Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Choose Life! (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)

Moses was born in 1571 BC (Ussher). For the first 40 years of his life he lived in the court of the ruler of Egypt. He later had to run away from Egypt, however, and lived the next 40 years in the wilderness of Sinai tending sheep. Finally, in 1451 BC, the Lord, the one odd god of freedom, truth, love, and vitality, sent him back to command the ruler of Egypt to liberate the people of Israel.

After witnessing tremendous signs and wonders, the ruler of Egypt let Moses lead Israel out of the slavery of Egypt and into the freedom of the wilderness. There God made a covenant (shared commitment) with Israel and gave them his law at Sinai.

But the people of Israel did not put their trust in God. When he was willing to lead them into the land of Canaan, they were too afraid to follow him. So they had to remain another 40 years in the wilderness.

Now the right time has come. Now they are about to cross the Jordan River and possess the land of Canaan. But now Moses will not be going with them. Now Moses is about to die. So Moses shares with God’s people some last important words:

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 on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life…(Deuteronomy 30:15-19a, New Revised Standard Version).

The Lord alone is the one odd god of freedom, truth, love, and vitality (or life). Moses tells the Lord’s people that the Lord alone is the source and goal of blessings, life, prosperity, and fruitfulness.

Moses tells Israel that it is love that leads to life. This makes sense. Moses makes clear that, if they love God, they will discern and affirm his words of truth which will lead them into fullness of life.

Moses also warns Israel against devoting themselves to the six Olympians gods. He warns them there is nothing good in living their way: only the curses of hard times and death.

These words are as important to us in our times as they were for Moses in his times. Through these words of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy, Jesus speaks to us today.

Our Olympian society, our fellow Olympians, and you and I when we are not paying attention, devote ourselves to the six false gods of Olympianity. The results, as Moses foretold and as we can see for ourselves, are hard times and death.

But through these words of Moses Jesus invites us back to life. He speaks to us today words of truth that free us, once again, to love Abba (our heavenly father) by living his way rather than in an Olympian way.

We love Abba when we discern and affirm his words. We do this best by reading the Bible and making its words part of our daily way of living. Today Jesus invites us to express our love for Abba by committing ourselves to regularly reading the Bible and affirming its words both personally and with at least one other person.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.