Thursday, February 10, 2011

Choose life!

"Moses speaks to Israel"
by Paul Hardy

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 30:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

The book of Deuteronomy is a series of farewell talks that 120-year-old Moses gave to the Israelites just before they entered Canaan. Our reading today is the end of his third message, where he begs the people to choose God and by choosing Him, choose life.

Look at how he persuades, instructs, and pleads:

1. They can come home (vs. 1-5):
If they've wandered (as he says they will) God's call for them to return is mighty appealing. It's a call from captivity to freedom, from separation to togetherness. It's an invitation to come HOME!

2. God will change them at the deepest level (vs. 6):
How will God keep them from wandering away again? He will circumcise their hearts. We know how male circumcision was a physical sign of God's covenant with the Israelites. Here God promises to carve that same incision of covenant into their hearts. It's a mark that will, like physical circumcision, affect them spiritually at the deepest most private place (their hearts). And like physical circumcision is irreversible, so this heart circumcision will help them stay the course.

3. God is for them (vs. 7, 9):
When they choose God, the tables will be turned on their persecutors while God blesses them in quantifiable ways — more kids, more cows, more carrots!

4. The choice is clear (vs. 11-14):
This is no new, hidden, mysterious, distant or confusing matter. It's a choice they've faced before. It's near them, in them. What is it?
- A choice to love God (vs. 6).
- A choice to obey God (vs. 10).

5. The choice is important (vs. 15-20):
It's important because it's a choice between good and evil, life and death. "Choose life," Moses begs, "so that you and your children will live."

Imagine Moses preaching this sermon in my church or yours. It would be fitting, wouldn't it — his plea for backsliders to return with the assurance that God can permanently change hearts. His confronting us with the challenge to love and obey God in the context of all the things that clamour for our allegiance (worship?). His plea that we make the right decision because it will impact our eternal destiny.

I ask myself have I chosen life? Or have I, in my heart, wandered away, even set up some idolatrous outposts? What about you?

PRAYER: Father God, help me in today's every decision to understand what's at stake and to choose life. Amen.

MORE: The Prodigal Son

Moses' plea for wanderers to come home reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, told with true storytelling skill in this YouTube video: "Jesus of Nazareth: The Prodigal Son."



Bible Drive-Thru


Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...