It's Really No Choice At All

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Logically there should be no break between Deuteronomy 29 and 30 (or any other chapter for that matter). In what is designated for us as chapter 29, Moses has laid out the instructions that the nation-about-to-be must follow if it expects to enjoy God’s blessing. But God also knows that this people will not follow those instructions. As chapter 30 begins, Moses reassures the people that after God has punished them for their disobedience, He will restore them and bring them back to the land that He once promised their ancestor, Abraham. The beautiful forward look: “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live” (30:6), is a reminder of what would one day be the result of Christ's coming.

This issue of life becomes the theme a little later in the chapter as well. Basically Israel had options: life or death. From verse 11 to the end of the chapter, it is as though Moses holds up his hands toward the people. In one lies life and in the other lies death. He extends both and tells the people to choose.

One of the excuses most often heard is that following God is too difficult. Surely God doesn’t want us to do what is beyond our capability. Following will require accessing a strength beyond our own but Moses says that the initial choice is not hard at all.

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach” (30:11) and then gives us what Paul repeats in Romans 10:5-13 when he speaks about how accessible salvation is. No one has to hunt for it, ascend to heaven or descend into hell to find it. It is not hidden. God doesn’t play guessing games or hide-and-seek with something as vital as life and death issues. “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart” says Paul, echoing Moses  (cf. Deuteronomy 30:14).

Moses goes on to urge the people to “choose life” (30:19) and ends this part of his statement with: “For the Lord is your life…” (30:20, emphasis mine).

Paul beats out the rhythm to the song of salvation: “…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved…’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-13, emphasis mine).

Inherent in the word “Lord” is a wealth of meaning. When we say that “…the Lord” is our life, or that “Jesus is Lord,” we are saying that He is “master, ruler, leader, chief, superior, monarch, sovereign, king, emperor, prince, governor, commander, suzerain, liege, liege lord”. We are saying that we agree with everything He says and will follow everything He commands.

That was, and is, the choice. When it comes to a choice between life and death, a wise man would say that there is really no choice at all. Who wouldn’t choose life over death? Wouldn’t you?

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