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Choose Life to Live...
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Choose Life to Live...

Always the First Step...

by John J. Parsons

Deut. 30:19 Hebrew Text

"Choose life, so that you and your offspring may live."
- Deut. 30:19

There is a core element of your spiritual life that is all-determinative, that affects everything else, and that is the question of whether you will choose to "show up," whether you will engage it's hope; and whether you will open your eyes and yield yourself to the light... This is an ongoing decision. Unlike the holy angels, we must "walk out" the faith of our days, and therefore we are always moving either forward or backward. God's sun shines on the just and unjust alike (Matt. 5:45). Every human being lives by faith of some kind, and it is therefore impossible to opt out of the decision to "choose this day whom we shall serve" (Josh. 24:15). Indifference or apathy is as much a spiritual decision as is outright rebellion, and if we do nothing today to draw us near to the Lord, we will eventually regress and slip backward. This is all very sobering. "No one knows the day or hour," and that's why it is so vital to turn to God and be healed while there is still time. So turn today and bacharta ba'chayim - "choose life!" "For this commandment (of turning to God) is not hidden from you, and it is not far away... No, the matter is very near you - in your mouth and your heart - to do it" (Deut. 30:11-14; Rom. 10:8-13).

In another place we read: "See, I give before you today a blessing and a curse" (Deut. 11:26). Note that the word translated "see" (i.e., re'eh) is singular ("you see!"), whereas the following pronoun is plural ("before you today"). Each person is to personally see that the blessing and the curse will affect others in our lives. This has traditionally been understood to mean that God gives each of us the path of goodness (that leads to blessing) and the path of wickedness (that leads to curse). The singular form is used to stress the fact that although Torah is given to all "who have ears to hear," it is our personal responsibility to "choose life!" and walk its message out in our daily lives (Deut. 30:19). This is an Either/Or of the heart, and there is no place for compromise in this decision. Moreover, since your life is part of a greater whole, you must understand that every deed you do brings to the world around you either a blessing or a curse.... To "correct" the world you live in, you must first correct yourself (Matt. 7:5).

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew Transliteration

u'vacharta bachayim lema'an tichyeh atah vezarekha

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