Deuteronomy 30:15-20 - [Moses said] "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 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. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 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. 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, 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."
I think of ancient Israel as a kind of experiment. God takes a group of people and lays out exactly how they should live. They don't just get the Ten Commandments; they get detailed explanations, all the way down to the level of "If you see your enemy's donkey overloaded and fallen to the ground, don't just pass by. You have to help him get the donkey back on its feet again!" (Exodus 23:5)
So now, after 40 years of teaching and demonstrating, Moses gives it one last try. He says to them, "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, ... then you shall live. But if your heart turns away ... you shall surely perish. ... I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life!"
You can't get much clearer than that! And yet, the whole history of the people of Israel tells us how impossible it was for them to make that simple choice. They did not choose life. They did not keep the Law. They couldn't. They were sinners.
And that's our dilemma too, isn't it? We too are sinners. We might imagine we can live perfectly—but trying proves otherwise. And that's why I think of ancient Israel as an experiment—because while God knew the truth, the human race didn't. Until He proved it.
So now, what do we know? We know that we are helpless. We know that we aren't going to get out of our desperate situation on our own. Sin is too strong for us. We need a Savior.
And that's what God has given us. He didn't send an angel to help us—no, He came Himself to be one of us, to live and to suffer and die on the cross for our sake. Jesus Christ rescued us from the trap of sin. He has risen from the dead. And now He offers true, everlasting life to anyone who trusts in Him, anyone who will receive it. And that includes you and me.
WE PRAY: Thank You, God, for giving us life. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever tried to be perfect?
2. If so, what happened? How long did it take?
3. How does the forgiveness of sins change your daily life?
Today's Bible Readings: Exodus 1-3 Matthew 24:1-28
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