Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Choose Life
Posted by adventbiblestudy on August 16, 2013
Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NLTse (11) “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. (12) It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ (13) It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ (14) No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. (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. (19) “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. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
As Israel neared the end of their journey to the promised land, Moses called the nation together. So far they have been a nation with no home. Wandering the wilderness for nearly forty years should have taught them a number of lessons. Moses knew how little they learned. Moses spent many nights pleading with God alone, asking why so many people developed so little faith. God reminded Moses of their first meeting. Moses was filled with doubts. Moses didn’t want the job, but he was the only man God could trust. Any other Israelite slave would have been tempted to seek revenge on Pharaoh’s house. Judgment belongs to the LORD. Growing up in Pharaoh’s house removed that temptation from Moses. This was all part of God’s perfect plan.
Moses looked back at how long it took his trust in God to develop to what it was at the end of the journey. Moses found constant prayer was the only hope he had to successfully lead Israel to the promised land. Many times his life was threatened. At any moment a mob could have ended his life. Moses knew God was protecting him. He knew he had a purpose. As time went by, Moses developed a deeper concern for the people he led. As years passed, Moses watch one after another buried along the way. The more Moses saw the old die, the more their children became His. This was one of the connections Moses developed with God as he began to understand God’s concern for every individual.
As years passed, God’s messages became much more to Moses. They became his plea for cooperation as well as God’s. Moses relationship with God was making him one with God. Something Moses didn’t see in himself, or a level he never expected to achieve. Moses knew, his relationship with God was based on his trust and reliance. It also hinged on obeying God’s law.
“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach.” Moses spoke from experience. He would never ask anyone to do what he was not able to achieve. Moses never held anyone to a higher level than he could understand. “No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.” Moses knew every soul in front of him knew the law. But did they understand it? This was the second generation to come out of Egypt. The elders passed away. Now it was time for the youth to step up and lead. The only leadership qualities they knew was what Moses and the elders taught them. Was it enough? Few of them had much experience serving as a slave, although many of them suffered as slaves in their youth. Many remembered seeing their parents suffering in bondage. All of them wanted a better life for their children, and Moses felt like all of them were his children. Once again Moses reviewed the choice they had before them. Moses wanted nothing more than to see all Israel find the same love for God he found. Moses thought, “what more can I do?”
When we highlight words Moses repeated, we see how he is stressing the choice Israel is facing. It is a choice all of us face. It is the same choice Jesus offered. When Jesus offered the choice, He added one detail. He showed how past sins will be forgiven so eternal life can be obtained. Like Israel, not everyone accepted the choice Jesus offered. In their own way people clung onto their old ways.
Mark 12:28-34 NLTse One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (29) Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. (30) And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ (31) The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (32) The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. (33) And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” (34) Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
One of the old religious leaders approached Jesus. His long beard was testimony of his age as well as the bands on his garments announced his status. His eyes looked hard as bronze as he starred at Jesus as if he was looking right through Him. Everyone thought this was another trap. Jesus looked at the man with an open heart, awaiting his question. Finally the aged religious leader spoke up. “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” The answer came instantly to Jesus. The answer was His life. More than His life here. The answer was found in Jesus’ eternity with God His Farther. “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'” There was no doubt in Jesus’ mind as He looked in the eyes of the religious leader, looking for any indication he understood.
Other religious leaders looked on knowing how crafty the old priest was. They felt if anyone could trick Jesus into saying something they could use against Him, the experienced debater could. Looking on they waited for the conversation to continue as they contemplated the outcome. Jesus added another detail. “The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.'”
The other religious leaders waited for a reply to Jesus’ answer. Would the crafty old priest correct Jesus loose interpretation of the law? Would he provide a direct quote on the commandment about the neighbor, or offer an argument in favor of one of the other eight? Much to everyone’s surprise, the teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” Not many people expected this type of reply from a priest with so many years of experience debating minute details of scripture. Jesus spend a little time looking at the disappointed faces in the crowd. How was He going to reach them? Jesus knew the Spirit was working hard to reach each of them. What was holding them back? Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Jesus was able to reach at least one man. No one knows for sure what the other religious leaders were thinking. Jesus softened the hearts of some, but most refused to listen. Another person came to Jesus asking almost the same question. Jesus tried to reach him, but the world was too much for him.
Matthew 19:16-26 NLTse Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (17) “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question–if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” (18) “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. (19) Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (20) “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” (21) Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (22) But when the young man heard this, he went away very sad, for he had many possessions. (23) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (24) I’ll say it again–it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” (25) The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. (26) Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
Once again Jesus faced a man showing his status by the clothes he wore. The man was unassuming. He didn’t have looks to get him where he wanted to be, but his family had money. He used it to create the type of impression he thought would get him ahead in this world. He had his ups and downs in business. Some of his associates saw through his outward appearance to see his insecurities. They took advantage of every one of his weaknesses. Jesus also saw his weakness. The man wanted to impress Jesus with a question. Jesus saw the man knew the answer and told him what he needed to hear. Maybe if the man heard it again, the answer would make sense.
The man asked, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” The man thought eternal life could be earned. He heard it all his life from the religious leaders, his family, friends, and business associates. “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question–if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Jesus gave the answer the man expected. For a while the young man thought he received the recognition he was searching for all his life. As every eye was trained on the young man, he added another question. “Which ones?” Jesus thought for a moment. He knew what the man wanted to hear. He also knew the man had been ignoring messages from the Spirit. The man wanted to be like the successful associates he worked with. Somehow he needed to make it in this world. Jesus replied: “You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man’s confidence grew as the conversation continued. It gave the man a chance to provide his personal testimony. “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. God’s Spirit had been working on the man for quite some time. He knew something was missing. Knowing the path to eternal life was not that easy. He asked Jesus another question. “What else must I do?” Jesus saw a sincere look in the man’s eyes. Jesus knew He had to answer the man’s question. Even though something told Jesus the man was not ready, Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Looking at his eyes, Jesus instantly knew the answer. When the young man heard this, he went away very sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus answered the man’s question by quoting much of the law, then added one important part many people fail to notice. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. (Romans 13:8 NLTse). It seemed Jesus left off the most important commandment. “The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” But He didn’t. Jesus worded it in a different way. “”If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Looking back at the answer Jesus gave the religious leader, we see the close connection between loving God and our neighbor. I wander if Paul was among the religious leaders who listened to Jesus. Paul seems to have put this subject in perspective. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These–and other such commandments–are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:9-11 NLTse).
This entry was posted on August 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm and is filed under Prophecies of Jesus. Tagged: choice between life and death, command I am giving you today, Deuteronomy 30:11-20 Choose Life, fulfill the requirements of God's law, I call on heaven and earth to witness, it is not beyond your reach, keep the commandments, key to your life, love the LORD your God, Love your neighbor as yourself, message is very close at hand, most important commandment is this, No other commandment is greater than these, sell all your possessions, that you would choose life, treasure in heaven, what good deed must I do to have eternal life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.