The offer of life or death
This 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 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. NIV
Every believer should revisit Deuteronomy 27-30 on a regular basis for in it the Lord lays out the choice before us – life or death, blessings or curses. We should never take it lightly because choices have consequences.
There is a popular notion in Christianity today that because God loves us we can live our lives carelessly and contrary to the expressed will of God and yet be blessed regardless, yet reap a mighty harvest.
That is simply not scriptural.
What the Lord says is that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). If we live our lives according to His word, we will reap the promises of God in every situation. However, if we choose to walk in disobedience to Him we will reap the consequences of our disobedience.
God has established what is often called the “Law of Life and Death, Blessings and Curses” and He’s inviting us, pleading with us even, to live our lives in such a way as to appropriate for ourselves every blessings that He has prepared for us.
Obedience is the key that unlocks the blessings of God, that releases the promises of God. So much of what God wants to give us, so much of what He wants to do in our lives, is contingent on our obedience and submission to His purpose.
Our obedience positions us to receive from God (I John 3:22); our disobedience hinders what God wants to do in us and through us and robs us of God’s blessing.
Now let us not think that because we are saved we are somehow beyond the pale of the Law of Blessings and Curses. Salvation comes by faith; blessings come by obedience. Luke 11:28 says that those who hear the word of God and obey it are blessed.
So many lives have been wasted, so much promise brought to naught, because they thought they didn’t have to account for their choices. They might have been saved but they did not glorify God by the way they lived. How it must have grieved God that they did not live life to the fullest, that their disobedience robbed them of so much that God wanted to do in their lives.
Has the Lord put too onerous a burden on us in all this?
In Deuteronomy 30:11-14 He says: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’ No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”
In other words, God’s word, God’s will, God’s purposes are clear enough. He has already written it upon your hearts and you know it. The only question is are you living it, will you make the choice each day to live for God?
God is not a hard taskmaster. If we set our hearts to obey Him, Holy Spirit will empower us to live the Word day by day. And God will look for every opportunity to bless, favour and honour the person who sets his heart to obey God.
With the promise of so awesome blessings and the sureness of so terrible consequences in front of us, let us be careful to live our lives in such a way as to appropriate the blessings and receive all God’s best for our lives.
The promise of blessings does not mean the absence of trial and tribulation; it does means that no matter what we face, we will overcome, we will prosper, it will be well with us. He blesses and who can take that away from us?
“Be very careful [then] how you live [your lives].” (Ephesians 5:15]