Have you ever played “Would you rather”? My husband and I are youth directors at our church and if you’re around youth long enough, you will be drawn into a game. The rules are simple, someone listed two things and you choose which one you would rather do. Let’s play a quick game.
Would you rather be able to fly or read people’s minds?
* be blind or be deaf?
* eat skittles or m&ms?
* have a paper cut on your tongue or a booger you can’t reach all day?
* live or die?
If each of us were truly honest today, we would all say that we want to live? That’s a no-brainer! “I want to choose life!”
We are all very partial to the oxygen that we breathe and really prefer that our hearts continue to pump blood. So, why would I ask such a dumb question?
I was reading a book a while back and I came across a passage of Scripture in the book of Deuteronomy where God gives the choice to choose life.
Moses & the Israelites
In the events leading up to these verses, the Israelites were in slavery under Pharoah, led out by Moses, and were now grumbling and complaining. Once the Israelites have crossed the Red Sea, they are now on their way to the Promised Land. Because of their disobedience, an entire generation must wander in the desert and die before they would be allowed to cross into the Promised land. For the next 40 years, the Israelites wander around in the desert and wilderness. In order to claim the promised land, the people had to cross the Jordan River.
we are going to start with Moses giving a pep talk to the Israelite people. He has led them to the entrance of the Promised Land. It is now time to cross over the Jordan River and claim the land that God had given them. Moses begins his pep talk by telling the Israelites to obey the Lord God and follow His commands.
Moses explains to them the curses for disobedience and the blessings for obedience. He renews the covenant made that God had made saying that He would be their God and they would be His people.
He also reminds them of the miraculous things that God had already done for them. Sounds pretty good so far, right? Obey God, receive blessings. Disobey God, receive the curses. Then, Moses tells them a strange thing. He says that the Lord is giving to them an offer of life or death. Strange? Let’s pick up there and look at this offer to choose life or death.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that You shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go and possess. I call heaven and earth, as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Choose Eternal Life – Salvation
He tells them to choose life, that you may live.
Choose life. That you may live. What exactly does that mean?
Well, yeah, who wouldn’t want to do that? But, I think there is a little more to it than just breathing.
What does that look like? Choose life???
So, to find my answer, look to the Creator of Life. It says in Genesis 2:7 that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
If God is the Creator of Life, and He is the one telling me to choose life, that I may live, then I think He should be the one that I should ask.
In Job 33:4, it says, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
If we are to “choose life” we need to understand what it means. We all know that in life we have many choices to make. We have to choose what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, what to do this weekend, how we will act in a given situation. Life is full of choices.
Just as the game “would you rather” that we played earlier made you make some kind of choice. This is also what God calls us to do.
Because he loves man so much, He allows them to make a choice about where they will spend eternity. He allows us to choose to spend eternity with Him in Heaven or He allows us to choose to spend eternity in a place called Hell.
Simple as that. We have a choice. It is this choice that He is referring to in Deuteronomy. He has set before us life and death. In His love, He wants each of us to choose life, that we may live in eternity with Him. This is His desire.
It says in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
But, again, it is a choice. Do we wish to choose life and live? Or, do we choose to reject God and live a life completely separated from Him for eternity?