You Have A Choice


You have a choice—do you want the Lord to bless you, or do you want him to put a curse on you?

~Deuteronomy 11:26, CEV


Generous and happy people are prone to praise, while others are prone to complain.

~Timothy Keller

The last book of the Pentateuch or Torah is called Deuteronomy; this comes from the Septuagint, it means “Second Law.” It is a series of sermons or messages from Moses where he basically relives their brief history from slavery in Egypt until the present moment, some forty plus years. During this very brief history, the Israelites made a lot of tragic and costly mistakes. Not only were the Israelites prone to complain and murmur, they also had a tendency to rebel. For example: while Moses was on the mountain top getting the law, the Israelites talked Aaron in to making them an idol. This mistake cost the Israelites 3,000 men. Then there was the incident where Korah, Dathan and Abiram: these men lead a rebellion against Moses. They were protesting his right to be a priest over them. They insisted on being their own priest. We don’t know how many died due to this selfish blunder. We do know that three clans were buried alive and 250 men were burned to death as they tried to burn incense without authorization. Of course the big blunder comes at Kadesh when the Israelites rebel against God and refuse to go to war in order to take the land. The death toll here is staggering, probably over a million and a forty year delay. This very poor decision kept Miriam, Aaron, and Moses from entering the promise land.

The thing that got me thinking about how costly some bad decision are was Moses comment in Deuteronomy 11:4 where Moses said the the Israelites, “the Egyptians are still suffering from their defeat at the Red Sea.” Remember, this was forty years ago. Of course Egypt not only lost a Pharaoh in the battle, they lost an entire army. Pharaoh lost his life and army because he made a bad choice. We are free to choose, but we are not free from consequences. You make a bad decision and you pay. The Israelites made a horrible decision at Kadesh: God through Moses said “Go.” The fear stricken Israelites said “No, we will not go.” This poor decision cost them dearly. They lived the rest of their miserable lives wandering–living a life that had no purpose. Drawing a breath and a pay check: existing but not living. Deuteronomy is not just about the second law, it is the second chance. Moses is preparing them for the conquest and he is telling them: “You’ve already made this mistake once and you know what it cost you, don’t make it again.”

Some folks don’t learn by instruction or experience. They are like Marcel Ledbetter who went to the Saturday picture show there was a western playing. They ran the movie back to back. At the end the Sheriff out draws and guns down the outlaw. Marcel and his friends stayed for the re-run and Marcel bet one of them a dollar that the outlaw would win the second gun fight. After Marcel lost his dollar, one of the older wiser members of the gang said, “Marcel, you had already seen the picture show once and you saw the Sheriff shut the outlaw…” Marcel interrupted, “I know that but I didn’t think he could do it twice.”

God is good all the time. It is His nature: He can’t be anything else. I do praise Him for His bountiful mercy and grace. I had gotten use to the nice weather and this is tough. We have four nights of bitter cold and then it is supposed to be 70 degrees by Sunday [according to my weather woman]. She is right about half the time. She gets her info from the TV clowns who get paid to be right half of the time.

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