2018-03-21 Therefore, Choose Life.

Good Morning!

I’m kinda liking Deuteronomy. Maybe that’s an odd thing to say so early in the morning, but I am. I like that it is so plain. I’m going to list a few verses, all from Chapter 30. See if it doesn’t encourage you.

v. 2-3 and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you.

v. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

v. 9b-10 For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Isn’t that cool? Commentary says that this refers to the New Covenant, particularly that God will change our heart. Prior to that, God didn’t. Yet we now experience radical change as we witness those who are “born again.” Still, we are like the Israelites in that we stray, and there are plenty of warnings that we need to heed. Even so, once we are saved, we are saved. Mere lip service won’t earn us that status. It’s all or nothing when God circumcises our hearts.

Let’s look at a few more verses.

4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

v. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

v. 31a For the Lord your God is a merciful God.

This leads us to another, well-known, commandment.

6.4-7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

That’s our target, folks. Jesus made this clear.

Mark 12:28-30 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

(Quick note, don’t get hung up now on the extra in Jesus’ remark. There is plenty of time for that some other day. Trust me, there is no “fatal flaw” here. The main thing is to understand the message. Details can quickly obscure what is truly important.)

Now, we who are saved have a great deal to learn from all this. Yes, it is true that the Israelites were bound by the entirety of the Law. And, yes, they risked everything through disobedience. We don’t. However, we do risk a great deal in that the principles are the same and we do risk a great deal through disobedience. There are a couple examples in the bible. I won’t take the time to quote it all here, but the first is in Acts, with Ananias and Sapphira who the Lord struck dead because they flat-out lied. It is generally agreed that both were believers. 1 John 5:6-17 speaks of sin of believers that leads to death. Another is in 1 Corinthians regarding a believer entangled in sexual sin. That one is worth looking at:

1 Corinthians 5:4-5 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Yup. That’s what it says. There are definitely consequences for our sins, even for sins that are forgiven. So, we have choices. Let’s go back to the first book:

Deuteronomy 30:15, 19b-20 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil….Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live loving 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.”

Father, I choose life. Please help me stay close so that I may not wander for I am prone to do that. I confess that my heart is wicked and strays. Even so, I know that you have changed it. I need you to keep me close. Help my unbelief. Amen.

Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers

 

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