Picture Moses and “Israel’s next generation” poised on the edge of the Promised Land. Moses knows he won’t be going with them, but he leaves them with a series of “sermons” to help them choose wisely: first, by not following in the footsteps of their parents’ unbelief and disobedience, and then, by urging them to resolutely follow God and His commandments so that they, and their children after them, might enjoy God and His blessings in the Land.
See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
We’d like to point out three things from this passage:
God desires that all of us have life.
As Moses reminds them (and us!), “The Lord is your life!” Jesus likewise tells us that the reason He came to die for us was so that in Him, we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus came to give us eternal life, and that new life began the moment we believed in Him; we were “born again” into a new covenant, but it doesn’t end there.
God gives every one of us free will to choose.
Twice in these few verses, Moses repeats God’s words to Israel, “I have set before you ...” life and death. Jesus came and offered us life, but not just the one-time offer of life everlasting. It’s actually a day-by-day, moment-by-moment choosing, to align (or sometimes realign) our thoughts, attitudes, and actions toward “Your will, not mine.” Thankfully, today we have the power to “choose wisely” by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Selective obedience is just another form of disobedience.
Sin almost always begins with small acts of disobedience that we excuse or (even worse) justify. But with any act of disobedience, we change our trajectory away from life (Him) and towards death (flesh; Romans 8:13).
Thankfully, today is a new day with a new offer to “choose rightly” (1 John 1:9). Whether in person or online, keep the bonds of your local church strong so that you can encourage one another. Let’s all take time before God and ask Him to help us see if we have fallen into any bad habits, wrong thoughts/attitudes, or unhealthy behaviors. Is there anything that needs to be realigned in order for us to make wise choices moment by moment and day by day? Together, let’s enter the new year with resolve to “choose life”!
This was adapted from a week-long devotional created by our “spiritual care team.” The team has been addressing the needs of our Jews for Jesus staff during the pandemic. Members include our wonderful ministry-wide chaplain, Paddy Beresford, as well as staff of different ages from around the world. They facilitate biblical and prayer-based support as well as online fellowship and encouragement to help our staff adjust to the shelter in place restrictions. We hope you found these reflections as useful as we did for a bit of a spiritual reset—especially as we approach the new year.