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This is a part of an ongoing series for our 90-day Bible reading challenge. Check back each day for the next post in the series; as we read through the Bible in 90 days, there will be a daily devotional thought shared as well.
In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, the nation of Israel is present with God’s multiple choice test:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” (Dt 30:15 ESV)
It’s a very simple, basic quiz. Chose: life and blessing or death and cursing.
Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? But just in case you need help deciding, there are hints and an answer key:
If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God[a] 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,[b] 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.
17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.
19 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, 20 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.” (Dt 30:16-20, ESV)
See? God loves His children so much that He even gives them the answer. But let’s look at what God’s multiple choice test is revealing about who He is and what choices His people need to make.
What It Means to Choose Death
No one in their right mind is going to wave their hand in the air and go, “Oooh, ooh, I know! Let’s choose death and cursing!” That would be pretty dumb. And yet, it was a possibility.
In fact, Eve did it in the Garden. Then Adam did it, too. Humanity has made that same choice over and over throughout the ages. Let’s examine this passage further to see what that choice entails.
When You Choose Death, Your Heart Is Turned Away From God
If you’re not turned to the north, you could be facing south, west, or east. But you are still facing somewhere.
When we choose death, our hearts are not turned toward God but rather we are facing away from Him. What does that mean?
It means we are facing something else. Maybe we are focusing on ourselves. Maybe we’re focusing on a career and success. Perhaps we are just focusing on this temporary life that so easily consumes us.
When You Choose Death, You Are Deaf
Choosing death means not hearing God. It means we aren’t listening to the gentle, quiet spirit that prompts our hearts.
It means we can’t hear His voice.
Which is crazy, when you think about it. Because we, unlike the nation of Israel, have our own Bibles. We can pull up a Bible app on our phones and know what God is saying. The Word of God is literally at our fingertips.
Even in seasons where we “just can’t feel Him”, we still have His words. We might not be able to feel His presence, but if we have a mind to, we can always listen to Him.
When You Choose Death, You Are Drawn To Other Gods
It’s so easy to confuse what idolatry really is. When I think about it, I usually picture bowing down before a brassy looking statue or meditating with incense wafting around them. And yes, that is idolatry.
But it’s also a lot more than that.
According to Dictionary.com, it can also be
Anything we esteem too much, adore blindly, revere, or devote ourselves to that is not God has become an idol in our lives.
For me, that can be a clean house or well-behaved kids. It can be the perfect romantic get-away with my husband. Maybe it’s success with my writing or praise over my efforts in our home.
It can be myself when I think I “deserve me-time” or “just need a day away.”
Sure, times of refreshing are sweet and even wise for a momma to take, but when we “need” them more than we need Jesus, we have made them idols.
What It Means To Choose Life
On the other side of this choice, we have life. There is blessing and peace in this choice. What does that choice involve?
When You Choose Life, You Love the Lord Your God
The very foundation of choosing life is loving the Lord your God with everything in you.
That means you are all in. You love Him with a reckless abandon.
It means you love Him so much that it eclipses other things in your life. That you look to Him with adoration and devotion, instead of to other things.
It means that you seek Him out, long to spend time with Him, and are fulfilled by Him.
Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (ESV)
It’s clearly spelled out for us.
When You Choose Life, You Obey His Voice
And if we love Him, we will do what He says.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21, ESV)
We will read the Bible to learn what it says (because we are captivated by the One our soul loves and desperate to know Him more) and we will make it a part of our lives.
And we know the Scriptural principle that blessing (life) follows obedience, so it’s a natural result of this choice we make.
When You Choose Life, You Hold Fast to Him
Holding fast creates a strong image in my mind. Can you see it, too? Picture two hands grasping a rope tightly, so as not to fall over a cliff. Or grabbing tightly to the man you love before he leaves for war. Or holding your baby to your chest when danger is near.
That is holding fast.
And in this passage, we know that holding fast to God is a part of our choice for blessing and life.
In the New Testament, holding fast is taken even deeper. It means living in Him
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9, ESV)
Sweet friend, can you imagine a more precious place to live than the place in which we are holding fast to God?