This Choice is Simple

In creating humanity, God wanted to give people choices. In doing so, the freedom to choose our path has been fraught, with people often choosing the path that leads to brokenness and chaos. The choices made guide humanity toward or away from the good that God intends for us. Whether we embrace opportunities to share in the blessings or avoid challenges, our choices lead us on our path.

If you chose one job over another, living in one area, or joining in versus sitting on the sidelines, these all have led you to where you are today. History is full of people who made choices that were often hard to make. Choices have repercussions. Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama, set off a chain reaction toward a civil rights movement in the United States. A choice helped change the course of history.

God changed the Israelite’s history through Moses’ arrival in Egypt. No longer caught in the trap of enslavement, they were now free to make more choices. It didn’t take long for them to use their new freedom to complain about how good it was in Egypt or for them to create idols for them to worship. The Israelites show us that freedom to choose will often lead us to unhealthy choices. This tendency to make bad choices leads to the confrontation we see in the passage of Deuteronomy found below.

15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (ESV)

The people were doing their own thing, complaining about the process, and God reminded them of their ability to choose instead of scolding or punishing them. This generous response from God reminded the people of their most incredible power, the power to choose. God gives them a choice because He desires them to have the freedom to engage with Him in a relationship, not enslavement or bondage. However, there are consequences for rebellion and benefits for obedience. At this point, God lays a pro and con chart for them. 

At a cursory glance, God’s list for the people doesn’t appear to be a choice, as one choice leads to “life and good” while the opposing decision is “death and evil.” From this point of view, God sounds like a parent saying to their child, “because I said so,” or the threat of a bully, “do this or else.” However, in the context of God releasing the people from bondage in Egypt and watching them wander around in the wilderness, we see God tenderly warning the people that how they behave is dangerous and detrimental and will ultimately lead to their destruction. God is like the father of the prodigal son, giving him what he asked for but going the extra step and reminding the son that their behavior will lead to despair. Ultimately, God cared for the people of Israel, not only those fleeing from Egypt but the generations that followed, and implored them to give up their evil ways and turn back to God.

Our sin keeps us away from God, and temptation surrounds us and opportunities to choose evil over good and death over life. God knows this and sent us a lifeboat when Jesus came to Earth. The Gospels present a picture of where the choices made by Israel had led them. A foreign nation conquered them; their faith became a tool of the powerful to oppress the weak; the people divided themselves into opposing groups. The result of sin is horror and death, just like the warnings stated; therefore, the people needed a Savior, and Jesus fulfilled this need. Jesus calls us to forgo sin and follow Him because in Jesus comes victory over evil and death, and obedience to Jesus is good and life-giving. While sin still knocks at our door, Jesus offers us a simple choice; give your burdens, your sin, and your heart to Him, and life, goodness, and blessing will follow. 

That is the grace of God; choosing God is simple because of Jesus. There are no special rules you need to follow, no special process to find the right way to follow God. Choose to love God and love God’s creation, all people, not just the ones you like. God makes things simple for us because Jesus did the heavy lifting.

Published by JRMITCH85

I am often asked what describes you, which is a hard answer because sometimes I move in a thousand different directions. Some call me an engineer, others call me pastor, a few call me captain, some call me friend, others call me dad, and one calls me sweetheart. All of these things are descriptors and are accurate, but they don't fully capture me. My favorite place is in the mountains, enjoying the beauty of nature and God's creation, running and hiking around with my family and friends, and taking photos to cement the memories. However, the people that know me the best know that my favorite thing to do is come up with crazy adventures that push the limits of what our minds and bodies can do. My faith in God is important to me and drives me to look at creation the way I do. Because of my faith, I look at these adventures and running races from Half Marathons all the way to 50-mile races, as well as several Obstacle Course Races, as an opportunity to push the body God gave me as an act of worship. Hopefully, someday soon, I look toward running longer races and bigger adventures. My hope is that humanity can understand that the wild is a gift, and we need to care for it and quit destroying it by the way we live.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: