Choose Life

from the Deuteronomy reading plan

Deuteronomy 30:1-20, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 10:6-10

BY Kara Gause

I used to think of free will as a sort of choose-your-own adventure kind of thing. Remember those books? I always had the sense that maybe the stories would be stronger if the real author were to just choose the best ending for the protagonist, because surely they knew the best outcome and most “adventurous” route to get there. 

When I applied that logic to my own life and relationship with God, a game of chess came to mind. If God knows all, including how this whole story ends, and will accomplish His ultimate will in the end, then do my choices really matter? Do I matter? (Incidentally, I don’t recommend pondering these things with the dawn, before that first wave of caffeine hits.) 

Applying this flat, and admittedly, flawed logic to Scripture only weakens my relationship with God because there’s no relational aspect to it—and our God is very relational. That’s true today, and it was true when Moses and the Levitical priests were imploring with Israel to obey God and keep His commands. They laid out the blessing of choosing God and the utter destruction of choosing anything apart from Him (Deuteronomy 27–28). 

Even in giving the provision of His law, He offered further provision: a way back to Him, should they choose wrongly and suffer the consequential curses of their choices. And should they “come to [their] senses” (Deuteronomy 30:1), returning to God and obeying Him “with all [their] heart and all [their] soul by doing everything” commanded of them, then He will “restore [their] fortunes” and His compassion will find them, no matter how far away they have strayed (vv.2–4).

Which begs the question: If one path resulted in complete blessing and the other utter destruction, what was the point of giving Israel the choice in the first place? Wouldn’t things be better if God just made them do what was right to avoid the curse altogether? In short: no, because that option is not consistent with who God is and who we are as His image bearers (Genesis 1:27). He is relational, and we are created to live in relationship with Him. We get to choose because things like real faith, love, devotion, and obedience cannot be forced; they must be freely given. He chooses us, and He wants us to choose Him back, to love Him in return.

So it was with Israel. The command to follow God’s law wasn’t “too difficult or beyond [their] reach” (Deuteronomy 30:11). They could choose life, not death, for themselves and future generations (vv.19–20). He later promises to give them, and us, a new heart that beats for Him, and His Spirit to help us choose Him over and over again (Ezekiel 36:26–27). He’s the path to righteousness and life (Romans 10:10). When we choose our loving God, that’s when the real adventure begins. 

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Choose Life"

  1. Mari V says:

    I choose God. There is no other way or better way. And I’m glad He waits for us patiently because he does not want to force himself on us. It’s our choice. And I choose God.

  2. Dorothy says:

    I have had many an adventure through God and Christ, some good and some not so good. Through these adventures I always knew the Lord was with me. I know all I have to do is call for Him and He’s there. If I truly need something God will provide it some way.
    Be blessed sisters.

  3. Beth says:

    Madison, listen to the podcast for this week. I think it will help answer some of your doubts and questions. The weekly podcasts give a lot more explanation to our weekly readings. Everyone take time to listen to them sometime during each week. You will find the podcasts at the website in the menu.

  4. Mercy says:

    Dictatorship leaves people no choice. But Love always gives a choice.

  5. Indiana Elaine says:

    Jo Philipp, a Bible is on its way to you!

  6. Victoria E says:

    Amazing comments here today. I loved the baby learning to walk analogy. As we prepare for our first child to be born in March by God’s grace sometimes I think about how much I love this child so much already and then I realize that Our Father loves us so much more than any earthly parent has ever loved their child. Growing up I used to be a little bit afraid of God, especially from OT readings like Deuteronomy, but now I am able to see the love that is there. I am even more grateful for Jesus who fulfilled every aspect of the law and gave us an easy yoke instead of the OT law which can never be fulfilled by any human. I just thank Him every day of this study , can you imagine trying to follow the hundreds of OT laws that exist??? Again thank you to those who have been praying for me and the baby, the ultrasound yesterday went well and we found out that the baby is a healthy boy who happened to be sucking his thumb when we saw him. Praise God for this miracle ( a lot of you know the journey my husband and I have been on to get to the point!) and thank you sisters for your fervent and effective prayers on our behalf.

  7. Victoria E says:

    Madison I hear your confusion on this matter. I believe in an earlier devotional the author wrote that the consequences of not choosing God were just that, consequences, like the consequences of any of our questionable actions here on earth- choosing junk over true life and love. It is not so much that God is punishing us though He does discipline us too for our good like any good parent would, but that the consequences of not choosing Him are naturally bad and lead to destruction. For example would we think someone who chooses to use drugs is being punished for their choice if they contract hepatitis and loose their job and family? I don’t think so, we would not be surprised at that natural consequence. Sorry so long I hope this makes some sense.

  8. Moriah says:

    Sisters, I am asking for prayer for my cousin. Her school district recently took away pretty much all of the covid safety measures and is not requiring masks, contact tracing, or quarantining even though cases are rising. She is too young to get vaccinated so she and her parents are very worried about her safety. Please pray for her health and for them as they decide on their next steps. Thank you.

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