Thoughts from The Bible

Choose life and live
Life is so full of decision making. I wish all decisions were as easy to make as some of the ones we struggle with which are really so trivial, “What do you want for supper tonight?” “What program do you want to watch on tv?” I’m really just thankful there’s something to eat and I’m basically contented to eat whatever we have. You see, some choices are actually quite simple and easy to make. We may struggle over them, but not for a particularly life changing reason. Dad says to Junior, “If you clean the garage I’ll give you $10. On the other hand, if you don’t I’ll ground you for the weekend.” Mom says, “Scrub the shower, and I’ll let you have company for the weekend. On the other hand, if you don’t, you’ll have to stay home and babysit your little sister.”

These are clear cut choices that have an immediate reward, and the price we have to pay is tolerable. Sometimes we may respond with a protest, but nonetheless we grit our teeth and do what we must. On the other hand, there are choices that we have difficulty making. Perhaps someone who reads health books may say to you “eat your spinach and you’ll build good muscles and never get cancer.” Or, “eat lots of carrots so you can have good eyesight.” This choice is beneficial to you, but the rewards are too far off and we hate the taste of spinach, so why bother. The price is intolerable and the reward is too far off to worry about. Your teacher says study and keep your notes up all year long and you won’t have to cram for final exams. We still put it off and have to make a mad dash at the end of the term because the choice involved too much self-discipline to seem worthwhile. The medical experts say eat right and get plenty of exercise and you’ll not develop heart conditions, but we hate to leave off junk food, and exercise is for the birds. Some of us just don’t get around to making those kinds of choices in time.

Perhaps that’s why Israel in the Old Testament had such a hard time making the right choices. God gave them a really clear-cut choice in Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV) “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” It seems perfectly logical that Israel would want to make the right choice. After all, “choose life and live” is pretty cut and dry. If I had been there I know what I’d have done, don’t you? – Or do I???

Yes, God promised to do a lot for Israel, but some of those rewards were too far off, and the price they had to pay was greater than some of them wanted to bear. They weren’t a whole lot different than many of us. They liked the convenient choices. I guess it could be added, they hated having so many choices to make, and eventually quit using good judgment about such choices.

But really, some choices are life and death – and we must make them, like it or not. We would do well to learn from Israel a little about making the right choices. You see, being a Christian is logical. Look at the pain and suffering in the world. Look at the contrasts between broken lives and lives of hope in Christ. There should be no choice about it. Yet people by the millions seem to have such a struggle making that fateful decision.

The truth is that most of us want the best of both worlds. Like the little boy that hesitated to answer his Sunday school teacher who asked which person we should want to be like, the rich man or Lazarus. He thoughtfully replied: “I’d rather live like rich man and die like Lazarus.” How honest he was and how typical of human nature. Friends it’s time to make a choice. Choose life and live. Choose God!!

The author can be reached for comments at 256.574.2489.

-Terry Broome

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