“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life ….” —Deuteronomy 30:19-20a NLT
At times, we all struggle with choices. Perhaps two job possibilities both look promising. Maybe two volunteer positions have need, but you only have time for one. Or … it could be as simple as the choice whether to wear the long-sleeved shirt or the short-sleeved one with the weather looking rather iffy. In these kinds of choices, either option is a good one. The world will not fall apart if you pick one over the other. Either one would most likely be satisfactory, or, even if it weren’t, you could always change your mind and look for another job or stop volunteering or put on a sweater if the wind picks up.
But then there are the harder choices. The big ones that can affect your future and your life. In his farewell address to the people of Israel, Moses offered the ultimate choice between life and death, blessings and curses. Now when you put it that way, who wouldn’t choose the life option with the blessings attached? Well, evidently a whole lot of us. It isn’t just the Israelites in ancient times who chose poorly. We all need to be careful or we, too, could choose death by our actions and our decisions.
Moses wanted with all his heart to see God’s people choose life. “Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” And although the people said of course they would choose life, their actions belied their words and death and curses haunted them all the way to the eventual division of their nation and to captivity. The Bible details this hard, hard story for us as a lesson we’d do well to learn. For we, too, are prone to wander off the way God has marked out for us. Moses spells out what choosing life means.
“You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life,” says Moses. Okay then. How do we do that in our own world today?
Love your God comes first in Moses’ list, and Jesus certainly corroborates this when He declares that loving God is the first and greatest commandment. How does one love … God? Love reveals itself in many ways. Ones who love are tender with their beloveds. They want to spend time with them, and they want to see their loved ones smile and be well. In fact, when you love someone, you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to be near him and even when you aren’t near physically, your mind is wandering … where is he now? How is he doing? Right? Okay then. Are we whispering to God that we love Him? Are we glad to know that He is a part of every moment of our lives, right beside us? Do we notice Him? Do we applaud the beauty of His creation and tell Him? Do we do the things that we know will bring Him joy and delight? When we love God … we choose life and blessings.
Obey your God comes next and is closely linked to love. Jesus tells us “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 15:15 NLT). Loving God is not like loving a fallible human being who sometimes makes bad decisions. Loving God is loving the One Perfect Being in all of creation, the One who has no beginning or end, and who is always, always right. Our love for Him is manifested through our obedience and trust in Him. If He says forgive, then we need to trust that forgiveness is right. If He says don’t steal, then we don’t steal out of love and respect for Him. When we catch ourselves coveting what someone else has, we stop ourselves because of our love for God and our desire to bless Him with our obedience. Obedience is a way to demonstrate our love for God. When we obey God … we choose life and blessings.
Commit firmly to your God. I find it interesting that Moses uses extra words on this one. He doesn’t just say, “commit.” They are to do it firmly. They have to mean it with all their hearts in order to stick with it. To be committed to God when it’s easy and when it isn’t. We have all been there. Some days it’s hard to stay committed. God tells us to love our spouses. Most days I find that easy. Occasionally … I find that difficult. [Ha!] So, my commitment to God and His commands must be firm and irrevocable if I am to stay on course. When we commit firmly to God … we choose life and blessings.
I’ve seen the destruction that happens when people wander away from love, obedience, and commitment to the Lord. It’s not pretty. It’s not worth it. It creates a trail of broken lives and poor decisions and hurts and wounds. I hear Moses’ voice pleading, pleading with us, wanting for us the very best, and I straighten my shoulders and commit again to love, obey, and commit fully to the One who designed me, loves me despite my “undeservedness,” the One who died for me. How about you? Will you choose life and blessings too?
Father God, we are so prone to wander. Bind us to Yourself! Remind us often of the joys that come from loving and obeying You. We choose You, Lord. We love You. We desire to please You through our obedience to Your wise and good commands. We commit firmly to You. And we thank You for eternal life and blessings that You generously pour out on Your dear children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
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