Reading: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
The Hebrew people are on the brink of the Promised Land. 400 years in slavery in Egypt are not too far in the rear view mirror. As God’s people began to experience life lived in freedom, God gave them the Ten Commandments. These commandments gave guidance on how to live in a right relationship with God and with one another. The commands are both quite simple and also encompass much. The people have had their struggles living with these ten commandments, so as they prepare to begin a new era, a new way of life, Moses seeks to remind them one last time. Moses urges them to “choose life” because he knows that living in the land of milk and honey with foreign cultures all around will be a great challenge to the people, to their relationship with God, and to their relationship with one another.
This choice sounds so familiar to me. Each day when I rise, I can choose to seek God with all of my being and to “walk in His ways”. It is the choice Moses begins his address with: “I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction”. On my own, I am prone to temptation and sin. On those days and in those moments when I do not intentionally choose God, I may not be doomed for immediate death and destruction, but it begins me on that path. If I do not quickly see the consequences of my poor choices, I can soon find myself “bowing down to other gods”. It is necessary for me to begin each day choosing to follow God’s ways, seeking to live in right relationships with God and those around me. When my first few steps and my first few decisions begin with God, then the rest of the day tends to follow.
When we “choose life”, we are blessed by God. The blessing is not necessarily in financial terms or in any other earthly measure. The blessing comes in the peace and assurance of being held in God’s eternal hands. The blessing comes with hope and contentment in this life and in the life to come. The blessing comes in abiding in God’s love and grace. This day, what do you choose?