Summary: God gives us a promise - that we have the right to choose. But the choice isn't simple, we can choose life or choose death.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 NRSV
30:15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity.
30:16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.
30:17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them,
30:18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,
30:20 loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
We arrive today at the end of our journey of the Promises God gives. It is, perhaps, the strangest promise that a God would give a people. God has promised us the choice of following or not following him.
Of course, God has set the terms for such a decision. IF we follow God, we will walk in God’s blessings. However, if we fail to follow God, we will not.
It is interesting that this passage plays out against the context of the Primary Elections. In fact, this passage could make a very good political ad. IF you follow me, you will be blessed. If on the other hand, you follow the other candidate, you will be cursed.
The thing is, we are not talking here about a candidate for the office of God. We are talking about the Creator and Designer of the Universe. We are talking about the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. We are talking about someone who will keep his promises and can do so.
Rather than think about God in the context of political promises, I would like us to think about God in the context of an engineer giving us an operating manual. Think about some of these things you might read in a manual for your computer, or perhaps your phone or tablet.
If you keep your computer plugged in, it will remain charged and ready for your use.
It is best to keep your virus software up to date to ensure maximum effectiveness.
On the downside, you might note that dropping your computer, particularly into the bathtub, will void the warrantee.
Let’s talk about these three things in the context of God’s promise here.
The first thing I mentioned is that our computer needs to remain plugged in. If we have a laptop or a backup battery, we can go for a period of time without being charged. But sooner or later, our computer, laptop, tablet, or phone will go dead unless we plug it in. This is something I all too often forget when I leave my phone in my purse for too long.
Plugging into God means plugging into God’s Word and commandments. We do this by reading our Bible, by coming to worship, by prayer.
And plugging into God’s Word and Commandments doesn’t mean just reading about them, it means doing them.
We need to love the Lord our God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
We need to see our neighbors as people God has put in our path. As he said in Matthew 25, whenever we give to the least of these, we are giving to him.
We need to Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
We need to see that the 10 commandments were written as a guide to a life of fullness.
Just as our devices today can go for awhile without being plugged in and recharged, we can too. But all of us have a limited battery life. The longer we remain unplugged, the lower the charge is. Sooner or later, without charging, our battery will die.
The second thing I mentioned from our computer manual was that we need to keep our Virus Software up to date.
Just as Viruses are so prevalent in the world of computing, Sin is constantly trying to get past our defenses and infect us. And just as remaining unplugged drains our battery, sin running in the background drains our ministry.
Every time we come into God’s presence, asking forgiveness, it is as if God runs a Virus Scan on us. God cleans out the Viruses that are running in the background and renews our protection against future viruses.