The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 20
As in Deuteronomy 28’s blessings and cursings, Moses urges those whose parents died in the wilderness to choose life as they enter Canaan:
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 . . . . 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. (Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 19-20)
These two paths were definitive before the fall: Believe God’s word regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (choose life), or eat from the tree (choose death). Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Look where that decision took them!
The same two paths continue after the fall: Believe God’s promise of redemption and picture of redemption (Genesis 3:15, 21). Abel chose to believe God, while Cain rebelled against God.
Jesus offers the same two paths, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it; because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
These two paths demand a choice for first century believers. The Apostle Paul uses Israel’s wilderness rebellion as an example to warn the Corinthian believers to choose against idolatry, sexual immorality, rebellion, and complaining in order to walk with God, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). All of Israel were given genuine choices. Sadly, all but two over the age of twenty defaulted to the dictates of the lust of the flesh and died in the wilderness. They chose death over life.
Those two paths exist today. The choice for life involves a difficult journey of denying self and daily taking up the cross. The way of death is the path of least resistance. If the path of life were easy, everyone would choose it.
Someone wisely said that our lives as adults are the product of choices that we make.
Questions from today’s reading (Deuteronomy 29:2-31:29):
How had the LORD revealed His faithfulness to Israel during the forty years in the wilderness in spite of their constant complaining and rebellion? What does this reveal about God?
For what purpose were the cursings given? (29:19)
How has God uniquely prepared Joshua to assume the role of leadership?
What do Moses’ last two instructions reveal about God, Bible literacy, and Israel?