Summary: EPIPHANY 6(A) - What is your choice in Christian living: disobedience and God’s curse or obedience and God’s blessings?

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Deuteronomy 30:15-20 - February 15, 2004


15See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16For 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.

17But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

What is your choice? In our lives we make many choices. After we make our choices and we look back, we realize some of them are good and some not so good. After we have made our choices and look back, we realize that some have taken much thought into and some not so much thought. Today, as we listen to the words of our text, Moses gives his people a choice, a choice to choose good and live long and enjoy God’s blessings or a choice to be disobedient and then suffer the results.

First and foremost we want to remember that the most important choice has been made for us. The same divine choice was also made for the children of Israel. God had chosen the children of Israel to inherit the Promised Land. They were known as His chosen people. Today, you and I also have been chosen to inherit the Promised Land that is yet to come. We have been chosen and called out of darkness that we might live in the light of the knowledge of salvation. We have been called out of darkness to live with God in heaven forever some day. So that divine choice is already made for us.

But what do we do after God has called us out of darkness? That is what our text talks about today. In the Gospel of John we are told how God has chosen us. We have not decided on our own to believe; but His choice has been upon us. From John 15 we read: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last" (JOHN 15:16a). That is what Moses is talking about today in our text. What is your choice? Is it going to be good fruit or bad fruit? He says the Lord has chosen us to bear good fruit that will last. So in our lifetime of choices Moses reminds us to daily ask ourselves


I. Is it disobedience and then God’s curses?

II. Or will it be obedience and God’s blessings?

I. Disobedience and God’s curse

The setting of our text takes place as the children of Israel are standing on the threshold of entering into the Promised Land. They had wandered in the wilderness for forty years, and their wandering is now coming to an end. But before they step across the Jordan River to enter into the Promised Land, God through Moses has some final words for His people. God wants to remind them that things are going to change for them. They are not going to be wandering around in the wilderness. They are going to find themselves in one place--in the Promised Land. They are not going to have to go out and collect manna every day, but instead they are going to be in a land flowing with milk and honey. The concern of Moses, of course, was when they come into this land of prosperity they might forget the Lord God. So he emphasizes that point. He says: 15See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. These seem to be easy choices, don’t they, life and prosperity or death and destruction?

Now as the people came into that Promised Land, we find the warning that Moses gives to them. Even though it seems to be an easy choice, they need to know the consequences of their bad choices. God said, 17but if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. What was the requirement for the children of Israel when they entered the Promised Land? They had one thing to do, and that one thing was to drive out all of the inhabitants that were there. The Lord wanted them to drive out the inhabitants in the Promised Land, because they were pagan people. They did not believe in God, and they were not going to worship the Lord God Almighty. When the children of Israel went into the Promised Land, they drove out most of the people but not all of them. So it happened that because some of those people lived among God’s chosen people, the chosen people of God began to worship false gods. The list of false gods was long, and they were terrible. There was Baal, Asherah and Ashtoreth, and Molech who even demanded human sacrifices. Their hearts were drawn away from the Lord.

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