Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Truth and Life (Deuteronomy 30:15-20)

See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob (Deuteronomy 30:15-20, New Revised Standard Version).

It is 1451 BC. Forty years have passed since Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Now two momentous events are about to occur. The people of Israel are about to enter and take possession of the land promised to them by Yahweh. Moses is about to die.

To prepare everyone for these two profound events, Moses speaks to them one last time. The words quoted above are his concluding remarks.

He wants them to be clear. They may commit themselves to Yahweh. The way of Yahweh is the narrow path leading to life. Or they may commit themselves to the conventional Olympian gods as the Egyptians had. The Olympian way is the broad road leading to death. As former slaves of the Egyptians, freed from them and their oppressive gods by Yahweh, they should remember that.

The Israelites need to remember that because the Canaanites in the land before them, like the Egyptians in the land behind them, devote themselves to the Olympian gods. Moses is anxious about the loyalty of his people to Yahweh.

Again, let us appreciate the varied expressions of vitality that Moses affirms belong to Yahweh alone: possession of the land, length of days, prosperity, becoming numerous, life for descendants, blessings, life! Again, Moses affirms that nothing good comes from following the empty promises of false gods: adversity, loss of the land and descendants, curses, death.

When we look around us today, we see vitality for a tiny minority at the expense of a huge majority of people and the rest of creation. That much debilitation means that we humans worldwide are slaves of an onerous Global Technological System as much as we are worshipers of the six false and destructive gods it embodies. Debilitation and death are their wages and not Yahweh’s gifts.

Happily, in our day as in 1451 BC, Yahweh is alive and well. He invites you and me today, as Christians and churches, through these very words that Moses spoke ages ago now, to seek him and live.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.