This week I've been really challenged by an exhortation in the Book of Deuteronomy. God was speaking through Moses to the people of Israel who were about to enter the promised land. The people had wandered in the desert for 40 years and in order to enjoy God's blessings in the promised land, they must know God's law and obey it.
"...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 NASV
Choose life. Choose blessing. Wow! There is both life and death before us. There is both curse and blessing.
We all have our desert experiences. Often our sin and choices keep us wandering just like the Israelites. Often it's not that we want to sin. We, like the Apostle Paul, are weak. We end up doing what we don't want to do, and not doing what we ought. Our battle to chose what is right and holy is not new.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to choose life and blessing. He wants us to enter the land flowing with milk and honey.
For me choosing life means to forgive little comments that may be taken as offenses. It means not being inflated by compliments and being defeated by criticism. It means serving my family cheerfully. It means forgiving myself when I've blown it, knowing God already has and His grace is big enough. It means extending mercy, not judgement. It means listening to God's still and quiet voice. It means that I need to wait for the soft and gentle voice that comes after the earthquake and after the fire. It means not being silent, when someone is unjustly judged or accused. It means being silent when I want to defend myself. It means being a Godly steward of the time, energy, money, and talents God gives me. It means persevering when I'd rather quit. It means learning how to love others how He loves me. It means finding my way to righteous, holy living and being honest when I've fallen short of God's laws. It is about confessing our sins to one another. It's about learning from my and other's sin. It's about love, grace, mercy, humility. It's all about Jesus.
Father God, you desire us to obey your law, to know it, to write it on our hearts. You have set before us life and death, blessing and cursing. You want us to choose life - abundant life, a life full of blessing. That life is not free. It cost you dearly. It cost the death of your son. It will cost us too. Help us to surrender what You will never take. Help us to give, what you will never ask. Give us a heart after your heart O Lord. May we be faithful. May you find us diligent. We love you, Lord.