I made an interesting observation today, doing a word study in the Bible. I'd been talking to a friend recently, about one of my favorite chapters in Scripture: Deuteronomy 30. It's a chapter packed full of God's covenant with us: our obedience leads to the fulfillment of His promises for us:
Like, "return to the Lord your God.... obey His voice... with all your heart and soul.... the Lord your God will have compassion on you... you will possess the land which your fathers possessed... He will prosper you and multiply you... love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live..."
Stuff like that.
But my favorite part of that chapter is in the passage from verse 11 to 20. The words are soaring and beautiful and seem to come to a climax starting in verse 15: "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil in (what) I command you... therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live..."
Okay, so I got to thinking about that beautiful and challenging line, "choose life". And I decided to do a word study on the word "choose" and the choices that He gives us.
But you know what I found? In the New King James, there are 71 uses of the word "choose" and there are some wonderful challenges for us.
Like Job 34:4 ~ "Let us choose justice for ourselves; let us know among ourselves what is good."
and Proverbs 1:29 ~ "they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord."
and Proverbs 3:31 ~ "Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways."
and Proverbs 12:26 ~ "The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray."
and Philippians 1:21-22 ~ "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell."
Good stuff, right? That's what is expected of us: choose justice and the fear of the Lord. Choose your friends carefully and do not choose the ways of an oppressor. And then Paul's lament (made in prison, when he did not know if he would live or die) about which is better: to keep living and serving, or to die and go home to heaven.
But that's pretty much it. Turns out very few of the instances of the word "choose" are directed at us. A few are historical instances of one person telling another to choose something, but the vast majority of them are reminders that God is the One who does most of the choosing.
Which means ~ surprise! ~ we don't have near as much control over life as we think we do. We do have control over our thoughts and words and actions, but little else.
And we do have to choose, this day and every day. Choosing life means choosing obedience. But it also means choosing light and love, and the lifting of my burdens. And who wouldn't choose that?
~ "You did not choose Me,
but I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit...
that whatever you ask the Father
in my name, He may give you." ~