Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Deuteronomy 28 & 29 - Choices Have Their Consequences

LINK: Deuteronomy 28 & 29 
(read over the next two days)



BACKGROUND 
(written after my angioplasty in 2008)


Deuteronomy 28


Whew! I'm exhausted after reading/listening to this chapter; fourteen verses of blessings if Israel obeyed, followed by fifty-four verse of curses if they did not obey - about four times longer than the blessings! I think this is because God knew that Israel would disobey and suffer the consequences of disobedience to the covenant. This is definitely a foreshadowing chapter. In fact, the horrible curse of 28:68 came true:
The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, "You will never see it again!" And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.
After the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70, the slave markets of Egypt were glutted with Israelites that had been captured. There were so many that there were not enough buyers for them all!


Deuteronomy 29


This chapter is considered by some to be the conclusion of his third address and by others to be the start of his fourth address. Regardless, it is a summary of the covenant demands. He starts by giving a historical review of the Lord's faithfulness to Israel followed by more curses!


This review and renewal of the covenant is culminated in Moses' dramatic challenge at the end of the ratification:
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. (30:19-20)


We can summarize these chapters with their blessings and curses in this way:


OBEDIENCE = LIFE
DISOBEDIENCE = DEATH


Sadly, as we continue reading through the pages of the Old Testament, we will read of bad decisions leading to tragic consequences for the nation of Israel.


REFLECTION


This week, I was confined to bed rest due to an angioplasty so I read two plays; Everyman and Dr. Faustus. Everyman is a medieval morality play written in the 1300's. Everyman is faced with the choice of worldly pleasures and pursuits like friendship and riches, but they all fail him, and he realizes that nothing he clings to in this life is worth anything compared to the nearness of God. In the end, Everyman chooses life and enters eternity with God. 


Dr. Faustus was written in 1588. He sells his soul to the devil in exchange for magical powers, knowledge, reputation, etc.; and in the end, he is taken away to hell. They both faced similar choices, but the former chose life and the latter chose death.

Choices abound for us too, and it all comes down to the choices we make on a daily basis, and I pray we all choose life!


"We make our decisions,
and then our decisions
turn around and make us."


APPLICATION


Look at the decisions you are making today, some may seem insignificant, but many little decisions can amount to far-reaching consequences. We can make decisions that cause us to go farther and farther away from God or decisions that are marked by ever-deepening daily fellowship with Him.


Which will it be for you today?

I pray you choose life!




PRAYER
Lord, I praise You as the Giver of life. Help us to choose life today. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
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