Summary: A sermon on choices from Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Sunday Evening Service
Several years ago, there was a temperance speaker who was lecturing on the evils of liquor. “Who has the most money to spend?” he yelled. “The saloon keeper! Who has the biggest house? The saloon keeper! Who has the finest furs and the most jewelry? The saloon keeper’s wife! And who pays for all of this? You do, my friends, you do!” A few days later, a couple who had been in the audience met the speaker against liquor in the street and congratulated him on the enlightening speech. “I’m pleased to see that you’ve given up drinking,” the lecturer said. “Well, not exactly,” admitted the man. “We just bought a saloon.” The speaker didn’t realize he was presenting them with a choice.
A. Read the text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
B. Moses was delivering the children of Israel the covenant he had received from God. He had no choice but to deliver a hard message. The stakes were high. The very survival of his people was at stake. Vs. 19
C. Moses was saying that a time of decision was at hand. The people of Israel could no longer walk on both sides of the fence. They must make a choice.
Thesis: Tonight let’s talk about choices.
I. We are always making choices.
A. Some are minor choices. Getting ready for church tonight. Am I Going? What am I going to wear? Where am I going to park? Where am I going to sit?
B. In rural Arizona, a man went to see the Hopi Indians perform ceremonial dances. It was a long lonely drive to the reservation across secluded desert terrain and some rough roads. Late afternoon, after the dances, the man returned to his car only to discover he had a flat tire. To make matters worse, he had no spare in his trunk. But he remembered seeing a service station about 5 miles back down the road. After getting a ride to the service station, he found the proprietor sitting in a chair drinking a soda. The stranded man asked, “Excuse me sir, but do you fix flats?” The proprietor said, “Yep.” So the man asked, “How much do you charge?” The proprietor replied, “What difference does that make?” The man was in no position to bargain. Not much of a choice.
C. Some choices have little impact. Other choices make all of the difference in the world like going to college, choosing a profession, choosing a mate.
D. Some time ago the newspapers carried the obituary of Captain Peter Townsend, a famous WW2 fighter pilot. It was he who loved and lost Princess Margaret and then went into more than 30 years of self- imposed exile from Great Britain. He was 80 when he died. Captain Townsend left Britain after Margaret, bowing to the establishment, told the nation, October 31, 1955; she had decided not to marry Townsend because he was divorced. The romance between Captain Townsend and the young princess, 16 years his junior, became public in 1953. It was a year after his divorce and the year Elizabeth was crowned monarch and head of the Church of England, which frowns on divorce. After this, the much decorated war ace was banished from the palace, on the advice of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, to a diplomatic post in Brussels. But the romance survived until 1955 when Margaret, then age 25 and third in line to the throne, made her final decision. “She could have married me,” Captain Townsend wrote in his autobiography, “only if she had been prepared to give up everything- her position, her prestige, her money. I simply hadn’t the weight to counterbalance all she would have lost.
E. Choices, choices, choices- so many choices. We will not have to choose between true love and a throne, but we still have choices.
II. We have to live with our choices.
A. Moses laid out the choices. Israel would have to live with the consequences of their decision. Make the right choice and prosper. Make the wrong choice and suffer.
B. Maturity is recognizing that the choices we make carry consequences. I had a good laugh at a story in the newspapers sometime back about a teacher who found a great way to make students pay for their crimes. Troublemakers at Riverside Brookfield High in Chicago are being forced to serve after school sentences in the Frank Sinatra Detention Club. There, for 30 minutes, they must sit still- not talking, no homework, no snoozing- and listen to Mr. Sinatra croon songs. “The kids hate it. They’re miserable,” reports teacher Bruce Janu, a Sinatra fan who devised the club as a way to make detention more fun for him, and less so for the kids. “It just got to where I couldn’t stand it,” said one senior. “It so boring.” Janu isn’t totally heartless, though. He lets students sing along if they want- but nobody does.