What if someone were to give you this choice? Life or death? Would there be any of us who would have to think about what we would choose – for even a second?!
One of my favorite parts of the Old Testament is when Moses and Joshua are speaking to the Israelite people preparing them to go into the Promised Land and pleading with them to choose the life that God has to offer rather than their own way, which leads to cursed death. We covered the first ten verses in Part 1 where Moses talks about repentance followed by mercy. Finally let’s dive into the ESV of Deuteronomy 30, verses 11 through 20!
The context here (because that’s important) is that the Israelites are finishing up their forty years of basically marching in circles around the wilderness. Why? Because God told them to do something and they didn’t do it. Therefore, consequences. Ouch, those hurt. The new generation of God’s people have grown up in the middle of this wandering. The last of the old generation has passed and only Moses, Joshua and Caleb are left. In addition, Moses will not be going into the promised land due to a different sin of his own. Joshua has been commissioned to lead the people across the river and into the land of milk & honey. Therefore, Moses is speaking to them in the latter chapters of Deuteronomy giving them final instructions, recapping their history, and reminding them of all the Lord has for them.
Choose – Life & Good, Death & Evil
11For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it too far off. 12It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” 13Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?” 14But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
I use the Good Morning Girls bible highlighting categories to highlight my verses. It’s literally life changing!! This helps me think through the verse to categorize it, therefore forcing my mind to really think on every verse rather than just reading over it. Everyone’s highlights can vary a little because most verses could fit into multiple categories. Here’s my breakdown:
- Verse 11= obedience (although it could also be blue as a command)
- Verse 12= teaching
- Verse 13= teaching
- Verse 14= teaching & obedience
Wow! Just WOW! I absolutely LOVE verse 11. It’s not too hard for us! How encouraging to know that. We know with Christ all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). These verses serve to reinforce that for us. Ultimately, the Israelites had their instructions and they had the God of the universe there among them performing miracles left and right!
Moses is telling them they can obey. My strong willed child whines “But it’s too hard!!!”. I want to silence that doubting whine that’s inside of me and grasp hold of the strength and power that God has to offer!! The word being “very near…in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it” – doesn’t that just seriously give you chills and bring tears to your eyes?!
15See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If 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. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18I 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. 19I 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, 20loving 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.
- Verse 15= instruction
- Verse 16= obedience, love, obedience, God & blessings
- Verse 17= sin
- Verse 18= sin
- Verse 19= prayer, vow/covenant, instruction, blessings
- Verse 20= love, obedience, God & blessings
God doesn’t force His will on anyone. We must choose to follow Him or reject Him, choose life or choose death. Oh that we would choose life! It seems like such a no brainer, right? Why is it so hard? It seems like the decision is to be followed by action.
Moses has seen the Israelites choose both ways. He has seen them, not really understanding, obey with the blood of a lamb across their doorway, stepping into the Red Sea with an army of angry Egyptians approaching. Yet, he has also seen them grumble against God in hunger and refuse to take a chance against the people that were standing in their way of the blessings God promised them. Moses is pleading with this new generation – CHOOSE LIFE!
Verse 20 lays it out. Hence, you can make this choice (an action) by loving (a matter of the heart) the Lord your God, obeying Him (action) and committing yourself firmly to Him (a matter of the mind). Daily!!!, in each new situation, we must affirm and reinforce this commitment.
Mmm-mmm-mmmph! Deuteronomy 30 has SO much good stuff in it! Forgiveness and mercy following repentance. God letting us choose. Choosing life! Multiplied blessings among multiple generations. God has much to teach us through the Israelites journey all throughout the Old Testament. In conclusion, He is so, so amazing! 😉 What did He teach you from Deuteronomy 30? What’s your favorite Old Testament lesson? Share with me below by leaving a comment!