15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing 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, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days.
This Sunday’s Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy declares both a challenge and a promise to God’s people “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
What a simple yet extraordinarily deep statement- choose life. It is a statement that is just as direct to us in 2019 as it was for its first hearer. In our world, we struggle mightily with poverty, political instability, health care accessibility, violence etc. Death is everywhere we look and the main topic on the evening news. It seems to me, as a society we seek distance ourselves from the reality of death with constant distractions—entertainment (hello NFL kickoff weekend), material possessions, digital devices, drugs etc.
Choose life. Because that’s what it means to follow Jesus. A couple weeks ago, we read Luke chapter 9 on Sunday and heard, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). The way of discipleship is the way of life, real life, life that does not deny the reality of death but instead overcomes it through the power of resurrection. And that is good news that we all need to hear.
Happy Rally Day everyone~ Pastor Erik