“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that 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 30:15-20
The chosen people of God, the children of Israel, are approaching the promised land. The promised land. The land promised to them while they were in the midst of slavery, with the hope that one day they would be rescued from slavery and brought into the land “flowing with milk and honey.” The land of plenty. The land of freedom. The land promised to them by the Lord. But even in the “promised land,” they still had the choice between life and death. You see, the “promised lands” of our lives are not the magical places where we are never tempted, the Christian life is full of good feelings and joy, and we experience the presence of God and FEEL Him 24/7. Now there is a place like that, and actually way beyond that and so amazingly inconceivable; a place where by the grace of God we will be worshiping the Lord for all eternity, after this life on earth. But…until then…we live in a fallen world and every day – every second – we have a choice between life and death.
We can experience a promised land in our lives, and in fact it is the Lord’s will that we do. But, anyone who is willing to read through the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy will clearly see that the promsied land was not a place of Sunday naps and comfortably chilling out in the evening on the lazy-boy. No, it was full of battles and temptations, and moments where the only way they made it out alive was to choose life and trust in the Lord God who rescued them from Egypt. This Christian thing is hard! But, as the good word says, FEAR NOT. For the Lord Jesus Christ is with us, and He will never leave us nor forsake us. Amen! (Deut. 31:6)
Let’s break down this passage:
We see a fork in the road. The path of blessings to the right leads to life and prosperity. On this path, we thrive as we love the Lord and walk in obedience to him. Our live is abundant – not easy – but worth it! We walk in realization of the blessings of God. Our fruit is multiplied and we have the security of being covered by Jesus in the land in which we live.
The path of curses to the left leads to death and adversity. Along this path, we turn our hearts from God, living according to our plan. Our actions and choices are dictated by our fears and insecurities. We bow our heads and submit to false gods. Here, life is hindered, barrenness replaces fruitfulness, and an unsettled spirit resides within us.
And our Father urges us, CHOOSE LIFE. That we may live, truly live. And our children and grandchildren will inherit blessings and not curses. When we choose life, family patterns of alcoholism and divorce and bondage can be reset by the blood of Jesus, and a new precedent can be made for our children. When we choose life, we choose the same path of obedience that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked along. When we choose life, we are allowing the very same powerful almighty God who parted the sea and multiplied armies and poured down manna from heaven, to be alive and active in us and through us. Wow! Do you realize this is possible. I have heard people say that God does not work the same way He did in Genesis and Acts. But that just is not true! Is God not omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal and constant?! Of course those things can still happen! It is not God who changed, but us. We stopped choosing life. We stopped believing that the blind can be healed and the small army could claim victory and the dead could be raised again.
So how do you know which path you are walking on, life or death? Let me ask you, what is the last thing that God told you to do? Did you do it? Do you have peace in your heart, or do you have hidden secrets and lies that haunt you at night and steal your rest? Are you tired and weary from trying it your way and always falling short? Do you leap when God says to stand still, but you are afraid to move when God says to go? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then the gate to the path of blessings is open wide for you. How dare we still choose the path of death, when the blood of Jesus paves a way for us to the path of life!
Every day is a choice. Life or death. Every situation is an opportunity to choose life and honor God, or choose death and honor ourselves. Only one path leads to life and victory and freedom. It is the narrow path. But, as Robert Frost said, when we choose the path less traveled by, it makes all the difference!