Advent: It is Our Season of Waiting for Who Knows What or Who Knows Who, Our Season of Making Choices!

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

“As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“We are our choices.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
― Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States from 1901-1909

The Word of God for the Children of God says;

Life Or Death-It’s Your Choice, Please Choose Wisely!

Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Names of God Bible

11 This command I’m giving you today isn’t too hard for you or beyond your reach. 12 It’s not in heaven. You don’t have to ask, “Who will go to heaven to get this command for us so that we can hear it and obey it?” 13 This command isn’t on the other side of the sea. You don’t have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us so that we can hear it and obey it?” 14 No, these words are very near you. They’re in your mouth and in your heart so that you will obey them.

Choose between Life and Death

15 Today I offer you life and prosperity or death and destruction. 16 This is what I’m commanding you today: Love Yahweh your Elohim, follow his directions, and obey his commands, laws, and rules. Then you will live, your population will increase, and Yahweh your Elohim will bless you in the land that you’re about to enter and take possession of.

17 But your hearts might turn away, and you might not listen. You might be tempted to bow down to other gods and worship them. 18 If you do, I tell you today that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live for a long time in the land that you’re going to take possession of when you cross the Jordan River.

19 I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. 20 Love Yahweh your Elohim, obey him, and be loyal to him. This will be your way of life, and it will mean a long life for you[a] in the land that Yahweh swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

An aged Moses had some parting words for the Israelites who were getting ready to leave the desert and enter the promised land. He revealed to them that they had an important choice to make. We each have the same choice to make.

 Moses has thoroughly laid out all the points and sub-points about what it means for God’s chosen people to be holy and like God in all of their ways.

He says in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 that the commandment is not too hard for them, that it is very near, and they can do it, if only they will. Now he says that he calls “the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you.” This speaks to the eternal nature and fundamental truth of the commands of God.

If they disobey, the heavens are there as a witness to the fact that they knew right from wrong, good from evil, and they have chosen the wrong and evil. If there need be two witnesses, then the earth will back up the claim that if the Israelites choose to bow down to false God’s, to shun God’s good decrees, to fail to acknowledge him in all their ways, they will have absolutely zero excuses.

The Israelites were getting ready to leave the desert and enter the promised land-Canaan; the land of milk and honey. Moses had some words for his people as he was not going to be joining them but leaving them in the capable hands of his successor-Joshua. Joshua too would have to make good choices to lead such a mass of people. To succeed Moses, to lead God’s people forward was no small tasking from God. Moses had sandals no one could fill in exactly the same way, standards which Joshua would now have to carefully change to succeed for God.

What we can learn from these “choice” words of Moses. how they apply to us.

Moses makes it clear that the commands of God are not too difficult-they are not too difficult to understand nor too difficult to do (beyond your reach).

The commands of God can seem like they’re impossible to achieve, and they are-apart from him giving us the ability to do them. No one can be obedient to God without God giving him the ability to obey. No one can understand what God’s will is apart from him revealing it to us.

Except here, Moses is making it clear that this is what God has already done for us. He has made it so that the word of God is near and clear to us. We don’t have to wonder if we will somehow have the opportunity to hear and understand God’s will. No, through the ages, God has spoken his word to us so that it is close to us, not far away. God has made it possible for us to choose to place his word in our hearts so we would obey it. “Life or Death! Please Choose Wisely!”

God’s ways are life. Jesus is the life and the light of men (John 1:4). Every choice of whether to do good or evil always comes down to the choice between life and death. What makes a human who is created in the image of God choose death over life can only be that his or her nature is stained with sin. Because of this, God sent his one and only Son, Jesus to redeem us, and to fill us with his Holy Spirit, whereby we can actually choose to begin to change. Even Spirit-filled Christians can sometimes temporarily choose death. If they have been shaped for a long time by the evil choices they’ve made, the process of transformation to Christlikeness could be slow, but if it is genuine and true then it will be sure.

But, inevitably, some will make different choices, choosing not to understand.

Romans 10:1-11. 1-4: They were zealous for God but they were not righteous before God because their enthusiasm was not based in knowledge. They didn’t know the righteousness that came from God, not because they didn’t have the opportunity to know but because they chose that they did not want to know about the righteousness that came from God, which is salvation through Christ.

They chose to not submit to God’s righteousness. Instead, they wanted to claim a righteousness that was of their own making and their own doing-of their own works (law)-of their heritage as descendants of Abraham, moving God on out.

No matter how far wrapped up we get into the theological debates about the sovereignty of God, the inevitability of sinners to sin, and the election of the saints, God never stops saying to all flesh, “What I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11).  

Deuteronomy 30:19 Authorized (King James) Version

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Deuteronomy 30:19

#1 “This day…”
The Bible is the living Word through which God never ceases to speak to us. Hebrews 3:13-15 says, “13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:‘ Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’”

#2 “I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you…”
Here, Moses is the speaker and the author who called the heavens and earth as witness to what he has been teaching the Israelites who have been rescued from slavery in Egypt. This rhetorical device is clearly meant to show that the whole universe and heavenly realm will hold them accountable because the way of life he has shown them comes from the basic principles of how things are because they are exactly how, from the beginning, God created and ordered them to be.

#3 “…that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.”
God’s blessings equal life. His curses equal death. We choose whether to be blessed by God or cursed by God, choosing between life and death. God’s heart for the Israelites was to be conscious in their choices, rather than most who are only semi-aware of the choices that are either killing them or building them up.

#4 “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
That they would do well to choose life has been made abundantly clear. Here, Moses reminds them that their children’s lives are also at stake. The choices the parents make do not negate that their children will have their own choices, but their choosing righteousness will definitely increase the likelihood that their children will do the same. (Psalm 78:5-6, Psalm 119:9-16, Proverbs 22:5-6)

How many choices do you make every day? [What time to get up / what to wear / breakfast? / way to drive to work / use my time etc.] 100’s? 1,000’s? every day? It was much simpler back in the 1920’s – Henry Ford’s famous quote – “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

Now, we expect to have many choices made available to us– Skim milk, 1%, 2%, whole / white, chocolate, even strawberry! Our young children know this – Mom asks: “For your snack would you like an apple or a banana?” The child says, “Can I please have a cookie or a brownie or some of those potato chips?”

Some choices are a matter of life or death (e.g. band aid on a paper cut or call 911 at the signs of a heart attack! or a stroke)

God’s Word to us comes from some of the last words that God gave Moses to write just before his death, recorded for us in Deuteronomy 30. “This day I call heaven and 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…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

That ought to be a rather easy choice to make and then live with, right? Surely if given the option of life and blessings or death and curses, we would naturally and enthusiastically and wisely choose life! But the command: “Choose life” is more than a decision to keep on breathing. God’s command to choose life is defined in Deuteronomy 30:16“For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in God’s ways, and to keep God’s commandments.”

“Choosing Life” involves loving God. Not the grade school valentines kind of love; nor the infatuation or selfish kind of love that says, “I love you because you make me feel so good!” Rather, it is the Godly marriage kind of love – exclusive, whole-hearted love, Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

“Choosing Life” means to walk in God’s ways – At the very beginning of time, Adam and Eve had a choice – obey God or do what they wanted. To obey God meant life and perfection / to choose their own way meant rebellion, death and curses; and we know what happened – they DID IT THEIR WAY! “By one man, sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death passed to all people, because all have sinned.” Romans 5:12 By nature, on our own – by our own standards of living out our humanity, we absolutely want it “our way!”

Therefore, to WISELY “Choose Life” we MUST WISELY have a change of heart!

And that change can ONLY come through faith in Jesus, who graciously teaches us: “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father (no one Chooses Life) except through Me.” (John 14:6) and again Jesus clearly teaches us: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit…” John 15:16

“Bearing fruit” / “Choosing Life” / living wisely by God’s commands is God’s gracious wisdom at work in us, daily turning us away from sinful self and in true repentance “being turned back” to Jesus. Come back to Jesus and LIVE!

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now PRAY,

Heavenly Father, thank You that in Your grace You offer the free blessings of salvation to all who will trust in Christ as Saviour. Thank You that You loved me so much that You became a curse for me and died in my place, so that by faith in Your finished work on Calvary, I might be born from above and receive the many unconditional blessing of Your resurrected Life – thank my Savior, thank You in Jesus ever living name, In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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