Saturday, February 8, 2014

Choosing life or death (Deut 30:15-18)

The compelling promise of life

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. (Deut 30:15-18)

The Pro-life movement in the US is a social and political movement which opposes elective abortion and advocates the choice of choosing life over death even while a child is in a mother's womb. The advocates generally argue that human life begins at conception and that the human fetus is a person and therefore has the right to life.* 

An article penned January 2013 in D Magazine, "The New Face of Pro-Life Movement" , carries a quote from David Pomerantz a young 23 year old, whose personal story causes him to fight for Life on the streets of Dallas by offering life-options for mothers considering death for their unborn.
To David choosing life is not only about that one life one saves but its implications, affect humanity for eternity. In his own words he says, "I don't just see a baby, I see a line of humanity we're saving that could exist for eternity"
David Pomerantz—seeing life through the eyes of eternity

Young David, joins the cast of others in this movement as they— with passion and sacrifice, fight for the life of the unborn. Sometimes by offering free Ultrasound to women considering an abortion, sex education at schools, providing resources for the mother to elevate the cost of the unannounced pregnancy and some even offer mothers to-be, adoption options. All this trouble just to save one life, is it worth it? 

God seems to chime in with an answer as we look at another life or death offer which He makes to His people Israel, through Moses in Deuteronomy 30. There are only two choices Life or Death and in a rather obvious plea, God beckons Israel to choose life. 
Choosing life in God

Choosing life is synonymous to a humble heart before God, seeking to follow Him, professing love and devotion to Him by living out this reality in everything. A Pro-life choice in God's economy simply means an election to live out God's standard on earth—loving even the hard-to-love people and being able to stand firm in hope even against all hope. With this choice, God promises to shower Israel with blessings of fruitfulness in the promised land. (Vs 15-16)

However if the ways of God escape the lifestyle and culture of Israel, death is inevitable. Death comes with judgement and discipline from their God, it brings a life of captivity and that of destruction, affecting several generations to come (Vs 17). 

So what will Israel choose to do? The answer will be unveiled in weeks to come.

For right now, some gnawing questions still stares us in the face— "has God also given me a life or death decision to make?, what choice does my life reveal? Does my life scream "I choose Life" like David Pomerantz and his buddies in the Pro-life movement? Or has my desire to live my life under my own terms secured a destiny of death and destruction?

Is my life filled with the worship of the god of this age—the ultimate dependance on technology and Science to cure even the longings of my soul—the thirst for significance and human relationship? Does the desire for money, power or even beauty seem to flood my thoughts—seem to control my relationships—seem to dictate my drive? Does the advancement of my own people give me a sense of security to face tomorrow, or does the increasing pain of my world keep me up at night with a sense of nostalgia? Have our modern gods failed us—bringing with them the smell of death?

It would not be presumptuous to say that God extends this life and death decision to you and I today—not only to Israel. I believe, right now in our current reality, God is not only offering us the same options, but He is going through giant strides to encourage us to make the choice that will guarantee eternal life for our soul and wade off the inevitable course of death brought about by the gods of this age.
Life found in faith
God's strides unwrap a love gift, sent to us over 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ—offering a most enticing package, 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also".

This Life stride is bundled up as faith in Jesus Christ, parceled in this confession
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life,and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life". (1 John 5:11-12).
The unfathomable beauty and design of nature, screams the power of God
God continues His giant strides by parading His divine life through all He has created so that we may take notice and choose Him as king over our lives—having recognized the beauty of His love for us.

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God". (Rom 1:20)

The journey of death 

Death with a lesser stride is offered to us as well—with no sweet promises, I may add, only with the hope of living a life alienated from God destined for hopelessness and eternal suffering. 

"But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

"He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Rom 2:6-8)

God offers death out of the obligation that true love calls for one to exercise their ability to choose. Even with this offer God is hoping that life's compelling promises would cause us to elect Him as our only love, God and king. His ultimate desire is that we will all choose life rather than settle for the horrors of death, evident in this statement,

"This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus". (1 Tim 2:3-5)
The choice of death as life is seen in the distance
God fights even harder than those in the Pro-life movement, because the implications of His offer carries even bigger consequences, however not big enough it seems, to prevent us from the privilege—or one could say the curse, of making a choice between Life or death. 

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. (Deut 10:19-20)

So together with all of God's people past and present, I echo in prayer "choose life", by putting your faith in Jesus Christ—living daily in the assurance of life in Him, because therein lies true eternal comfort for the soul. (Rom 10:9-11)

O God, whose will conquers All,
There is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying you and being engaged in your service.
You are All in all, infinitely wise, making no mistakes, as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at your disposal and I delight to leave them there.
So my prayer turns into praise, adoring and blessing You for this new life I have received from Your hand. Amen 
(Adapted from the prayer of The Valley of Vision, "God the All")

*The Pro-life Movement

My Testimony