Feb 23, 2016, 10:32 AM
Do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
Making choices has become an integral part of our lives. We face them every day, even to the extent of choosing what to wear or eat. At every stage in our lives, we are faced with critical choices as adolescents, youths and adults. Away with endless wavering and putting off for tomorrow what we should do today! Some people cannot just make up their minds about anything; you literally would have to nudge them – and not once - before they would do so. In extreme cases you would have to give them an ultimatum or a deadline even. Moses was at one such crossroads when he had to come down hard on the Children of Israel. “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-16)
Moses could no longer put up with the behaviour of the Children of Israel who were both stubborn and stiffed-necked. The more they were admonished to desist from their wayward behaviour, the more they drenched themselves in it. They had been warned not to deal with the people of the nations they had conquered, - the Philistines and the Amalekites. “Do not intermarry with them.” (Deuteronomy 7:3) On several occasions God had punished them by delivering them to their enemies who defeated and exiled them.
Here Moses challenges them to make a wise choice; he put the onus squarely on their shoulders. In this last-ditch attempt to get them to change, Moses transmitted to them what the Sovereign Lord had declared; “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) That was not a multiple choice exercise, it was a close-cut alternative between ‘life and death;’ ‘blessings and curses.’
The Children of Israel had driven Joshua against the wall that he had to kick back. “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the Gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. Whether the gods your forefathers served ... or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.” (Joshua 24:14-15) In urging the Children of Israel to take their stand Joshua stated categorically his position. He concluded: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” He did not mince matters.
Life may seem very basic and simple but it has eternal implications. It is important that we make the right choices by which to live on earth; so that we may continue to live after we quit this world.Living a carefree existence, without any guidepost or guidelines could rob us of a place in heaven. No one in his right senses would like to end in a place where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48)
It is important that we make the commitment today as tomorrow may be too late. After we die it is too late also. “... man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment.“ (Hebrews 9:27) “For the grave cannot praise you (God), death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.” (Isaiah 38:18) “No one remembers you (God) when he is dead. Who praises you (God) from the grave? (Proverbs 6:5)
You cannot make a better choice than to choose life in order to live this life perfectly. This life is found only in Jesus, our Saviour; who came down from heaven to show us how to live. He is the life: He declared: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6) He did not say ‘a way’ which indicates there may be several ways. No, he emphasises the uniqueness of its character by using the definite article ‘the’; to the exclusion of all others. “I am the Life.”
God recommends choosing life, and not just any life – but life through Jesus Christ - which is the God-kind of life. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) Jesus is our “Sun of righteousness.” (Malachi 4:2) The Sun gives light and life to everything that exists.
Dear Reader, in this New Year, make a commitment to live the God-kind of life on earth that continues in heaven. Choose life!