Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deuteronomy 30

1"Suppose all these things happen to you--the blessings and the curses I have listed--and you meditate on them as you are living among the nations to which the LORD your God has exiled you. 2If at that time you return to the LORD your God, and you and your children begin wholeheartedly to obey all the commands I have given you today, 3then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. 4Though you are at the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will go and find you and bring you back again. 5He will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. He will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors!
6"The LORD your God will cleanse your heart and the hearts of all your descendants so that you will love him with all your heart and soul, and so you may live! 7The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and persecutors. 8Then you will again obey the LORD and keep all the commands I am giving you today. 9The LORD your God will make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and your fields will produce abundant harvests, for the LORD will delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. 10The LORD your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and laws written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
11"This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. 12It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, `Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?' 13It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, `Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?' 14The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
15"Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. 16I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, laws, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. 17But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.
19"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! 20Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey him and commit yourself to him, for he is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

Points of Interest:

· ‘Suppose all these things happen to you’—as we have seen in the previous days’ passages, Moses is exhorting them to remember God, his goodness to them, and his promises so that they do not gradually drift away from him and find that they have abandoned their special relationship with him. If that were to happen, then God would remove his protection over them and allow—in fact encourage—another nation to come and take them captive. They would end up right back where they started.

· ‘God will go and find you and bring you back again’—even if that were to happen, it need not be the end of the story. God will be eager to renew the covenant yet again. All they need to do is call out to him, and he will find them and rescue them, no matter where they have gone.

· ‘Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!’—God is not aiming for misery. He does not hope to punish the people, or to weigh them down with guilt or with harsh rules. What he wants for them is full, good, satisfying life. All they need to do is choose it, and trust God to provide it.

Taking it home:

· For you: Do you feel as if you’ve gotten off-track? Maybe just for a day or a moment, or maybe for quite a long time, you’ve wandered away from the life God has for you. The great news is that God promises in this passage that you can’t possibly wander too far for him to bring you back. If you feel a little lost, call out to God for rescue. Moses tells us in today’s passage that if we do so, he will not only put us on the right track, but give us an even better life than we’ve ever had before.

· For your six: As Moses says in today’s passage, the thing he is telling them to do is not difficult. All he’s asking them to do is to say, ‘yes,’ to the abundantly good life God is offering. Despite the fact that it is not a difficult thing to do, it remains curiously difficult for us to consistently decide to do it. Moses promises that God himself will give the power to say, ‘yes,’ to anyone who asks for it. Pray for your six, that God would indeed give them that power to choose.

· For our church: Our church’s dream is to empower impossibly great lives, the kind of lives this passage describes. Pray that our dream would be fulfilled, that anyone associated with our church would have the amazingly rich lives described in this passage, and that we would have a special ability to invite others to choose life.