Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHOOSE LIFE, EVERY DAY -- Devotional for December 16, from "Good Seeds"

See, I have set before you prosperity and adversity, life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life! (Deuteronomy 30:15,19)

If we didn’t know better we might think this was God talking to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were perfect in the day they were created, and they were given a perfect paradise in which to live. But this didn’t mean they had no meaningful work to do, nor important decisions to make. They were made in the image of God, and two characteristics of that image are 1) to create and produce; and 2) to consider options and make choices. God said to them, “I have set before you Prosperity, Life and Blessing, represented by the tree of life, and all these other trees full of fruit from which you may freely eat. But I have set before you Adversity, Death and the Curse as well, which are also an option for you, all wrapped up in “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from which you must not eat, for then you will surely die” (Genesis 2:9,16-17). But we know today’s Scripture is not quoting God speaking to our first ancestors as they were about to set human history into motion, but rather Moses speaking to our spiritual ancestors as they were about to enter another paradise. But the message is the same: a benediction spiced with a warning. If we are to believe God when He said, “I am the Lord – I change not!” (Malachi 3:6) we must conclude that today’s saints are just as much candidates for God’s blessings and warnings as believers of any other age. His loving promise “never to fail us or forsake us” (Deuteronomy 31:6) does not immunize us against His judgment when we stray from His Word and ways. His choosing us as His “bride” doesn’t mean we cannot or will not go a-whoring after other ‘husbands.” A quick perusal of Paul’s history lesson in I Corinthians 10:1-5 reveals the responsibility of God’s chosen to choose Him back: “You’ll remember that although the people of God were all under the cloud, and passed through the sea, and were baptized into Moses and ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, partaking of that spiritual Rock which was Christ – nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased and were destroyed in the wilderness.” Privilege does not preclude responsibility. We are blessed to be Americans, but we know our “freedom isn’t free!” Having received the free grace of God in Christ doesn’t mean we have no need to grow in that grace by the exercise of faith – “For by [His] grace we are saved through [our] faith” (Ephesians 2:8). The choice is given by God to all. What man in his right mind would ever choose the curse over the blessing? And yet most people do choose that wide road that leads to destruction – death over life. Let that not be you or me! Let us choose life – every day!

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