for the Lord to make you prosperous and give you a long life? Or will he put you under a curse and kill you? Choose life! 20 Be completely faithful to the Lord your God, love him, and do whatever he tells you. The Lord is the only one who can give life, and he will let you live a long time in the land that he promised to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses wraps up his speech and his ministry with a passionate call to the people of God to choose life. The answer to life is not removed from us or hidden away. The Word has been given to us and we hold it. God has made clear “life and good, death and evil.” What remains is for us to choose between the options.
If we walk with the Lord we will be nourished and find life. If we choose to walk after other gods, we will cease to hear the Lord and will find death. For the nation of Israel, their choice to follow other gods would lead to their expulsion from the Promised Land.
This speech is one in a line of many places and times where the people of God are asked to see the choice they have between life and death. Adam and Eve had a choice to walk with God or not. Cain had a choice of whether he would master sin or be mastered by it. Abraham had a choice, Isaac had a choice, Jacob had a choice, and we have a choice.
The promised land was a chance to enter the ‘rest’ that only comes by choosing life, and life is only found in choosing God. Jesus would echo this in the gospels as he became the doorway to life, as he invited us to follow him, to die to ourselves and choose life.
Just like the women and men and children in the days of Moses, we too stand here with the Word of truth before us. It is not hidden in heaven or out of our reach; the choice and options are right here before us.
Father, today we confront this choice again. We choose you. Quiet my soul and help me to see that in you I am complete; in you I have all that I need. Father, I choose you.